While it may be taking creative influence from the likes of George R.R. Martin, Elden Ring is still Souls at heart. Series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki discussed the next game in the series in an interview today, and highlighted many of the similarities and differences Elden Ring would have with its spiritual predecessors, as well as the nature of Martin's involvement.
Speaking to IGN, Miyazaki says Elden Ring will be a "more natural evolution" of Dark Souls, compared to games like Bloodborne or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. But it will also be much, much larger in scale.
"While the narrow and complex dungeons of our previous games were indeed interconnected, Elden Ring's environments will be much more open and vast," Miyazaki told IGN. "The more extensive world will form the base of Elden Ring's gameplay, and its mechanics are designed with that type of environment in mind."
He says you'll be able to travel on horseback and fight enemies while riding. Villages will be ruins, not only because it's very Souls-y, but because adding living towns would have been a challenge.
Working with George R.R. Martin also opens Elden Ring up to new ideas and influences. Miyazaki says that Martin's contributions aren't for the main story, but the mythos surrounding it. Martin's focus on world-building, rather than narrative, actually allowed him more freedom.
"Storytelling in video games–at least the way we do it at FromSoftware–comes with a lot of restrictions for the writer," says Miyazaki. "I didn't think it was a good idea to have Martin write within those restrictions. By having him write about a time the player isn't directly involved in, he is free to unleash his creativity in the way he likes. Furthermore, as FromSoftware we didn't want to create a more linear and storydriven experience for Elden Ring. Both issues could be solved by having Martin write about the world's history instead."
He compares the lore that Martin created to a dungeon master's handbook, but you'll have to discover it through exploration and environmental storytelling rather than a novel. (That's fine, Martin has another book he should be writing anyways.)
Since getting our first look at the game at E3 2019, we've been gradually learning more about Elden Ring. It's going to be just as tough as past Souls games, so look forward to a lot of "You Died." But as a casual enjoyer of the lore around these games, I'm pretty pumped about all this world-building being done. Here's hoping we learn more, like a release date, soon.