Elden Ring - Dark Fantasy RPG by 'Dark Souls' creator & George R.R. Martin

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Francis Buck

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« on: June 13, 2019, 05:54:23 pm »
I think this project is interesting enough to warrant its own thread.

TRAILER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2enbYOMtR4I

So just this week, FromSoftware (Demon Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro) announced their largest project to date -- an open world action RPG in a brand new 'high fantasy', with story and worldbuilding being co-created by Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin.

If you're totally and completely unfamiliar with the FromSoftware's more recent trend of titles (starting with Demon's Souls and then going through the Dark Souls trilogy, along with the masterpiece fusion of dark Victorian/Lovecraftian cosmic horror Bloodborne, and most recently the Edo Japan set action game Sekiro), then this may not mean much to you -- but now (or whenever this game comes out) might be the time to give the developer's next entry a shot.

Miyazaki is already a proven master worldbuilder and creator of dark, epic fantasy settings and lore -- the Dark Souls games mythos, as well as Bloodborne, contain what is genuinely the best 'serious' dark fantasy worldbuilding, lore, mythology -- from gods and monsters to articles of clothing and weapons -- that I have ever played personally, and is literally the only stuff I can think of that I'd actually say is able to rub shoulders with the great epic fantasy worlds of literature (the works of Tolkien, GRRM, RSB, etc.).

So perhaps it's not SUPER suprising that when Miyazaki reached out to G.R.R.M for a little help on creating the vast new world and setting for Elden Ring, G.R.R.M. accepted it. You don't even need to have played Miyazaki's games -- simply read some stuff online, or watch any of the countless 'lore' videos online -- to get an idea for just how special the worlds he creates already are. Few games have the sense truly being in a world that was old long before you ever got there, and which -- similarly in many ways to unravelling the metaphysics or backstory of TSA -- are always experiences that treat the player like an intelligent adult, where the more effort you put into solving the riddle of some mysterious ruined fortress (and usually a complex and tragic tale for whatever eldritch abomination likely dwells in it) or dungeon, the more one is rewarded with layers upon layers of history, complex yet original mythology, and some of the coolest and creepiest characters and settings you're likely ever to come across.

If you're interested and want to learn more, there's a solid interview with Miyazaki here:
https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2019/06/09/hidetaka-miyazaki-and-george-rr-martin-present-elden-ring/
Quote
Regarding the collaboration with George R. R. Martin, can you further explain how this collaboration came about and in what role it has served throughout the project?

Miyazaki: I suppose the start of this collaboration came from the fact that I myself am I huge fan of Mr. Martin’s work.

I loved “A Song of Ice and Fire” as well as the “Tuf Voyaging” series, however if I had to pick a favorite I would probably say “Fevre Dream.”

I personally see “Fevre Dream” as a masterpiece among vampire fantasy and had even previously recommended it to all new employees.

Me being such a known fan of Mr. Martin caused our executive business director Eiichi Nakajima to reach out to him with the expectation that we would get turned down.

However, we were then given the rare opportunity to talk one-on-one with Mr. Martin which was an incredibly fun and stimulating experience. It was then that I strongly felt that I wanted to work with Mr. Martin.

I am still unable to put into words how grateful I am to Mr. Martin for agreeing to our offer.

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.

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.

This mythos proved to be full of interesting characters and drama along with a plethora of mystical and mysterious elements as well. It was a wonderful source of stimulus for me and the development staff.

Elden Ring’s world was constructed using this mythos and stimulus as a base. Even I myself find it hard to contain my excitement from time to time. We hope that everyone else is looking forward to the world we have created.

Wilshire

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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2019, 06:06:00 pm »
I dont even know if its possible, but since PC I'm sure there's mods if nothing else, but would turning down the difficulty ruin the experience of playing the games? I got about 2 or 3 bosses into DS3 and basically decided I didn't have the time to invest in it all. Seems cool though!
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Francis Buck

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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2019, 09:17:50 pm »
I dont even know if its possible, but since PC I'm sure there's mods if nothing else, but would turning down the difficulty ruin the experience of playing the games? I got about 2 or 3 bosses into DS3 and basically decided I didn't have the time to invest in it all. Seems cool though!

