Elden Ring's greatest competition is apparently its younger sibling, Demon's Souls. The PlayStation 5 remake that launched alongside the new console in 2020 was a lot prettier (and to some, less distinct) than the original Demon's Souls, and the striking makeover put extra pressure on Elden Ring's graphics team, according to creative director Hidetaka Miyazaki, who was recently interviewed by Edge magazine.
"I’m pretty sure our graphics-creation staff felt that pressure more than anyone else," Miyazaki said of the Demon's Souls remake's release.
"Graphical fidelity is not something we put as the top priority," Miyazaki continued. "What we ask for on the graphics side depends on the systems and requirements of the game itself, and it takes less priority compared to the other elements of development. So this is always an area where I feel a little bit apologetic towards my graphics team because I know they work extremely hard."
The Dark Souls games present stark fantasy worlds that are denser with meaning than polygons. They can be beautiful, sure, but not in a cutting-edge technical way. A place like Anor Londo is mostly beautiful for its concept and design, for example.
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The Demon's Souls remake was handled by developer Bluepoint Games, and clearly a lot of the studio's effort went into making the game look better to demonstrate the powerful hardware in Sony's new console. Elden Ring is a brand new game that will be on a lot of different platforms, so it makes sense that graphical fidelity wouldn't be as high a priority for it. As the two most recent games of their kind, though, Elden Ring and the Demon's Souls remake will definitely be compared side-by-side.
Miyazaki said that Elden Ring will be a culmination of everything the developer has done in the Souls series (including Demon's Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro) up until now.
"Elden Ring would not have been possible without that culmination of experience, the know-how from development of previous titles, and of course our talented team that has grown throughout the development of those projects," he said. "It’s safe to say that we could have only made Elden Ring now, after all of that."
In his preview of the game, our own Wes Fenlon was skeptical of how effective the game's open world will be in the final game. Despite this first impression though, he's optimistic about how it'll turn out.
"FromSoftware rarely likes to show off its best material ahead of time," he wrote. "I hope that the key that gives its open world purpose is out there beyond the fog wall somewhere, waiting to be discovered."