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You Should Be Excited For Elden Ring’s Story

Gabriel Sidwell
Gabriel Sidwell
3 min read
You Should Be Excited For Elden Ring’s Story
From FromSoft's Elden Ring Trailer

I mentioned FromSoftware and Hidetaka Miyazaki’s classic hardcore adventure RPG Dark Souls in one of my previous articles, while I was talking about environmental storytelling and how world building can intrigue even the harshest of potential critics.

I have been an avid fan of the Soulsborne series since Dark Souls’ release on Xbox 360 back in 2011. And lately, I have been thoroughly enjoying the Demon Souls Remaster as I never experienced it back when it was released on PlayStation 3. Aside from the phenomenal gameplay that all the Soulsborne series promise; I am always excited to explore the worlds created within the games, and the lore and story behind them as they have been the most intriguing specimens I have come across.

That might be a confusing statement for a few people, as the Soulsborne series is actually very sparse in terms of dialogue, cut scenes, and context to review for people on the outside looking in. Were you to watch walkthroughs of the games, it would be difficult to understand just what exactly is going on in Lordran, Drangleic, Yharnam or Lothric. This is because the Soulsborne series didn’t focus on narrative storytelling; but on environmental storytelling instead.

The Flame Maiden kneeling at an altar.
“Tend to the Flame” by Drawsouls on DeviantArt

Those who take the time to explore the environment these kingdoms offer, and read the descriptions of the myriad of items and collectibles they find throughout the game, will find that there is quite a large iceberg hidden beneath the surface of what’s immediately apparent in the Soulsborne games. This is FromSoft’s form of environmental storytelling.

It allows for players to take pieces of the puzzle to form their own speculations on the lore behind their games. This form of storytelling in video games has grown popular over the last few years thanks in part to YouTubers like VaatiVidya and RagnarRox (who both make great video essays on various games — I highly recommend them), and indie games that have adopted this into their storytelling format.

But FromSoftware is no lightweight with its narrative storytelling. Prior to the birth of the Soulsborne series, FromSoftware released several other titles, including the quiet horror series Echo Night, which saw their respective protagonists follow a mystery while interacting with ghosts in the setting.

Wolf squaring off with Genichiro Ashina
Screenshot from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

And, more recently, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice; which took a bit of a hybrid approach to storytelling with more dialogue between characters, and cut scenes that are easier to follow. The story that Sekiro told, as a result, is something truly unique compared to most stories told in video games. The thought of a potential sequel makes me excited to see what happens next after you’ve rescued the boy (hint hint).

Elden Ring appears to take a similar approach to its storytelling, but with one key addition: the world building consultation that George R. R. Martin provided. Say what you may about the man. That doesn’t change the fact that he is an award-winning fantasy author (although, personally, I am curious about how Brandon Sanderson would have fared in writing the world of Elden Ring. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your shot at a AAA game title, Mr. Sanderson).

Stormlight Archives: Rhythm of War Book Cover Art
Stormlight Archive: Rhythm of War Book Cover Art by Michael Whelan | Book by Brandon Sanderson

It is a perfect blend of talents for grimdark world building, and I feel FromSoftware will take everything provided by GRRM and run with it.

Elden Ring will be out tomorrow, and I have already preordered my copy on the PlayStation 5. If you are a fellow gamer and a FromSoft enthusiast, I look forward to running into you in The Lands Between. Let’s see how long it takes to unravel the mystery behind the Elden Ring, fellow Tarnished.


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