George R.R. Martin was involved in the development of Elden Ring from the very beginning, and was reportedly “brought things to the table that [From Software] couldn’t have done by [themselves]”. In a recent interview, creator Hidetaka Miyazaki explained that Martin’s worldbuilding not only served as inspiration for the lore of the game but its game design and systems as well. He also briefly explained the game’s history, and how gameplay will focus on providing players with freedom.
The IGN interview doesn’t shy away from praising Martin’s involvement in many aspects of the game. Elden Ring will follow one Tarnished, the title given to exiles of The Lands Between. Miyazaki explains details about the Elden Ring and, by extension, the Erdtree, a giant golden tree that graces the inhabitants of the land.
The Erdtree graced the Tarnished thousands of years before, but they eventually lost this grace, though he doesn’t explain how. Once they’ve lost this grace, however, society cast these “tarnished individuals” out to exile. In the events leading up to the game, an event shatters the Elden Ring and the Erdtree calls the Tarnished back to The Lands Between in order to return to grace.
Miyazaki mentions that Martin himself invented the name “The Lands Between”, and it served as the basis for the game’s mythos and history. In addition to this, Martin also came up with many of the main boss concepts. The main bosses in Elden Ring, he says, “are essentially demigods” and “inherited the mad tainted power of the Elden Ring shards once it was shattered.”
Notably, Miyazaki also states that George R.R. Martin’s involvement from the start of Elden Ring “ended up being a huge source of inspiration and impetus for the design of the game.” Martin himself was apparently very open to the game’s development flow, and prioritized game systems over the inclusion of his worldbuilding. In actuality, however, Miyazaki states that the world-building and systems ended up “hand-in-hand.”
Like previous soulslike titles from the studio, players will be able to decipher this story freely as they go by branching off the main storyline. In addition to this narrative freedom, Elden Ring will allow players to not only ride horses and jump—something unseen in past From Software titles—but also a new stealth mechanic and over 100 freely interchangeable skills that can be combined with a variety of weapons. Miyazaki adds that many of these new features were implemented in order to give players a “high level of freedom”.
Along with this new vast world, we have created a number of new action systems and game systems to enhance this, and to go hand-in-hand with the vast new world. For instance, the player can jump now, you can ride on horseback, and there’s a number of new additions to combat, which just raise the level of freedom higher than our previous games.
Elden Ring will launch on January 21, 2021, for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam.