Hidetaka Miyazaki and the rest of the development team at FromSoftware have had their biggest financial and critically-acclaimed launch yet in the form of Elden Ring and fans are craving to know more about it. The fascinating dark-fantasy world of the Lands Between is the most daunting scale they've tackled in a video game, demanding a new level of commitment behind the scenes.
Since the game's announcement, there was very little revealed of Elden Ring until last year's gameplay trailer, surely a testament to its intense production. Naturally, that means that many things were happening during its development cycle that fans may not know about.
1)The Elden “Ring” Wasn't Originally A Ring:
The literal Elden Ring that makes up the crux of the game's lore didn't start as a tangible object. In the final product, players are told and shown about the Elden Ring being what holds the natural laws of the world in place — the Golden Order — in tandem with Eritrea.
However, in a Famitsu interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki translated by Video Games Chronicle, he mentioned that during his early work with writer George R. R. Martin, the Ring wasn't initially as clear cut. “At first, it wasn’t called the ‘Ring’, but I think he talked about the Elden Ring-like existence and the image of the opportunity for it to break.
However, it was only spoken as an abstract concept, and I don’t think he had a concrete motif such as a golden tree at that time.”
2)A New Level Of Visual Vibrancy:
Dark-fantasy worlds are often presented in a way that lives up to the subgenre's name. Locales are more grounded, bleaker, and have a grueling atmosphere. However, Elden Ring has introduced a new level of vibrancy to its world. In an interview with Miyazaki on PlayStation's official blog, he said that the more “lush” environments were intentional, “though not necessarily to make the game brighter.”But giving it a splash of color was necessary this time, particularly considering Elden Ring has a vast open world to explore.
We wanted to give a sense that a Golden Age has passed through this world and that the player can still see traces of it.” Among other things, Elden Ring has been acclaimed for its stunning artistic variety, and that includes unique areas like Caelid that one might expect in dark fantasy.
3)The Narrative Structure:
Ever since Demon's Souls, FromSoftware has become famous for its subtle brand of storytelling. It's become increasingly unique in an age where games strive to be more cinematic. In the Famitsu interview, Miyazaki said in the Famitsu interview that the foundation for writing Elden Ring was generally the same, with some moderate adjustments.
“The basic policy of telling a story in this work is the same as in the Dark Souls series. The textual information is presented in pieces and is intended to be connected in the user’s mind or to be imagined by the user. The reason for this is that we want the gameplay itself to be the story of the user. However, I think that NPC conversations are more straightforward than in past works.”
When learning of the Lands Between's lore, there does seem to be more direct dialogue from NPCs. Though, Elden Ring still retains a veil of ambiguity.
4)Managing Pacing & Character Progression:
Up until now, FromSoft's Souls-like RPGs have been following the tempo set by Demon's Souls and refined through Dark Souls III when it comes to character progression. But fleshing out that base formula into one of the most richly vast open worlds in gaming demands more than a “copy/paste” job.
Miyazaki said in the PlayStation Blog interview that “Another challenge making an open-world game is the tempo and pacing of the player’s progression, essentially trying to balance how the player paces themselves as they explore this vast open-ended map and how that factors into the scope of freedom and progression they provide.”
5)Miyazaki Interpreted Martin's Text-Based Lore For The Story:
The prospect of Miyazaki and Martin collaborating on a fantasy game was a salivating one when it was revealed in 2019. Now that the latter's role has been more defined for the public, Miyazaki has also divulged how some of their flow of information worked.
In an interview with Games Radar+, Miyazaki said “There was nothing visual – it was all text” when referring to Martin's worldbuilding outlines. He expanded upon that, saying “it was something that depicted the setting or set the scene for the game and for the world,” and then they “were able to interpret this in our own way and provide the visuals.”
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