Are ‘Elden Ring’ and ‘Dark Souls’ connected?

Elden Ring
Photo via Elden Ring/From Software

Only a few weeks remain until one of the most anticipated games of 2022 hits shelves.

Elden Ring is headed quickly toward its Feb. 25 release, ramping up excitement for its debut on a daily basis. As its release inches closer, fans are starting to feel a nervous energy overtake their excitement. Particularly for fans of former From Software releases — like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Dark Souls — the announcement of a new game is laced with anxiety as well as enthusiasm.

That’s because the aforementioned games are notoriously, infamously, brutally difficult. Both franchises tend to be avoided by casual gamers, if only for their incredibly time-consuming natures. It takes real effort to work your way through these games and there are sure to be plenty of tears along the way. They are not for the weak of heart.

From Software’s status as a developer of immensely difficult titles is prompting concern about Elden Ring. Gamers want to know before shelling out the $60 required to obtain a copy of the game whether or not Elden Ring will follow in the steps of its predecessors. If this game really is connected to Dark Souls, does that make it all but unbeatable to non-expert level gamers?

Are Elden Ring and Dark Souls connected?

Elden Ring - Gameplay
Photo via Elden Ring

The details surrounding Elden Ring are still relatively hazy, as the game’s creators work hard to conceal important aspects of the game until it is officially released. Its connection back to the Dark Souls games has been a prominent question among fans, due in large part to clear visual and gameplay connections between the games. Both Elden Ring and the Dark Souls games take place in sprawling fantasy worlds with dark, ominous overtones. They appear to share quite a few mechanics in common and the visuals have clear correlations.

Despite their apparent similarities, however, Elden Ring does not appear to share any connection with the Dark Souls games. The visuals and mechanics are bound to share some similarities — Hidetaka Miyazaki and From Software created them both, after all — but those connections are not indicative of a shared world.

The upcoming game has no definitive connection to any of From Software’s former releases, but it will inevitably share some real estate with games like Dark Souls. It is more of a “spiritual successor,” as noted by Redditor mushroomglass, similar to the connection between Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. The game will introduce an entirely new world, along with new bosses, new lore, and brand new characters.

This means that no prior knowledge is needed before launching an Elden Ring game. Regardless of if you’ve ever attempted Dark Souls or any of From Software’s other releases, the story and characters in Elden Ring will make sense. Any similarities you catch between the new title and previous releases are due to the teams working on them, rather than a conscious decision.