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‘Fortnite’ Chapter 3 officially debuts with a new island and revamped gameplay

It didn’t take long for Epic to confirm Fortnite Chapter 3 details. The developer has officially released a trailer that outlines what to expect both in Chapter 3 and its first season, “Flipped.” The new island is the star, with the flip from the Chapter 2 finale leading to a complete landscape overhaul that includes chaotic weather. However, the gameplay changes are arguably more important — you’ll have to rethink your tactics.

The sliding and swinging mechanics should help you move (and dodge) faster than before. Camps help your squad heal and store items that persist between matches. You can also earn XP beyond battle royale, and hold on to a Victory Crown if you keep winning. Epic is clearly hoping to both foster a non-combat metaverse and keep its top-tier players coming back.

And yes, there are new characters. Spider-Man is well-suited to the new swinging mechanic, but you can also play as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Fortnite character The Foundation, or Gears of War‘s Marcus and Kait. Think of them as the poster children for Chapter 3. They may help draw you in, but it’s the fresh gameplay that might keep you playing in the long run.

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Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League Gameplay Debuts

Warner Bros. and Rocksteady Studios presented their latest trailer for the Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League at The Game Awards on Thursday. The trailer featured a lengthy gameplay preview and a confirmed release date of sometime in 2022. Suicide Squad is coming to PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. There was no mention of it coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Rocksteady revealed glimpses of gameplay through past trailers and social media snippets before, but nothing as in-depth as the gameplay in The Game Awards trailer. Developers announced they would be appearing at The Game Awards with a gameplay preview on social media before the show.

In the trailer, Suicide Squad members Harley Quinn, King Shark, Captain Boomerang, and Deadshot ripped apart the city with their powers and abilities in what seemed like a citywide battle. Each member showcased their own unique fighting style based on their strengths —  fists in the case of King Shark and blasters for Deadshot. The team faced a corrupted version of the Flash and other demonic creatures running amok in the city. Though they weren’t featured, other members of the Justice League will likely appear in the game, too.

Suicide Squad is only one of the comic book hero video games announced in recent years. Other comic book-related titles include Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s Avengers, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

Rocksteady Games originally announced Suicide Squad in 2020 at the DC FanDome. For reference, Rocksteady Studios already produced critically acclaimed DC-related work for the Batman Arkham series. So, at the very least, the game has some developers who are familiar with DC behind the wheel.

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Xbox gamers will soon be able to share gameplay clips via public links

Xbox video game clips are about to become much more easily shareable via unique public URLs on the Xbox mobile app, according to a tweet from Microsoft’s Larry Hryb (@majornelson). Those links will also be collected into a new “trending content” area so you can see what others are doing. The features are now being tested in the app and will “soon’ roll out to all users, Hryb said. 

“With Link sharing, just go to the capture you want to share in the Xbox mobile app to get a link, then paste it anywhere to share with your friends, who don’t need to be signed-in to view your capture. We are now testing this long requested feature,” Hryb said in the thread.

According to images shared by Hryb, the trending content section is a new social media-type site on iOS and Android kinds of resembles (wait for it) TikTok’s feed — somewhat of a trend lately. Clicking on it opens up highlights that you can scroll through and then like, comment and share (top). 

Microsoft already offers the ability to share game clips and screenshots via your profile’s activity feed, clubs, messages and social media, on consoles as well as the mobile app. Sony also recently unveiled a similar feature on the PlayStation 5. However, letting you generate public links should make it more seamless, and Microsoft is making it more accessible with the social media aspect. The company has been testing the feature with developers, but you should see the feature in the near future.

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Niantic buys gameplay recording app Lowkey to improve its in-game social experience

Niantic has acquired another company to help build out its augmented reality platforms. The company has announced that it’s acquiring the team behind Lowkey, an app you can use to easily capture and share gameplay moments. While you can use any screen capture application — or even your phone’s built-in feature — to record your games, Lowkey was designed with casual gamers or those who don’t want to spend time editing their videos in mind. 

The app can capture videos on your computer, for instance, and sync them with your phone where you can use its simple editing tools to create short clips optimized for mobile viewing. You’re also able to share those clips with friends within the app Snapchat-style or publish it for public viewing like TikTok. Niantic didn’t reveal what the Lowkey team will be doing for its AR games and experiences exactly, but it said the team’s “leadership in this space will accelerate the social experiences [it’s] building in [its] products.” The company added: “We share a common vision for building community around shared experiences, and enabling new ways to connect and play for our explorers.”

The Pokémon Go creator purchased other companies in the past in its quest to build more tools and features for its augmented reality products. In 2017, it purchased social animation startup Evertoon to build a social network for its games. Last year, it bought 3D mapping startup 6D.ai to develop “planet-scale” augmented reality, and just this August, it acquired LiDAR scanning app Scaniverse to create a 3D map of the world.

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Halo Infinite multiplayer first impressions: Great gameplay but questionable monetization

Yesterday, Microsoft dropped quite the bombshell when it announced that it was sending Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer mode live early in celebration of the franchise’s 20th anniversary. While Halo Infinite‘s campaign won’t be here until December 8th, we’re getting the full multiplayer experience three weeks early. We’ll have a full review of Halo Infinite around the campaign’s launch, but for now, I thought I’d share some early impressions of Infinite‘s multiplayer mode.

Steaktacular

Even though Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer is available in beta at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a whole that’s going to change once the full game goes live on December 8th. In a post to the Halo Waypoint blog, 343 Industries says this is pretty much what we can expect from Halo Infinite multiplayer in season 1.

“While you may experience some bumps and bugs during this beta period, it does mark the official start of Halo Infinite Season 1, with all day-one maps and modes enabled as well as the full Season 1 Battle Pass,” 343 writes. “This means all the Battle Pass and customization items you earn or purchase during the beta will stay with you after December 8th.”

What’s there right now is a pretty good amount of content, with separate playlists for Big Team Battle (12v12), Quick Play (4v4), Bot Bootcamp (4v4), and Ranked Arena (4v4). Queuing for one of these playlists will drop you into one of a variety of game modes. For Big Team Battle, those game modes are Capture the Flag, Slayer, Total Control, and Stockpile. Quick Play, Bot Bootcamp, and Ranked all have a similar spread, with all of them offering Capture the Flag, Oddball, Slayer, and Strongholds, while Quick Play also has a One-Flag CTF mode.

First and foremost: the gameplay in Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer is fantastic so far. I love the way it feels on keyboard and mouse, and though it’s been a pretty long time since I last played Halo 3, in my mind, I’m drawing comparisons to that as I play Halo Infinite. I also love the look of Halo Infinite; it looks more like classic Halo games and less like Halo 4 and Halo 5, though I admit I’ve only had limited exposure to the latter game.

All of the guns that I’ve tried feel pretty good, too, though I need to spend some time in Halo Infinite‘s Academy mode to put the power weapons through their paces. I’ve been mainly using the assault rifle, battle rifle, and pistol in my multiplayer matches so far, and those all feel great to use, particularly the battle rifle and pistol. While the pistol isn’t quite as good as in Halo: Combat Evolved, it makes for a good precision weapon at mid-range, and I think players will be surprised by how deadly it can be against enemies that outrange the AR.

My main complaint with matchmaking is that I can’t queue only into Slayer if I want to. The other modes are fun, but most of the time, I just want to play Slayer. That might be boring, but I don’t think I’m alone in having this preference. I suspect that’s why 343 opted to bundle Slayer in with other modes like Oddball and Capture the Flag because if Slayer existed in a standalone playlist, it might be more difficult to fill other game modes consistently.

I’m also sad to see that Halo Infinite is missing some of my favorite game modes from past Halo games. Specifically, the absence of SWAT, Infection, and Griffball bums me out, and I can only hope that they get added sometime later on down the road.

