Elden Ring: In case you haven’t heard, it’s the bee’s knees. One of the great and unexpected pleasures I’ve found in the game is seeing the echoes, big and small, of the Soulsborne games that led up to this point. When Elden Ring was first revealed, its reuse of assets became a silly controversy, with some rather annoying types that FromSoftware could, God forbid, reuse a perfectly working sword swing animation instead of making an entirely new one. .
The fact is, Elden Ring is a masterclass in how to reuse assets, and that’s arguably the only reason it exists in the form it does. The game is simply gigantic, and all players will have those wild moments of taking an elevator or going into a cave and finding a new expanse to search. FromSoftware has been building on this foundation since Demon’s Souls (2009) and subsequently created five more games in the same vein before Elden Ring. Each of them feeds the Midlands in some way.
Longtime Souls dataminer ZullieTheWitch is one of the most legitimate sources of information about these games: this is the individual who managed to create goblet dungeon glyphs that allowed players to fight unused bosses in Bloodborne. One of the things that’s especially interesting about Zullie’s work is that they’ve dug up the unused stuff, which can often be in a near-finished state, and each Souls title has its own assortment of surprises from what could have been buried in the past. code.
Zullie posted a new video doing a comparison that I think shows the way FromSoft uses what they have and demonstrates why calling this feature reuse is actually quite misleading. Asset reuse feels like you just took a boss off a shelf and hit it in the new game. Whereas what FromSoft is doing in some cases, as the one below demonstrates, is going back to things that weren’t cut for whatever reason and reconfiguring them into a new form.
As the video shows, FromSoftware originally intended to use this direwolf boss in Dark Souls 3 – in the end it was left out, but it was far enough in development that Zullie could make an earlier video (and speculate about it). used a curved greatsword). FromSoftware ended up using the wolf model, however, to create the alliance statue in Farron Keep.
Elden Ring’s boss, the Red Wolf of Radagon, is that boss: except, of course, it’s not. The basic asset has been built in, little details like hair braids and earrings have been added, and finally he has his curved sword. Zullie doesn’t mention this, but the Red Wolf’s moveset and brutal grace bear some resemblance to another slash boss, Bloodborne’s Great One Beast (which also used magic), and it could be that Red Wolf is an amalgamation of the two. two .
What this example shows in the microcosm is that reuse is not just a lazy accusation, but a lazy term. This is more like a revival.
“There have been some complaints about the reuse of old assets from From Software, and I think this has been amplified a bit by being one of the only significant complaints you can make against Elden Ring,” writes Zullie. “I think it was a very responsible move by From Software, and even better that they seem to have taken the opportunity to let us try out some bosses that didn’t make it into their own game originally.”
Answering a question about the crabs in Elden Ring, which use the same skeleton and animations as the crab in Dark Souls 3, Zullie sums up the only sane perspective on it: not how what makes a crab a crab is going to change a lot just because it’s in a new setting.”
The Red Wolf of Radagon is just a small example of what FromSoft has done throughout the Elden Ring world, which is making something old feel new again. The regions in this game feel unique because the designers were able to take advantage of a massive asset base built up over more than a decade and then build on top of it: instead of spending months building a new giant crab. Don’t even get me started on what it does to the lore-heads: you’ll never convince me that the snowy mountain area with the giants isn’t what’s actually in the sixth arc of Demon’s Souls.
Elden Ring recently received a giant patch which, among other things, addressed some of the performance issues affecting PC players, fixed certain NPC quests that weren’t working, and added NPC quest markers. There’s still a weird glitch, of course, the funniest one right now is that the horse can be made to ‘fly’.