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Elden Ring: Everything we know about FromSoftware's next action RPG

GamesRadar logo GamesRadar 14/01/2022 Austin Wood
The storyteller in Elden Ring © Provided by GamesRadar The storyteller in Elden Ring

Elden Ring is getting close. The wait has been long, agonizing, and slightly extended, but 2022 has finally come and FromSoftware's next action RPG is less than two months away. Between trailers, interviews, and our own hands-on time, we've learned quite a bit about Elden Ring by this point. It's the biggest and possibly best game yet to come from the house of Dark Souls, and it's shaping up to be everything we've ever wanted. Here's everything we know about Elden Ring.

The Elden Ring release date is set for February 25, 2022 

Following a slight delay, the Elden Ring release date is now set for February 25, 2022 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC (via Steam). FromSoftware says "the depth and strategic freedom of the game exceeded initial expectations" and that it needed more time to polish things off. 

Hands-on with Elden Ring

We spent a few dozen hours with an early network test build for our Elden Ring hands-on preview, and this early sample only made us want the full game more. It's Dark Souls 4 in all but name – a grand RPG built for Souls fans and newcomers alike. 

Elden Ring reveal trailer introduces The Lands Between, FromSoftware's biggest world yet   

It took its sweet time getting here, but the first proper Elden Ring gameplay trailer delivered a thrilling ride through The Lands Between, the game's sprawling open world. Split into six main zones filled with underground dungeons, plenty of bosses, and countless secrets, The Lands Between is not only FromSoftware's biggest game world yet, but also its most dynamic thanks to a day-and-night cycle and expanded environment variety. You can also summon your mount at any point to get around quickly, attack from horseback, or scale great heights in a single jump, and the return of the jump button ought to make traversal even more interesting. There will be plenty to see and find in our quest to become the Elden Lord. 

Elden Ring story trailer somehow makes the world seem even more doomed

The Lands Between aren't exactly sunshine and rainbows, and this story trailer – which introduces a mysterious doll-like character – hammers home how just grim the world of Elden Ring can get, and how it got to this state to begin with. And in case there was ever any doubt, it's proof that this game has a frankly irresponsible number of hands in it. 

The Elden Ring story is more character-driven and co-written by George R.R. Martin 

Elden Ring tells the story of the Tarnished who were banished from The Lands Between. With the eponymous Elden Ring now shattered, you build your very own Tarnished and set out on a quest for glory in the aftermath of a great war, the gods of old decaying all around you.  

FromSoftware has repeatedly stressed that, compared to its usual hands-off approach of burying story details in lore tabs and item descriptions, Elden Ring is slightly more direct with its plot and leans more heavily on a big cast of characters. This is partly thanks to the contributions of George R.R. Martin, who helped shape the big-picture elements of the game like its origins, legends, and characters. Miyazaki himself led the charge on the in-game text, but Martin's touch is visible in the game's tumultuous, dark universe. His influence is subtle and limited to world-building, which is one of the author's greatest strengths.

How long is Elden Ring? About 30 hours for the critical path alone  

How long is Elden Ring? It's a tough question to answer since there's no definitive path through The Lands Between, but by Miyazaki's estimation, the main story alone will take you at least 30 hours. Of course, that's a rough and extremely conservative guess which doesn't account for any optional content, and Elden Ring is hiding a heck of a lot of stuff off the beaten path. A minimum of 30 hours puts Elden Ring roughly in line with previous FromSoftware games, but we're willing to bet that the average playthrough will take well over double that. 

Elden Ring is about as hard as Dark Souls 3, but more approachable for "all sorts of players" 

Elden Ring is going to be hard – at least as hard as Dark Souls 3, according to Miyazaki. That said, it also gives the player more ways to approach its challenges, and FromSoftware believes this will make the game more accessible overall. 

Marketing and communications manager Yasuhiro Kitao explained that Elden Ring was designed for "all sorts of players" and not just "hardened veterans" who will gleefully sign up for a punishing experience. Whether you're looking for a gorgeous world to explore or brutal bosses to defeat, you'll be able to find a build and play style that lets you make the most of the experience. In fact, we found Elden Ring to be the most approachable action RPG FromSoftware has ever made, and one that tells players to get out there rather than get good.

Elden Ring is pushing stealth and RPG elements more heavily  

Speaking of build options, Elden Ring expands on FromSoftware's action combat system considerably. The tried-and-true stamina-based melee action is back, but it's also supported by more varied ranged and magic combat, over 100 skills that aren't tied to specific weapons anymore, and more stealth options like knocking out and insta-killing unsuspecting enemies. With stealth kills, guard breaks, and finishing moves straight out of Sekiro's playbook, not to mention some wild magic, Elden Ring is looking like the greatest hits of FromSoftware's many action RPGs. 

Elden Ring multiplayer supports four players and makes it easier to play with friends 

The asynchronous multiplayer of the Souls franchise is back with support for up to four players in one session. In addition to collectible NPC summons, one host player can summon up to two online buddies for jolly cooperation, seemingly to leave room for an aggressive invader as the fourth slot. Not only that, an updated pseudo-party system makes it much easier to play with friends. You can put down multiplayer summons almost anywhere in the world, and to put your friends at the front of the line, Elden Ring uses a keyword system to ensure you and your buds can always find each other out in The Lands Between. This system works for bloodstains and messages left by your friends, too, letting you share tips and tricks in-game as you explore. 

Elden Ring lets you fast travel from almost anywhere 

FromSoftware RPGs always let you fast travel eventually, but usually only between specific points. However, in addition to summoning your mount, Elden Ring lets you initiate fast travel virtually everywhere. Your destinations are still limited to the bonfire-esque checkpoints you've discovered, but as long as you aren't in a dungeon, you can activate fast travel from basically any location. Resting at these checkpoints will refill your healing items and respawn any defeated enemies, so this fast travel system ought to make farming rare drops, among other things, much easier.  

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