Elden Ring is about as difficult as Dark Souls 3 but gives players more ways to approach challenges.
That's according to director Hidetaka Miyazaki, who discussed the game's difficulty in a recent interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu (translated by Frontline Gaming Japan (opens in new tab)). Miyazaki explains that, rather than overtly toning down the difficulty, FromSoftware set out to give players more ways to overcome difficult content. With that in mind, he describes Elden Ring as a game that's "very difficult, but it can be handled."
Elden Ring is about as difficult as Dark Souls 3, Miyazaki says, but as we've learned in the many info drops following our initial Elden Ring gameplay breakdown, it's loaded with ways to customize your character, fighting style, and even your party. Stealth is a much more viable and sophisticated option in Elden Ring, for example, and you can call on collectible NPC allies to aid you in battle. With access to roughly 100 weapon skills loosely based on the ones in Dark Souls 3 – but no longer tied to individual weapons – you also have much more control over your attacks, too.
Multiplayer is also available as a way to offset the game's difficulty through jolly cooperation, and while this is nothing new for FromSoftware's action RPGs, Elden Ring pushes multiplayer in a unique and flavorful way. Simply put, you and your friends – and as many people as you want, really – can create Elden Ring multiplayer groups that make it easier to find and share each other's messages in-game. In other words, you can opt into a network of supportive allies just by entering a keyword. That ought to make the Lands Between more navigable, or at least less lonely.
So, how hard is Elden Ring? The short answer is that it's about as hard as Dark Souls 3, but it gives you even more ways to approach and mitigate issues. There are still no true-blue difficulty settings (easy, medium, etc.), but as any FromSoftware veteran can tell you, some builds and strategies honestly feel like easy mode. I'm looking at you, magic builds.
How long is Elden Ring? Miyazaki says it's taken him around 30 hours with minimal exploration and side-questing, so we reckon it'll take us around 300.