Need a reason to get excited about FromSoftware’s upcoming action RPG: Elden Ring? Just think of the mind behind the narrative. None other than that King of Big Medieval Fantasies and Westeros Warlock… George R.R. Martin!
The game has been in development for a long time and Martin worked behind the scenes on the story before handing his work over to his ‘new friends in Japan’. He had been inspired by a ground-breaking collection of artwork, fresh from FromSoft’s headquarters, which set the worldbuilder wheels spinning quickly into motion.
Hidetaka Miyazaki and his innovative team of game designers (the minds behind the popular Dark Souls game series) reached out to Martin from Japan. They wanted to put his incredible eye for folkloric detail and backstory-building to their upcoming RPG title. Martin would essentially help build the early world of Elden Ring in its entirety.
Starting out, they already had reams of gorgeous concept artwork – Martin was simply needed for some wider worldbuilding. Miyazaki had described their interest in a ‘deep, dark, resonant world’ that would form the foundation for the game. Yet Martin had free reign to take what the team had already given him and work it into a playable dreamscape of his own.
One of Martin’s key focuses were the core characters encountered as you play the game. The author was tasked with writing the ancient mythos to bring these dramatic heroes to life, binding them around a few central events and evolving their mystique and individual qualities to set the gameplay against a living historic tapestry.
Martin did say that video games weren’t necessarily “his thing”, but admitted to being a fan of a few strategy titles. He even referenced three favourites from his gamer days – “Railroad Tycoon, Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Master of Orion”.
So, why was Martin drawn to this new form of storytelling?
“Video games are as big as movies these days,” said Martin. At their best they make much more money, in fact. While also bringing in players worldwide and benefiting from a more cyclical immersion, compared to that two-hour stint of sitting in a cinema. Of course, video games take just as long to put together and rely on a similar convergence of different artistic branches, from voice acting to musical composition.
Finally, the launch of Elden Ring is just over a month away (release is set for February 25, 2022). This is already being touted as one of this year’s most anticipated games. Asked whether he was pleased with what his new friends in Japan had done with Elden Ring, Martin remarked – “it looks incredible.”
Elden Ring will be available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.