Elden Ring Offers So Much “Freedom”, it Caused Production Delays

Elden Ring’s Open World is Wild

In a recent interview with Edge Magazine, Elden Ring’s director offered some insight into the game’s open world design process. “The level of freedom that we wanted to ultimately achieve in Elden Ring exceeded what we were initially planning for,” Hidetaka Miyazaki told Edge. “This [complexity] gradually built up, and the time needed to debug and QA in particular took a lot more effort.”

Switching from Dark Souls’ environment design to an open world model was bound to leave some growing pains. It was uncharted territory for From Software, which lead to some conflicts as the team tried to reconcile old design values with a new system.

There are a lot of areas in which we’ve had to use trial and error since creating the Dark Souls series, iterating on those mechanics and formulas, expanding on them in this new sense of scale,” said Miyazaki. “A lot of it was related to the game tempo—the rhythm and the flow of the game, to keep the player from getting bored.”

Not all the environments were hand-crafted. Some parts, like the tree placement in several areas, were procedurally generated to save time. Miyazaki doesn’t have exact numbers on-hand, but he knows that it’s an overwhelming majority. When you boot up Elden Ring, keep an eye on tree placement – there’s an 80% chance that no human chose to put that exact tree in that exact spot.

But with all that said, the studio was happy with this new commitment. The unique direction let them pull tricks that they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise – though the details on those will have to wait until the game’s release. “It actually allowed us to convey a lot of these details and elements that we maybe couldn’t before on that smaller scale.”