Update: I do say that it is based on Norse mythology, but from what we know, it will possibly be inspired by, with liberties taken to make it a pretty loose usage of these legends and myths.
FromSoftware has become one of my favorite studios, despite its games’ cruel difficulty that makes it hard to finish for someone as bad as I am. Regardless of that, I adore the constant rewarding experiences I have been able to play from releases like Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3, which I am replaying again as it is so damn good. It helps to hold me up for its next title, Elden Ring, which I have a wishlist of features I hope to get.
Each new creation, whether it was from the iconic Souls franchise or a new IP like a gothic Victorian city, ideas connect and expand across every development cycle. Bloodborne evolved the healing mechanics from Dark Souls. Sekiro refined the movement to be slicker and more fluid from previous titles. Now, we wait for the Nordic world created by Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin, the author of the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, best known as Game of Thrones from the HBO series. The big question remains as to what we can expect, and I have ideas, or at least hope, for what we may get that takes from what we have had before and goes beyond what we could have thought of getting in a Souls-like experience.
1. Online returns
Sekiro had one missing feature from the rest of the Soulsborne creations. It left out online, making it a purely single-player adventure without any aid from friends or an invading headache from another player trying to kill you. While I mostly want it for the co-op, having PvP is important too.
Co-op is how I survive these games without bashing my head through a brick wall. To me, these are best as online experiences. The beauty here is that there is the freedom to choose, and I choose to summon a buddy to help me slay The Nameless King because he is an electric pain that deserves a brutal death. Having to face tough foes alone makes it a little too daunting for my taste. The bonding aspect of my friend(s) and I trying to battle it out with a boss or navigate through the horrifying Catacombs of Carthus makes for a great moment in our friendship. Without that, the special nature of playing is gone. This is the main reason why multiplayer is on the top of my Elden Ring wishlist.
The flip side comes from facing other players. It adds to the tension that is synonymous with what FromSoftware develops. The additional obstacle can be stressful and annoying, but defeating someone who thinks they can drag you to monsters as their allies to kill you or someone trying to have a fair fight is as rewarding as slaying the toughest of bosses.
It keeps the community going. That is why so many people still play these games. Even when you have scoured every corner for hidden goods or optional areas, you still have other people to violently interact with.
2. More playstyle options
Whatever twisted, wet world Miyazaki and Martin are developing together is confirmed to have more variety in playstyles, which was a gripe I had with Sekiro and partially with Bloodborne. It will be the cherry on top of this Elden Ring wishlist if this reaches the level of what DS offers.
“Even when compared to the Dark Souls series, I believe this title will provide even more variety in the ways for players to overcome challenges and tweak their tactics when facing enemies.”
As I mentioned, I am replaying Dark Souls 3. I played through a ton of it on PS4 and now going at it for my first time on PC. On console, I opted for either a one-handed sword with a shield and heavy armor or went all-in on strength to have heavy armor, weapon, and sometimes a shield too for added effect. Those two playstyles were not that drastic, but now I am playing as a magic-based class with light armor, a one-handed weapon, and plenty of spells to either heal or light up anything that threatens my friends or me. Meanwhile, one friend is going for a strength build, another is a bleed and magic, and another is balancing dexterity and strength. Fingers crossed, we can get this level of depth.
3. Advanced Accessibility Options
When you say a game needs more accessibility, there is a misconception that it must be easier. Those are two different things. The charm behind Souls-like games is how hard it is to beat. I am saying we need more options to open doors for players with disabilities who may want to hop on the party bus of FromSoftware releases.
A great example is Naughty Dog’s award-winning The Last of Us Part 2. Hate it or love it, we got one great thing I hope we can agree on: it gave accessibility is a push in the right direction. Visually, players can opt for text-to-speech, high contrast display, and enhancements to cues like combat or navigation. For hearing assistance, you can have awareness indicators or vibration cues for certain situations, from playing the guitar to fighting off hostiles. On top of that mountain, it can help motor abilities like auto-aim, camera assist, and a ledge guard.
I hope other companies are taking note of the current movement of making anything and everything available for gamers with a disability. It can range from specifics in audio and visuals like text-to-speech or speech-to-text, or more enhanced colorblind modes. A lot can be done if the studio makes the right calls when thinking about making sure everyone can play an upcoming sequel, or in our case, a new IP that we know little about.
4. Kill Norse Gods
I can checkmark a few qualities that are S-tier about FromSoftware. One thing I can go over stems from the jaw-dropping boss battles. Sure, not all of them are great, as the Phalanx from Demon’s Souls and Deacons of the Deep from DS3 are underwhelming. But most of which are incredibly epic with beautiful music and striking designs. Last night as of writing, I defeated the awesome Abyss Watchers, who remain a top favorite of mine across these games.
With the Norse mythology setting, which has become quite popular with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, God of War, and Hellblade, I hope to get an exploration of the obscure and iconic Gods. As in exploration, I mean murdering all-powerful beings like Odin, God of the Aesir Gods, or Tyr, God of War. I want to take these fights to the next level of their grand scale. You cannot get grander than taking on someone like Thor.
5. Explore Norse Realms
We have nine realms we could explore. I don’t even need all of them to satisfy my Norse mythology craving. I would like to dive into a handful of fleshed-out worlds. Although I am open-minded, I will name two that are on my mind for this Elden Ring wishlist.
Hel, or Helheim, is the afterlife for those who did not die in battle, but mostly from old age or diseases. It is a populated area of souls that is as miserable and gloomy as you might imagine. Here, if it is somewhere we can travel to, it would be a perfect place to fight Hel, the goddess who controls this area after Odin had her sent here to avoid causing too much trouble as an illegitimate child to Loki, who had an affair with a giant.
Asgard is the place where the best-known Gods live. You will find Thor, Odin, and Loki hanging out here. It will make a challenge from a game design point of view if you are facing against these mighty beings as so many of them are here. Either way, it would be incredible to rain hell where your foes like to vibe at.
My hype levels for anything new by FromSoftware are always high, but with a Nordic setting, I am bouncing off my walls, hoping we can get our hands on it this year. Sadly, we don’t know a lot outside of the information I went over here, but hopefully, we can get more later on.
What do you think of my Elden Ring wishlist? What do you want? Let me know in the comments.