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Is Elden Ring a sequel to Dark Souls?

Elden Ring
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Is Elden Ring a sequel to Dark Souls? The question is a fair one when both seem pretty similar on the face of it, both being fantasy RPGs with bleak tones and a lot of shared mechanics and visuals. But what exactly is the link between Elden Ring and the older Dark Souls series? We'll explain how the two tie in together both in terms of story and gameplay below.

Is Elden Ring a sequel to Dark Souls?

Elden Ring weapons

(Image credit: Bandai namco)

No, as far as we know at time of writing, Elden Ring is not a sequel, prequel, series spin-off or similar extension of the Dark Souls franchise, despite the clear similarities between the games. This may be up for question when the game is released, as it's possible that there's some secret twist wherein the whole thing turns out to have some link, but it seems likely this is more comparable to how Dark Souls relates to Demon's Souls and Bloodborne - namely that there's no link beyond being a kind of spiritual successor. 

That means that while the games are very similar in their worlds, ideas and gameplay, there's no story link between them. So no, players probably won't need to have played Dark Souls or any other of From Software's back catalogue to understand the game, though it might help give an appreciation for certain ideas. From Software have often made little references and reimaginings of their ideas from game-to-game, such as the Moonlight Greatsword or Patches the Trustworthy reappearing in Bloodborne, Demon's Souls and Dark Souls alike.

Does Elden Ring play like Dark Souls?

Elden Ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Yes, our experiences playing a few hours of Elden Ring can allow us to confirm that in many meaningful ways, Elden Ring is a pretty similar gameplay model to Dark Souls, though now with greater emphasis on crafting, free exploration of an open world and even a little more stealth than any other Soulsborne game besides Sekiro. In that sense, it's 85% Dark Souls with about 15% Zelda: Breath of the Wild added in, if you want to be blunt about the experience. Still, in its RPG and combat elements, it's pretty similar to its predecessors, so you can feel somewhat safe in using your feelings on those as a template for how you'll feel about Elden Ring specifically. Of course, for those who are interested in some of the ways it differs, check out our Elden Ring tips for some early pointers and indications of what to expect. 

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Joel Franey

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist and podcaster with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. Consequently he chooses to spend his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.