This year has easily been one of the best years in gaming history, with AAA titles like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Diablo 4 coming out with equally massive heavy hitters like Baldur's Gate 3, Final Fantasy 16, and Resident Evil 4 joining the fray. With the likes of Starfield and Marvel's Spider-Man 2 still coming later this year, it's easy to forget that one of the most awarded video games of all time, Elden Ring, came out not too ago. The open world crafted by the game's developers, FromSoftware, with a deep lore by none other than George R.R. Martin enchanted players in its inaugural run, and if we believe the recent chatter, more are already on their way.
While most are already aware of the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC and the possible plans for a TV show, Elden Ring has an extensive narrative that lends itself to a much larger future that could last years if not decades.
Future Press's launch of Elden Ring Books of Knowledge volume 2 has fueled the most recent speculations. The exclusive but brief interviews with Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game's director, that are found within teases the importance of the Roundtable Hold for "future games". While the interview remains short, and the digital realm awaits its full public disclosure, Miyazaki's tantalizing hints is impossible to dismiss, regardless of whether he's talking about more than one DLC on top of Shadow of the Erdtree or the release of the next Elden Ring.
You can't help but draw parallels between Elden Ring and FromSoftware's now-legendary trilogy, Dark Souls. The initial Dark Souls title, while revolutionary, didn't even receive anywhere close to the meteoric success of Elden Ring. And with Bandai Namco's previous hints at "expanding" the IP, paired with the the undeniable fact that you don't invite a scribe of Martin's calibre to create millennia of lore just for one game, there's undoubtedly more to come from the Lands Between.
Yet, it's important not to set unrealistic expectations. The upcoming DLC might mark Elden Ring's last lore expansion, at least for a while, before FromSoftware shifts its gaze to a different IP, with just as many fans asking for new entries in a handful of its other properties like Dark Souls, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice or Bloodborne. But the sheer vastness and the richness of Elden Ring's universe, as experienced and expressed by its massive player base, could force FromSoftware to reconsider.
Given the massive investments FromSoftware has received recently, it's in a position to expand and onboard a lot more talent to keep up with the demand although admittedly this will generate concerns about a drop in noticeable quality.
Of course, mistranslations could render all of this moot. Miyazaki may very well have been referencing more DLCs and expansions, like Shadow of the Erdtree, instead of complete sequels. Still, given Elden Ring's staggering 20 million unit sales within a year of its release and the known depth of its lore, the hope for sequels isn't unfounded.
The magnitude of Elden Ring as a standalone game is indisputable. The expansion, with its 2-year development period, could either be an expansive addition, rivalling the main game, or a more streamlined yet enriching experience, capitalizing on the groundwork already laid by the base game.
Either way, Shadow of the Erdtree should be more than enough to tide audiences over, at least until the next Elden Ring comes out, hopefully, before the current generation of consoles cease production.
The charm of Elden Ring doesn't merely lie in its vastness but also in its ability to provide an epic narrative, tantalizing boss battles, an enthralling combat system, a memorable soundtrack, and the promise of PvP. It's this blend that secured its place as one of the finest games of all time.
Regardless of the path FromSoftware chooses, one thing remains certain: Elden Ring has etched its name in the annals of gaming history.
Whether we're destined for a sequence of sequels, a suite of expansive DLCs, or both, the community's eyes remain set on the horizon, eager to explore every nook and cranny of the Lands Between.