Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree is FromSoftware's "largest expansion" ever (2024)

Miyazaki details George R. R. Martin's involvement.

Elden Ring DLC expansion Shadow of the Erdtree finally has a release date: 21st June.

FromSoft boss Hidetaka Miyazaki told Eurogamer this is the biggest expansion the company has ever worked on.

The announcement comes with a new trailer you can watch below.

Miyazaki provided Eurogamer with further details of the expansion, and confirmed that Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin has not provided fresh material.

"As for George Martin's involvement, essentially it is the same as it was with the base game," said Miyazaki. "The DLC Shadow of the Erdtree is based on one part of that original mythos that he penned for us. It's not a brand new mythos that he's written specifically for Shadow of the Erdtree, he has not created something new which informed the design of the DLC. It's simply another part of the original story that we thought fit to tell as a new expansion."

Ideas for the DLC began to form around the end of Elden Ring's development, as there were remaining ideas that were "clearly not going to fit in" and would make more sense as DLC. Development then began around the time updates and patches for the base game had begun to settle down.

So what can we expect from Shadow of the Erdtree? Compared with previous games, Miyazaki said this DLC is "our largest expansion to date in terms of overall volume".

It takes place in a brand new area of a brand new map, which includes a similar structure to the original game: field areas, legacy dungeons, and other dungeons of varying scale. "In terms of pure surface area, you could think of something larger even than Limgrave in the base game," said Miyazaki.

FromSoft has also developed its approach to field design. Previously the divide between field and dungeon areas was quite distinct. "This time, we wanted to go more in depth and bring a denser and richer level design, which brings these types of layout together a little more seamlessly," said Miyazaki. "There of course will be large open areas, there of course will be legacy dungeons, but we've also experimented with something a little more in-between these as well to bring a more diverse gameplay experience."

Further, there will be over 10 new boss fights, plus plenty of new weapons, equipment and skills to find. And eight new weapon categories have been added to account for new weapon types.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree is FromSoftware's "largest expansion" ever (4)

Expansions for previous FromSoft games are notorious for upping the difficulty - Bloodborne's The Old Hunters especially. Miyazaki stated Shadow of the Erdtree will be on a similar footing to the endgame of Elden Ring, though the general approach to challenge has not changed.

"We wanted to provide these challenging encounters and these menacing threats, and in order to do that, we wanted to give the player a lot of freedom of approach," he said. "We wanted them to feel free in how they choose and when they choose to approach and tackle these hardships."

Miyazaki specifically mentioned the infamous Malenia boss fight - an extremely tough, yet optional battle. "So players who look for that sort of challenge in our games will find a challenge on equal footing in the DLC as well," he said.

A new element of progression unique to this DLC area has also been implemented, which further heightens player freedom to walk away, level up, and come back later.

Judging from the trailer, as many suspected Shadow of the Erdtree will follow the story of Miquella - Malenia's brother. "I presume you, too, are keen to know just what kind Miquella is doing here," says the narrator. But is Miquella truly that kind?

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree is FromSoftware's "largest expansion" ever (5)

There's also mention of the Realm of Shadow accessed through a withered arm, perhaps hinting at the new area we'll be exploring.

Further, we see a variety of new environments - haunted grasslands, fiery caverns, mystical ruins - as well as some magnificent new bosses. I'm particularly fond of the horned beast-headed humanoid thing that leaps at the player, spews smoky breath and summons lightning.

Of course, I had to ask Miyazaki if Shadow of the Erdtree will once again include a poisoned swamp.

"In a word, yes," he said. "But this was actually a point of introspection for me after creating the base game. It was only after creating it that I realised I really like to create poisoned swamps. And this was a little place of introspection and reflection for me. So maybe, when players reach the poisoned swamp in the DLC, they will feel a little bit of this retrospection."

Shadow of the Erdtree will be released across all platforms on 21st June. Could a Bloodborne remake come after, perhaps on PlayStation 6? We asked Miyazaki about that, too.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree is FromSoftware's "largest expansion" ever (2024)

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