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Everything you need to know about Elden Ring

"Oh, Elden Ring!"

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You’ll need to wait a little bit longer for the most anticipated game of 2022, but Elden Ring will be here relatively soon.

Created by Dark Souls visionary Hidetaka Miyazaki, Elden Ring is a sprawling action game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco. You might as well call it The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild by way of Dark Souls in the way it marries the intense and methodical combat FromSoftware is known for with a player-driven open world. And the rich lore co-developed by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is totally new.

Elden Ring will be here before you know it, but here’s an answer to all of the biggest questions you may have about this grand adventure.

When is the Elden Ring release date?

Publisher Bandai Namco announced in October 2021 that Elden Ring had been delayed from its original January 2022 release date more than a full month to February 25, 2022.

“The depth of the game and the degree of freedom in strategy exceeded the initial expectations, hence it has been decided to extend the development time for final adjustments thus moving the release date to February 25, 2022,” a blog post detailing the delay reads.

Game Awards founder Geoff Keighley originally revealed the official Elden Ring gameplay trailer — and original release date of January 21, 2022 — during the June 2021 Summer Game Fest launch live stream.

Is there an Elden Ring beta?

Essentially, yes there is going to be an Elden Ring beta, but technically it’s being labeled as a “closed network test” because it’s meant to test the game’s online servers. The preview will run throughout the weekend of November 12-15 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S focused primarily on the Central European time zone. Here’s a breakdown of the timing converted to Eastern:

  • November 12: 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern
  • November 12 from 10 p.m. Eastern to November 13 at 1 a.m. Eastern
  • November 13: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern
  • November 14: 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern
  • November 14 from 10 p.m. Eastern to November 15 at 1 a.m. Eastern

“Selected fans will be able to experience the opening hours of the long-awaited title to get a hands-on glimpse at what the full game will have to offer while assisting the development team in testing the game’s online servers ahead of its release date,” a blog post announcing the test reads. Anyone with one of the aforementioned consoles can register for the test on Bandai Namco’s website.

Is there an official Elden Ring trailer?

Yes! In addition to the June 2019 reveal trailer, Bandai Namco also released a gameplay trailer during the Summer Game Fest 2021 launch livestream. There’s also a flashy but short sizzle reel advertising a closed network test.

The official gameplay trailer reveals a great deal of the game’s world without clarifying the sharper story elements just yet.

In it, the player character awakens to see a hooded woman with a horse saying, “The Tarnished will soon return, guided by grace once lost.” We see a bit of the crumbling world full of ruins, monsters, and mutated kings. “The Golden Order is broken to its core,” the woman also says. To be clear, this world is in ruins and full of terrifying enemies reminiscent of previous FromSoftware games.

The titular Elden Ring, whatever it is, was seemingly broken. And that is what broke the world in such a chaotic way (we think). The original reveal trailer from June 201 opens on a shirtless humanoid hammering something on a massive rock. Based on some other context clues, this may be the destruction of the ring.

There’s also an elderly, long-haired human wearing a crown, holding up what looks like a giant's arm (the king has his left hand shoved inside the arm ... gross!). Five other large arms reach out to grab him, which jives with all the body horror we see in games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. In the gameplay trailer, that same king seems like a Big Bad who has some horrifying mutations and many arms on his body.

There’s also an armored, red-haired female warrior with a metal right arm. She appears in combat during a snippet of gameplay, but it’s unclear if she’s a character you play as at some point or if she’s some kind of companion. The two trailers generate more questions than answers, which is an exciting way to start things off.

What are the Elden Ring PC requirements?

Elden Ring System Requirements (Minimum)

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K / AMD FX-6300
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1
  • VIDEO CARD: Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB / AMD Radeon R9 280

Elden Ring Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 12 GB
  • OS: Windows 10
  • VIDEO CARD: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB

What are the Elden Ring leaks?

The latest Elden Ring leak arrived circa October 16, 2021 when the YouTube channel Games Anime and More shared a 27-second clip of what certainly looks like footage captured in-game somehow. Games journalist Jeff Grub shared the clip via Twitter and clarified that the leaker said it was captured with low-quality hardware and that the game was running on an Xbox One. Graphical fidelity is indeed a bit lacking, but the amount of detail is still impressive.

In the clip, a caped knight shuffles around on a cliff not far from the shiny golden tree that’s a major landmark in the game. He hops around a bit, scares a couple of bald eagles, and that’s about it. There’s no combat or significant showcase of traversal, though it does look like the player character can jump easier than ever before.