Bots, bots, bots

For the first time in Halo history, Halo Infinite has bots. Players can opt to dive into Bot Bootcamp, where they’ll be placed on a team with four human players against a team of four bots. If you want to learn maps in a multiplayer game or try out weapons with opponents who will actually attempt to fight back, this is the mode for you. Bot Bootcamp is also a nice way to chill with a few casual matches at the end of the night, but beyond that, I have a hard time imagining most players spending any significant time here.

As you might imagine, the bots you’re up against in Bot Bootcamp are not a great replacement for human players. In every Bot Bootcamp game I played, the humans dominated the bots with vast score differentials, so don’t go into this mode looking for a challenge. Still, Bot Bootcamp has its uses, so I’m happy to have it along.

Questionable monetization and unexciting progression

And then we come to the elephant in the room: monetization. Unlike Halo multiplayer modes of the past, Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer is free-to-play. That could be a good thing, as it could help Halo Infinite achieve enduring popularity, but Microsoft and 343 have taken the chance to stuff this game full of microtransactions for almost every type of cosmetic.

Halo Infinite feels a lot like Fortnite, with an in-game shop and a Premium battle pass that can be purchased for $10 and leveled up as you play. I don’t mind the battle pass so much, but some of the prices in the shop border on absurd. For example, when I checked it out yesterday, I saw that a skin was being offered for $20. Twenty United States dollars!

We’re talking gacha game levels of monetization here, and being free-to-play is no excuse for pricing a single skin so high. I will keep my wallet where it’s at, thank you, and I think everyone should do the same until 343 and Microsoft can come up with a pricing scheme that isn’t quite so insulting.

The battle pass is an entirely different beast, but still one that doesn’t sit very well with me. I haven’t taken a close look at the content it contains yet, but I’ve played enough to know that actually leveling it up is a big fat drag that is entirely unfun. For some reason, 343 decided to make it so the only way to earn battle pass XP is by completing challenges. There’s no XP gain simply for playing, which means that if you didn’t complete a challenge during that game you just played, you’re making no progress on your battle pass when you get to the score screen.

Put plainly: that’s no fun and it needs to be changed. In September’s edition of Inside Infinite, 343 suggested that it was listening to feedback and would consider changing battle pass progression, saying, “We have heard community feedback around wanting more progression options including things like ‘match XP’ to feed into the Battle Pass and an entirely separate, incremental system along the lines of earning SR152 in Halo 5: Guardians. Expanding Multiplayer progression offerings is something the team is actively exploring, and we look forward to continuing to evolve the experience in future seasons post-launch.”

That sounds an awful lot like PR speak for “we’re not going to talk about this more right now and hope people stop bringing it up,” but the battle pass progression has to change, and we shouldn’t have to wait until season 1 is over in six months for those changes to be implemented. There’s no better way to take the wind out of a player’s sails after a close match than by showing them that they earned no experience toward their battle pass – which they paid actual money for – despite pulling off a hard-fought win or otherwise giving it their all to the end.

Halo Infinite‘s gameplay is excellent, but outside of your matches, all you see are greedy cash-grabs and reminders of stingy progression. Even after just a day of playing, I can tell you that 343 and Microsoft need to reconsider some things about the battle pass and the cash shop or else they’ll risk losing players to other games. The fans were right to sound the alarm on battle pass progression when 343 originally announced these changes, and now I’m hoping the studio listens.

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Elden Ring Gameplay Trailer Shows Off Its Open World

Today’s first look at gameplay for Elden Ring, FromSoftware’s highly-anticipated upcoming title, is all-encompassing. The 19-minute video from the developer offers details on everything in the game, including the random encounters that players can expect, new gameplay mechanics like crafting and stealth, and the changes that have come from giving players the option to do a little hop whenever they want.