I am utterly clueless about the PC modding scene, but honestly I think that whatever makes a game (especially these games) more accessible for you is perfectly fine in my opinion. I know that on PS4 it actually is possible to make a kind of 'save state' and put it on a USB -- like before a fog-door for example with full estus/potions/whatevers -- and then you effectively have no "boss runs". I never got around to it myself, but if it's possible on PS4 I must imagine it's possible on PC.

All that being said, I have  a feeling Elden Ring will be, relatively speaking, more accesible than previous Souls-like games, simply by the nature of it being an open world  and leaning even harder into the RPG elements than before (thus, overleveling/grinding becoming a thing). This is all entirely my own speculation, but broadly speaking these games have gotten less obtuse in terms of mechanics with virtually each entry, albeit no less difficult skillwise necesarrily.

TLEILAXU

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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2019, 10:55:59 pm »
I dont even know if its possible, but since PC I'm sure there's mods if nothing else, but would turning down the difficulty ruin the experience of playing the games? I got about 2 or 3 bosses into DS3 and basically decided I didn't have the time to invest in it all. Seems cool though!
Yes it would. Overcoming obstacles through practice and learning the mechanics is a significant part of the game. If you genuinely can't beat them in Dark Souls 3 you can always summon a spirit to help you, at the risk of being invaded by dark spirits in return.

Also, stoked for this game.

Francis Buck

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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2019, 06:26:37 pm »
So yeah I should have been more specific, as I had foreknowledge of Wilshire's experience with the games in my comment. Certainly I would always suggest to a new player to play the games 'as intended', and no doubt there is a persistent sense of reward after overcoming seemingly impossible enemy or boss encounters (which then end up seeming like a cakewalk the further you get into the games).

That being said however, I do think that once someone has familiarized themselves with the game enough and are into it but find themselves frustrated by certain things -- in particular, the run back to the bosses -- I don't at all discourage/admonish someone for just relying on summons or co-op to ease their way through. The boss runs are easily my biggest issue with the games (Souls/Bloodborne anyhow, haven't played Sekiro yet but it seems they mostly fixed this issue by putting the 'bonfires' or whatever very near or directly beside the boss). But in the Souls games and even Bloodborne I truly think the 'boss run' element is a flatout bad design choice. It made sense in Demon's Souls the most, but it feels like something they just carried over into the Dark Souls games mostly arbitrarily. It is a pure time-waster, and seems to me like one of the few examples of just plain 'artificial gameplay', and I've lost count of how many times I've heard of other people (myself among them) getting burned out specifically because of this aspect.

So yeah, I totally would suggest people try beat a boss solo or whatever at least a few times, even if just to get an idea of their attack patterns, but I also would ALWAYS prefer that someone be able to experience the vast wealth of content (especially if they're into the story aspects) in these games even if it means doing a save-state cheat to let you respawn in front of a fog door. Hell, even if FromSoftware just made the mandatory bosses have respawns occur no less than a minute away and with no or minimal enemies, while keeping side-bosses (of which there are always a crapload in these games) with the more traditional 'boss run' element, I think it would make a big difference.

I have no problem with a game being challenging but it needs to be justified, and it should never be a pure time waster...which in many cases is what the boss-runs end up being (inevitably, really -- once you know the 'route' and just run past the enemies, it's not even a challenge -- it's just a mindless dash that can frequently take 3+ minutes, not counting load times or whatever else). The games have plenty of challenges to overcome and deliver that rewarding feeling, and I really don't believe anything is gained by forcing this extra layer of punishment onto the player.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2019, 08:29:29 pm by Francis Buck »