What is Elden Ring gameplay like?

Mounted exploration and combat are a major part of the Elden Ring experience.

Bandai Namco

Overall, combat and gameplay in Elden Ring look and feel remarkably similar to other FromSoftware games like Dark Souls — which is a very good thing. Enemies are varied with demented designs, and winning every battle requires twitchy reflexes to dodge and counter-attacks.

The game world is much larger than your typical FromSoftware game, and it does indeed have open-world elements and travel on horseback. The “vast and seamless landscape” has natural weather and time-of-day progression, making it more immersive, an official blog post explains. It also offers online play with friends.

“Players will embark on a journey across a meticulously handcrafted world dripping in blood and deception brought upon by a variety of characters with their own unique motivations for helping or hindering the player’s progress, adversaries with profound backgrounds, and fearsome creatures,” the post reads. “Throughout their adventures, players will choose the fate of this cursed land by unraveling its secrets and myths.”

This excellent IGN breakdown drops a ton of details about the game.

It sounds like Elden Ring will lean into player choice as a way to shape the world, but how that’ll shake out specifically remains to be seen. That same post also promises that “role-playing and customization options allow players to define their own unique playstyle.” Some kind of class system will be present similar to Dark Souls, it would seem. Players can lean into stealth or take a more direct approach. By all accounts, it seems like Elden Ring will offer a lot of variety to the player.

In a June 2019 interview with Xbox Wire, Miyazaki hinted at this variety.

"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. When comparing it to Sekiro, he said Elden Ring “puts more focus on RPG elements.”

A June 2021 breakdown of the E3 2021 gameplay trailer confirms that the game will have more than 100 weapon skills that can mostly be obtained through exploration. Similarly, the player can find Spirits they can summon to aid them in battle.

What is the Elden Ring story?

Is this creepy king the final boss?

Bandai Namco

The Elden Ring trailers have been cryptic at best, but there are plenty of story details to be gleaned from both. Better yet, the official Elden Ring website offers a description of the story:

The Golden Order has been broken.
Rise, Tarnished, and be guided by grace to brandish the power of the Elden Ring and become an Elden Lord in the Lands Between.
In the Lands Between ruled by Queen Marika the Eternal, the Elden Ring, the source of the Erdtree, has been shattered.
Marika's offspring, demigods all, claimed the shards of the Elden Ring known as the Great Runes, and the mad taint of their newfound strength triggered a war: The Shattering. A war that meant abandonment by the Greater Will.
And now the guidance of grace will be brought to the Tarnished who were spurned by the grace of gold and exiled from the Lands Between. Ye dead who yet live, your grace long lost, follow the path to the Lands Between beyond the foggy sea to stand before the Elden Ring.
And become the Elden Lord.

Between that and a breakdown from IGN with creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, we now know a lot about the game’s story. Like the Ashen One of Dark Souls III, you play as an undead Tarnished in Elden Ring.

The Erdtree is almost definitely the massive, glowing tree seen in the gameplay trailer. The Elden Ring is evidently the source of the tree’s magical power, and it’s been shattered. All of this takes place in the “Lands Between.” Those blessed by the Ring take on a golden aura, but if they lose their grace, they’re exiled from the Lands Between and labeled as Tarnished. Demigods — like the bosses in the trailer — each took a piece of the ring called a Great Rune. That drove them mad and seemingly mutated them all into monstrous versions of themselves. And it’s around this time that the Tarnished are called back.

The “abandonment by the Greater Will” is clearly this fall from grace, because it sounds like some version of God graced the Lands Between but abandoned the people because of the war that ensued. Your Tarnished character returns to the Lands Between and sets out to defeat the demigods, claim the Great Runes, and reforge the Elden Ring.

It’s basically the moral opposite of The Lord of the Rings.

There are six distinct realms, each ruled by a demigod that’s been “twisted and warped” by the Elden Ring’s power and fell to madness in unique ways. A hub area links all six main areas, and players can more or less explore in whatever order they want. Each realm has a mainline dungeon area.

“We've crafted a rich world with a staggering sense of scale, based off of legends written for the game by George R.R. Martin,” director Hidetaka Miyazaki wrote in a blog post. “Elden Ring is a world full of mystery and peril, ready to be explored and discovered; a drama in which various characters flaunt their own mystique and ulterior motives.”

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