Recently, journalists were given a look at 16 minutes of the game during a closed-door session, and what they saw were several features of the game, including a look at the map and the world at large.
In the game, which is set in The Lands Between, players will be able to explore the world at their own pace with as "much freedom as possible," FromSoftware spokesman Yasahiro Kitao told The Washington Post.
The world feels rather emergent as well and will be full of hazards too. For instance, you can be riding along toward your next destination, and all of a sudden a dragon will drop out of the sky and engage you.
According to Kitao, the game isn't really an open-world title, but as GameSpot surmised, it is indeed an open-world game, but one that's "cut from the same cloth as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," compared to your typical large-scale open world where you can almost get lost. Instead, it feels more dense than overly large, and because of this, there is always something players will be drawn to on the horizon as "curiosity" will be your guide instead of points of interest on a map, per GameSpot.
Storywise, Elden Ring will feature multiple paths and endings, and instead of the story of the world alone, you can expect the game to also focus on the characters and "the drama surrounding them," so as to "paint a clearer picture and help players become more immersed," compared to other FromSoftware titles.
As far as gameplay, according to various outlets, it will feel familiar to those who have played Bloodborne, Dark Souls, and Sekiro in that you can dash out of the way, and parry, but per Polygon, there is another combat mechanic called Guard Counter where you can respond after blocking - but it will cost stamina. And, of course, you can also expect the gameplay to be rather challenging.
Other familiar aspects will include fast travel, an NPC that will help you learn new skills and level up, and there will be a hub where friends and allies will appear. There is also the option to summon spirits to assist you, and each has its own upgrade path.
There will also be areas called legacy dungeons, such as a multi-level, enormous castle, which are similar to challenge areas where you will not be able to summon a horse or fast travel your way out. Some of these areas may have multiple routes, which as with the castle, can be found by jumping through the architecture - as just one example.
How long the game will take to finish isn’t quite known at present, as it will vary from player to player.
“While we’re still in the process of testing and figuring out the final playtime, we feel this is going to vary quite widely from player to player depending on what sort of route they take through the world and what they find," said Kitao.
Elden Ring is slated for release on January 21 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.