Elden Ring, theories on the history of the game

Elden Ring, theories on the history of the game

Elden Ring

If there's one thing you notice from the highly anticipated Elden Ring trailer it's FromSoftware's willingness to make its next creature the spiritual successor to Dark Souls. The plan is quite crystal clear: the game is a mixture of old and new factors, which could represent a dry evolution for the whole soulslike genre or an unexpected misstep. In case the information obtainable by observing the gameplay is not enough to understand it, however, the lore of the game, recently revealed through the official website, also comes to your aid.

There is little to go around it, the basis of Elden Ring is extremely similar to that of Dark Souls, and puts you in the shoes of a Tarnished, an exiled from the "Lands Between" (in Italian they have translated "Interregnum"), whose purpose is to recover the fragments of the Elden Ring that it gave prosperity to the world, and which are now the property of demigods whose thirst for power has sparked a devastating war. A premise particularly suitable for a video game, for heaven's sake, but also similar to the concept of the first flame of Dark Souls, where the Tarnished seem to be little more than a variant more suited to the background of the Undead. Outside of this initial, inaccurate, information, however, there is not much else that can be explored, and the combination of the skills of Martin and Miyazaki may have given rise to something far more elaborate than usual in this field. Today let's try to see why.

Losing the light

Let's start with one of the most evident elements of the new narrative: the tree at the center of the world. His name is ErdTree and he is clearly inspired by Yggdrasill, the world tree from Norse mythology. Here, too, the health of the tree is fundamental for the well-being of the planet, but the difference is that the ErdTree was born in the Elden Ring, and the breaking of the ring triggered a series of catastrophic events culminating in Shattering the war between demigods we talked about in the intro. The fact that the name of the conflict indicates a disintegration is not only a gimmick to effect: whatever happened has actually devastated the environment. The trailer shows in many scenes ruins, plains traversed by indelible wounds in the earth, destroyed bridges, and so on. Furthermore, the video specifies how the golden order has collapsed, indicating that the ring was the means by which this order was imposed. It is not impossible that once again the collection of the fragments of the ring could lead to the restart of a cycle of some kind, plausibly linked to that "Higher Will" that would have abandoned everyone after the Shattering.

Now, if so much gives us so much, it is not so obvious that this higher will has a necessarily positive nature. Miyazaki has always been influenced by Berserk after all, and by the reversal of the divine figure that is so exploited in Japanese fiction. We would not be surprised if Elden Ring also had choices capable of leading the player to a total rejection of this celestial force, since our alter ego is still a "Tarnished", and therefore part of a people who have been abandoned by such grace perhaps even before the conflict started. It would also be interesting if, given the apparent mixture of Nordic and Celtic mythology that seems to move everything, there were connections between the Tarnished (or the lords themselves) and a sort of reworking of the Tuatha dé Danann: mythological Irish people with a divine nature.

Another maiden?

Central, in the video, is also the possible "maiden" of this title. It is not clear whether there will also be an equivalent of the Firekeeper, the Emerald Herald or the Maiden in Black in Elden Ring, but from what we have seen the protagonist is found by a mysterious hooded woman, and it is she who starts his adventure by giving him his ring (difficult to say at the moment if it is a jewel with some magical properties) and the mount. Considering that she uses the term "we", she too is plausibly a Tarnished: perhaps a previous ruler of that people, or their equivalent of the lords of other areas.

Yes, because in reality the lords are the most interesting element of this new lore: demigods who have obtained part of the power of the Elden Ring through its fragments, and blinded by this power have made the world of I play the inhospitable and dangerous place that you see on video. Martin's presence here is key, as it is rumored that he is the one who outlined the narrative background of each of these characters and their motivations, and it is plausible that many of them are connected. In the trailer you can see various battles against bosses that could be, in fact, lords, but the focus is mainly on two figures: a warrior without an arm and a crowned head who instead has too many limbs. It is very likely that the power of the Elden Ring is something unmanageable even for a demigod, and leads to a corruption capable of consuming the body. It is difficult to say, however, whether the ruler with many arms is a mere lord who has lost his mind, and wanted to replace what he lost with the limbs of dozens of enemies (including the head of a dragon), or someone more significant than he was even able to take the arms of other lords.

In all this, then, there is also to consider the figure of Marika the Eternal, who reigned over these lands before the "theft" of the ring. It's hard to say whether or not she appears in the trailer (she might be the woman accompanied by a knight you see at some point, but it's likely a more imposing figure), but she'll definitely be part of the story in some way too. It has also been confirmed that NPCs will have negative or positive influences on the narrative based on their wishes, so choosing carefully who to trust will be essential for the story to develop according to your wishes.

In short, Elden Ring, already from what we have seen, it seems to have a complicated universe behind it, and it will be really interesting to see how much the influence of the good Martin will have changed the classic style of Miyazaki and his followers. What is certain is that the connections with the Souls and their structure already seem more than marked, and that even at the narrative level we could find ourselves in front of a clear evolution of what we have seen in the past. Now you just have to wait until January.

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