Elden Ring takes place in The Lands Between, and that’s pretty much all we got of the game’s story or setting during today’s presentation. It’s not clear why players will be adventuring through the strange, cursed land or what their goal is. Like the Dark Souls games, Elden Ring‘s story may be told through item descriptions. However, much like a Dark Souls game, there are places scattered throughout the world for players to rest at called sites of grace. Lights from the sky point to these sites, giving players a beacon to head towards if they need to get away from the action.

Elden Ring‘s largest departure from all of From Software’s other games is that it’s totally open-world. Players can summon a spectral horse and ride through The Lands Between, meeting NPCs or taking part in random encounters. One such encounter shown today had a dragon swoop in and attack the player as they were passing a patrol of enemies.

Players will also be able to ambush convoys of enemies, stealing treasure from the carriages they carry. In today’s video, the player accomplished this by sneaking up on enemies and stunning them with a heavy strike before taking them down. Similarly, players can prepare for fights by crafting useful items, including arrows, from the materials they find around the world.

When they approach enemies or the game’s dungeons, players won’t be bound to the same constraints of other Souls-like games, either. Movement in Elden Ring seems to be a blend of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, with fast dodges being available in combat and quick, high jumps performable at any time. Giving players the ability to jump without needing a running start has evidently affected the design of the game’s dungeons as well. Players can take multiple routes through Elden Ring‘s dungeons by climbing across rooftops or into open windows.

Not everything in Elden Ring is different from FromSoftware’s previous games, though. Players can still summon other players for co-op play or invade others to ruin someone’s day.

Elden Ring is set to launch on February 25, 2022, for PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Anyone who wants to try out the game early can register for a Closed Network Test slated to take place next week.

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Watch 15 minutes of ‘Elden Ring’ gameplay here at 9:45AM ET

Can’t wait to play Elden Ring? While the game is still a few months away from release, FromSoftware will broadcast a 15-minute gameplay trailer later today at 10AM ET/7AM PT. You can watch the entire clip on YouTube, Twitch and right here.

For most Souls fans, this will be the best chance to see the highly anticipated RPG in action before its release date. FromSoftware plans to hold a closed network test to stress test “various technical verifications of online systems,” but that will be only open to a small group of lucky players.

Today’s trailer is likely to give fans a more in-depth glimpse of Elden Ring’s open world. In June, director Hidetaka Miyazaki there would be six areas linked by a hub (think: Firelink Shrine). Not all of those will be accessible from the start of the game, but each will feature a main dungeon with various smaller forts, caves and catacombs to explore. Players can expect the largest world FromSoftware has created to date.

Elden Ring will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. And like you, we can’t wait to play it.

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Final Fantasy V gameplay makes it the most exciting Pixel Remaster for me yet

Yesterday, Square Enix announced the release date for the Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster. While we didn’t get a trailer showing off the game or its gameplay to go along with this announcement, Final Fantasy V is a known quantity by now, and we know what to expect. Even though the original SNES game never made it Stateside, Final Fantasy V eventually came to the US thanks to remakes and compilations on other platforms. With Final Fantasy VI‘s Pixel Remaster still some time off, Final Fantasy V might be the most exciting re-release to date, thanks in large part to its gameplay.

Of the classic Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy V is the one I’ve spent the least amount of time with. Even lacking deep knowledge of the game, it’s clear the main draw is its job system, which allows players to change and level up the classes of their characters. Final Fantasy III was the trail-blazer in this regard, as it was the first Final Fantasy game to feature a job system. Consensus, however, seems to be that Final Fantasy V‘s job system is better than Final Fantasy III‘s since it removes any requirements for changing jobs and allows players to do it at will.

I love job systems in Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy Tactics was actually my introduction to them back in the days of the PlayStation 1, and ever since then, I’ve wondered why they aren’t part of every Final Fantasy game. The answer is probably obvious – repeat a feature too many times, and people will get tired of it – but Final Fantasy games with job systems seem to scratch an itch that others don’t.

