Gaming

From Software’s Future Games Might Making Playing With Friends Less of A Pain

It’s dangerous to go alone.

screenshot from Elden Ring
From Software

Multiplayer in From Software games has always been a little quirky, to put it mildly. But for anyone who’s ever struggled to summon a good co-op companion for a tough Dark Souls boss or wasted a night trying to connect with friends for more than a few minutes at a time, there may be hope for the future. From Software director Hidetaka Miyazaki revealed in a new interview that not only is he unbothered by a popular Elden Ring multiplayer mod, but the studio may even create something similar in future games.

PCGamer recently spoke to Miyazaki, and asked for his thoughts on the excellent Elden Ring multiplayer mod Seamless Co-op, which lets players group up without the game’s usual restrictions.

Elden Ring’s horrors are easier to tackle in co-op — a little easier, anyway.

From Software

“It's definitely not something we actively oppose or want to downplay, wanting to go through the whole game together,” Miyazaki said. “In terms of where we were with Elden Ring, it was simply a case of wanting that more loose, casual style — drop in, defeat a boss, drop out.”

“That's not to say we won't consider ideas like that with our future games,” Miyazaki added later, referring to Seamless Co-op allowing people to play the game together in multiplayer from start to finish.

While such systems are common in other multiplayer games, From Software does things much differently. In Elden Ring, players need to use a consumable item to see summoning signs left by other players in order to invite them to play together. Summoning pools, usually located near bosses, offer convenient places to group summoning signs, but players who have been summoned disappear after defeating the nearby boss or when either they or the person who summoned them perishes. There are other restrictions on how people play together, such as not being able to ride their horses — and believe it or not, Elden Ring has the least restrictive multiplayer system From Software has ever made.

Lonely players could have some relief in future From Software games.

From Software

For some players (who are wrong), the idea of a fully multiplayer Soulslike game borders on sacrilegious. Some go as far as to say that others who’ve beaten the game’s toughest bosses with assistance haven’t really beaten the game (again, wrongly). While they would likely be appalled at the mere suggestion of a fully co-op From Software game, it could be great for everyone else.

From Software has built a reputation on crafting some of the most challenging games around, for better and worse. Plenty of players enjoy their punishing difficulty, but in recent years, others have spoken up about the utter lack of accessibility options present in the studio’s games. The ability to change control schemes and difficulty options to make a game playable for everyone is becoming a more and more common practice, which From Software has so far resisted. But a built-in multiplayer option could actually be one feature that works for everyone, letting hardcore players completely ignore the feature while fixing some of the problems with the studio’s multiplayer approach.

Recent From Software games like Armored Core VI have experimented with novel multiplayer options.

From Software

Multiplayer has actually gotten easier in From Software games since the days of Dark Souls. Aside from Elden Ring, From Software also mixed up the way it approaches online play in Armored Core VI. In last year’s mech battler, co-op isn’t available at all, but it offers a dedicated arena for player-versus-player combat, rather than the Soulslike approach of letting players invade each other’s games for a surprise attack at any time. The result is a fast, incredibly fun dueling system that lets players challenge each other on their own terms without worrying about being ambushed in the middle of the singleplayer part of the game.

That’s a much bigger change from what Seamless Co-op offers, but it does show that From Software isn’t against experimenting with how it lets people play together online. Combining Armored Core VI’s arena system with a friendlier co-op feature just might be a solution that works for everyone, especially if it also lets players turn invasions on or off at will.

At this point, that’s purely hypothetical, but Miyazaki’s willingness to at least consider making Seamless Co-op’s approach official does show that the developer isn’t against changing Soulslike tradition. I’ve played and enjoyed every From Software game since Demon’s Souls, and Elden Ring is the only one I haven’t beaten. And while there’s something to be said for the hostile and lonely feeling of the games, there were moments in every one where I definitely could have used some company. Elden Ring is full of incredible encounters and gorgeous landscapes, and it’s a real shame that some people will never get to see them if it means tackling the challenge on their own. As satisfying as it is to solo From Software’s games, anything that lets more people experience their terrifying beauty is an improvement as far as I’m concerned.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree launches on June 21 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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