Elden Ring is releasing in 2022. It’s so close now that we can almost taste the soul-crushing defeats and adrenaline-filled victories. But before the release date rolls around, we here at Shacknews got to thinking about what Elden Ring needs to get right to be as impactful and impressive as the other games in FromSoftware’s history. We’ve got some thoughts on a whole lot of areas, from fashion and New Game Plus, to the day/night cycle and the indescribable mystery of playing your first Souls game. So, let’s talk about what Elden Ring needs to get right, and then, join us in the Chatty thread below to share your expectations.
Play a Soulsborne title for long enough and you’ll eventually not care about the stats of your armor. Instead, you’ll be focused on fashion. Whether you’re a chosen undead walking along the rafters of Anor Londo, an ashen one strutting up to Pontiff Sulyvahn, or a hunter brushing some viscera off your shoulder after defeating an Amygdala, what’s important is how you look doing it.
Right now, Elden Ring is looking mighty impressive, and we hope that also extends to how the character will look throughout the game. As much as we love how Sekiro looked, we miss seeing how a set of pants and a jaunty new hat work together.
As much as everyone loves to talk about resolutions, what’s most important in a game like Elden Ring is its framerate. Sekiro did a marvellous job at hitting 60fps on the Xbox Series X, so we’ve got high hopes that Elden Ring will be able to do the same. Don’t let Elden Ring suffer the same fate as Bloodborne.
A meaningful NG+
Though we always want NG+ to be harder, what we really hope for is a meaningful difference with NG+. It’s always been a mark of pride for those who choose to dive back into the game to experience a tougher version, but part of the appeal shouldn’t just be the difficulty. Differences and secrets make a world of difference when it comes to replaying a game.
Take Dark Souls 2 for example. New Game Plus added new foes to areas, changes to some boss fights, and even altered the drops. We still remember using Bonfire Ascetics to level up Majula in order to unlock the Moon Butterfly set.
While Sekiro’s NG+ didn’t have a lot of changes, what it did was really lean into the mechanics of the game. Players needed to truly master the Posture system. It was no longer enough to just block, you had to deflect and dodge in order to not get overwhelmed.
It would be great to see Elden Ring utilize Dark Souls 2’s NG+ style of changes while also leaning into what Sekiro did: make players master the new systems.
Whether it is large sweeping DLCs like we got with Dark Souls 3 or new game modes with Sekiro, Elden Ring’s post-release content needs to be done right. In fact, we would love to see new forms of media released after the game. Dark Souls and Bloodborne both received comic books, and considering George R.R. Martin is responsible for the game’s lore and backstory, it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace novelizations. Why not take it a step further and release an Elden Ring bible, that is to say, an encyclopedia-like book that features the lore and art that couldn’t be naturally worked into the game.
Embrace the OP
One aspect that's going to be very important, and is probably a major reason they need more time with the game, is the multiplayer components. The Souls community is notorious for abusing any broken mechanic or overpowered item in the early days, and while this inevitably gets fixed, what FromSoftware needs to get right is how bold it is with balance. We’d love to see the team take a risk with their ideas, avoid dialling back, and instead embrace the potential power.
The multiplayer & netcode
While we loved the singleplayer nature of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, there will always be a soft spot in our heart for multiplayer in a Souls title. For Elden Ring to stand tall in the pantheon of other From titles, the multiplayer experience needs to be immaculate.
Build diversity is going to be a big key here. While we expect to see a lot of outrageous builds early on, with players leaning towards a meta for PVP, the hope is that eventually a large variety of builds are viable for multiplayer. Plus, and this ties into fashion, it would be great to look good while still having a decent build.
On top of this, setting up a multiplayer session needs to be a stress-free experience. The whole summoning system is iconic, and it’s promising to see what looks to be a similar system in gameplay trailers, but we also love the ease of use that comes with setting up passcodes. What we don’t want to see is what happened with Dark Souls on PC, whereby players needed to download community-made patches to join friends. The faster we can play Elden Ring with mates, the more likely friends will stick around.
Until Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, mouth animations in Souls games have always been lacking. With the incredible remake that is Demon’s Souls, there are some high standards set for a Souls game and mouth animations. While it’s not a major concern, with Elden Ring releasing in 2022, we kind of expect a certain level of fidelity when it comes to animations, even one as subtle as lip syncing. In saying this, we trust that all the other animations in the game will look pretty slick, as is to be expected with From’s brilliant combat.
Day and night cycle
A day and night cycle in Elden Ring needs to be so much more than just the sun being out or the world being lit by the moon. To get it right, it should matter when you visit a location. We need to see some creatures come out at night, a graveyard haunted in moonlight, high drop-chances when it is exactly midday, and other time-specific mechanics. It would add a layer of depth to the experience in a similar manner that Demon’s Souls’ World Tendencies brought to the game. And if there is dynamic day and night cycle that affects the game, then there needs to be a good way to wait.
That indescribable sense of mystery and the unknown
Finally, we hope that Elden Ring manages to capture that sense of mystery and the imminent dread we experienced the first time we played a Souls game.
Since discovering the Soulsborne series by stumbling across Demon’s Souls in 2009, Miyazaki and his teams at FromSoftware have never failed to surprise us in terms of features. From the charge system and bonfire mechanics introduced in Dark Souls to Dark Souls 2’s power stance and Bloodborne’s trick weapons, we trust them to come up with mechanics we’d never think of.
What we want is harder to pin down. It’s what we miss most from these games, something they’ve lacked through no fault of their creators: A sense of wonder.
After attending a midnight launch of Dark Souls 2, we booted it up as soon as we got home. The first things we noticed was that—forgive the cliche—playing the latest Souls sequel was like riding a bike. You knew when to roll, parry, and riposte; it was easy to grasp the nuances of new stats such as adaptability fairly quickly. With hundreds of hours sunk into Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, progress through Dark Souls 2 was fairly quick, but not on purpose. It felt the same way as when we played Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3: Aside from a few wrinkles, they played more or less the same as their predecessors.
What Elden Ring needs to get right, then, is that alchemic combination of world design and gameplay features only FromSoftware seems able to devise. Elden Ring needs to feel like a new adventure rather than the next iteration of ones that came before it. We surely won’t be disappointed if the latter happens, but any effort the team expends to make the experience feel as wondrous as the first hours of Demon’s Souls felt 12 years ago will delight us.
Hidetaka Miyazaki has managed to deliver several masterpieces during his time at FromSoftware and Elden Ring is no doubt going to be another. With a talented team of developers at the helm, we’ve got every faith that they’ll be able to get these finer points right. With Elden Ring releasing on February 25, 2022 and a network test happening in November, we’re edging closer to finally getting our hands on the game. What about your thoughts on the game, what do you think Elden Ring needs to get right in order to be a hit? Let us know in the Chatty thread below.
Shack Staff posted a new article, 9 things Elden Ring needs to get right
I really hope this game lives up to my hype lol. If it nails 90% of this list it's going to be my Game of the Year
Easier coop connectivity would be huge.
I really hope it's not Souls-like with that stuff online. Restricted areas, banishing friends back to their worlds after boss kills and all that. Please, no.
I appreciate the mention of Power Stance.
I mean POWER STANCE!