The most anticipated game of 2021 might not emerge until 2022 if the latest rumors and leaks are any indication. From the visionary creator of Dark Souls Hidetaka Miyazaki comes Elden Ring, the product of a collaboration between Miyazaki and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. To be clear, we know very little concrete information about the game, but things may change very soon.
Here's everything we do know about Elden Ring.
So what is Elden Ring? Developer FromSoftware is best-known for challenging dark fantasy "Soulsborne" games that include Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. They're intense third-person action games that focus on martial combat with swords, spears, shields, and other close-range weaponry. Except there's also some kind of magic involved. Most Soulsborne games are fairly streamlined, but rumors indicate that Elden Ring will mix-up the formula by incorporating open-world elements and horse-riding mechanics.
Elden Ring was written in collaboration with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, who worked mainly on developing the game's lore. Elden Ring could wind up being an open-world Dark Souls with Game of Thrones vibes — which sounds like a dream come true.
Elden Ring was originally announced during a June 2019 Xbox E3 showcase. Even though there has been no official information about the game since then, 2021 feels like the time when things will finally start to change — especially since a fresh batch of leaks and rumors emerged heading into March 2021.
Is there an Elden Ring leaked trailer?
Warning: Potential spoilers for Elden Ring follow.
Video Games Chronicle first reported news on March 1, 2021 of a leaked Elden Ring trailer making the rounds online. Labeled as "Bandai Namco Confidential," the trailer was likely created as a way to showcase the game within the company as opposed to a public trailer. This is usually a good indication that a public trailer is imminent, which makes for interesting timing when we also remember a February 2021 Gaming Route report that the game received a PEGI 16 provisional rating on the Bandai Namco Asia website. These ratings usually come attached to trailers.
This is to say that the blurry clips that are hard to find online could be a preview of better things to come. At the very least, these leaks may compel Bandai Namco to release an official trailer sooner rather than later.
“I can only imagine what drives you to seek the Elden Ring,” a narrator says in the trailer. “I suppose you can’t be talked into turning back. Very well then!” As described by VGC, the trailer includes "a montage of familiar Souls-style melee combat, boss battles against a fire-breathing dragon and a large, sword-wielding foe, and a glimpse at horseback combat in a large, open environment." All of these details are perfectly in-line with expectations, particularly given previous rumors about horseback combat in an open world.
Inverse has independently seen pieces of the trailer and can confirm that it includes gameplay, specifically mounted combat from horseback and a fight against a dragon and familiar weapons and even magic spells from Dark Souls games. The trailer does not note any kind of release date, but it does refer to the game as “an all-new fantasy action RPG franchise from the creators of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro."
When is the Elden Ring release date?
FromSoftware and Bandai Namco have still not announced an official release date for Elden Ring yet. Many may have hoped for a release date sometime in 2021, but a report from at least one industry insider makes it seem like it may be pushed into 2022.
In the same VGC article that details the leaked trailer, writer Andy Robinson reports that the game has "been delayed several times internally due to disruption caused by the pandemic," specifically remote working conditions. At least one person said they expected the game to be released in 2022 instead. While we have to take this with a grain of salt, it does seem pretty likely.
It's worth noting in this that every major FromSoftware game since Dark Souls II has been released in the month of March, so that may be the window that the company is hoping for with Elden Ring. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, for instance, was unveiled at E3 2018 in June and then released nine months later in March 2019. Elden Ring isn't following a similar promotion and release cycle, and that may or may not be due to potential production delays related to the pandemic.
Chances do seem high that we'll learn more by April 2021, but that's pure speculation.
When will more Elden Ring be revealed?
Games reporter Jeff Grubb made the prediction on February 26, 2021 that Elden Ring would be revealed soon, and Bloomberg's Jason Schreier echoed those sentiments the following day, writing on Twitter that there is "strong evidence floating around that the game will be shown relatively soon." During a February 21 Twitch livestream, journalist and industry insider Imran Khan speculated that we'd learn more about Elden Ring before E3 2021 in June, but it's unclear if that will be certain.
Amidst this flurry of speculation, the truth is that nobody seems to know when Bandai Namco and FromSoftware will reveal more of the game. From fans and journalists alike, the "soon" window feels a lot like wishful thinking.
DualShockers reported in late February 2021 that Microsoft was hosting a showcase on March 23 during which the company might reveal an Elden Ring trailer. However, Xbox head of marketing Aaron Greenberg quickly squashed those rumors via Twitter by saying outright that an Elden Ring reveal was not happening at the event. Assuming this is true, then a new trailer may not happen until E3. Or perhaps Bandai Namco will release a random trailer one day on YouTube when we're not expecting it.
