Forged from the minds of two of the most influential fantasy world builders today, Elden Ring brings you into a new and fully realized mythos. A collaboration between the creator of the critically-acclaimed Dark Souls series, Hidetaka Miyazaki, and the world-renowned writer George R. R. Martin, author of The New York Times best-selling fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” this ambitious title combines their unique talents for creating elaborate characters, stories, and mythologies. To prepare you for the undiscovered world of Elden Ring, Sam Wilkinson, Community Specialist at Bandai Namco Entertainment America sat down with Miyazaki-san to give an exclusive interview that was published on Xbox Wire on the experience that will await players.
Sam Wilkinson, Bandai Namco: First off, please tell me when and how development for Elden Ring took off.
Hidetaka Miyazaki, Game Director: Development for Elden Ring started just after development for the Dark Souls 3 DLC had ended. At the time, Elden Ring was being planned as a more classic fantasy title compared to others that were either being considered or already in the early stages of development.
We wanted to create a new dark fantasy action RPG full of things that we weren’t able to do in the Dark Souls series.
Wilkinson: Elden Ring seems to have been in development at the same time as Sekiro. How did you go about its development?
Miyazaki: The overall process of development has been the same as it was in Sekiro.
While assigning co-directors to each project, I took direction over the various game design, art and musical aspects of the titles.
We tend to space out the development-peak for our projects to make use of what little time we have, however being able to share a vision with the co-directors, as well as the development staff, has allowed us to build a trusting relationship which makes this kind of development style possible. I am incredibly grateful for them and their hard work.
Of course, this project still has a load of work ahead of it as well (laughter).
Wilkinson: What genre do you think Elden Ring will fall under?
Miyazaki: It is a third-person action RPG.
Unlike Sekiro, which has a heavy focus on action, Elden Ring puts more focus on RPG elements.
Of course, we are not shying away from the fun of responsive melee-based combat, and these elements will be present as well.
Wilkinson: Do you believe this title will turn out to be a very From-like and challenging game?
Miyazaki: Yes, I do. The importance we place on the joy the player experiences through overcoming challenges will be the same as it is in our other titles. I believe it will prove to be a very satisfying experience.
Earlier I had said that this title focuses more heavily on RPG elements. This title will include a wide variety of weapons, magic, and ways to engage enemies, that make it possible to provide users with a style of gameplay and strategy that suits them.
Even when compared to the Dark Souls series, I believe this title will provide even more variety in the ways for players to overcome challenges and tweak their tactics when facing enemies.
Wilkinson: Will Elden Ring contains character customization elements like in Dark Souls, or will it be similar to Sekiro in that there is a fixed protagonist that the player controls?
Miyazaki: Yes, it will contain character customization elements.
Similar to the Dark Souls series, Elden Ring allows players to design and control their own unique character. As I said earlier, this title puts a heavy focus on RPG elements, and we thought this approach would best suit that focus.
Wilkinson: Regarding the collaboration with George R. R. Martin, can you further explain how this collaboration came about and in what role it has served throughout the project?
Miyazaki: I suppose the start of this collaboration came from the fact that I myself am I a huge fan of Mr Martin’s work.
I loved “A Song of Ice and Fire” as well as the “Tuf Voyaging” series, however, if I had to pick a favourite I would probably say “Fevre Dream.”
I personally see “Fevre Dream” as a masterpiece among vampire fantasy and had even previously recommended it to all new employees.
Me being such a known fan of Mr Martin caused our executive business director Eiichi Nakajima to reach out to him with the expectation that we would get turned down.
However, we were then given the rare opportunity to talk one-on-one with Mr Martin which was an incredibly fun and stimulating experience. It was then that I strongly felt that I wanted to work with Mr Martin.
I am still unable to put into words how grateful I am to Mr Martin for agreeing to our offer.
The actual collaboration itself begun with Mr Martin ever so politely confirming what sorts of themes, ideas as well as many game-related aspects I had envisioned for the game.
This allowed us to have many free and creative conversations regarding the game, in which Mr Martin later used as a base to write the overarching mythos for the game world itself.
This mythos proved to be full of interesting characters and drama along with a plethora of mystical and mysterious elements as well. It was a wonderful source of stimulus for me and the development staff.
Elden Ring’s world was constructed using this mythos and stimulus as a base. Even I myself find it hard to contain my excitement from time to time. We hope that everyone else is looking forward to the world we have created.
Wilkinson: What are some differences when compared to your previous titles (especially Dark Souls)?
Miyazaki: If I were to put aside the world full of fresh stimulus thanks to our collaboration with Mr Martin, I would have to say the biggest difference is it being open world.
Due to this, the scale of the world and its narrative, as well as the depth and freedom of exploration have increased dramatically. It is without a doubt our biggest title yet in terms of sheer volume.
There are many definitions to the term “open world,” and I might not be phrasing it correctly, but we have simply tried our own approach to a game with a large, open field to play in.
It is a world full of danger and threats, as well as many areas ripe for exploration.
Among those areas, you will also find intricately designed, multi-layered castles and such.
Wilkinson: What is the meaning behind the title?
Miyazaki: Elden Ring is the name given to a mysterious concept that defines the world itself.
As the trailer at the conference implied, this “Elden Ring” has been shattered. The significance of this will be one of the important themes of the game.
That’s about all I can say at this point in time (laughter)
Wilkinson: Will Elden Ring contain the gritty, intense boss fights we’ve all come to love and expect from From?
Miyazaki: Yes, of course. Boss fights are something we enjoy making and makeup one of the climaxes to this title as well. We feel there is a wide variety of unique and horrifying bosses for players to look forward to.
Wilkinson: What can you teach us about the character shown in the concept art that was released?
Miyazaki: We chose this character because of his eccentric aspects as well as the way he portrays the darkness that the world and story possess.
While Elden Ring may be a classic dark fantasy title, it is more than just that.
This character also represents one more theme in addition to the previously mentioned eccentricity.
That theme is the will or ambition of mankind.
Elden Ring currently has no official release date but we have high hopes for this title especially with such a high profile collaboration. Stay tuned for more information as it releases.