'Elden Ring' Release Date Could Reveal GRRM's New Video Game in Early 2020

Everything we know about this new kind of "Soulsborne" game.

The incredible rumors were true. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has collaborated with Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki on a FromSoftware game set in a brand-new fantasy universe, and it’s called Elden Ring.

Revealed during Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference on June 9, Elden Ring is expected to be another “Soulsborne” game with gameplay similar to the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. These gritty games are known for their punishing yet rewarding difficulty set in fantasy universes rife with horror elements.

In May, George R.R. Martin teased via his blog that he “consulted on a video game out of Japan,” leading many to believe that it was this rumored collaboration with FromSoftware. Those guesses turned out to be correct.

Hidetaka Miyazaki serves as game director on Elden Ring, referring to it as “classic dark fantasy title” in an interview Xbox Wire, noting a thematic focus on “the will, or ambition of mankind.” He also described the nature of his collaboration with Martin, who essentially wrote the mythos for this new world.

“The actual collaboration itself begun with Mr. Martin ever so politely confirming what sorts of themes, ideas as well as many game-related aspects I had envisioned for the game,” Miyazaki said. “This allowed us to have many free and creative conversations regarding the game, in which Mr. Martin later used as a base to write the overarching mythos for the game world itself.”

What is Elden Ring about? What is the Elden Ring? Will it be anything like previous Soulsborne games? And when can we expect Elden Ring to be released?

Here’s everything, and more:

Is There a Trailer for Elden Ring?

Elden Ring was officially revealed on June 9 during Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference with an initial teaser trailer that looks exciting but also very confusing. (Watch it at the top of this page.)

It opens with a shirtless being hammering something on a massive rock in a dark case. We later get a closer look at the figure, who wields a stubby hammer and has cracks in his back, as if he were made out of stone.

There’s also an elderly, long-haired human wearing a crown, holding up a massive humanoid arm (with his left hand shoved inside the arm). Five other large arms reach out to grab him.

“I doubt you could even imagine it,” a voice says. “That which commanded the stars, giving life its fullest brilliance: The Elden Ring. Oh Elden Ring … shattered, by someone or something. Don’t tell me you don’t see it. Look up at the sky; It burns.” (It eventually becomes clear that the first being with the hammer shatters the Elden Ring.)

In the midst of this voiceover, we also see an armored, red-haired female warrior who attaches a metal right arm to her torso. Another, seemingly different warrior wearing armor attacks a massive enemy we don’t get a good look at. Later, there’s a massive red-haired ogre that burns on a battlefield — and then a white-haired woman with a staff that collapses.

None of this makes much sense at all, but it seems like the Elden Ring had magical powers of creation. Its destruction must have plunged the world into chaos.

What Kind of Game Is Elden Ring?

In an interview with Xbox Wire published Sunday, Elden Ring game director Hidetaka Miyazaki dropped a lot of details about the game.

“We wanted to create a new dark fantasy action RPG full of things that we weren’t able to do in the Dark Souls series,” he said. “This title will include a wide variety of weapons, magic, and ways to engage enemies, that make it possible to provide users with a style of gameplay and strategy that suits them.” That emphasis on role-playing also means the player’s character will be fully customizable, like in Dark Souls or Bloodborne.

Gamesradar reported ahead of E3 2019 that the project, with a working title of Great Rune, “is set in the Norse world, exploring Norse mythology and all its dark legends.” Other rumors reported by Gematsu called it an “open-world title (with horse riding) … with various kingdoms to visit and abilities to obtain from killing the leaders of those kingdoms.”

Elden Ring’s combat will probably remind gamers of Dark Souls or the other FromSoftware games with more options available, but early teases also refer to it as “the largest FromSoftware game to-date.” This corroborates other rumors that it will be more of an open-world adventure. Miyazaki also confirmed the game was “open world” but said nothing of the actual story or its inspiration.

If horseback riding does play a vital role in Elden Ring, then it might feel closer to Zelda: Breath of the Wild or even Shadow of the Colossus, but don’t worry, you can still expect the same brutal combat and nearly impossible boss battles.

“Boss fights are something we enjoy making and make up one of the climaxes to this title as well,” Miyazaki said. “We feel there is a wide variety of unique and horrifying bosses for players to look forward to.”

If the story focuses on Norse mythology and/or the Apocalypse, then we might also get some serious God of War vibes as well.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
'Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice' also dabbled in dismembered arms.

How Will Elden Ring Compare to Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro?

“Unlike Sekiro, which has a heavy focus on action, Elden Ring puts more focus on RPG elements,” Elden Ring game director Hidetaka Miyazaki told Xbox Wire, adding, “Of course, we are not shying away from the fun of responsive melee-based combat, and these elements will be present as well.”

So how does it stack up to Dark Souls?

“Even when compared to the Dark Souls series, I believe this title will provide even more variety in the ways for players to overcome challenges and tweak their tactics when facing enemies,” Miyazaki said.

Sekiro and Bloodborne offer less variation in terms of combat options, whereas Dark Souls utilizes traditional fantasy classes like Cleric, Knight, or Pyromancer. For Elden Ring to have even more options will make it unlike the other Soulsborne games in a way that puts even greater emphasis on the role-playing. That, coupled with the open-world exploration, will make for a very different FromSoftware game.

Elden Ring Concept Art
This 'Elden Ring' concept art features a very creepy character.

When Is the Elden Ring Release Date?

FromSoftware has not announced an official release date for Elden Ring just yet, but it might be released in March 2020 — at the earliest.

In an interview with Xbox Wire, game director Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed that Elden Ring has been in development since at least 2017, overlapping with Sekiro for a long stretch.

Every major Soulsborne game since Dark Souls II has been released in March. Most recently, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was revealed at E3 2018 and then released in March 2019. It’s reasonable to assume that Elden Ring might follow a similar promotion and release cycle.

Elden Ring was revealed as part of the Xbox E3 2019 showcase, but the game will probably be released on multiple consoles at once. Sony doesn’t have a presence at E3 this year, so it’s possible that FromSoftware had no other choice than to go all-in with Microsoft for its big reveal.

Elden Ring might be released in March 2020, but that’s our unconfirmed guess.