How Elden Ring fans used a little-known Chinese dialect to decode the game's map

Elden Ring
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring's map runes have been deciphered by a group of fans in China, using an ancient language.

A video recently emerged from Chinese YouTube channel YYSTV, detailing how a group of Elden Ring fans managed to analyze and decode runes on the game's map.

In short, a group of Chinese fans realized that the runes on Elden Ring's map are that of the Yi script, an ancient language used by the ethnic Yi people. Deciphering these runes was no short work, largely because only a very small percentage of the Chinese population still actively uses the dialogue.

After the group reached out to a fellow Chinese fan of Elden Ring - and noted that if they couldn't properly speak Yi, the game's Japanese developers probably couldn't either - the wheels eventually got turning. The group managed to decipher that the in-game runes are being written by the map's original in-game owner. Markers are dotted all over the map, as you can probably imagine, denoting the intimidating Stormveil Castle, which we visited back in Elden Ring's closed network test, for example.

There's also a big focus on the sea with these runes. In the north sea, for example, the runes warn the player character not to listen to the song of the sirens, else they get lured to their untimely demise under the waves. You might recall that the previously-revealed Godfrey has a sword bearing runes related to the sea. Could the ocean be a bigger factor in Elden Ring than we previously thought?

There's just under a month until Elden Ring launches on February 25, 2022, and we'll find out if the runes really do prelude a big focus on the sea. Elden Ring is shaping up to be one hell of an exciting prospect for both new and veteran FromSoftware game players alike, and you can head over to our Elden Ring preview to find out exactly why.

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Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.