While Darks Souls and the “Soulsborne” genre have long been a staple of the gaming realm, they never reached the heights we see from Elden Ring, which saw 12 million sales in less than a month. after his release.
These types of numbers are almost never seen in the video game industry outside of established giants like Call of Duty, or high-profile releases like Cyberpunk 2077. But Elden Ring hasn’t just sold so much, it reviews better than any of them besides this. Hype and high expectations + real delivery on brand new IP address.
What I’m wondering now is that with the widespread success of Elden Ring, is how it might influence the whole gaming landscape in future projects, and what lessons the core developers might learn from it. I think there are a few key takeaways.
Exploration for itself – This is probably the biggest key of all, the idea that players don’t need to be guided by their noses through the main story or side quests, and are free to explore on their own- same. You could say Breath of the Wild or even Skyrim may have done this first, but Elden Ring takes things to a whole new level with a map almost entirely devoid of the Ubisoft-like icons that have plagued so many games around the world. opened over the years.
The key here is to consistently reward players for exploring, not through collectibles, but through unique experiences. Each has their own story of randomly wandering through an Elden Ring dungeon and finding a terrifying boss that 100 other players may have missed. The loot rewards are there too, but it’s the creation of these unique and surprising encounters that is the real reward, and allows players to crawl every inch of the map, rather than the desire to 100% clear an area. by ridding it of icons and goals. .
Don’t be afraid of difficulty – This is related to the issue of map and exploration, but evolves beyond that. One of the reasons for all the quest objective icons and lists is that the devs might think their average player is dark enough that they won’t be able to figure things out on their own and they’ll get frustrated and will give up. But Elden Ring proves that you shouldn’t be afraid to challenge players, both by letting them carve their own path through your game, but also in terms of the game difficulty itself.
While sometimes the debate around difficulty is about accessibility, something I think is always important to consider, too often we see games that are afraid to provide a real challenge to players. Elden Ring… don’t care. And as such, it’s reminiscent of epic video game moments in the past where you beat something particularly difficult and got the adrenaline rush that comes with it. I have trouble remembering any challenge in any sprawling AAA game do not in this genre who did the same. Maybe the Valkyrie Queen in God of War, but that’s rare. But Elden Ring is full fights that players will remember forever, and they will remember them mostly because they had to die dozens of times and learn from their mistakes before succeeding. But all in a system that never feels explicitly cheap or unfair (though you might shout that at the screen multiple times in your lowest moments).
Again, Elden Ring isn’t the first game to run on many of these points, and obviously not the first FromSoft game to do so. But Elden Ring East the first game to achieve this explosive level of success from the start, and I have to believe other developers will watch and take notice. These are the lessons that I hope they will learn and implement on their own.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels Herokiller Series and The Earthborn Trilogy.