Elden Ring Director Talks His Ideal Fantasy RPG, Seamless Co-op, And More

Elden Ring Director Talks His Ideal Fantasy RPG, Seamless Co-op, And More

Most of Elden Ring developer FromSoftware’s games have some form of cooperative play. However, they are full of restrictions and cost-related mechanics that make it impossible for you to play the whole way through with a friend without jumping through hoops. The good news is, it doesn’t sound like the studio is married to that ideal, and may consider a more seamless co-op experience in a future project.

Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdree DLC is just a few days away from its June 21 launch, and FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki has been making the rounds for interviews. This included a chat with PC Gamer, delving into the expansion, the nature of cooperative play in his future games, what his ideal fantasy RPG looks like, and his reaction to the layoffs plaguing the video gaming industry.

FromSoftware would “consider” seamless co-op in a future game

If you’ve ever tried to play a FromSoftware game with a friend, you know it can be a bit of an ordeal. Games like Bloodborne allow you to play in co-op, but you have to use summoning items to bring the other person into your game, and you must have a certain in-game currency to pull it off. This is an effective way to let players call for help if they need it without the game becoming a solely cooperative adventure, but would that be such a bad thing? Elden Ring also has its own rules and limitations, and it’s resulted in a popular Seamless Co-op mod that lets you go through the entire game with a friend.

Miyazaki says this isn’t something the team is opposed to. The “drop in drop out” was meant to let the game be “more loose” so players could complete a task then move on. But Miyazaki sounds open to implementing something like this mod in a future project.

“That’s not to say we won’t consider other ways like you and your friend played, from beginning to end, total co-op—that’s not to say we won’t consider ideas like that with our future games,” he said.

Elden Ring is not Miyazaki’s ideal fantasy RPG, but it’s “getting close”

PC Gamer also talked with Miyazaki about growing up with tabletop RPGs and being a fan of Lord of the Rings and Warcraft. He said he was trying to capture the “excitement” of old tabletop games with Elden Ring, and saw this as an extension of dungeon crawler games in the ‘80s that encouraged players to draw maps to know where they were going. Though he admits that his personal preferences have played a part in Elden Ring’s design, he says he’s still trying to make his “ideal” fantasy RPG, and that while Elden Ring is “getting close,” it’s not quite that.

Miyazaki admits that it is probably impossible to achieve this ideal, because if he’s the one making the game he can’t experience the same surprise a player would. So it seems that creating his ideal RPG and experiencing his ideal RPG are mutually exclusive in his eyes.

“It’s hard to say without giving spoilers for my next idea or our next games,” Miyazaki said when asked about what Elden Ring was missing to be his ideal. “But I think one thing that’s not necessarily missing, but makes it difficult to achieve my ideal, is that when I play it, I know everything’s going to happen. I already know everything that’s going on. So in terms of enjoying the game from a player’s perspective, I’d love to not know that, and for somebody else to make my ideal fantasy game, please, if possible. Then I can enjoy it just as a player.”

Miyazaki weighs in on the plague of layoffs in the video game industry

The video game industry has suffered thousands of layoffs just in the first half of 2024, and that’s on top of a miserable 2023. Some of the biggest companies, including Sony and Microsoft, have been cutting jobs and shuttering studios. FromSoftware has been pretty lucrative in the midst of all this, with Elden Ring selling over 25 million copies since its launch in 2022. But if Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks is any indication, success isn’t enough to save you.

FromSoftware has a parent company in Kadokawa Corporation, which also does business in film, manga, and other industries. Miyazaki seems confident that the powers that be understand the value of the company and its workers, but he also says that as long as he is the company’s president, he is staunchly opposed to laying off the staff and would find alternate ways to sort out any hypothetical financial troubles.

“I think the people at Kadokawa, our parent company, understand that I hold this view very strongly,” he said. “While we can’t say 100 percent—we can’t say with complete certainty what the future’s going to hold for From and Kadokawa—at least as long as this company is my responsibility, that’s something I would not let happen. So hopefully our players and our fans can take a little bit of assurance from that.”

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdree is coming to PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S on June 21. Though it seems like the expansion has already started leaking on the internet, so be wary of spoilers floating around social media.

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