There are a few video games that have defined the industry. The most common referred to are Doom, which laid the foundation for shooters, Half-Life, which took gaming to the next level, and Witcher 3, which proved that real stories can be told in games. Elden Ring will now probably also be held in as high regard.
After releasing on February 25th the game has all but dominated the sales charts, selling 12 million copies in a few months. This isn’t just good performance, it is in excess of some of the most popular franchises in the world. Though, someone not familiar with games may look at it and ask what the big deal is.
The big deal is that Elden Ring achieved this success by ignoring virtually every supposed golden rule of the industry.
Breaking All The Rules
Farcry 6 released not long before Elden Ring, and was met with sour reviews. Ubisoft has been pushing the Farcry franchise for decades now, and it doesn’t take an expert to tell that the open-world formula has started to get old. Each entry in the series has essentially been a re-tread of the previous, with little to no innovation.
It isn’t just Farcry. Open world games as a whole have become based around handholding quest styles, tedious collect-a-thons, railroading the player to objectives, and banal difficulty. Elden Ring ignores all of these rules, and it does so with gusto.
A New Benchmark For Design
In Elden Ring players are given little to no direction, are never forced to pick a path, and are faced with difficulty that is nothing short of frustrating. Quests do exist, but no quest markers are used. Exploration is organic, with nothing to guide the curious other than interesting landmarks. But most of all Elden Ring is 100% confident in that the average player can figure things out for themselves.
Overbearing, constant tutorial tooltips and distracting user interfaces plague virtually every other game. The design choices seem to indicate that developers have no confidence that the average gamer is capable of tying their own shoes. This despite the fact that video games have never been bigger, or further reaching.
That Elden Ring has sold 12 million copies indicates that it truly is time for designers to drastically rethink their approach.
Expansive Is An Understatement
Of course, it isn’t just trusting players that has driven sales. Elden Ring may not be riddled with high quality cut scenes and dialogue, but what it lacks in story it makes up for in sheer, staggering amounts of content, just like Black Lotus online casino.
Players can explore, uncover secret areas, and conquer optional areas to their hearts content. Almost none of it is required, but enthusiastic players will soon learn that there are hundreds of hours of potential gameplay on offer. All of this, and the game also has not a single micro-transaction on offer.
This may just be the pivotal turning point that the video game industry has been in dire need of.