Is Elden Ring a sequel to Dark Souls?

Elden Ring
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Is Elden Ring a sequel to Dark Souls? Given that Elden Ring is also a bleak and dark medieval fantasy RPG by FromSoftware like Dark Souls, it's a fair question to ask. Both share a lot in terms of mechanics and visuals too, with Runes replacing Souls and Sites of Grace taking over the job of Bonfires. But what exactly is the link between Elden Ring and the older Dark Souls series, if there is one at all? We'll lay out exactly how the two link both in terms of story and gameplay below.

Is Elden Ring a sequel to Dark Souls?

Elden Ring weapons

(Image credit: Bandai namco)

No, 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. Our own experience with Elden Ring backs this up as, while there are of course plenty of gameplay similarities, the stories take place in totally different worlds with their own mythologies. Currently, it seems that the link between Elden Ring and Dark Souls is 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 will not need to have played Dark Souls or any other of From Software's back catalogue to understand Elden Ring, though it might help give an appreciation for certain ideas. FromSoftware does like to reference its own games a lot, so little reimaginings of their ideas  crop up 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, from our extensive experience playing Elden Ring, we can confirm that in many meaningful ways, Elden Ring is a pretty similar gameplay model to Dark Souls. Although, it builds on this model with additional features, such as 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
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of 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 probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.

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