Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Features a Challenge “on Equal Footing” with Malenia

The expansion also features poisoned swamps, though director Hidetaka Miyazaki says players may feel a bit of "retrospection" with them.

Posted By | On 22nd, Feb. 2024

Elden Ring - Shadow of the Erdtree_04

With Shadow of the Erdtree serving as the first paid expansion for Elden Ring (and FromSoftware’s largest yet), many assume it will provide a tougher challenge. It’s a pattern with the developer’s previous expansions, as seen in Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City and Bloodborne: The Old Hunters.

Speaking to Eurogamer, director Hidetaka Miyazaki said the difficulty is similar to Elden Ring’s end game. That’s saying a lot, considering how much higher it scales compared to the developer’s other games, but players can still approach them differently.

“We wanted to provide these challenging encounters and these menacing threats, and to do that, we wanted to give the player a lot of freedom of approach. We wanted them to feel free in how they choose and when they choose to approach and tackle these hardships.”

However, for those who crave a challenge akin to Malenia, Blade of Miquella, Miyazaki said, “Players who look for that sort of challenge in our games will find a challenge on equal footing in the DLC as well.” Interestingly, a new progression element plays into farming for levels and returning later.

Of course, one has to know: Will there be poisoned swamps, a well-worn trope of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls games? “In a word, yes. But this was actually a point of introspection for me after creating the base game. It was only after creating it that I realized I really like to create poisoned swamps. And this was a little place of introspection and reflection for me. So maybe, when players reach the poisoned swamp in the DLC, they will feel a little bit of this retrospection,” said Miyazaki.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree launches on June 21st for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5 and PC. Retailing for $39.99, it features a map larger than Limgrave, over ten new bosses, eight new weapon types and much more.


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