Hidetaka Miyazaki calls FromSoftware‘s next game as an evolution of Dark Souls.
„Elden Ring is a third-person action RPG with a fantasy setting. The gameplay is not so far from Dark Souls. That doesn’t mean that the gameplay will be identical, but you could say that Elden Ring belongs to the same genre. With a larger world, new systems and action mechanics inevitably become necessary. In that sense, I think that Elden Ring is a more natural evolution of Dark Souls. While the narrow and complex dungeons of our previous games were indeed interconnected, Elden Ring’s environments will be much more open and vast. The more extensive world will form the base of Elden Ring’s gameplay, and its mechanics are designed with that type of environment in mind.
[The] villages will be the dark dungeon-like ruins that you have come to expect from us. Creating a more open game is a big challenge for us. If we were to add towns on top of that, it would become a bit too much, so we decided to create an open-world-style game focused on what we are best at.
[The collaboration with George R.R. Martin] started with me being a fan of Mr Martin’s works. A Song of Ice and Fire and its drama adaptation Game of Thrones are both masterpieces. I am also very fond of Fevre Dream and Tuf Voyaging. Storytelling in video games—at least the way we do it at FromSoftware—comes with a lot of restrictions for the writer. I didn’t think it was a good idea to have Martin write within those restrictions. By having him write about a time the player isn’t directly involved in, he is free to unleash his creativity in the way he likes. Furthermore, as FromSoftware, we didn’t want to create a more linear and story-driven experience for Elden Ring. Both issues could be solved by having Martin write about the world’s history instead. The player will be able to learn about Martin’s mythology through exploration. We are known for letting the player explore the game’s lore through fragments of environmental storytelling, and this time around Martin’s story is what you will be trying to unravel. The period the player actually explores is still connected to the old times, so as you slowly discover why the world has become the way it is, you will learn more about Martin’s mythology as well.
There is no fixed main character in Elden Ring. We mostly leave it up to the player to decide the characteristics and personality of the character they create,” Hidetaka Miyazaki, the head of FromSoftware and the director of Elden Ring, told IGN.
He thinks that by adding larger and more open environments, he believes that the game will evolve on a greater scale, and these regions will be used for showing the story and world on a larger scale, to increase the freedom and depth of exploration (which he wants to be deeper than in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice), and to create more variation for battles (which you can do even on a horse while riding).
Miyazaki studied various open-world games as reference for Elden Ring‘s world, while at the same time not being too heavily influenced by a specific work, to make a game that stays true to what they do.
He met Martin after asking for a meeting (from where things started going smoothly), whose excitement, drama, and depth in the mythology had a major impact on Elden Ring, comparing it to a tabletop RPG. He also believes that the NPCs will be more compelling than his previous works thanks to Martin’s work as inspiration.
Elden Ring has no release date yet. It is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.