Part of the reason I find Final Fantasy‘s job systems so intriguing is that they almost feel like they’re games within games. Plotting each job upgrade path for your characters is something that can have a surprising amount of depth to it, as is trying to figure out which jobs synergize well with each other. Of course, Final Fantasy V is nearly 30 years old, which means the internet has figured out the most efficient progression for everything in the game, but there’s nothing saying you need to follow what the internet says is most efficient as you play.

The most modern implementation of the job system is in Final Fantasy XIV, which allows you to change your character class simply by equipping a different weapon. In addition, each job – or class – is leveled up independently of one another, allowing you to potentially have every class at max level on the same character. Of course, getting to that point is a ton of work, but the fact that you can try and level every class in Final Fantasy XIV with just a single character is a big part of what makes it appealing as an MMORPG.

If you’re a Final Fantasy XIV fan and you haven’t played Final Fantasy V, it might be worth checking out the Pixel Remaster when it launches on November 10th. I don’t think it’s controversial to say that both it and Final Fantasy III laid the groundwork for games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XIV.

Personally, I’m excited to give Final Fantasy V a proper playthrough after all of these years. While Final Fantasy VI is probably the Pixel Remaster I’m looking forward to the most because I consider it one of the all-time great Final Fantasy stories, I’m excited to dive into Final Fantasy V primarily because of the gameplay it will offer. Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster is out on November 10th on Steam, Android, and iOS.

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Horizon Forbidden West: Release Date, Trailer, Gameplay

Sony and Guerrilla Games finally announced Horizon Forbidden West, the highly anticipated sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn. Players will once again be jumping into the shoes of Aloy as she grapples with gigantic mechanical beasts and tries to uncover the secrets of her mysterious world. But with only one trailer under its belt, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the upcoming title for both PS4 and PS5.

We’ve pieced together clues found in the trailer, hints from the previous game, plus the recent State of Play event focused purely on the game, and even speculation from around the web to give you all the information we currently have about Horizon Forbidden West.

Further reading

Release date

Horizon Forbidden West is set to launch on February 18, 2022.

Platforms

Horizon Forbidden West was announced as a cross-generational game, meaning that it will be available on both the PS4 and PS5. The exclusivity is no surprise considering the developers are completely owned by Sony, but some are hesitant about the game being made for the current and previous generation of hardware. Naturally, we can expect some differences between these versions, but the extent of which remains to be seen. The original Horizon Zero Dawn also came to PC, though many years later. It is possible that the same could be true for this sequel, but if so we wouldn’t expect to even hear about plans to port the game over for several years.

Horizon Forbidden West trailer

Here’s an in-depth breakdown of the announcement trailer.

Story

Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t reveal much about the story of Forbidden West. Aloy’s voice can be heard stating that it has been “1,000 years since the Old Ones fell,” but since the entire timeline of the Horizon series is a bit murky, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this new title is taking place. Aloy doesn’t look much older than she did in the first installment, so we’ll go out on a limb and say Forbidden West takes place shortly after Zero Dawn.

There also seems to be some strange red plant that’s causing the death of nearby wildlife. Aloy examines the deadly new flora near the body of a dying fox in the trailer. Numerous other animals are infected with this plague, hinting that it could play a big part in the upcoming title.

An official statement on the PlayStation Blog says that this new chapter will continue “Aloy’s story as she moves west to a far-future America to brave a majestic, but dangerous frontier where she’ll face awe-inspiring machines and mysterious new threats.” It’s not much help when determining the story, but it does hint at the game’s new location.

Location

That cryptic blog post isn’t the only thing that hints at a new location — the game’s name practically gives it away. Horizon Forbidden West will likely take place near modern-day San Francisco. A beautiful coastline is featured during the opening moments of the trailer, and we even get a glimpse of what appears to be the ruins of the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s also the usual variety of mountains and plains that have become mandatory in open-world games — it seems that much has changed with San Francisco and its surroundings over the years.

