Following its not exactly unexpected reveal on Sunday, From Software's Hidetaka Miyazaki has shared more details on Elden Ring, the studio's highly anticipated collaboration with A Song of Ice and Fire author George A. A. Martin - a project described as From's "biggest title yet".
In an interview with Xbox Wire, published earlier this week, Miyazaki explained that Elden Ring, which started development shortly after the completion of Dark Souls 3's DLC, was envisaged as a dark fantasy RPG "full of things that we weren't able to do in the Dark Souls series."
Its themes include "eccentricity" and "the will, or ambition of mankind", and Miyazaki's role has been to direct "the various game design, art and musical aspects of the title".
Unlike Sekiro, which Miyazaki considers to have a "heavy focus on action", Elden Ring will focus more on RPG elements. Third-person melee combat will return, however, alongside a wider variety of "weapons, magic, and ways to engage enemies, that make it possible to provide users with a style of gameplay and strategy that suits them" - which is good news for Dark Souls fans that missed the character customisation in From's samurai game.
In fact, Miyazaki promises "even more variety in the ways for players to overcome challenges and tweak their tactics when facing enemies", with Elden Ring continuing From Software's love of tough but "very satisfying" experiences.
One significant distinction between Dark Souls and Elden Ring, which Miyazaki calls "our biggest title yet in terms of sheer volume", is the scale of its world and narrative, with the game offering 'dramatically increased' depth and freedom.
"There are many definitions to the term 'open world'," explained Miyazaki, "but we have simply tried our own approach to a game with a large, open field to play in." It's a world "full of danger and threats" - including "unique and horrifying" bosses - and features "many areas ripe for exploration [including] intricately designed, multi-layered castles."
Interestingly, in a separate conversation with IGN, Miyazaki noted that the scale of the world lead From to add a horse to Elden Ring for traversal, and that the size of its environments means "the way combat plays out becomes fundamentally different."
While speaking to Xbox Wire, Miyazaki also revealed how From Software's somewhat unusual collaboration with author George R. R. Martin came about. Miyazaki readily admits to being a "huge fan" of Martin's work, to the point that he had, in the past, recommended vampire fantasy Fevre Dream to all new employees.
Knowing of Miyazaki's passion, executive business director Eiichi Nakajima decided to reach out to Martin, despite the expectation that "we would get turned down". That wasn't the case, however, and after talking with Martin - "an incredibly fun and stimulating experience" - Miyazaki says he "strongly felt that I wanted to work" together, to which Martin agreed.
As to the nature of the collaboration, Miyazaki says that he presented "themes, ideas as well as many game-related aspects" to Martin, who, after "many free and creative conversations", created the overarching mythos for the game world. This mythos is filled with "interesting characters and drama," according to Miyazaki, "along with a plethora of mystical and mysterious elements" and is "a wonderful source of stimulus for me and the development staff."
Miyazaki even says he "[finds] it hard to contain my excitement from time to time."
There's no release date for Elden Ring just yet, but hopefully more will be revealed soon.