The Elden Ring Community Deserves A Great Game

The Elden Ring Community Deserves A Great Game

In a world of toxic hype cycles, Elden Ring fans’ patience deserves to be rewarded

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The Elden Ring Community Deserves A Great Game

For a long time, Elden Ring seemed like a myth. After first being announced at E3 2019, we received no information at all until this year’s Summer Game Fest. Two years isn’t all that long in game development, but for Soulsborne fans, it felt like an agonising wait. Previews from the closed network test suggest the wait has been worth it, and I can’t think of any fanbase more deserving of a win.

Gaming fans are an odd bunch. Every time a delay is announced, you get those who respond with “take your time, we’ll play when it’s ready!” but you also get those who send death threats. Added into the mix is the fact that for games where delay means prolonging the death march of crunch, “take your time,” is patronising and meaningless.

That’s not all. Gamers often feel like a grandad on Facebook, with his smiling profile picture alongside his grandkids, a ‘Be Kind’ filter, and a bio that reads “send the muzzies back.” If you’re in any given games community, and if you’re not part of a minority group, you might see the camaraderie and togetherness that makes for a wholesome time. If you’re a Black woman who questions a racially insensitive line of dialogue, you might find the experience of the community very different.

The Elden Ring Community Deserves A Great Game

Gamers as a whole are hard to root for. I’m not talking about you, specifically, reading this. But we all know that there are bad apples out there that ruin it for the rest of us. And if you’re thinking “no there aren’t,” then congratulations on your oxidised flesh and mealy insides being slowly devoured by worms.

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Basically, it’s hard to ever say a gaming community is all great. Our own Cian Maher wrote about how lovely his experience has been with the Pokemon community recently, and while I believe him, I can’t stop thinking about the time they threatened World War 3 over some trees.

Elden Ring’s community is so nice though it feels like gaming’s answer to Ted Lasso, and now I believe in believe.

Every single showcase, awards ceremony, and Geoff Keighley tweet since 2019 has been a bitter disappointment for the Elden Ring community. “Surely, finally, this time we’ll get a CGI tra… nope, show’s over. Okay guys, just two months to the next one, we can do it.”

The Elden Ring Community Deserves A Great Game

Elden Ring’s community channelled this disappointment in a way few other communities have. They were the overworked CEO, down on their hands and knees with a ball gag in their mouths, and The Game Awards was their leather-covered mistress in vinyl thigh highs and a whip. They got off on the disappointment – Elden Ring /not/ being revealed was almost better than a reveal, because it meant the memes could continue, and their small, wholesome community could continue without invaders. Soon, the invaders will come.

This isn’t an exercise in gatekeeping, but now that the previews are dropping and people are starting to play the game – albeit in a closed network test – the mythos has gone. It’s no longer this fabled, magical, possibly-not-real experience the community could rally around in disappointment. It’s now just a video game – a video game that’s already had a three week delay slap bang into the middle of February’s unusually stacked slate.

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People will play it, and some will be disappointed. Maybe it’ll even get delayed again. It’s not special anymore. The negativity will seep in. The bad apples will emerge, the ethylene will leak out and eventually, like all gaming communities, the Elden Ring fanbase will turn rotten.

We stand now on the turning point. While the Summer Game Fest’s trailer gave the fans reasons to be hopeful, the closed network test confirms that yes, this really is a video game. For the fans who have been there since the beginning making memes out of pizza crusts, I hope they enjoy it. They certainly deserve it.

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