What Is 'Elden Ring' and Why You Should Be Excited for the George R. R. Martin Epic

Today will see the launch of the 'Summer Game Fest', hosted by Geoff Keighley. This will be the event's sophomore outing, after it was pulled together last year as a replacement for 2020's canceled E3 conference. Streamed on dedicated Twitch and YouTube channels, the Game Fest promises to be two solid hours of world-exclusive premiers, brand new announcements and in-depth previews for upcoming titles.

In the lead-up to the event, which starts at 2 p.m. ET, the organizers have posted a ''hype reel'' that offers a little taste of what to expect this afternoon. Among other things, you can see brief clips of highly anticipated releases like Psychonauts 2, Kena: Bridge of Spirits and Halo Infinite.

Judging by the YouTube comments though, the tease that seems to have gamers most excited is a blink-and-you-miss-it shot of what appears to be FromSoftware's Elden Ring. The footage in question appears at the 13-second mark in the video and shows an armored warrior unsheathing a scythe in view of a full moon.

You might be wondering why this is such a big deal. After all, it is only a tiny, unassuming snippet in what is otherwise an action-packed showreel, populated by major AAA titles such as Fortnite. To help you understand the hype, we have prepared a comprehensive guide to Elden Ring and why you should be paying attention to it.

Why Are Gamers So Excited for Elden Ring?

The first thing you need to know about Elden Ring is that there has been almost total radio silence on the project since it was first announced back in the summer of 2019. While that element of secrecy does go some way towards explaining why people are so fascinated with this game, much of the hype is actually focused on the incredible talent behind the scenes.

For a start, it is developed by FromSoftware, which has a stellar track record when it comes to RPGs. The Dark Souls trilogy made them a cult favorite and its spiritual successor, Bloodborne, emerged as one of the best-reviewed titles of the previous console generation.

The FromSoftware association alone would normally be enough to guarantee that a game will have a lot of eyes on it, but Elden Ring also benefits from the attachment of another influential name in the fantasy genre. One of the big draws here is that George R. R. Martin has been collaborating with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice director Hidetaka Miyazaki, to flesh out the narrative and world-building elements.

According to Miyazaki, the Song of Ice and Fire writer was instrumental in creating Elden Ring's detailed backstory and rich lore. In an interview with Xbox Wire, the director said: ''This mythos proved to be full of interesting characters and drama, along with a plethora of mystical and mysterious elements as well''.

Given the cultural phenomenon that Game of Thrones eventually became, it is hardly surprising to see that people are looking forward to Martin's contributions on Elden Ring.

What Do We Actually Know About Elden Ring?

There have been a number of supposed gameplay leaks for Elden Ring online but their authenticity has been called into question. In terms of what we can say with absolute certainty, it will be yet another of FromSoftware's signature action RPGs, much like Dark Souls or Bloodborne.

Speaking to IGN, Hidetaka Miyazaki clarified that the game will introduce a few changes to the established formula. Namely, it will be structured more as an open-world experience, akin to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, in which players can explore the environment at their own pace. This is a fairly big departure for FromSoftware, who tend to design their games around a series of claustrophobic dungeon areas, rather than vast open spaces.

Miyazaki did go on to reassure fans that—although this will inevitably change the way enemy encounters unfold—Elden Ring will still retain what people love about Dark Souls franchise, with all the usual monstrous bosses and punishing combat scenarios we have come to expect from the developer.

On that note, Elden Ring's 2019's announcement trailer may not have offered any concrete insights into the game's mechanics, but it did give us a good look at the hostile world that the characters inhabit. Grim, dark and mysterious, it is very in keeping with the atmosphere of FromSoftware's previous efforts, only this time it has a little George R. R. Martin flair too. Think Westeros by way of Nordic mythology.

Hopefully it will not be too long before we get to see some gameplay in action. Even if the title does not feature in today's Summer Game Fest, it will likely still make an appearance at publisher Bandai Namco's E3 presentation on Tuesday 15 June, at 5:25 p.m. ET.

An Armoured Warrior Appears in Elden Ring
An armoured warrior prepares for battle in the hostile world of 'Elden Ring'. Bandai Namco