- Elden Ring will favor a more strategic approach over player skill, but the game will provide a challenge similar to Dark Souls 3 and will not offer an option to change difficulty levels;
- During the game we will be able to summon helpers - so called ghosts;
- We'll be able to ride a horse and jump around the open world, where we'll be able to choose if we want to kill boss A or B, and some of the key bosses can be skipped completely;
- Skills won't be tied to specific weapons, and there will be around 100 of them.
Less emphasis on skill, increased role of strategy in gameplay - in a nutshell, that's how clashes are supposed to look in From Software's latest game Elden Ring. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the title's director, commented on the game's difficulty level and a few other topics in a recent interview. Elden Ring is to feature a character progression system, and the player's decisions are to carry more weight. The developer promises to increase the freedom of gameplay and make it more accessible for new players. Despite this, the changes are not to work to the detriment of experts in the Souls series.
From Software's first open-world game
From Software has prepared an open world, and Miyazaki admitted that the studio has defined the concept of this openness for its needs. The goal of the Japanese devs is, by increasing the scale, to allow the player a better immersion, to offer more secrets, and not to stuff the world with collectibles known from modern RPG games.
We won't find large metropolises or even bustling villages in the game. This is a intentional decision - the creators wanted to focus on what they do best, so during the adventure we'll come only across the remains of such places, full of impressive AI. Some locations will also not be available from the beginning of the game, which is dictated by the story. During the exploration of the open world we will have a map at our disposal but when we go deeper into different dungeons, this option will not be available. Time of day and weather conditions also have an influence on the gameplay. The player's character and some enemies will have a limited field of vision at night. Special creatures will also roam the world, appearing only after dusk.
Setting the gameplay in an open world will give players the opportunity to fight the bosses in any order. If, for example, one of the opponents proves to be too difficult for us, there will be an option to move to another location and level up the character to return to the boss with a stronger avatar. Miyazaki said in an interview that some of the key bosses can be skipped altogether - the price will be giving up rewards and access to the full story of the game world. As the creator explains, he didn't want the player to feel that the enemy was holding them back from progressing in the game.
More freedom than in Dark Souls
When asked about character creation, Miyazaki said that this aspect of Elden Ring will be inherited from the Dark Souls. Players will be free to customize their character's appearance, equip weapons, armor, and choose magic and stats as they see fit. Noteworthy, however, is the mention of skills, which - in contrast to eg. Dark Souls 3 - will not be directly related to the type of weapon. This means that we'll receive more freedom in searching for the right combination for our style of play. Each weapon will have a slot for only one skill, but the player will be able to choose which skill they'll use for a given weapon. There will be a lot to choose from: there will be about a hundred different skills in the game.
Miyazaki spoke of the aforementioned strategy in the context of the mechanics of "ghosts", which will be summoned during battles. It is this solution that is supposed to make the game require a more tactical approach, because the players will be able to summon all sorts of helpers, from armored tanks for soaking damage to archers who will shower enemies with arrows. Ghosts will also be able to support the player in collecting equipment or spells. What's more, these helpers can be upgraded in a similar way to weapons. It is up to the player to decide and develop both weapons and ghosts that will suit him or her best.
Easier, but everyone will be happy
The combat mechanics will introduce the option of stealth and hiding e.g. in tall grass. In this way, the character will be able to approach the enemy unnoticed and attack, inflicting increased damage. In addition the world Elden Ring will be expanded with the addition of mounts, which will facilitate exploration, as well as the ability to jump, enabling us to perform special attacks or avoid low attacks. The addition of jumping also allowed for a change in the design of the game world, which will become more vertical - especially when it comes to dungeons and ruins - which is a refresh from previous From Software games.
Interestingly, item crafting will now be possible at any location, so the player will have the opportunity to replenish their supplies during the adventure. Healing is another matter, but in this matter Miyazaki remained more mysterious.
Director of Elden Ring admitted that the creators care about attracting gamers who shy away from "such difficult games". Nevertheless, he also promised that the production will test even the most talented fans of the Souls series and we do not have to worry about that. The title is expected to be slightly easier than Sekiro or Bloodbornebut it will not offer traditional difficulty levels which would make the challenge easier. Less experienced players will be helped by multiplayer mode for up to four people.
The upcoming Japanese title was demonstrated at Summer Game Fest 2021, and Miyazaki confirmed that it will be the biggest game From Software has created so far. Elden Ring will debut on PC and PlayStation 4 and 5 and Xbox One and Series X/S consoles on January 21, 2022.
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