The beautiful graphics and daunting combat in Elden Ring were developed by Tokyo-based FromSoftware with help from George RR Martin, whose book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” formed the basis for the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones”.
The highly anticipated game title “Elden Ring” debuts Friday and promises a complicated world created in collaboration with the author of “Game of Thrones”, offering high-level escapism for a crisis-stricken world. Online forums were awash with comments from fans itching to get into the game, a wide-open virtual realm whose reviews indicated players could explore over 80 hours without completing all of the missions.
The beautiful graphics and daunting combat were developed by Tokyo-based FromSoftware with help from George RR Martin, whose book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” formed the basis for the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones”.
“Review scores top the list with some of the best games in history,” said analyst Mat Piscatella, who was waiting for an unlock code to start playing. “That is amazing.”
Versions of the game to play on PlayStation, Xbox, or Windows computers were priced at $60.
According to Japan-based video game publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment, the dark fantasy role-playing adventure builds on the know-how gained from the “Dark Souls” series and other FromSoftware titles.
“Dark Souls” games have become a genre of their own, featuring brutally difficult battles that can last for hours as players devise the tactics and weapons needed to be victorious.
“The unknown. The threats. The mystery. The encounters,” said the game’s publisher, adding that the goal is for players to feel a “sense of accomplishment that comes from tackling and overcoming difficulties in their own way.” .”
Martin helped infuse humanity and drama into the game’s characters, while director Hidetaka Miyazaki shaped the style of play and storytelling, the publisher said.
Punishment and pleasure
The game lands in a heavy atmosphere for an audience that has been living with the coronavirus pandemic for about two years, and just days after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.
While the litany of high-stakes drama in the real world can leave people feeling helpless or anxious, players can overcome challenges in a video game without anyone getting hurt.
“There is something very useful for a lot of people,” Piscatella said. “I’m in that boat too.”
Video game makers are well aware that the more challenging the opponent, the greater the attraction for players.
“The satisfaction comes from actually getting through it, like running a marathon. It’s just a different way of thinking than a lot of games,” Piscatella added, referring to the “Souls” games.
While “Souls” games have an avid following eager to get their hands on “Elden Ring”, the franchise has yet to generate a mainstream hit.
Reviews from early access critics raved about “Elden Ring,” earning it perfect scores.
“Maybe this is the one breaking out,” Piscatella said.
“But at its core, it’s still an experience that requires a lot of dedicated time and effort that doesn’t hold back too much.”
Players who have tried the game have been mostly positive.
“The atmosphere is very mesmerizing, the world is huge, and there is a varying difficulty of encounters that should satisfy more players,” tweeted @VaatiVidya, a YouTube streamer known for his specialization in Dark Souls.
“This is going to be big.”
Bandai Namco declined to disclose how many players had downloaded the game ahead of its official launch.
Players talked about setting aside the weekend and beyond to immerse themselves in “Elden Ring”, disconnecting from real-world woes, including war and pandemic.
“We would be delighted if ‘Elden Ring’ can help relieve stress and anxiety in players,” Bandai Namco told AFP.