Everyone and their mother, second cousin, and third-removed step-brother is trying to guess where we’re headed in Elden Ring’s potential DLC. It’s like we’re browsing through a Hotel Trivago listing. Maybe we can take a nice trip to the Cthulu-infested ocean where we see pirate ships crumbling amidst the waves from the shores of Caelid, or what about a little walk down memory lane so we can meet former Elden Lord Dragonlord Placidusax in their prime, and if that’s not doing it for you, we can always mosey down to The Lands Between before it was ruined, seeing the already immensely difficult bosses at their height of power. Everyone has ideas, all of them are terrifying (and, to be fair, pretty good), but I hope none of them are right.
Elden Ring has been anything but predictable. It stuck its hand through a mounting pile of open-world blockbusters and pulled itself out, joining Breath of the Wild at the top in redefining what the genre can be. Any DLC will have to live up to that ambition, continuing From’s trend of experimenting with entirely new ideas and concepts, rather than reiterating old Soulsborne formulas, like venturing into the past to see a pre-dystopic civilisation as we have so many times already.
Exploring the ocean and toying with aquatic cities and bosses in an open world would be completely new territory for FromSoftware, something that no Soulsborne game has come close to before, but it also feels predictable. We’ve seen what crawls out, the octopi that litter the beaches with flopping tendrils that slap in all directions when you get too close, and we know what’s lurking underneath – we can see the wreckage the sea life has left behind. Plenty of people are asking for it or guessing that it’s where we’re headed, but Elden Ring needs to go somewhere we haven’t guessed, somewhere we can’t guess, because that was the magic of the base game.
I could make a list of possibilities, but that defeats the whole point. It shouldn’t be something we can pull out of a hat, nor should it be something we can piece together by looking at gaps on a map. Elden Ring is already chock full of surprises I’m sure none of us saw coming, like how beating Radahn summons a meteorite that carves out a crater so big that it leads us into an underground labyrinth of a city as in-depth and sprawling as the land above it. Or there’s the Elden Beast, the last boss, who lurks in a cosmic limbo we have no way of reaching without first killing Radagon. Before that, we’re flung into crumbling ruins suspended in a pocket of time hovering offshore like a derelict, magical spacecraft. All of these places, and there are so many more, are leagues and bounds above anything we anticipated when we first stepped out into Limgrave.
A trip to the ocean, going back in time, or just expanding on unexplored areas of the map feels dull in comparison, and a waste of Elden Ring’s potential. I hope it’s completely bizarre, a step away from everything we already know. And again, I could guess, but I’m just excited to see what FromSoft might have cooking – it managed to continuously wow us in ways we never expected, and getting self-indulgent with existing lore is the furthest thing from expanding on that promise. Let’s fight someone we’ve never heard of, get completely demolished by a boss who we would’ve never dreamed of, and visit a sublime, unimaginable place that we won’t be able to describe until we’ve been thrown into the thick of it with little more than a sour crestfallen chuckle. Then, we can get to work on solving its mysteries, and pretend like we understand even just one of its secrets.
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