Elden Ring, the upcoming open-world fantasy action-RPG from From Software and George R.R. Martin, is a few short months away from its big release, yet details about its story are still quite vague. This should be commonplace for any From Software game as the developer has a knack for leaving its narratives often cryptic and hidden behind item descriptions and lore. However, today we’re here to try and piece together everything we know about the story of Elden Ring.
With A Song of Ice & Fire author George R.R. Martin assisting with some of the game’s lore and narrative, you’d think that Elden Ring‘s story might be more clear-cut, but it’s not the case. Until the game launches, we’re still left with more questions than answers, but thanks to developer details and what we’ve gathered from its trailers so far, we may have a general idea of its central narrative.
Elden Ring Story Breakdown
The Tarnished in The Lands Between
The story of Elden Ring takes place in a fantasy realm called The Lands Between. Players assume the role of the Tarnished, a wanderer who was banished from the land and has now returned. The Lands Between has been ravaged by a great war involving various kingdoms in the realm, and upon your return as the Tarnished, you’re now seeking glory. The road to achieving glory is tricky, however, as the demigod offspring of Queen Marika the Eternal have assumed control of the realm and each possesses shards of the mysterious Elden Ring.
Your objective is to search for these shards of the titular Elden Ring, which once stood at the heart of the land’s magnificence.
What is the Elden Ring?
That brings us to the most important question: what actually is the Elden Ring? Many have theorized that the Elden Ring is not a physical object, but rather a metaphysical construct that governs a significant part of existence itself. However, players will start the story at a point when the Elden Ring has been “shattered by someone or something”, with its shards (called Great Runes) scattered across The Lands Between. This great Shattering has somehow impacted the world at large, drastically altering its landscape and populations.
Each Great Rune is held by a demigod (who are key rulers/bosses in The Lands Between) that the Tarnished will need to defeat in order to obtain the shards, restore the Elden Ring and become the Elden Lord. The Elden Ring was once symbolized by the massive Erdtree which towers over The Lands Between.
What is the Erdtree?
The Erdtree is the massive fluorescent tree we see at the center of The Lands Between. After the Elden Ring was shattered, the Erdtree lost its grace, and as some have theorized, could be losing its form too as indicated by its slow degradation and falling leaves. The Erdtree might be a symbol of the Elden Ring’s power, and without it, the tree is left to deteriorate. How this impacts the game’s world is unknown, but as the story progresses, we might begin to unearth some of its secrets and mysteries.
Hopefully, with each Great Rune acquired, the Erdtree will be restored to its former splendour piece by piece. Thus, the player’s actions aren’t only affecting their lofty ambitions to become the Elden Lord, but may serve the greater purpose of prospering The Lands Between once again.
Who are the Demigods?
Elden Ring will be divided into six main areas all interlinked by its massive open-world map. The idea, at least going by this information, is that each main area represents a kingdom ruled by one of the demigods who each possess a shard of the Elden Ring. The first demigod we already know as Godric the Golden, who is featured prominently in the trailers and marketing. Possessing a Great Rune has seemingly corrupted and tainted them with power, and it will be up to the Tarnished to defeat them and acquire the shards. It’s heavily implied that the demigods could’ve been responsible for shattering the Elden Ring, using its power for their own selfish needs and goals.
Little else is known about the handful of primary antagonists in Elden Ring, nor do we have an idea of what they look like or what they represent. However, for the sake of saving the surprises for the main game, we assume the rest of the demigods are being kept tightly under wraps. It’s also possible we may have already seen them in the trailers without even realizing it (perhaps the Valkyrie Malenia, Blade of Miquella is one of them?).
The Story So Far…
Since this is a From Software game, we’ll only really know the full story once the game releases (or we wait for VaatiVidya to make a lore breakdown video). However, the just of the story is this:
The Elden Ring once stood at the heart of the mystifying realm of The Lands Between, allowing the Erdtree, the world and all of existence to flourish and prosper. “That which commanded the stars, giving life its fullest brilliance – the Elden Ring.” However, someone or something would shatter the Elden Ring into Great Runes; shards that would come to be possessed by the demigod offspring of a being named Queen Marika the Eternal, who seemingly rules over The Lands Between.
The Tarnished, for an unknown reason, was banished from The Lands Between and lost the Elden Ring’s grace. Upon their return, they seek to reclaim their grace, defeat the corrupted demigods and restore the Elden Ring to its former power and glory, thus becoming the Elden Lord.
Elden Ring releases on 22 February 2022 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.