Elden Ring's fabled colosseums are finally real, and they open the door to so much more

Elden Ring
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring has opened the doors to its colosseums by virtue of a free Elden Ring Colosseum update that lands on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. In what was surely one of the worst-kept secrets in all of the Lands Between, we'll now finally be able to access those imposing amphitheaters of crumbling stone, as we "battle for glory in new PvP modes," under the shadow of the Erdtree. With players now able to "engage in battles such as duels, free-for-alls and team fights," there's more than a hint of Dark Souls 3's PvP-focused Hollow Arenas here – but while these affairs were gated by passwords, and accessed exclusively from that game's Firelink Shrine hub, it appears Elden Ring's colosseums will be entered organically via free roam. 

The dust has barely settled on the announcement, and I'm excited. Can you tell?  I mean, just the thought of battling our pals and/or total randoms online within the confines of such impressive and dedicated stadia – whose real world imagery conjures blood-soaked Roman gladiators battling to the death– sounds exhilarating. But if we pause for a moment and consider what else might now be en route to FromSoftware's ever-popular action RPG, now that this long-expected slice of cut content is indeed real, then I'm inclined to double down on the assertion that Elden Ring DLC could be Game of the Year material on its own.

The Lands Betwixt

Elden Ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Ever since the game's launch back in February, stories of rumored Elden Ring cut content have popped up in the news cycle semi-regularly. From a Mimic Tear becoming self aware to a cut quest for Vyke, the guy on the cover art, and, more recently, an Elden Ring data mine that suggested potential DLC leaves space for 30 new bosses, there's been plenty to ponder regarding where FromSoftware's hugely successful action role-player might go next – or, at least, what might have been. Back in October, Sekiro Dubi took to Twitter to reveal new parameters for four new text banners had been datamined from Elden Ring's v1.07 patch, which matched pre-existing unused texts that read: "Begin Match", "Draw", "You Win", and "You Lose", at that point making ritual combat and eventual use of the three colosseums seem all but inevitable.  

I've written before about how, like previous Dark Souls games, Elden Ring has secret fight clubs that offer no end of challenge and spectacle. I love them, but one of my main gripes with the base game's set up is the fact that the best Elden Ring Fight Club location is found in an end-game area: Mountaintops of the Giants. Getting there is far from straightforward and requires you to have both played the game for some time, and, in turn, have reached a certain skill level – should you wish to be matched with other players at all, and then, crucially, stand a chance of survival. 

With the colosseums' placements in mind, though – in Limgrave, Leyndell and Caelid – it would appear players of all skill levels can look forward to sparring with randos and AI-controlled baddies alike, no matter how far they are into the game. At the other end of the spectrum, we've already seen loads of creative OP builds tearing other players apart in random bouts of PvP, and so I suspect we'll see a deluge of top performances in these new arenas in the coming weeks and months.


Elden Ring Colosseum Update

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

"In any event, you'll find me dueling to the death in an ancient stadium in the meantime, fighting people I don't know under the blood-red skies of Caelid. Just the thought of that alone makes the hairs on my neck stand on end."

Before then, however, I reckon we might see more from Elden Ring in an official capacity. You might have spied other journalists speculating on social media about how this Colosseum Update feels like a surprise drop before a full DLC announcement is unveiled at the Game Awards on Thursday, December 8. If you're reading this before then, I'm inclined to agree – and if you're reading this thereafter, and it hasn't surfaced yet, I still reckon Elden Ring DLC is coming sooner than later nevertheless.

With that, what will fully-fledged Elden Ring DLC look like? Access to the Elden Ring Colosseums featured high on our Elden Ring DLC wishlist, as did dedicated PvP arenas. If the recent, exhaustive datamine follows suit, we might expect new hair options in the game's character creation suite; new weapon categories; something in the way of new legacy dungeons and divine towers; as many as 16 new NPCs, each labeled in the data as "Someone Yet Unseen"; and up to 30 new bosses. Or something as yet uncharted entirely, which is bloody exciting. 

I've long said Elden Ring DLC needs a PvP boss in the vein of previous Souls games, but that's probably wishful thinking on my part. In any event, you'll find me dueling to the death in an ancient stadium in the meantime, fighting people I don't know under the blood-red skies of Caelid. Just the thought of that alone makes the hairs on my neck stand on end. If I survive, I'll report back with my tales from the battlefield. Godspeed and good luck, fellow Tarnished. We're going to need it.  

The best games like Elden Ring will challenge you to no end 

Joe Donnelly
Features Editor, GamesRadar+

Joe is a Features Editor at GamesRadar+. With over seven years of experience working in specialist print and online journalism, Joe has written for a number of gaming, sport and entertainment publications including PC Gamer, Edge, Play and FourFourTwo. He is well-versed in all things Grand Theft Auto and spends much of his spare time swapping real-world Glasgow for GTA Online’s Los Santos. Joe is also a mental health advocate and has written a book about video games, mental health and their complex intersections. He is a regular expert contributor on both subjects for BBC radio. Many moons ago, he was a fully-qualified plumber which basically makes him Super Mario.