One and done: Elden Ring’s first DLC expansion will also be its last

A big erdtree casts a big shadow.
Enlarge / A big erdtree casts a big shadow.

Namco Bandai

The good news for Elden Ring fans is that the two-plus-year wait for the game’s first DLC, “Shadow of the Erdtree,” will end in just a couple of months. The bad news is that “Shadow of the Erdtree” will also be the last bit of DLC for FromSoftware’s multi-million-selling action RPG.

In a wide-ranging interview with Chinese site Zhihu (machine translation), Elden Ring producer Hidetaka Miyazaki said “Shadow of the Erdtree” contains a lot of existing lore and content that was created for the original game but couldn’t fit into the final package. Miyazaki said the team decided to release all of that unused content as one large DLC expansion, rather than multiple smaller bits, because “if they were sold separately, the freedom of exploration and sense of adventure would be reduced.”

As for just how big the DLC will be, Miyazaki balked when the interviewer asked how long it would take players to complete. Miyazaki brought up memories of being called a liar after estimating in an earlier interview that the original game would only take about 30 hours of play to complete—crowdsourced game length database HowLongToBeat puts the “main story” estimate closer to 60 hours.

While Miyazaki was definitive on the lack of plans for additional Elden Ring DLC, he did leave open the possibility of further games that could continue the story of the Elden Ring universe. “Fromsoftware’s style of doing things is that it generally does not allow the future of an IP to be easily locked, but it is better to leave some possibilities” he said.

Previous games in Fromsoftware’s Dark Souls series have split additional content across multiple episodic DLC expansions in the years after their respective releases (though Bloodborne only saw a single DLC expansion, “The Old Hunters”). Last year, Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red confirmed that the “Phantom Liberty” expansion would be that game’s only DLC, owing to an engine transition within the company.

Elsewhere in the interview, Miyazaki said the upcoming expansion would closely match the legendary difficulty of the original game’s second half. The DLC was designed with the expectation that “players… should already have a certain understanding of the game,” he said. But players who have grinded their characters into unstoppable, overpowered machines will be able to turn off the leveling system in the DLC area to add a bit of additional challenge.

Miyazaki also offered a few hints about the DLC’s plot, which will include new characters like St. Trina, a counterpart to Miquella, who was only hinted at via item names in the original game. Most characters featured in the DLC will be completely new to the expansion, Miyazaki said, if for no other reason than that “there may be a situation where the player kills the NPC [in the original game], causing him/her to be unable to appear in the DLC story.”

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