It’s not too controversial to suggest that FromSoftware’s Elden Ring is the most anticipated game to release in February. While there are countless aspects of the game to be excited for, the most attention-grabbing detail of Elden Ring’s marketing was the complexity of the game’s lore. With famous author of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series George R. R. Martin leading the creation of the Elden Rings lore and world design, one cannot help but be excited for what is to come.
By analyzing the trailer provided by FromSoftware, this article will compare the world of Elden Ring with that of Dark Souls and it will highlight the key differences therein. Also, by looking at the potential inspiration that acted as the framework for the world, this article will showcase the immense depth that Elden Ring’s world will offer — consistent with FromSoftware’s excellent world design in the past.
From Dark Souls to Elden Ring
The two worlds of Dark Souls and Elden Ring possess key differences that cause the potential for the creation of unique narrative arcs in the new game. The world of Dark Souls revolves around the First Flame, a powerful entity that gave birth to souls that shaped the Age of Fire. To put it simply, the meta-narrative of the three Dark Souls games is identical: The First Flame is slowly fading away and the hero must gather pieces of it, scattered across the world, to save it from fading.
Elden Ring seemingly possesses a similar structure. The hero must gather remnants of the Elden Ring, the source of the power of the Erdtree, that are scattered across the world. The key difference, however, lies in the status of the central power at the synopsis of the story. While the First Flame is weakened, the entity is still intact and sustaining the world. The story of Elden Ring begins with the Elden Ring being shattered and the Erdtree withering away. The world of Elden Ring has ended at the beginning of our hero’s journey. From the narrative perspective, this detail makes Elden Ring, in many ways, an indirect sequel to Dark Souls. Every Dark Soul game does not elaborate on what happens if the First Flame fades and the Age of Fire ends. So, as players, we are entering a thematically familiar, yet narratively unique, world without the confines of the past FromSoftware game.
Elden Ring’s Inspirations
It’s not like Elden Ring requires this comparison to Dark Souls to possess inherent quality. Despite the limited information available to the public, the preview provided by FromSoftware shows interesting connections between the world of Elden Ring and Richard Wagner’s legendary music dramas “Der Ring Des Nibelungen.” The Elden Ring is a combination of three Wagnerian themes: the Ring of Power and the Staff of Wotan. By looking at different parts of the introductory text displayed on the Elden Ring official website, we can see the different themes working to create deeply enriching lore.
“And the mad taint of their newfound strength triggered a war, the Shattering,” the website reads.
The Ring of Power. Let’s start with the one that is more familiar to everyone, or at the very least should be more familiar due to the popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” The Ring of Power is a trinket that grants its wielder the strength to rule the world. However, a terrifying curse causes the wielder to become hostile while others are invoked with envy and lust for the power of the ring. The wielder of the remnants of the Elden Ring are seemingly riddled with a similar curse after they obtain one of its pieces, also called the Great Rune.
“A war that meant the abandonment of the greater will,” the game’s website reads.
The Staff of Wotan: Wotan is the all-father of the gods, and his staff represents his authority and the will of the world. During one of the quarrels, it becomes shattered and, with it, the order of the world collapses into chaos. With the shattering of the Elden Ring, the world fell into an endless war without order. With the addition of the power of the Great Rune at stake, the war then evolves into a political struggle that is a progression from the Wagnerian operas.
Along with the extensive gameplay, Elden Ring’s world seems to possess nuanced, deep lore that the players can explore throughout the game, and it would be laid as a puzzle to solve for those who seek to investigate further.