elden ring launch trailer
Image via Bandai Namco / FromSoftware

Can you pause the game in ‘Elden Ring?’

'Elden Ring' is masterpiece, though its pausing system can be confusing. Here's how to stop and quickly resume if you need to take a break.

FromSoftware’s Souls games are known for their brutal challenge, and the wonderful Elden Ring is no exception. Though it makes a number of smart choices in streamlining various systems, explaining how mechanics work, and allowing players to postpone or skip tricky content, it still contains the same unforgiving design DNA that’s made these games such a phenomenon.

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But there’s one mechanic that often has players griping that’s completely external to the fantasy setting. In Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1-3, and Bloodborne, there is no pause button. If you bring up a menu, then the gameplay continues behind it and whatever’s currently trying to slaughter you will jump at the chance. However, 2019’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice did allow players to pause, leading some to hope that the same would be true in Elden Ring.

Well, I’m sorry to inform you that this is not the case: you cannot pause the game in Elden Ring.

The justification is that the game is intended to be played online, and being able to pause would break the design (though this doesn’t explain why pausing is also unavailable when you’re offline).

How long is Elden Ring?
Photo via BANDAI NAMCO Europe/YouTube

However, not being able to pause isn’t the crippling handicap you might assume it is. Firstly, like all Souls games, Elden Ring is constantly saving your game, so if you suddenly need to take a break, you can simply quit to the title screen and when you resume, you’ll be in the exact same spot.

This gets a little more complicated if you’re fighting enemies or a boss, though in a surprisingly kind touch, quitting during a boss fight restarts you outside of the arena with your rune stash intact.

Even if you don’t want to quit completely, it’s often perfectly safe to simply put the controller down for a moment. The vast majority of enemies stand still waiting for you to aggro them, and those that patrol do so on very small circuits. This means you can just park your character in a secluded spot away from enemies, do what you need to, and return to find your brave guy/gal right where you left them.

In conclusion, no, you can’t pause Elden Ring. But it’s not as big of a deal as you might imagine and certainly shouldn’t stop you from checking out an absolute masterpiece of a game.

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David James
I'm a writer/editor who's been at the site since 2015. Love writing about video games and will crawl over broken glass to write about anything related to Hideo Kojima. But am happy to write about anything and everything, so long as it's interesting!