Shackpets | Available on iOS and Google Play Store

Elden Ring's 'main route' should take about 30 hours to beat

Producer Yasuhiro Kitao also shared that because of branching paths, the game can't be 100-percent beaten in one go.


Elden Ring looks poised to give us a vast adventure, far more open-world with freedom to explore than any FromSoftware game before. Just how much adventure can be expected, though? Well, according to a producer on Elden Ring, the “main route” through the game should take about 30 hours for the average player to conquer. That’s leaving all much of the exploration and side quests though.

Elden Ring producer Yasuhiro Kitao recently spoke to this and other matters in a lengthy interview about the upcoming game, hosted on the Bandai Namco Southeast Asia YouTube channel. During the interview, the matter of how the game would take to beat came up. To this, Kitao presented a roughly average number.

“This will differ significantly by player, but in terms of targets set during development, the idea is that the main route should be able to be completed within around 30 hours,” Kitao answered.

He goes on to say that because of the open world, side quests, and discovery elements of the game, there is plenty that should keep an exploring player from wrapping up in a smooth 30 hours. Even then, Kitao explained that regardless of how much you explore, there are choices and branching paths that will keep you from 100-percenting the game in a single playthrough.

Indeed, once we got out of the tutorial cave in an early preview of Elden Ring, we quickly found there was little to tether us to the main quest beyond a glittering trail directing us to it. The game was extremely open in its offering to let the player explore and discover.

Such being the case, it sounds like Elden Ring is going to be quite the extensive feast of vast adventure and no doubt everyone will be interested in what kind of branching paths there are. Stay tuned for more details and updates as we get closer to the game’s launch in February of the 2022 gaming calendar.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 24, 2022 8:20 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Elden Ring's 'main route' should take about 30 hours to beat

    • reply
      January 24, 2022 8:23 AM


    • reply
      January 24, 2022 8:27 AM

      About average for Souls I'd imagine. Add in some optionals and MP and you're probably talking a 50+ hour game - long.

    • reply
      January 24, 2022 8:33 AM

      30 hours for normal Souls players = 80 hours for me

      • reply
        January 24, 2022 8:38 AM

        I would advise, to all "Souls games are cool but I hate them" players:

        When we say "dying is part of the game", like, take that literally. We mean it literally. I suspect a lot of players hear that and go "yeah yeah, I'll die sometimes, but I'm good at games and I'm sure it's nothing"

        And then you get FROM'D - and that's what we mean.

        Frequent and terrible deaths are par even for veterans. I have played Dark Souls 1 for, maybe 100 hours? And I will load up an old save and still get my ass handed to me if I don't pay attention and tread with caution.

        • reply
          January 24, 2022 9:10 AM

          I don't hate Souls games, but I do believe I am worse at them than most players. They take me forever to finish and I always have to take a very long break afterwards with some less stressful types of games. This is why I have only played about half of them.

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 10:17 AM

            I wouldn't worry too much about comparing yourself to others in how you approach and finish the games. I always thought that aspect was really stupid, like how people insisted that the game is "broken" if you use co-op/summons. Funnily enough I find they're usually the exact same people that complain bitterly about the difficulty.

            That's one of the funny things about the game, is that it's not that hard in certain ways but it gives you enough rope to hang yourself with, which a lot of players will take and proceed to do exactly that. The soul accumulation/retrieval mechanic is an encapsulation of that idea, though it manifests itself in other ways too, right down to minutia like the amount of openings boss animations have.

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 4:46 PM

            I've played them all and co-oped the bosses almost every single time. I don't care if I am good enough to beat bosses, I play these games for the exploration and finding cool loot.

            I never would have completed the DS2 DLC without being able to summon help. Same for DS3 and it's DLC, and Bloodborne. The games are designed to be enjoyable for a wider audience than just hardcore fans, don't listen to people who tell you not to use magic because it makes the game too easy, or not to use bows to kill enemies from outside of their range. Miyazaki includes all of this stuff on purpose, the game is not meant to make you feel bad for not being good enough. If I can beat these games, anyone can.

        • reply
          January 24, 2022 9:56 AM

          Dead on, Ive played all the SOuls games now and was recently playing Dark Souls 2, 70 hours in or so and still dying in the DLC.

        • reply
          January 24, 2022 10:35 AM

          Oh I get that that's the way to play the game, it just doesn't sound like fun to me. Like, at all.

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 11:45 AM

            Totally fair! A lot of people don't like those games.

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 11:48 AM

            The fun is in the eventual triumph over death, of which there is more to be had in the Souls series of games than most others. My perspective anyways.

