Elden Ring is not the future of the open world

Elden Ring is not the future of the open world

Elden Ring totally stole the show and caught everyone's attention, from the most hardened fans to new and curious interested ones ready to expect the new Skyrim. Despite the enormous popularity, not many have reached the end of the game, as evidenced by the percentage of Xbox and PlayStation trophies, but there is one thing that regardless of the ending I'm sure everyone will have noticed, namely the absence almost total of icons and explicit suggestions related to the progression of the game, both of the primary and secondary areas. It is a truly fascinating and unprecedented feature in the open world panorama, which prompted me to grind hours and hours of content, to discover hundreds of places without the map telling me for sure where to go. Yes, it's true, the "Grace", the Elden Ring save point, indicates the correct direction, but only for a very short stretch and only as regards the advancement of the main content.

Elden Ring, therefore, unlike other titles, from Assassin's Creed to Horizon Forbidden West, works without a mission diary, without a HUD or a particularly dense map. For these reasons, linked to a ten out of ten level design, the best ever seen in the open world, Hidetaka Miyazaki's latest effort is a new way of understanding videogames without barriers. Despite the praise, however, I am almost certain it will have very little influence on large productions, and in the course of this article I will explain why.

Elden Ring

Elden Ring, a more unique than rare case?

And don't mention Immortals Fenyx Rising, a title that, rather than resembling Breath of the Wild, is nothing more than an Assassin's Creed Odyssey in a humorous and cartoonish way, with the addition of stamina during climbing and the flying machine of Assassin's Creed II. Stop. From my point of view, if for every title that is vaguely free or that introduces stamina during climbing we have to bring up Breath of the Wild, I begin to get serious doubts about the public's understanding of the Nintendo game. The peculiarities of the latest Zelda are the careful development of the map, the constant challenge with the environment and the extreme interaction with the world thanks to the physics, the powers to be used and the way in which elements such as fire or ice interact with the ground. Did you find these elements in Immortals Fenyx Rising? The no.

To be honest, the only title truly inspired by Breath of the Wild, with the due and significant differences, is the latest work by Hideo Kojima, Death Stranding, which proposes a constant challenge with the environment and puts at the center of everything, as core gameplay, the journey to the goal, accurately realizing the level design. Of course, to be honest, this is what good Hideo has always tried to do, since the days of Metal Gear Solid V, that is to create a world that supports gameplay, not a world within which to let oneself be taken by the sense of discovery. or from leisure opportunities. Death Stranding, therefore, may have been a step forward in that direction, starting with MGS V, but I struggle a lot not to find extreme influences with Breath of the Wild.

On the other hand we have Red Dead Redemption II, a project so ambitious, expensive and difficult to use as the basis for an open world future that, basically, just like Zelda, it has remained an isolated case. | ); }

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

Inspiration and small influences

At this point many of you may blame me and think that titles like Elden Ring or Immortals Fenix ​​Rising actually have inspired by the Nintendo open world. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that there are undeniable influences doesn't mean that the developers were 100% inspired. As a fairly inveterate player of the open world and omnivorous of the entire market, what I have always noticed in experiences such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey or Valhalla, or in Horizon Forbidden West, is the inclusion of rather new mechanics for these contexts, probably inspired by the two weights of ninety mentioned above, but still introductions to be placed side by side with a pre-packaged game formula, the most commercial and suitable for a mass audience.

In AC Odyssey, for example, Ubisoft has included the possibility of playing the entire title by minimizing the information on the screen and leaving the player the possibility to discover the objectives as if he were an adventurer. A simple introduction at first glance but which has actually shaken the entire title, since all the dialogues present options to provide the player with the clues necessary to understand the next goal. AC Valhalla did the same but without the same attention, not caring about inserting indications within the dialogues, trivializing the introduction of this exploration method.

I happily accept more linear and guided experiences, as long as the quality of the contents also significantly increases. If there is one thing I just can't stand in the vast majority of open world games, it is the extreme expansion of the story and the wrong categorization of the activities. Or rather, the fact that regardless of the selected activity, be it main, secondary or tertiary, only rarely does one get the idea of ​​really playing a content studied with criteria, really primary or secondary in intentions and not inserted to make up the number and extend longevity. This is what I would like from the upcoming open world Sony and Ubisoft, not necessarily what Elden Ring did. Horizon Forbidden West, just to mention a very recent name, is a good step in this direction. In this regard, I sincerely hope that the next open worlds will follow closely the work done by Guerrilla and improve it.

Elden Ring

So Elden Ring isn't inspired by Breath of the Wild?

Hidetaka Miyazaki is a huge fan of Zelda, he never made a mystery of it. In this regard, I am sure that a title like Demon's Souls would never have existed without the love of the Nintendo IP. Nonetheless, Elden Ring differs a lot from Breath of the Wild, aiming for a completely different experience. The points of contact, if we want to define them, all reside in the freedom of exploration granted to the user, but nothing more. The approach to the environment, for example, differs greatly: where Zelda also proposes an environmental challenge, complete with the possibility of interacting with the environment, Elden Ring is limited to clashing with enemies.

Via forced comparisons, therefore, From Software's latest work is a new experience, a path that began and went wrong with Dark Souls II, finally brought to completion. Of course, the formula is not yet perfect, it is possible to give the player even more freedom, insert a diary in which to write down some notes, and so on. But the path is the right one and we can't wait to see Miyazaki and his companions back at work.

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