The September issue of PlayStation Official Magazine – U.K. revealed some more specific locations. The game will take place between Utah and the Pacific Ocean, and both San Francisco and the Yosemite Valley are going to be playable locations. The Golden Gate Bridge will indeed make an appearance, even though it’s mostly been submerged.

Game director Mathijs De Jonge said, “With the additional power of the PS5, we can make the world even more detailed, more vibrant, more immersive.”

Gameplay

We anticipate that Horizon Forbidden West will follow the same basic gameplay structure found in the first game, only expanded upon in a few ways we already have seen thanks to the State of Play event. The game is still an open-world, third-person action title with an emphasis on bow-based combat against giant robotic foes. In addition to the main quest, we can also look forward to many more side quests and activities around the world to spice up the experience and add variety, plus unlock new weapons, currency, and loot.

Underwater gameplay

Horizon Forbidden West is heading into uncharted territory with underwater gameplay. One interesting segment displays Aloy sneaking through an aquatic forest before stumbling upon a couple of mechanical alligators, possibly Snapmaws from the original. Considering these beasts were a pain to fight when they were out of water, we can’t imagine how terrifying they’ll be in their natural habitat.

Enemies

Various creatures approaching in Horizon Forbidden West.

It should come as no surprise, but Aloy will be up against a whole new cast of enemies in this western location. The brief trailer showed a monstrous mechanical turtle, a strange mammoth-like creature, and a bunch of others soaring off in the distance.

There were a few familiar faces as well, such as the aforementioned Snapmaw, but we also laid eyes on a Charger and Scrappers.

Then, there was Sylens. We won’t say much, as we don’t want to spoil the fun for those who haven’t finished the original, but it looks like they’ll be making another appearance — and we’d bet they have a very significant role to play.

Gear

Aloy is still rocking the Focus she picked up from the first game, meaning players will likely have access to many of the same abilities they had in Zero Dawn. Expect to see its use expanded in some form — after all, there’s bound to be incredible technology in the ruins of Silicon Valley.

Other than the Focus, Aloy is still sporting a bow and arrow and can still mount Chargers for quick traversal, but she has a few new exciting tools for movement. As if the game didn’t need another comparison point to Breath of the Wild, Aloy also now has a glider to safely descend from high elevations. The most exciting traversal mechanic, at least to us, is the grappling ability where Aloy throws out a rope to a point and is pulled toward it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for new ways to get around, though.

After seeing the Pullcaster, or grapple, and Shieldwing, the name of the glider, we also have now seen how the two can be used in tandem for Aloy to propel herself into the air and deploy the glider back and forth, somewhat similar to Just Cause 2. Mounting machines will be a returning traversal mechanic, but expanded to include even more types to ride.

While not fully climbable like Breath of the Wild, far more of the environment will be climbable than before. Instead of essentially linear sections Aloy could grab onto, there’s much more freedom in what and where you can climb.

A new combat mechanic Aloy will be able to use is called Valor Surges. These are special attacks that require you to charge up by attacking enemies. There will apparently be 12 types of Valor Surge that can be charged up to three levels, each of which will function differently and be useful for different purposes. Upgrading weapons and armor will also now be possible via a workbench, which also can be used to get new perks and slots for mods.

We also got a glimpse at a few other tools, like a smoke bomb, to help in combat. Many arrow types will still be crafted and used for different purposes, plus the mechanic of breaking weapons off of enemies makes a return.

Multiplayer

Aloy uses a bow and arrow in Horizon Forbidden West.

With no word on any type of multiplayer component being added yet, we have little reason to think it will be added in Horizon Forbidden West. The first game was a strictly solo experience, as are most of Sony’s first-party, big-budget games. That isn’t to say it isn’t possible, and if it were we could only imagine some sort of cooperative experience of fitting the gameplay style, but it doesn’t seem likely. Then again, who suspected that Ghost of Tsushima would not only get a co-op multiplayer mode, but have it actually be a really polished and fun experience? That just proves we won’t know for sure until the game is out and any DLC is laid out.

