(Pocket-lint) - When FromSoftware announces a game, you can bet your life people pay attention. Its long string of hits, starting with Demon's Souls (recently remastered in excellent style), running through the Dark Souls saga, Bloodborne and Sekiro, has earned it one heck of a reputation.
If you take that game-making prowess and add in the plotting of George R. R. Martin, the author behind Game of Thrones, you've got a seriously enticing proposition - and that's just what we're looking at with Elden Ring. Find out everything you need to know, below.
Elden Ring trailer and release date
Elden Ring was announced with a nice and splashy trailer, embedded a little further below, at E3 in 2019, and then we were treated to literally years of radio silence, with absolutely no news to speak of. The trailer had absolutely loads to go on in terms of themes and ideas, but it was still a pretty tough time.
Now that's all changed - 2021's Summer Games Fest live kickoff stream ended with a bang, debuting an extended new trailer, which you can view above, full of reveals and even glimpses of gameplay. However, the release date that it offered up has now been changed.
Important message:— ELDEN RING (@ELDENRING) October 18, 2021
ELDEN RING will release on Feb 25, 2022, as the depth & strategic freedom of the game exceeded initial expectations. Thank you for your trust & patience. We look forward to seeing you experience the game in the Closed Network Test in Nov.
The #ELDENRING Team
As you can see, Elden Ring will now come out on 25 February 2022, now that it's finished a closed network test in November 2021.
Elden Ring platforms
FromSoftware has a chequered history when it comes to releasing its games on different platforms - some of them, like Demon's Souls in both incarnations and Bloodborne have been PlayStation exclusives.
That doesn't seem to be the case this time - we now know that the game will come out on every platform you could hope for, including PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One. Plus, for the first time for FromSoftware, PC players will get a day-and-date launch as well.
The next-gen versions of the game will also get a post-launch patch to add ray-tracing graphical modes to their display options, it would seem, while at launch they'll have a toggle between "Performance" and "Resolution" modes, letting you choose whether to prioritise your framerate or your resolution.
Elden Ring story
Here's where things get really juicy - George R. R. Martin has co-created this dark fantasy world along with Hidetaka Miyazaki, the mastermind behind the Souls series. That's an amazing team-up, and also brings together two absolute specialists in bleak surprises.
The trailers paint a scene of a shattered world, and the game's official website sheds a bit more light. Elden Ring is set in the Lands Between, which have been thrust into conflict by the shattering of the Elden Ring, which seemingly protects the Erdtree (that huge shining tree in the background of the trailer, we're guessing).
With shards of the Elden Ring having been seized by various nasty bosses, we're thinking you'll be tasked with defeating them in turn and reclaiming those pieces to recreate the ring - that sounds like a fairly doable FromSoftware kind of structure.
Elden Ring gameplay
We got a huge gameplay demo in early November 2021 that you can watch above (scroll forward to 14:00 minutes in and you'll see it start), which finally showed off extended amounts of gameplay so that we can see what the game really looks like in motion, while there's also loads of footage out there from the Closed Network Test.
Elden Ring looks like a big step for FromSoftware - multiple sources including Phil Spencer from Xbox have discussed it being the studio's biggest and most ambitious game yet, which is validated by the footage. Part of that appears to be related to a wider gameplay scope, although Miyazaki has said in interviews he thinks it will take players around 30 hours to complete, which isn't too intimidating.
You can tell there's still going to be loads of challenging combat encounters, of course, and the game is again a third-person action RPG, but there's going to be a lot more options for players. For one thing, you can see that magic will be a big part of the world - it's big in the Souls games, too, but sometimes feels more like an addition than a core gameplay tenet.
Similarly, the new footage contains loads of gameplay on horseback, confirming a new way to get around a bigger open world, a first for FromSoftware. That world will be traversable on your own or with others through online multiplayer, and it all sounds a little less opaque than multiplayer in other FromSoftware games.
According to a major interview with Miyazaki from IGN, there will be six major areas, much like a Zelda game's dungeons, for players to explore off the main map - these can be tackled in any order. The main hub world will have a map for guidance, as you can see in the footage, but these dungeons won't.
That open-world format is also big news, of course, and will be a major change for FromSoftware. However, Miyazaki has confirmed they're not going all-out to imitate something like The Witcher 3 - there won't be towns full of NPCs to talk to or get quests from. Rather the open world will be available to seamlessly explore as what we hope will be like a tied-together set of FromSoftware's already expansive levels.
Multiplayer has been detailed a little as well - you'll be able to co-op all of Elden Ring with up to three friends, although playing in co-op will stop you being able to ride your horse, interestingly. That might make it more of a go-to for dungeons, rather than exploration.
As in the Souls games, there will be character customisation, too, with loads of combat options to suit different playstyles. Hopefully, the game can take a leaf from the remake of Demon's Souls, and let us create people who don't look like potatoes - always a bonus!