June 10 was memorable for many video game fans who attended the first day of Summer Game Fest — a new, digital addition to the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The digital event was introduced in 2020, when E3 was canceled due to COVID-19. There were announcements concerning various popular gaming franchises, such as Borderlands and Death Stranding, but one of the most exciting was saved for last: the official trailer and release date for “Elden Ring.” Fans were stoked to learn they only had seven months to wait until the game’s release on Jan. 21, 2022, and they immediately began breaking down the trailer to create fan theories.
The game was developed by FromSoftware, Inc. (also known as FromSoft) in collaboration with George R. R. Martin, author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, which was adapted into the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” Some say it’s still too soon to know whether the game will be good or not, but FromSoft’s fans are die-hard. The similarities they’ve found between the “Elden Ring” trailer and the developer’s previous games cause only more anticipation.
The Distinct Style of FromSoft Games
FromSoft is well-known for its critically acclaimed Souls series and Bloodborne standalone. Both games are notable to fans and critics alike for their combat mechanics, level structuring, plotline and most importantly, their difficulty. As an article from Screen Rant stated, “The company is known for making incredibly difficult games that focus on punishing the players with strong bosses and tactical fighting.” FromSoft games force the player to learn how to play correctly or else they won’t be able to progress. It’s harsh, but it’s also one of the factors that makes FromSoft games stand out most among other popular action games.
FromSoft’s games have very straightforward fighting mechanics — sometimes, they can even feel too straightforward. Players primarily fight with some variation of a sword, and they can also use magic in the Souls series or a gun in Bloodborne. But once they press a button on the controller, they can no longer change their mind if the enemy does something different than they were expecting. The game forces one to learn how to read each enemy’s move-sets and respond accordingly. For certain bosses, players may need hours of concentration and learning, but the feeling one gets when finally beating the enemy they’ve been struggling against is unmatched.
Additionally, FromSoft games are widely known for their boss designs and stellar soundtracks. The Dancer of the Boreal Valley from Dark Souls 3 is one such boss: She’s a swift and graceful knight wielding two longswords infused with magic and fire. The Dancer, adorned in her ghostly armor of silvers and blues, looks down on the player for most of the fight. The slow cadence of her footsteps on the cathedral floor and how she moves like a shark circling its prey heighten the atmosphere of the fight. Her soundtrack is composed of violins and vocals, which pairs well with the visuals to give the Dancer an enchanting and memorable quality. Fans are expecting the same immense attention to detail to continue in “Elden Ring.”
What Fans Know So Far
There’s a lot packed into the 2 minutes and 58 seconds that make up the “Elden Ring” trailer, in addition to the lore shared on the official website of the game’s publisher, Bandai Namco’s. From the trailer alone, fans will find both new mechanics and mechanics returning from both the Souls series and Bloodborne, as well as potential bosses. The official Elden Ring website also confirmed that the game will be open world, which means that “The player can explore and approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay.” Co-op, which allows various players to play the game together, will also be available, as the official website lists between 1 to 4 players for the game. Whether or not PvP (player versus player) will be an option has yet to be revealed. However, the fact that the previous Souls and Bloodborne games include PvP gives fans hope for its return.
Horse-riding is a completely new mechanic teased in the “Elden Ring” trailer. In previous FromSoft games, the player could only teleport, walk or run as a form of transportation. Not only can the player ride a horse, but they can also ride the horse into battle. An article from Windows Central stated that although players won’t know how good the mechanics are until the game comes out, “It looks like players can gain a mobility advantage in combat and do big chunks of damage with charging attacks, but are forced to dismount if they need to engage in prolonged melee encounters. It also looks like you can dodge attacks with your horse by making it jump, which adds an element of skill to using your mount.” FromSoft fans believe that the studio will put as much care into the new horse-riding mechanic as any other mechanic in the game. If the studio’s past games are any indication, the fans are most likely correct.
FromSoft enthusiasts, such as Prod on YouTube, released various videos after the trailer dropped. In his trailer reaction video, Prod points out one can see the rolling mechanic present in the Souls series; in his trailer analysis video, he points out the quick-stepping mechanic present in Bloodborne. Both are forms of dodging, but the games have always included one or the other. The prospect of having both is exciting to players, and it means they’ll have the option to use whichever one they prefer during fights.
Much of the excitement for “Elden Ring” stems from the new and improved boss designs. In the trailer, fans already witnessed a dragon catch a bolt of lightning and slam it into the ground and a red-haired lady in recognizable armor reattach a metal arm to her body before attacking the player with her sword. These are only two bosses out of the many more awaiting players in the game. That’s not even counting the normal enemies that players will come across between boss fights. Along with the bosses’ cool designs are the equally admirable soundtracks and characteristically difficult attacks, which effectively increase the drama of the gameplay.
After two years of no news on “Elden Ring,” the wait for its release will finally end on Jan. 21. Fans have high expectations for the game, considering FromSoft’s past masterpieces, and so far, the official trailer did not disappoint. Make sure to pick up your own copy for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One or Steam when it’s released!