How Elden Ring Speedruns Beat The Game In Under 9 Minutes Without Seeing Its Final Boss

How Elden Ring Speedruns Beat The Game In Under 9 Minutes Without Seeing Its Final Boss
Image: FromSoftware

Elden Ring speedrun times dropped dramatically over the last week thanks to the discovery of a new route that removes the need to fight any of the FromSoftware game’s difficult bosses. The current world record, held by high-level Souls speedrunner Distortion2, sits at just below 9 minutes. Let’s look at how he did it.

Distortion2’s time was made possible by “zips,” which allow speedrunners to teleport around Elden Ring’s massive world using a complex series of inputs. Basically, when you block and move forward on the exact frame the idle blocking animation loops, your character will shoot forward at incredible speed, bypassing large swathes of territory that would take forever to schlep across on foot.

Zips can be inconsistent, but they’re also vital to beating Elden Ring as fast as possible. Some players, Distortion2 included, incorporate a metronome to make sure they hit the frame-perfect timing.

An extension of the technique explained above, “mega zips” further increase both the distance covered by regular zips and the difficult manoeuvring needed to pull them off with any kind of regularity.

Mega zips travel so far, in fact, that folks can avoid combat entirely. By shooting out of bounds and despawning the geometry of boss arenas, players are able to send late-game foes like Maliketh and the Elden Beast falling to their deaths in the resulting void. Speedrunners using this technique don’t even see the game’s final boss when it’s defeated.

After that, Elden Ring teleports the player to the last area, where all that’s left to do is trigger the ending and watch the credits roll.

And the wildest thing about all this is that Distortion’s world record run still isn’t the fastest possible time to beat Elden Ring. Although highly skilled, he doesn’t hit every teleport on the first try due to the inherent precarity of hitting all the zips required to beat the game so quickly. Every failed attempt at the tricky technique eats up valuable seconds.

A recent tool-assisted speedrun, just as an example, shows that Elden Ring’s ending can be reached in as little as five minutes with a little more zip consistency.

Elden Ring, you might have heard, is massive. With that enormity comes more opportunities for cracks to show in its façade. And while there’s no telling how low speedrunners will push these completion times, we’re rapidly running out of room for improvement only a month after the game’s release. I expected folks to do incredible things in Elden Ring, but this is beyond even my wildest imagination.

Comments

  • I’ve never really understood the speedrunning stuff when it comes to this sort of thing. I mean you found a glitch or hack to get to the end of the game quickly, you didn’t actually play the game. It is interesting that people find these things to exploit – that takes alot of effort to find, and I do understand most of these speedrunners have played the game properly to find these. But i just don’t see how if you beat it in 9mins and didn’t really do anything but glitch the game, why that is really a massive deal.

    • Far as records go it is widely accepted that different categories for speedrunning exist precisely for that reason.

      Glitchless, 100% completion, etc.

      • Yeah but these are the ones that seem to get all the attention due to the times rather than the methods.
        Traditional categories rarely get attention at all and when they do it’s often due to other things like feuds, rivalries, cheating etc.

        I don’t think these categories aren’t valid in their own right but I’m definitely in the camp of not being all that impressed by them, especially the ones that require all sorts of external methods like building hardware and software to achieve them.
        Not to say they aren’t impressive in their own way but not really in the speed running sense, I said the other day that it’s like hearing somebody chopped the 100m sprint record in half and then learning it was the unrestricted 100m where the runner used an F1 car.

        • I actually hate glitch speedruns personally, even more so when they are usually seen as the ‘default’ category. I think it absolutely goes against the spirit of seeing who can be the fastest when they just bug shit out non-stop. I also don’t think the, “But the game allows it!” argument is a valid one, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority there.

          There’s also (usually) very little skill involved with someone just bugging out a game to break it. Especially when they can just watch countless videos showing exactly how to break it, the same can’t be said at all for watching someone ‘properly’ play the game and then trying to replicate that… Good luck eyeballing parry timing and dodge windows of every boss in a game like Elden Ring because you watched it once or twice on Youtube.

          And actually playing the game the intended way is generally just harder, also with more risk involved when your entire ‘run’ isn’t only a few minutes long.

          I wager other runs don’t get the same sort of coverage, at least on sites like this, due to two factors. First is that people like seeing games get broken in utterly bizarre ways, and second I’d suspect is because watching a multi-hour ‘speedrun’ of someone killing all bosses in the entire game isn’t exactly digestible viewing in your typical sitting where someone stumbles across articles like this.

    • It’s a competition that pushes the boundaries of the game and the player. It’s only as hard to understand as watching any competitive event, be it football, formula 1, or counterstrike. Some rules are laid out for the type of win, and some people push themselves to excel, and other people ride along on the excitement.
      Also, finishing a game that takes 120 hours in 9 minutes is super impressive, even if it is pretty boring to watch because they don’t really do anything in the run anymore.

      • Yeah, I follow speedrunning a bit. It is a supreme test of skill. Watching someone do it isn’t the most illuminating.

        You need to find people who comment the run, sometimes that need to pull off frame perfect moves multiple times.

        • I want to say upfront that I think most speedrunners I’ve seen actually are VERY good at the games they’re playing.

          However, I would argue most glitch runs aren’t some supreme test of skill. Especially when the glitch involves things like bugging out AI so it doesn’t even retaliate. That’s about as skillful as putting in a god mode cheat.

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