DLC

It’s still too early to know anything for sure, but just based on the first game, there is a decent chance that we’ll get some DLC expansion in Horizon Forbidden West. The first game’s DLC, The Frozen Wilds, added a new region to the map, along with its own questline, side activities, new enemies, and more. If this game were to get DLC later on, this is the most probable direction it would go.

Pre-order

Pre-orders are live via PlayStation and all major retailers.

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Elden Ring: Release Date, Trailer, Gameplay, News, and More

FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was a smash hit, and the studio is planning on continuing that success with Elden Ring, a game that — for the majority of its existence so far — has been shrouded in mystery. Releasing in 2022, Elden Ring is the next game from the renowned studio, directed by Souls series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and with the creative input of A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin. We will return to a dark fantasy setting, much like in Dark Souls, but make no mistake: Elden Ring is a different beast.

Here is everything we know about Elden Ring so far, including its combat, setting, structure, and when we’ll be able to get our hands on it.

Recommended reading:

Release date

After what felt like an eternity of silence, Elden Ring finally has a release date. The original date we got was January 21, but it received a bit of a delay and will now hit on February 25. However, there will also be a closed network test that players can register for being held throughout November to get a taste of the game early.

Announcement trailer

As with the reveals for most of FromSoftware’s projects, Elden Ring’s announcement trailer was simultaneously enthralling and cryptic. In it, we see a figure hunched over an anvil that is emitting a bright light, and then shift to a man who appears to be putting someone else’s arm over his own as hands reach out to grab him.

Next, we’re shown a quick glimpse of several scenes, including an enormous hammer being wielded and a mysterious person with a helmet and flowing red hair. This warrior wields a spear, and after attacking an enemy, we see the titular Elden Ring break apart.

This figure is then seen looking up at the red sky, seemingly being ignited by the light above. An enormous sword is planted in the ground nearby, and we see the figure who was standing above the anvil one last time as it appears to begin disintegrating.

Second trailer

The second trailer revealed during the Kickoff Live! Summer Game Fest event was much more substantial. It showed off the open world, characters, combat, and some more bits of story. It starts off with a character summoning a horse before heading off into the open world. As the character rides, a few Dark Souls-esque characters are shown, possibly hinting at the enemies you’ll fight in the game. They look like monsters, though, if the Souls games are anything to go on, some of them could be allies.

Later on in the trailer, we get a look at a dark dungeon area, with a greater emphasis on combat. Here, we see some melee action, though it’s important to take note that none of the UI was shown. Dark Souls’ and Bloodborne’s UIs are famous and easily recognizable, so we’re curious to see if a similar interface will appear in Elden Ring. Another detail is that the main character is able to swing their sword with two hands, but in a subsequent shot, they’re seen holding a shield. So it might feature a similar system that enables players to opt out of using a shield just like in Souls.

The trailer also gives us a look at what is presumably a boss, and the main character can be seen dodging out of the way of its attacks, before unleashing a devastating blow on their opponent. After that, a shot of a character sitting at a fire can be seen, also possibly referencing the Souls games. We won’t give away the rest of the trailer, but you should absolutely check it out.

Platforms

A knight jumping across a chasm on a horned mount.

Elden Ring is scheduled to launch for PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Publisher Bandai Namco does have a history of releasing games for Nintendo Switch, but it looks like this one will be skipping the handheld hybrid, which comes as no surprise. Perhaps for the Switch Pro, though!

Gameplay

Two riders about to clash at sunset.

If you’re a fan of games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, you don’t have to worry about Elden Ring veering too far from the established formula. Speaking to IGN after the game’s reveal trailer at E3 2019, Hidetaka Miyazaki said that the game would remain a third-person action RPG that is “heavily based on Dark Souls.” Much like these games, you won’t be returning to populated towns to speak with villagers or collect quests. Instead, you can expect encounters with non-hostile NPCs to be relatively rare, adding a sense of dread and destruction that FromSoftware is known for.

