Thursday, 30 Nov 2023

How Elden Ring uses architecture to freak you out

The map in Elden Ring is stupid huge.

I’ve gotten this feeling a lot in recent open-world games. The first time I zoomed all the way out on the map in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I sort of cackled and wept. It’s so big. And then when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla came out, the developers were like, “This map is even bigger!”

The new Zelda games have vast, varied landscapes. No Man’s Sky has all of space!

So when I first cracked open Elden Ring’s map and did my “I’m in danger” laugh, I wasn’t prepared for what FromSoftware did that sets it apart from other open world games with intimidatingly huge maps.

And it’s all about making the big feel big, and the small feel small.

In the video above, I talk about the architectural principles that FromSoftware uses to direct how we feel about the different spaces in Elden Ring. The way a space is designed changes how we interact with it, and how we feel. And in Elden Ring, the flow between different types of spaces is everything.

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