We first learned about Elden Ring at E3 2019 — and proceeded to hear basically nothing about it for the next two years. The wait is finally over, however. At long last, Elden Ring has not only a gameplay trailer, but a release date: January 21, 2022. That may seem like a long way off, but considering we had no idea how far along the game was in development, it’s hopefully not too long to wait for the next title in FromSoftware’s ongoing line of ultra-difficult, atmospheric action/RPGs. We also know that the game will come out on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
The trailer debuted as the coda to the Summer Game Fest on June 10, which acted as the unofficial kick-off for E3 2021’s online-only festivities. The trailer itself comprises three minutes of footage from the game, both story cutscenes and actual gameplay. It’s fair to say that the setting is still very mysterious and opaque, and will likely remain that way even after we play the game.
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Still, we now know much more about Elden Ring than we did before. The game will be a dark fantasy action/RPG in the same vein as FromSoftware’s own Dark Souls series. Difficult, demanding melee combat will once again take center stage, along with some spellcasting and weapon enhancement for good measure. The protagonist will fight against both humanoid foes roughly his own size, as well as fiery giants and multi-armed horrors. Players will be able to equip a variety of weapons and learn new magic and other skills as they go.
Dark Souls fans will also be pleased to see that Elden Ring will also feature the ability to summon other players. A follow-up e-mail from Bandai Namco explained that players can “traverse on foot or horseback, alone or online with friends across grassy plains, suffocating swamps and lush forests. Ascend spiraling mountains, enter breathtaking castles, and witness other sites of grandeur on a scale never before seen in a FromSoftware title.”
Horseback-riding was another new gameplay feature that we saw in the trailer. Players will apparently be able to summon mounts on a whim. Those mounts will be able to pull off some pretty impressive stunts, including running straight up mountainsides at select launching points. While the trailer didn’t show off any mounted combat, it doesn’t seem impossible that players may be able to either fight or evade enemies while on horseback.
Calling Elden Ring “open-world Dark Souls” may be a little reductive, but that is, indeed, what it looks like so far. We’ll have a better idea of how the game plays as Bandai Namco releases more information over the next few months — and possibly as early as next seek, since the company will host an E3 conference on Monday, June 14.