            • reply
              January 24, 2022 5:46 PM

              yeah.. i was going to roughly say this. the dying isn't fun, though sometimes you might laugh. the fun part is winning!!!

              with maybe a bonus of growing towards some kind of personal zen to better handle the dying part when it inevitably happens again. kinda like my dad talking about golf, "you're in a good place when you can play golf as if it were a game [instead of getting frustrated]"

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 11:53 AM

            I thought so too at first! anytime someone talked about a souls game, you die, the area repopulates, sounded fucking terrible, but then I played hollow knight then bloodborne then all the souls game and man its awesome it just isnt that big a deal and adds to the tension and fun!

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 1:03 PM

            it's like playing megaman.

            it's rare that you can impulsively just hack and slash your way through a level and beat the boss. you essentially have to learn the level, and then the boss patterns. the level design generally includes a shortcut to allow you to get to the boss faster.

            outside of that, there is the whole RPG element, which is a thing in itself.

            soo goood.

            • reply
              January 24, 2022 1:23 PM

              yeah it's funny that most of us grew up on games whose difficulty levels are actually closer to From than other modern games but now everyone is all 'eww it's too hard and it's wasting my time'

              • reply
                January 24, 2022 1:32 PM

                It makes sense. People don't have as much time now and don't want to replay the same sections tons of times trying to figure out what to do.

                • reply
                  January 24, 2022 1:43 PM

                  For sure. I just think there's a difference between 'I don't have time for that anymore' and 'It's not fun'. Most of us had fun playing exactly this type of game for a whole lot of years when the time constraint was not hanging over our head. And those games were largely worse designs than From's efforts. But now most people aren't used to that degree of difficulty anymore and time constraints are ever present (or other games in our backlog are tempting us instead).

            • reply
              January 24, 2022 3:38 PM

              Great comparison. The one I make all the time is castlevania. When I finally rolled up on the big ass castle in DS2 it felt like I was playing a 3D castlevania that was leaning hard on the bleak side of things.

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 4:31 PM

            Bloodborne has werewolves, vampires, zombies, a dark forest full of crazed cultists and witches, a church and it's many scary denizens, aliens from other dimensions, brain sucking parasites, elder gods, and is built on top of a Lovecraftian procedural maze that culminates in a battle against an undead Queen, and the whole time you look like a complete and total badass with a sword or an axe in one hand and a gun in the other.

            If that's not fun, what is? =D

            • reply
              January 24, 2022 4:33 PM

              I forgot to mention the School that collects human eyeballs to gain "insight"

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 5:13 PM

            Its a throwback to dying in NES games. Nothing really lost, not even the souls lost really matters, you just take the knowledge and learn from that and push on

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 11:49 PM

            Agreed. I wish the devs would just put a difficulty slider into the game. I want to experience the environments, see the baddies, travel the world. But im not interested in trying to discern the precise combat patterns and timings and what not and dying over and over and over again until I do.

            Which is a bit odd because, for example I play Doom Eternal on Nightmare including the DLC (well most of it...) and that shit is pretty hard, altho i guess different types of hard.

        • reply
          January 24, 2022 2:23 PM

          TLDR: Play DS1 slowly, carefully, reverently--online and with a guide. When it clicks, take off the training wheels--if you want.

          I just picked up this series a few months back, after several unsuccessful attempts at trying to play the game and getting frustrated at its difficulty. This time, however, it finally clicked, and over my Christmas break I beat DS1, Bloodborne, and I'm just about to beat DS2 probably tonight.

          I can honestly they are not anywhere near as difficult as people claim they are, especially DS1 & 2 (disclaimer, I have not played any of their DLC yet, so this applies only to the base games). The initial difficulty for me was due to a few misunderstands on my part.

          1. Many bosses and areas can be skipped - The first time I played DS1, that first boss kicked my ass repeatedly, until I eventually found out that I needed to run past it and find a way to jump onto it from above later to do a mass damage attack on it. The other "trick" is that it takes way more damage from behind. You'll learn as you go through the game, much of the combat is a dance. You either roll away from attacks using visual animation cues (if the boss is swinging from one side, roll the other direction) or your time your blocks and parries. These blocks use endurance, so level it up more if you need to.

          The skeletons in the next area were fucking destroying me until I finally had someone on this site tell me that I should look for other paths from the bonfire. I looked around, found stairs leading up a hillside that I had no idea existed, and the game suddenly became hugely fucking fun and addicting when I went into the best area of the game, the undead burg. From there I figured out you can grind to get gear and stats points--which isn't necessary when you get better, but it is HUGELY helpful if you are struggling with the game. It gives you practice with combat and timing and it's relaxing in an old school way.

