Elden Ring is the Next Skyrim

No game is perfect. Many have expressed concerns about the second half of Elden Ringits camera use, and more, but despite its flaws, gamers the world over have fallen in love with FromSoftware’s take on an open-world Souls game. Indeed, perhaps the reception could be most comparable to 2011’s Skyrim.

Skyrim is, by no means, a perfect game. It was incredibly bugged at launch, although not to a broken extent, and anyone can pick out a few more flaws on top of that. However, what Skyrim has is a character and that character has influenced the past decade of decision-making in video games. Many games have tried to be the next Skyrimto have that same sort of impact, but even that idea is daunting for The Elder Scrolls 6, its sequel. The next Skyrim is often hyperbole in the same vein as the concept of “Destiny-killers,” but truly, it feels like Elden Ring is the next Skyrim.


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How Skyrim Defined Open-World RPGs Over the Past Decade

When someone outside the gaming sphere talks about games, the one they’re likely to imagine is Skyrim. Fans may laugh about how many times Bethesda has re-released Skyrim, but that’s because a decade later, people are still buying it. One could argue that it doesn’t have as broad of an appeal as Grand Theft Auto 5, the most profitable entertainment product of all time, but Skyrim‘s success has nonetheless found its way into other games. Both games are essentially household names, and there’s no telling how many people have played Skyrim multiple times.

Several developers will cite Skyrim as inspiration; Sometimes these comparisons are obvious but sometimes not so much. Still, what Skyrim did not change the game of open-world RPGs, but it was finely iterated upon it. The faction storytelling, the deep lore, the worldbuilding, and even the jumping up mountains to get to a location faster all added to the charm that defined Skyrim.

It’s hard not to look at how Skyrim has influenced games like The Witcher 3which in and of itself is hailed by some as one of the greatest games of all time, while Dragon Age: Inquisition is beloved by BioWare fans to a similar, if not exact degree. The open-world freedom, the living and breathing environment, the mystery, and the charm are all things games have tried to replicate time and again.

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Elden Ring is Asking Questions That Require Decisions

Elden Ring does have one leg up over Skyrimfrom the get-go. Skyrim inherits the beloved legacy of Morrowind and Oblivion, which had long cemented The Elder Scrolls franchise as a series of great RPGs. Skyrim just pushed through that boundary. On the other hand, Elden Ring inherits the legacy of Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and more all before it. FromSoftware has always been a trail-blazing developer, inspiring a genre of games known as the Soulslike, and Elden Ring takes all of that in stride.

While Skyrim iterated, Elden Ring experimented. Elden Ring shows players don’t need the main character reiterating the objective every minute or so to stay on track. It shows that, while open-world games with activities and more scattered everywhere are fine, throwing players into a huge mystery is fine too. Letting players explore Elden Ring‘s map and slowly open it up, with the players often feeling no certainty if they’ve discovered it all yet, is fine.

Skyrim offers thousands of hours of content, and even to this day, players on multiple playthroughs fine something. As players dig through New Game Plus in Elden Ring, the same holds true. There are things in Elden Ring no developer would ever do, and that in and of itself poses a challenge. The art and beauty of games cannot be boiled down to marketing, statistics, and safe practices—it has to experiment and stand out. That’s exactly what Elden Ring does.

For all the comparisons that can be made between Elden Ring and Bloodborne, Elden Ring and dark souls, and so on, Elden Ring establishes its own identity. Skyrim compared to its predecessors show a successfully iterated upon sequel; Elden Ring Compared to its predecessors shows an experimental new approach to open-world RPGs, where adventure, mystery, fun, and exploration are not just bumper sticker phrases.

Because of this, Elden Ring will be a hot topic for quite some time. Soulslike games will likely try to replicate its approach, and perhaps parts of its approach will influence games for a year, or decade, to come. Elden Ring doesn’t seem like it will eventually be the next Skyrim; it feels like it already is.

Elden Ring is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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