Elden Ring: New information from the EDGE exclusive interview

Elden Ring: New information from the EDGE exclusive interview

Elden Ring

Hidetaka Miyazaki is certainly not a man with a simple mind and that mixture of a tendency to "close up like a hedgehog" - typical of Japanese developers - and the calm shyness that distinguish him make it even more difficult to unhinge the locks of his gray matter while interviewing him.

A step away from the release of his new work, the highly anticipated Elden Ring, EDGE magazine has tried it anyway, with a long chat aimed at discovering the latest secrets of the game before the official launch. Obviously they weren't able to find out everything, however some interesting clarifications have sprung up and today we are here to summarize them all in this special Elden Ring handy.

Let's see what we discussed, why we go from the role by George Martin, to the management of fiction, up to the (curiously) conflicting relationship of the good Miyazaki with the works he created.

The role of Martin

Elden Ring: a mysterious narrator, who could play an important role in the story There has been a lot of talk about the real contribution of George RR Martin to Elden Ring, complete with rumors convinced that it was the American author's tendency to procrastinate the main cause of the game's postponements. This thing has been repeatedly denied, with indeed direct confirmations of how her work was actually completed for some time, because it is not directly related to the dialogues and the plot. Miyazaki's first statements, however, almost hinted at a superficial collaboration, made up only of exchanges related to the creation of the game's universe and more precisely of its mythology. Edge's interview confirmed the last aspect, yet he finally specified in detail what were the relationships between From Software and the writer, in addition to his actual role.

The director of Elden Ring immediately specified that he had found a kindred soul in Martin and that he was particularly happy when he discovered that the well-known writer knew his works, however not with the superficiality of someone he has only heard of them. It seems that the conversations between the two were similar to conversations between "old friends" despite the generation gap, as both have an inordinate passion for fantasy and complex worlds. Not wanting to limit the creativity of the collaboration, From Software chose not to entrust Martin with the story of the game, nor the in-game texts, but asked that he be the one to create the mythos and, more precisely, the flow of the narrative background. and the figures that populate it.

All this information came via text of course, complete with short stories dedicated to many of the main characters, for a mix of terminology, information and subplots that apparently represented a very solid foundation for the story created by Miyazaki and his friends. The director confirmed that Martin's work helped a lot in drafting the plot, because the foundations just described allowed him to connect the threads and develop relationships between characters much more easily.

Elden Ring: Martin's influence may be greater than expected. He has dealt not only with the mythos, but also with various vital figures in the game.This influence of the author, to put it simply, may have made Elden Ring's narrative more crystalline and defined than previous From Software titles, where many of the connections had to be made compulsorily by the player. We believe the element of discovery remains, given that the formula of slow information collection remains almost identical, yet it is evident that many of the aspects of Elden Ring derive from what has been put in place thanks to the collaboration discussed above, and that we could find ourselves faced with something much more elaborate than usual.

Miyazaki himself seems to bask a bit in the complexity of the narrative created during the interview, especially when talking about the symbolism linked to the Elden Ring - not a real ring, but more of an abstract concept, according to his words - and to the figure on the cover of the English magazine: that Godwyn who was the first Elden Lord and then became one of the Tarnished, the "lightless" of which the protagonist is a part. We suspect it will take a long time to dissect the universe of this new game and this can only be positive.

The difficulties of development

Elden Ring: no inspiration from the lord of the rings, the Elden Ring is more like an "abstract concept" In the conversation, Miyazaki also spelled out the causes of the game delay. "The freedom achieved exceeded our expectations and it all accumulated until we had to significantly increase testing and QA," explained the director, once again underlining how ambitious his latest creation is. However, he obviously did not deny the impact of Covid, which forced the team into a small internal revolution to work and communicate remotely. It seems that the process was not completely unnatural in reality - given the habit of many of the members of the software house to already operate in that way - although it took a lot of effort to change the internal infrastructure. Fortunately, everyone managed to adapt.

Curiously, while presenting new challenges, it was not the concept of the open map that caused Miyazaki particular concerns. From Software did not approach the game with the intention of creating an open world, but tried to understand how the flexibility deriving from this novelty could improve and expand their way of making video games.

In practice, they approached Elden Ring with a plan very similar to that of the previous works, trying to create a title that was a sum of what they had learned in the past (something evident, which we had also noticed in the our beta test), and with the intention of taking advantage of the greater freedom of exploration to push their design philosophy to the limit. This strategy is evident when you try the game and, as mentioned in the past, it seems to work great, as the open world of Elden Ring is full of secrets and things to do.

Obtaining a flow of gameplay of that type, however, was not easy: managing the rhythm was the main focus of the developers, and required a significant expansion of the development team. That wasn't enough, the more extensive maps and the amount of work led From to exploit some "facilitating" technologies, including an interesting procedural tool for vegetation. It appears that this tool is responsible for a good 80% of the flora in the game, with the artists on the team focusing on the details and finishing touches to get everything back to perfection with the design intent.

The effect of the remake

Elden Ring: the graphic impact will not be that of the Demon's Souls remake, but the artists of From Software remain exceptional. In closing, the Edge interviewer did not fail to bring up Demon's Souls for PS5 and more precisely to ask if the excellent reception reserved for the game, especially from a technical point of view, had somehow moved From Software to improve in this respect. Miyazaki's response was a simple "for us the graphics are not the most important aspect" and the director was even partially sorry to always take them into consideration as the last thing, because he is aware of having extremely talented managers and developers under that. aspect, which still manage to constantly improve from game to game. However, he said he was happy with the positive response linked to the remake, even though he did not want to play it.

For the record, this desire to keep away from it is not linked to a hatred towards Bluepoint, who indeed proved to be very talented but Miyazaki's inability to enjoy his old games. According to his words, in fact, he is not able to have fun playing his works, because they trigger too many memories and conflicting feelings. It is, curiously, a type of repulsion we often see in developers, linked in many cases to the stress of the development world or to the strong bond a creator has with his work (which leads him to see its negative sides brutally amplified). A real shame, because it seems that conceptually Elden Ring is the work that Miyazaki has always wanted to do, and it is sadly ironic that the director cannot even enjoy his "perfect game" precisely because he was the one who shaped it. If nothing else, we will be able to enjoy it for real soon.

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