Data miners poking through the latest Elden Ring update have found traces of possible DLC, potentially even more than one content drop at that, but their findings don't fully align with some of the excited theories making the rounds.
Elden Ring update 1.07 focused on balance changes, with FromSoftware committing to PvP for the long-term via the competitive mode's first exclusive adjustments. Under the hood, the update contained fragments of new features like ray-tracing. One modder has even gotten this incomplete ray tracing working in-game, though it's still missing some key components needed to actually make it viable.
The latest patch also contained traces of new areas which data miners quickly unearthed, and this has redoubled anticipation for a full-fat Elden Ring DLC.
What is Elden Ring DLC01?
Apart from ray tracing, there have been two big groups of findings after update 1.07. Firstly, a collection of files conspicuously tagged "DLC01" was uncovered. Data miners Sekiro Dubi and Sennoutantei highlighted some of these files on Twitter, calling out entries for things like a mysterious "m61_arena_026" and a set of hairstyles seemingly intended for the player character. It's a mixed bag, but it's all apparently DLC01.
It's worth noting that "DLC0" is actually mentioned in the base game files in relation to a pre-order-exclusive gesture. However, a new and direct mention of "DLC" has set tongues wagging. Is this the big update we've been waiting for? Is it the first of multiple Elden Ring DLCs to come? Data miners still have a lot of questions themselves, but most reckon it's too early to commit to Elden Ring DLC, something on the level of Dark Souls' Artorias of the Abyss, from these findings alone.
"The material paths with DLC01 in them don't currently work, because there's no DLC01 folder in the materials, so we can at least be pretty confident it is significant," Souls sleuth and YouTuber Zullie the Witch tells GamesRadar. "But there's no guarantee that it's a large paid content update instead of something smaller scale like, say, Sekiro's free costume update."
"While there's no reason to call it DLC01, there's also no reason to imply DLC02 is there or planned," Sekiro Dubi says. "What we do know is that a bunch of the new files introduced with 1.07 are tagged as DLC01. At the moment, all [this] indicates that what are internally known as 'arenas', or externally as 'colosseums,' are part of the whole DLC01 package. At least from a file naming point of view."
Theories around Elden Ring's missing colosseums, which now appear to be related to whatever DLC01 is, have been making the rounds almost since the game's launch, and Sekiro Dubi has been investigating them for some time.
"The game did ship alternate maps/assets/textures for the colosseums," they explain. "They will work on a similar system as what we have seen with the maps of Limgrave after the meteorite, or Leyndell after we burn the Erdtree. I'd assume the player will trigger events that teleport you to a world where these maps are active.
"Lots of things in the game indicate there was a previous state of the Lands Between, perhaps pre-Shattering or pre arrival of the Elden Beast, where things weren't as broken as they are today," they continue (with more context in this video diving into older files). "I wonder if we ever get to see that side of Elden Ring – an Elden Ring where, for instance, the Divine Bridge of Limgrave wasn't broken, or the 'crater lake' between Liurnia and Bestial Sanctum isn't there anymore. I really loved the Dark Souls DLC that took us to the past, so I hope for a DLC along those lines."
What are Elden Ring maps m20 and m45?
I also spoke to a data miner named Shion, who shared some significant findings with the FromSoftware modding Discord community. They found IDs for two unknown maps buried in update 1.07, and these are currently known as m20 and m45. We don't know much about these maps, but their IDs alone can tell us a lot about what they might be.
"Right now there are three big categories of maps, each in their own ID range," Shion explains. "m10 to m19 covers the legacy dungeons like Stormveil Castle, Raya Lucaria, etc. m30 to m39 covers minor dungeons like catacombs, caves etc. m60 is basically the entire overworld. All other ranges are not allocated right now."
FromSoftware's file naming scheme indicates that m20 could be a new legacy dungeon on par with Elden Ring's best areas, which would make it a good headliner for a major DLC if there is one in the pipes. However, Shion says m45 is a "complete wild card."
"Nobody is really sure what a map in this currently unallocated range could possibly entail," they said. "It does carry a lot of implications for new major map additions to the game world, but currently this is all that can be said."
The IDs for m20 and m45 were found "in a very isolated archive file not linked to the DLC01 stuff," according to Shion. This archive is tied to Elden Ring's sound bank, an opaque but recurring signifier of missing, cut, or otherwise unknown content. Sekiro Dubi noted this in their explanation as well: "The index the game has of sound banks mentions them, but they are not shipped anywhere in the files."
Zullie echoed this point: "There are no actual files explicitly associated with m20 or m45, the only reference we have for them is just them being added to the list."
Shion clarified that the sound bank contains tons of file names, "way more than actually exist in the game," but m20 and m45 are notable standouts not just because they're new, but because they don't fit the game's existing classification system. This makes it much less likely that they're merely cut or restructured content that's only just bubbling up now.
"When it comes to the two map IDs that I found, I am fairly certain that's upcoming content," Shion said.
Addressing the differences between these map IDs and the DLC01 materials, Shion added: "Based on the abundance of DLC01 data, with previously cut colosseums, I have a feeling the new map IDs from my findings might be for a bigger content release that's potentially further in the future than whatever DLC01 is gonna end up being. No sources on that, just an educated guess based on the data at hand."
Modders and data miners are still trawling Elden Ring and update 1.07 for clues, and the prevalent theories may change as more evidence surfaces. For now, we can reasonably assume that Elden Ring is due for at least one update of a non-trivial scale. If these initial breadcrumbs really are what players and data miners hope they are, a big addition to the game may be announced in the not-too-distant future as well.
Elden Ring is leading nominations at the Golden Joystick Awards 2022, and voting is still open.