Francesco Fossetti, editor of the Italian publication Everyeye, claimed during a December 2020 stream, he reported that the game was in the "polishing" phase. (This is one of the latest stages in game development.) If Cyberpunk 2077's disastrous release was any indication, it's that it may be better for ambitious new games to remain in development longer so as to avoid a buggy launch.
Game Director Miyazaki confirmed in a 2019 Xbox Wire interview that Elden Ring has been in development since at least 2017, overlapping with Sekiro for a long stretch. That's a strong indication that things are relatively far along. But we're living in an unprecedented time where many people are still working remotely. That's not always so easy in game development, so there's no way to really gauge how much Elden Ring has been delayed already — or how much it could still be delayed.
Is there a trailer for Elden Ring?
Elden Ring was officially revealed on June 9, 2019 during Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference with an initial teaser trailer that looks exciting but also very confusing. (Watch it above.) Beyond that initial trailer, there has been little else official revealed about the game.
The reveal trailer opens with a shirtless humanoid (maybe a god?) hammering something on a massive rock in a dark cave-looking area. 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 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.
“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 sort of becomes clear that the first being with the hammer shatters the Elden Ring.)
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 large 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 sure looks cool. The Elden Ring seemingly had magical powers of creation, and its destruction must have plunged the world into chaos. These various types of warriors may hint at the kind of customization we can expect from the game, or they may be major NPCs the player will encounter or even battle.
Rumor has it that a new trailer might be released sometime in early 2021. Sometime in February would make the most sense, but that remains to be seen.
What does Elden Ring concept art tell us?
On January 14, 2021 artist Gabriel Björk Stiernström posted to Artstation pieces of concept art that he created for the original Elden Ring reveal trailer. The post has since been removed from Artstation and the artist's personal website. While none of the images are particularly revelatory, they do offer slightly different perspectives on the people and places featured in the trailer.
Most of the action focuses on a kind of pedestal where the titular Elden Ring seemingly resides. In the above GIF, a character looms over it as magical-seeming dust particles drift upward. They're hunching quite a bit, so this person seems different from some of the others featured in the trailer.
The moment the ring is seemingly destroyed is captured in the below GIF. It explodes with a flash of bright light and the energy then shoots right up into the air.
Is Elden Ring a next-gen game for PS5 and Xbox Series X?
With no release date confirmed and a lot of game development time in the rearview, Elden Ring is trapped in the no man's land between console generations. Will it arrive exclusively on next-gen consoles? Will it be cross-generation and land on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5? Thus far, we really don't know, but we do know that it'll be cross-platform.
PlayStation and Xbox landing pages for the game make it clear that it'll arrive on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One whenever it does come out, but there's no telling about next-gen versions. In all likelihood, we're looking at a last-gen launch and then next-gen updates at some point later.
What kind of game is Elden Ring?
Elden Ring will feel 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 dark fantasy universes. Some Elden Ring leaks claim it'll take place in a “vast, fully-fledged fantasy world” closer to an open world, which is something we've never seen in a FromSoftware game. The February 2021 trailer leaks corroborate these claims.
"An adventure awaits the brave and gallant in ELDEN RING..."
In a June 2019 interview with Xbox Wire, Miyazaki spoke about the game in great detail.
"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.”
Many of the symbols and themes, however, seem more closely aligned with Celtic folklore. Some fans drew parallels to a character from Irish mythology called Nuada, a high king who loses their arm in battle and gets a new one through magic.
In terms of gameplay elements, Miyazaki has referred to the game as “open world,” confirming early teases that called it “the largest FromSoftware game to date.” Horseback riding could make the game feel similar to Zelda: Breath of the Wild or even Shadow of the Colossus, and early leaks make that seem accurate.
What do some of the Elden Ring leaks claim?
One rumor purported as a leak in July 2020 that originated on 4chan claims Elden Ring will more closely resemble Dark Souls 1 and Dark Souls 3 rather than Sekiro or Bloodborne, and that it will not feature difficulty settings (which was a separate previous rumor).
The leak makes several other practical claims, like an inventory management system similar to that from Demon's Souls and a checkpoint system found in most FromSoftware games. An "air dodge" is also mentioned, which would theoretically make your Elden Ring character the most mobile Soulsborne hero to date. Elden Ring will also supposedly have a day and night system where bosses are more challenging at night but drop better loot.
Take these rumors with a grain of salt, but at the same time, they sound realistic and exciting.
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 the less-common 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 role-playing. That, coupled with the open-world exploration, will make for a very different FromSoftware game.