Elden Ring publisher Bandai Namco and developer FromSoftware hope to see the open-world action-RPG "broaden the fanbase" established by the Dark Souls series.
Hervé Hoerdt, senior vice president of digital marketing and content at Bandai Namco, touched on Elden Ring's goals in a recent interview with GamesIndustry.
"With Dark Souls, it went from a very competitive niche audience to something that went really broad," he says of the Souls series, which was started by Demon's Souls, a comparatively niche PS3 title. "I wouldn't say mainstream, but it wasn't far from that. And the idea for Elden Ring is to bring an even bigger audience. It is super big for us. It is super big for From Software. We are working very closely with Japan. We have three people dedicated to the franchise over here across Europe."
As the spiritual successor to one of the most recognizable and successful RPG series of the past decade and a bit, Elden Ring has some heavy expectations on its shoulders. Naturally, its publisher and developer hope to see it find a big audience. However, more than the obvious sentiment of 'publisher hopes game does well', Hoerdt's comments reflect a conscious push for Elden Ring to go beyond the hardcore players that Dark Souls has traditionally catered to.
FromSoftware's Yasuhiro Kitao previously explained that, with Elden Ring in particular, the studio hopes to see "all sorts of players" enjoy and clear the game, not just Souls diehards. Elden Ring wasn't designed to be explicitly easier, but FromSoftware did strive to "create and prepare a wide variety of options that players who are not so inclined can use, to enjoy the game and to experience that sense of accomplishment just like those hardened veterans."
Kitao's comments echoed remarks from director Hidetaka Miyazaki, who stressed that while Elden Ring is probably about as hard as Dark Souls 3, its more in-depth character customization provides more builds, play styles, and, essentially, solutions for the challenges in the game.
"From Software and Bandai Namco has this desire to broaden the fanbase, so we have big ambitions," Hoerdt adds. "But I feel what we are making is going to please a lot of people, and that's the most important thing. That is what we want. We're not just business people. We want to bring something fun and unique that will please millions of people."
Elden Ring is reportedly in the "final stages of development", so its January release date looks solid.