Elden Ring has become one of those games—a sort of temporary Half-Life 3, the game everyone wants to see at every show but that always seems to elude it. Just the other day, Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg shot down a rumor that we’d be seeing it at an upcoming show, but now there are once again reports circulating that we might see it soon, and these seem credible.
A recent report from Andy Robinson at VGC says that there is a trailer out there being circulated online, and that he has seen it. VGC couldn’t post the trailer due to legal reasons, but you can read a description at the link. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier echoed the legitimacy of the leak, saying that it was tangible evidence that we’d see something about the game soon.
I don’t expect this game to be Half-Life 3 by a long shot. It was first revealed in 2019, and while that is a long time ago from a certain perspective, we’ve all seen projects stuck in hell for much longer than that, and there’s no reason to think that this is going to be some decade-long project. From Software has historically had a remarkably quick cadence for a developer with an auteur reputation, which has led to this wait feeling exceptionally long. But we are far from despair territory, and my guess is that we’re going to see an update sometime around not-E3 in the summer, or maybe sooner.
With all this stuff—Elden Ring, Breath of the Wild 2, God of War Ragnarok or whatever, it’s important to keep one important thing in mind: we are in the middle of a crippling pandemic of historic, Earth-shattering proportions, and this does affect video games, as well. The transition to work-from-home has affected all studios differently, but it has likely affected large projects more. So it’s worth assuming that everything is delayed, even if we had never heard a release date in the past.
The VGC report suggests that From has indeed struggled with COVID-19-relaed disruptions, just like we all have. So who knows: maybe it was once scheduled to come out in Holiday 2020, or maybe even earlier. That’s looking less likely at this point, just like it is for a lot of games. We didn’t really see the impact of COVID-19 as much last year, because we were seeing the release of projects primarily developed before the crisis settled in. This is the year when the chickens come home to roost, however, as we’ve already seen from a ton of delays. And we’re going to see more.