Opinion: Why Getting Mad Over Elden Ring is a Waste of Time and Energy
It has been 3 years since Elden Ring was announced. During E3 2019, the Bandai Namco-published game by FromSoftware was shown off to the world with a trailer that was, to be frank, quite light on details. It did, however, reveal to the world that the director of three of the most acclaimed Japanese games of the last decade—Hidetaka Miyazaki—would be working with George R. R. Martin for world-building and lore.
Needless to say, this fact got a fair bit of attention, considering Martin’s previous work has been the subject of a money making machine in the form of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Here we are in 2021, and just about any time there’s a video game-related press conference or event, people are frothing in the mouth for something about Elden Ring.
Here’s something that the more rabid parts of the fanbase just may not have realised yet: video games tend to have long development cycles, especially if it’s the first game with a brand new setting. The only real problem with Elden Ring, as far as we can tell, is that maybe it was announced a bit too early.
The Usual Video Game Development Cycle
Typically, a AAA video game takes a long time to make; Cyberpunk 2077 was first unveiled almost a decade ago and it still came out as an incomplete mess. Depending on how much work there is to be done, a game can take anywhere between 5 years to an entire decade, and that’s not even counting how advancements in hardware and software could effect plans for the games.
The general trend in the gaming industry has been to announce upcoming games much closer to release. That’s why we see games coming out within less than a year of its original release. While a much smarter idea from a marketing standpoint, it looks like the current trend might have given a few gamers the wrong idea about what it actually takes to make video games.
Developers have to not only write a lot of code and make a bunch of assets for any given video game, they also have to figure out gameplay loops and do a tonne of maths to make sure that everything makes sense. Missing even a single decimal point can potentially have catastrophic effects. Just look at Gandhi’s AI in Civilization games if you want an example. Nuclear Gandhi became a big enough joke that Firaxis decided to actually put it in the game.
But What About Elden Ring?
FromSoftware has a history of releasing solid games that, despite minor technical problems here and there, tend to be loads of fun to play through. The studio’s games tend to be solid RPGs in their own rights, but with systems deep enough to entice the more dedicated players out there to break the game and learn more of its secrets. There’s a reason just about every game from the studio tends to develop a dedicated fan base, after all.
Chances are high that, before the release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Elden Ring would have largely not started full-scale development. Considering it has only been a couple of years since we got Sekiro, FromSoftware is likely hard at work in making the game. And that’s not even mentioning how the worldwide lockdowns because of the coronavirus pandemic would’ve effected the studio’s workforce and development cycles.
The important thing to remember about Elden Ring is that even if it isn’t given more of a marketing push at any of the upcoming conferences next month, even if it isn’t even mentioned all year, it’ll probably still be released in some form or another. We might get Elden Ring as it was originally envisioned next year. Or who knows, Elden Ring might get largely scrapped and be brought back to life as an entirely new game. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.
Elden Ring will either come out, or it won’t. Stop whining and play any of the hundreds of other fantastic games out there.
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