Elden Ring will also be taking a different approach to the world itself, with a more open-ended structure rather than the Metroid-inspired maps of past FromSoftware games. It will be the studio’s largest game so far. You’ll be able to move throughout this world on a horse, which hasn’t been possible in any of the Souls games, Bloodborne, or Sekiro, though Sekiro did feature a boss riding on a horse in its early hours.

Elden Ring also returns to character customization after removing the feature in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. With the “role-playing” phrase being used in interviews rather than the “action-adventure” used for Sekiro, you can likely expect more player choice and the ability to craft your own preferred play style. There will be multiple weapons as well as magic abilities to use, and it could offer even more combat variety than the Souls series.

The challenge Miyazaki games are known for will still be there for Elden Ring in full force. Speaking to Xbox Wire, he said that his staff still puts great importance on “the joy the player experiences through overcoming challenges,” and that it should be comparable to the studio’s previous games.

During its most recent trailer, Bandai Namco showed off Elden Ring’s gameplay, and it looks more like the Souls series than many expected. The biggest change will come with its open world, but beyond that, the combat and emphasis on exploration will be similar. During a few segments of the trailer, the player can be seen dodging and maneuvering around nearby enemies in typical Souls-like fashion. It’s unclear if the game will feature a stamina system, or an inventory like the Souls games, but when it comes to pure movement, you can tell where it draws inspiration from.

While the gameplay trailer certainly answered a lot of questions, it raised just as many, such as how saving will work, what kind of magic will be available, if there will be a parry system, and whether or not it’ll have difficulty options. But as it stands, you can bet it’ll play a lot like Souls, perhaps with a bit more fluidity like Bloodborne.

Multiplayer

A massive hary beast attacking a person casting a spell.

Though it wasn’t announced in the trailer, Elden Ring will, in fact, have four-player online cooperative play. According to FromSoftware, you’ll be able to “traverse on foot or horseback, alone or online with friends across grassy plains, suffocating swamps, and lush forests.”

In the Souls games, the multiplayer functionality is a bit complicated and requires both players to have specific items to “summon” and join one another. It’s unclear if this functionality will work the same way in Elden Ring, or if it will take on an identity of its own.

DLC

A rider in the woods near a giant cloaked figure.

Considering the game is still several months out, it’s still too early to have concrete information about potential Elden Ring DLC. However, based on the other Dark Souls games and Bloodborne, it’s highly likely Elden Ring will get post-launch support. All of the Souls games received major post-launch expansions, so it’s a safe bet Elden Ring will, too. We’ll likely find out more after the game comes out.

Pre-order

A man with a spear hiding in some bushes beside a caravan.

You can actually pre-order Elden Ring through Amazon right now. The retailer only has the previous generation versions available, but we’ll put links to those below:

A Game of Thrones

George R.R. Martin standing by some rope.

In contrast to past FromSoftware games, where the lore has largely come from Hidetaka Miyazaki himself, Elden Ring is being developed in close partnership with author George R. R. Martin, whose A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels were later adapted into the show Game of Thrones. The collaboration started with Miyazaki sharing his general ideas and themes for the game, and Martin was then responsible for creating an overarching mythos. Martin also created characters as well as “mystical and mysterious elements” that Miyazaki’s development staff then used when creating the game.

The title Elden Ring relates to a “mysterious concept that defines the game world itself,” according to Miyazaki. Its exact nature is being kept under wraps, though we do know that it is currently destroyed — either by someone or something.

Development on Elden Ring actually began when Dark Souls III’s downloadable content was finished, and for a time it was being created concurrently with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Through assigned co-directors, Hidetaka Miyazaki was able to juggle both projects at once. It’s unclear at the moment if yet another Souls-like is also in the works at FromSoftware, or if this is the studio’s sole major project.

Editors’ Choice




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