Bandai Namco shared makes me think George's involvement was in the details. It sounds like we're going to meet quite a few more distinct characters with deep histories and intertwining relationships, and George feels like the right guy to name all the pieces and bash 'em together in interesting ways.
Steven: I like ol' George quite a bit, but this partnership always seemed odd to me! But I think you're probably right. Hopefully there's some stuff in the full game that is unmistakably his work.
The open world stuff actually feels very natural
Steven: Like I said above, I worried a lot about how FromSoftware would adapt to making a truly open world RPG with great big spaces. It just feels so antithetical to Dark Souls design, which is still technically open world but uses tight corridors and very constricted design to help guide the player and its brutal combat encounters. But the open world stuff looks great. I'm imagining this is somewhat like Shadow of the Colossus or Breath of the Wild, where the open world seems quite empty and has a lot of open space that leads to the more labyrinthian areas we're used to from these games. I'm okay with that, actually. Dark Souls' quiet moments are some of my favorites, and if Elden Ring puts a much bigger emphasis on the loneliness of the open road, I think that'll be a great contrast to the nail-biting fights.
Rich: Yes the Shadow of the Colossus vibes were very real, and I can see that contrast between a kind of large desolate world studded with Fromsoft's detailed and winding interior locations working extremely well. We've seen time and again how imaginative this studio is with not just the nature but the structure of its locations, and how players have to navigate them.
On that note I'm betting—complete speculation—that a major element of the game is how the horse alters navigation at different points. We see it flying straight up a huge cliff, as well as taking the player into combat in various different styles and, oh yeah, it freaking materialises out of thin air. I'd be surprised if it starts the game able to do all those things, and FromSoft often pulls this trick of changing how you travel across their worlds at a certain point. So I'm thinking the horse starts as, well, a horse, then as you progress it acquires the more fantastical abilities.
Steven: That'd be neat. I also want to know how this bigger scale changes what's possible in bosses. I think a lot of Dark Souls' biggest bosses kind of suffer because it's really hard to design a fight around that without it becoming very scripted in the way that, say, God of War turned its colossal boss fights into an interactive cutscene.
Rich: Yeah I think what we saw today was awesome, but I also hope that FromSoft is doing what it did with Bloodborne. That game was marketed very much as some sort of werewolf horror game, but its true nature was kept secret until release. We got these tiny glimpses of other things: was that a player character howling at one point in the trailer, looking like a beast-man, or an enemy? So I really hope there's something to this world that will flip our perceptions, and no-one will know about it until the game's in our hands.