Following Elden Ring’s epic reveal trailer, the game’s director and FromSoftware CEO Hidetaka Miyazaki has given his first detailed interview about the game. You can read the full thing on IGN here, but we’ve picked out some of the most interesting things Miyazaki said below, and what they might mean for the game.
Players can summon the spirits of dead enemies
There’s apparently a ‘collectible’ aspect to the spirit summons, and Miyazaki hopes players discover ones that suit their playstyle or just look cool. Miyazaki says, “…we also have a number of [alternative] elements, such as being able to summon the spirits of deceased enemies and use them as allies in battles.”We’re not sure what kind of rules apply to the system, like how often you can summon and who you can collect, but we’re down for some Disgraced Knight Pokémon.
And there are online summons
The blue phantoms seen in the reveal trailer were in fact NPC summons, but online co-op is in there: “Of course, in Elden Ring, you will still be able to summon fellow players for co-operative play.”
No mention of PvP yet, but fingers crossed.
The player character is a blank slate
Typically with FromSoft’s games, though Sekiro was an exception, the player character is already a pretty blank slate, but the slate is going to get blanker, somehow. Miyazaki says, in comparison to previous Souls games, they’re “a little more of a blank slate for the player to project themselves onto.”
FromSoft’s character creators are also always hilarious, so we’re looking forward to this one.
There are six main areas, each the domain of a demigod boss character
There’s a designed, apparent route through them, but “there are a lot of different ways you can approach each area. And there’s a lot of freedom as to which order you tackle different areas as well.”
Each area houses its own more traditional dungeon, where we’ll likely do the more traditional Souls thing. It’s likely the Arm King (the guy made of arms and primary antagonist in the trailer) is one such demigod, a child of Queen Marika who rules in The Lands Between. It’s gonna be a blast meeting the rest of the crew.
Stealth sounds exactly like Sekiro
Miyazaki explains how stealth worlds in Elden Ring, and it sounds pretty familiar. “You’re able to crouch, you’re able to sneak and be less easily detected in long grass for instance.”
And yeah, backstabs are your reward for being especially sneaking. There’s not much to add to that, other than that Sekiro’s simple stealth mechanics seem an obviously good fit for an open-world adventure.
This sounds like something a Mimic would say
“You probably won’t find Mimics in that exact same form. It’s a different world to Dark Souls, but we hope to give you surprises in some way, let’s put it that way.”
So you’re not going to get eaten by a chest. But if there isn’t some sort of seemingly harmless item that noms unsuspecting players, we’d be surprised.
There’s some sort of core progression mechanic, but it’s not resurrection
In reference to Sekiro’s resurrection mechanic, Miyazaki says, “We have a couple of elements in Elden Ring, which come from a similar kind of breed.” He assures the interviewer it’s not resurrection, though, so we’re curious to know what methods for subverting death FromSoft thought up this time.
There’s a classic hub area, similar to Firelink Shrine
As is the case with every modern Souls game, we’ll have a home and hearth to return to. Elden Ring’s take on a main hub apparently sits near the center of the map, the place where each of the six main areas branches off from. We’re guessing it’s going to be somewhere around the Erdtree if that’s the case.
There’s much more to find than the six main dungeons
Besides the six signature dungeons, Elden Ring’s open world will have a “wide variety of catacombs, castles, and fortresses” strewn about the map. Miyazaki says these range greatly in terms of scale, too. We know what to expect in the big dungeons, so let’s hope FromSoft has tucked away some of its weirdest surprises in optional ventures.
There’s a fast travel system
Fast travel is back, but we don’t know in what form. Makes sense, given the great distances we definitely don’t want to retread a hundred times over, even if the view is nice.
Character and build customization is super deep
Progression sounds a lot more open than recent Souls games, with the ability to “freely interchange skills between a large variety of weapons.” Miyazaki says there are around 100 skills in total, which already has our minds running.
These skills are probably an extension of the Battle Arts system from Dark Souls 3, which gave each weapon its own signature flourish. The magic system is open to every character as well, so as long as those 100 skills are distinct enough, Elden Ring’s going to pump out more novelty builds than a Warhammer 40K figure painter that has no one to play with.
We’ll have more ways to heal, because the journeys will be much longer
“There are also more resources to recover health on the way as you will be fighting for a longer time than before.”
A notable trend in the Soulsborne games was towards being more generous with healing items without compromising the challenge. When Demon’s Souls launched having enough grass (that game’s healing item) was a nightmare, to the extent Fromsoft later patched it to be much more plentiful, then designed the re-usable Estus system for Dark Souls. So expect Elden Ring to be very generous with the heal juice, even as the bosses kill you regardless.
Stamina is in, but less important
Here’s an odd one. Stamina, usually central to second-to-second decision-making in Souls combat, is taking a backseat. Miyazaki says, “We wanted to make it feel less restrictive and contribute to that level of freedom more so than our previous titles.”
It’s hard to know what to make of this, but we’re sure Miyazaki knows best.
Classic lore delivery methods CONFIRMED!
It’s reassuring to know that FromSoftware is keeping things subtle. Miyazaki wants to “retain that sense of the player discovering things for themselves and enjoying uncovering the world both in terms of action and narrative for themselves.”
So expect item descriptions. Lots and lots of item descriptions. And to study the very good floor we spotted in the trailer for a couple hours. Best get that art history degree now, before January 21.