Few games were as eagerly-anticipated as Elden Ring, and fewer still rose to meet the challenge and exceed those same expectations. But, with FromSoftware’s refinement of the Soulsborne genre at its absolute peak alongside its 2022 release, a new question emerges—what does it do next?
The developer hasn’t said much about future games, or even the post-release roadmap for Elden Ring. But, as the studio basks in the glory of its most successful launch ever, it’s a perfect opportunity to assess Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team’s next steps.
Elden Ring DLC packs
FromSoftware has a long history of shipping DLC for its Soulsborne games, and releasing some for Elden Ring is the safest option given the game’s massive success.
The first Dark Souls received a re-release with new areas, bosses, enemies, and more, while Dark Souls 2 received Scholar of the First Sin, a remaster of sorts that expanded the game’s multiplayer support, included all the game’s DLC, and added a New Game+ mode. Bloodborne also received the critically acclaimed The Old Hunters expansion, which included one of the most challenging bosses in a video game.
Elden Ring 2
In the same way Dark Souls received multiple sequels, Elden Ring is a red-hot contender for a follow-up. Its multiple conclusions and loose ends for characters leave plenty of room for a potential Elden Ring 2; one that can explore new areas, histories, and timelines in FromSoftware’s new universe.
The Elden Ring formula in a new setting
Bloodborne and Sekiro refreshed the Soulslike formula with their unique setting and visuals alongside some key gameplay changes.
Elden Ring could follow suit. Rather than exploring a sequel in the same universe, FromSoftware could take Elden Ring’s open-world design and concepts, applying them to something outside the medieval fantasy genre. It would be an enormous project in scope, one that would require a completely new art direction, items, characters, abilities, lore, and more. But it would be the most refreshing way to keep Elden Ring’s legacy intact while bringing something new to the table.
Live Service Content
One of the things Elden Ring does better than any other Soulsborne is multiplayer. Its PvE summoning abilities and PvP combat make it even easier for people to get straight into the action with the combat functioning well, most of the time.
This opens the door for expanding on this further. It may be cool for the game to introduce seasonal content and world events. Single-player is the core of Elden Ring’s gameplay, but a ladder system where players compete to kill bosses equipped with unique modifiers each season would be fun.
Giant world events where a dozen or more players work together to take out new massive bosses or hordes of enemies could also spice things up, providing new content to an already massive game.
Another genre entirely?
The most likely outcome following Elden Ring is that FromSoftware takes a break from the Soulsborne franchise to create something different in the future.
The developer might be most well known for its work on these Soulsborne titles, but it also has a library of very different games that don’t usually get as much time in the spotlight. Given the huge hype around Elden Ring and the rapport FromSoftware will have built will players as a result, it might be the perfect time to establish a successful franchise in another genre.
There have been rumors circulating of a new Armored Core game in the works, though nothing of the sort has been confirmed by the developer to date.
Even if we are set to get a new Armored Core or another game it will likely still provide a big challenge for players. Game director Hidetaka Miyazaki shared in an interview with the New Yorker that hardship is an important part of his games.
“I do feel apologetic toward anyone who feels there’s just too much to overcome in my games,” Miyazaki said. “I just want as many players as possible to experience the joy that comes from overcoming hardship.”
Regardless of what FromSoftware chooses to do, it has put itself in the perfect position. By taking the time to craft a flawless product in Elden Ring, it has earned the trust of its ever-growing player base.
Instead of rushing out sequels, fans trust each FromSoftware title has received the same care the last has, so it shouldn’t matter which route it chooses; fans will be ready.