The fallen leaves tell a story of a game that shattered all expectations, producing hype of monumental proportions and cementing a paradigm shift in the history of games. In a AAA industry where games have become less about passion and more about business and microtransactions over the past few years, Elden Ring reshuffled the deck by showing how wondrous open-world games could be.
Developers FromSoftware, known for the Dark Souls series, have reaped the benefits of delivering a true modern classic as Elden Ring passed sales of over 20 million copies this week.
For those lucky enough to have experienced its triumph, their newly announced expansion to the game, ‘The Shadow of the Erdtree’, is welcome news.
But, as is typical of the studio, the announcement was quiet. No splashy trailers or big celebrity endorsements. Just a single image for fans of its intriguing but esoteric storytelling and massive but mysterious worlds to pore over.
The art shows a gnarled and twisted Erdtree in the distance as the player’s trusty steed Torrent carries a figure with pale hair. The silhouette bears a strong likeness to portrayals of the demigod Miquella, who was mentioned several times in corners of the main game but was not encountered by the player. Speculation is already ramping up that the DLC could centre around the near-mythical figure, who is considered the most fearsome of the Empyreans.
However, the figure could also be a young version of Queen Marika. Ultimately, it is impossible to tell. FromSoft has a track record of veering away from fan speculation and blazing their own trail in their games and expansions. Few could have anticipated the direction of Ashes of Ariandel, The Old Hunters, or how they built upon their original games. The figure could be an entirely new character. Still, it is fun to speculate.
And, for those who did not have a chance to play the most lauded game of 2022, here is another excuse. FromSoft’s games can seem daunting. By now, everyone has heard of their famous difficulty. But that difficulty serves a purpose – to make overcoming its challenges all the more satisfying.
Elden Ring is, in some ways, the culmination of FromSoft’s works since Dark Souls. It takes that world's gorgeous, grim beauty and expands it to make a visually striking, mechanically satisfying, and narratively riveting experience. If you are a fan of the medium, you owe it to yourself to give it a chance.
This article is part of Stripe, bdnews24.com's special publication focusing on culture and society from a youth perspective.