          2. Play online (when the servers are up and patched) and pay attention to the notes. The notes will point out ambushes, traps, secrets, and places to explore or avoid. Almost all of the difficult bosses you can summon real people to help you defeat. You can also summon NPCs to help you beat them, as long as you are in human form. Look up how to become human on the internet. If you are struggling with a boss, summoning someone or an npc can make the battle trivial and you can move on to the next area to explore.

          My recommendation for anyone who struggles with this game is to buy Dark Souls Remastered, and pull up the IGN walkthrough whenever you get stuck or lost. Grind around campfires and treat the trek from one bonfire to the next as a mini roguelike. Take it slow, pay attention, only fight one enemy at a time if you can help it. Make a sword and board character at first and keep your shield up. Any time you get stuck, look up how to move on.

          At some point it should click for you and you'll start having a blast and take off the training wheels. It's not a hard game, but it's one that demands that you pay attention and move slowly from one bonfire to the next. If losing souls makes you upset, just be overly cautious and cash them in whenever you can until you've leveled up enough. Eventually losing souls will become less impactful to you--you'll realize it's not that big of a deal. Also, once you lose souls, you can become more adventurous in exploring new areas, because there's less of an impact when you die.

          I just started these games a little while ago and they're already in the top 3 or so games ive ever played. I fucking love them. They're Castlevania in 3D, with some old Dragon Warrior type grinding that you can do for stats and gear. As far as secrets go, the levels are full of them. Hidden ladders and paths, walls that you can hit and reveal hidden passages--they're everywhere and exploration is fully rewarded. You'll always see something out of reach that you can later figure out how to get to. It's amazing.

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 2:26 PM

            I should also add that at certain points, you can just sprint past enemies to get into a fog door or to a bonfire. When all of your souls are gone and you have nothing to lose, it's a good time to do this when you begin to get frustrated. There was a section of bloodborne that was super difficult for me until I just ran past it to another checkpoint and skipped it entirely. When I was leveled up a bit, I went back and took it slowly to see what I missed.

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 4:41 PM

            When I first played Demon's Souls and then Dark Souls I played them almost like single player MMO games. I would find a place that felt 'safe' or close to a bonfiire and then I would pull enemies back to where I wanted to fight them, away from others. This means you're less likely to get ganged up on by fighting too much at once, and fighting in a place you're comfortable with also makes you feel a bit more confident that even if you die you won't lose anything.

            Undead Burg in DS1 offers this pretty much right off the bat. Once you find that first bonfire, you can use it as a base to explore the entire zone and find all of the items hidden around. I spent a lot of time grinding those enemies near the bonfire and learned to pull the more aggressive enemies to me rather than getting caught fighting 3 or more at once.

            once combat clicks for you and you begin to realize what you can get away with ignoring and skipping, the game gets super fun (to me). grinding XP in Souls games is always helpful and especially early on you can really feel a difference going from 10 to 15 strength, or getting extra rolls or attack swings from added points of stamina. this is true in all of their games, you can overpower them by sheer force of will and time. but grinding is never required...some folks beat these games without leveling at all.

          • reply
            January 24, 2022 4:42 PM

            Great tips, the one that really got me into DS1 was grabbing the zweihander from the cemetery and leveling up strength some to wield it. Having a weapon early on that pancakes some mobs can really help with building confidence and seeing that the game is difficult, but at least in the case of DS1 it's rarely unfair. It punishes you for being greedy mostly imo. The capra demon is the exception :)

            • reply
              January 24, 2022 4:46 PM

              Yeah, for me it was the Black Knight’s Halberd. I lucked into getting it and after that I began one-shotting a lot of enemies. It boosted my confidence tremendously and even led to me choosing the big charge-up axe in Bloodborne, because I like timing big swings and having enemies walk into them.

      • reply
        January 24, 2022 9:25 PM

        I think I've beat Dark Souls 3 a dozen times. If the base gameplay and world pacing is just as good, that 30 hours will turn into 300+

        • reply
          January 24, 2022 9:26 PM

          I just looked and I have 620 hours in Dark Souls 3. Here's hoping Elden Ring is just as good if not better.

      • reply
        January 24, 2022 11:25 PM

        Pfft. 80. It's like you don't even sit at the Majula bonfire, then go to the grocery store out in the World.

    • rms legacy 10 years legacy 20 years mercury super mega
      January 24, 2022 11:37 AM

      I hope this game has a plot.

Hello, Meet Lola