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Geek Preview: Elden Ring Is Every Dark Souls Fan’s Wet Dream

Having expectations always lead to the possibility of being disappointed, and it is the same no matter which part of fandom you enter. However, on the rare occasion that expectations are not only met, but surpassed, it could easily usher in another wave of adoration and acclaim. Having had an early look at what From Software is brewing up with Elden Ring, it is safe to say the Japanese studio can look forward to even more acclaim.

Geek Preview: Elden Ring Is Every Dark Souls Fan's Wet Dream - Combat

Not only were we shown gameplay, but From Software’s Yasuhiro Kitao was also on hand to answer some of our burning questions about Elden Ring.

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Against the backdrop of original mythology and lore developed by George R.R. Martin, From Software is building a new dark fantasy world powered by a fresh and robust role-playing game system that has never been experienced in its games.

Abundant Opportunities

As familiar as that sounds, the scale and magnitude at which Elden Ring is being presented go far beyond your traditional Dark Souls / Sekiro / Bloodborne adventures.

Geek Preview: Elden Ring Is Every Dark Souls Fan's Wet Dream - Yasuhiro Kitao
From Software’s Yasuhiro Kitao

“There are things with every title that we can’t do, or that we tried to do, but we end up not being able to for various reasons,” Kitao emphasised. “But for Elden Ring, we’re really trying to, you know, push our boundaries and try to do all the things that we’ve wanted to so far.”

At the heart of it all lies The Lands Between, a vast and interconnected space rife with threats and hidden discoveries waiting for the curious player. It was important to the developers to make this “an exciting place for the player that is not just big for the sake of it.”

This meant creating gameplay opportunities that catered to different players. You can uncover secrets if you look enough, engage in combat against the dangerous foes that roam around, or stumble upon a dragon that tears out of the sky just to give you a hard time.

“We tried to create and craft these moments for the player, but we also tried to keep them balanced and dispersed enough so that they feel excited and interested to explore every aspect of the map,” Kitao shared.

Of course, part of that exploration can be done on your Spirit Steed, a useful companion to help players traverse The Lands Between. It is not just for travel use too, mounted combat is going to be important against enemies, particularly those of a bigger size.

Available anytime, anywhere outside of multiplayer and within dungeons, it is a refreshing addition, to say the least. Having a steed to take care of those mountain paths and making huge leaps across gaps is going to spice things up nicely.

If the classic dungeon crawling is more your speed, the Legacy Dungeons found around the map will satiate your cravings. Putting everything together, Elden Ring will “offer a wide variety of situations” and each will “have their own characteristics and dangers to face.” Wintery plains give way to snowcapped mountains, and there is even a flooded city thrown in for good measure.

Elden Ring Roleplaying Goodness

Having years of creating immersive and engaging experiences for players, From Software was always going to make it count. Kitao mentioned that the team had “essentially taken the good bits of our previous RPG titles and expanded upon them on this much larger scale.”

Geek Preview: Elden Ring Is Every Dark Souls Fan's Wet Dream - Random Encounters

The ability to customise your appearance is always welcomed, however, the freedom to determine your build is likely to be more enticing.

You could become a skilled archer that excels at long-ranged combat, or become a powerful sorcerer or swordsman. The “huge lineup of weapons, equipment, magic, and skills available will fit players’ personal preference or the situation at hand, and evoke a sense of the good old-fashioned RPG genre.”

If you are still not quite as seasoned a fighter as you want to be, Elden Ring adds more accessible layers to the stamina-based combat. Spirit Summons allow players to enlist the help of tanky defenders or aggressive assault types, and the new Jump action adds more verticality to encounters. A heavy jump attack can stagger foes, and help with leading into combat.

Or, you can choose to eschew combat entirely, using stealth and tools like sleep arrows to make your way around enemies blocking your path. Making this decision was not easy, but player freedom was always going to be an important component of Elden Ring.

“At the end of the day, we feel like the major boss battles that are going to tie into the narrative, these are what the player is looking to work towards,” Kitao explained. “But everything in between, from regular enemies to field bosses, we want the player, to some extent, feel free to bypass or challenge these in whatever way they like, or not, as the case may be.”

“We didn’t want to put any restrictions on that, outside of the major boss battles.”

Any weathered From Software fan would know, beelining through the story means you are going to miss out on all the intricate details weaved into the universe, and Elden Ring is no different. Picking up on everything on offer is going to help players get into the story deeper, that is, if you can overcome these challenges.

The Spirit Summons will help, as will calling in aid from others via multiplayer. Judging from the different enemies and bosses awaiting, the challenge has only been increased.

Core Accessibility

Surprisingly, what stood out at the presentation was the various measures From Software were taking to increase the accessibility of Elden Ring. The search for the titular Elden Ring remains your ultimate goal, with a wide variety of characters engaging in an unfolding multi-protagonist drama, yet, the player and their interpretation comes first according to Kitao:

“We’re often told that our games have stories that are difficult to understand, and we say this is a complex narrative. But this time, we feel that the characters themselves will paint a clearer picture, and that drama that unfolds around them will help players to become more immersed in the world than ever before.”

Geek Preview: Elden Ring Is Every Dark Souls Fan's Wet Dream - Enemy Variety

Whether you believe it or not, From Software is always looking to have more players interested in their games.

“While we prioritise what we want to make, and the story we want to tell, it’s, it’s once we’ve gotten that established that we then look to how we can draw in a larger audience and let a much larger group of players enjoy our games than before.”

On the gameplay front, the jump action and the Spirit Steed continues the team’s commitment to making things less frustrating. In fact, players can fast travel whenever they like to any discovered Sites of Lost Grace (replacing the bonfires) by just opening the map.

While stamina continues to be a key cog in combat, stamina management will not come into play during exploration. You can run and jump indefinitely, and even fall damage has been “reined in quite a bit.” With the amount of jumping that you can do as your character and the Spirit Steed, this is welcomed news indeed.


By leveraging on experience and know-how sharpened through the years, From Software is uniquely positioned to kick off another era of RPG goodness with Elden Ring.

The narrative has some serious backing, the delicious combat and exploration has been expanded upon, and players can look forward to less frustration and more time enjoying the game proper, if that is what we can expect come 21 January 2022, the wait would be all worth it.


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