Since Elden Ring dropped in late February, the gothic, open-world RPG has captured the attention and minds of gamers everywhere. As of this writing, the game is the top-seller on Steam’s charts, and, in a press release this morning, developer FromSoftware said that the game has sold 12 million units worldwide, with over a million copies being moved in Japan alone. Aside from this milestone, the company has plans to turn Elden Ring into a franchise unto itself. Per the release, fans of the game are being encouraged to “look forward to more of Elden Ring as an IP (characters and other intellectual property) in hopes of expanding beyond the realm of games.”
Yasuo Miyakawa, the president and CEO of BANDAI NAMCO, (which worked with FromSoftware on the game’s development and marketing) also touched on the potential of a cascading network of Elden Ring-related creative ventures:
“Much effort was placed into creating ‘ELDEN RING’ so that we could exceed the expectations of our fans worldwide. In like manner, we will continue our efforts in expanding the brand beyond the game itself, and into everyone’s daily life.”
No specifics have been provided as to what this plan entails, but considering the immediate success of the game, we would imagine this might materialize in the form of everything from board games to TV and film projects.
The age of the Netflix adaptation — While it still remains difficult to adapt video games to the silver screen, just looking at the recent Uncharted film shows TV adaptation seems to be a more appropriate medium for video games to get the proper treatment they deserve. It makes more sense to pursue the TV route, given that video games are all about immersion and world-building, which tends to come easier when you have ten hours rather than two.
As noted by The Ringer, “video games are not so much stories as they are environments … You kick around. You learn to live with the premise … The player’s engagement in a video game, even in the most self-consciously ‘cinematic’ titles, has always more so resembled serial literature and seasonal television.”
This could be why Netflix has had success with its treatment of Castlevania, which has been given four seasons from the streaming giant, and why The Witcher is one of its most popular shows. The CupHead Show! is another example of the video game to TV pipeline, although reviews have been a little tepid with that particular project.
Now whether or not the expansion of the Elden Ring brand arrives in a film or TV show is another question entirely, but the roadmap is there for FromSoftware — take the time to develop a multi-season endeavor that allows fans to exist in the game’s universe without trying to transport viewers there immediately in an exhaustive film.