Will Elden Ring Support Co-Op and Competitive Multiplayer?

Will Elden Ring support Dark Souls-style multiplayer? The answer is a little complicated.

Elden Ring
Photo: Bandai Namco

The recent Elden Ring trailer revealed quite a bit of information about the upcoming collaboration between Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin, but it still left many fans with unanswered questions about the game’s multiplayer options.

Traditionally, games in the Soulsborne series (Demon’s Souls, the Dark Souls games, and Bloodborne) have included some kind of multiplayer option. In fact, one of the elements that define those games is the ability to open your world to other players so that they can assist you or even just try to kill you. That feature, along with the ability to leave notes for other players, helped build the strange community that’s been hyping up Elden Ring for the past two years.

That’s why many were surprised when FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice launched without similar multiplayer options. FromSoftware later explained that they simply wanted to try something different with that game and kind of wanted to give themselves a break from having to balance how the presence of another player could impact the scenarios they crafted.

Actually, that’s a big part of the reason why so many people assumed that Elden Ring wouldn’t include any multiplayer options. Not only is it also something a little different from FromSoftware, but the fact that it’s an open-world game would seemingly make it even more difficult to account for the influence of another player at all times.

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Against those odds, though, FromSoftware has confirmed that Elden Ring will include multiplayer. Specifically, they note in the game’s official description that you’ll be able to “traverse the breathtaking world on foot or on horseback, alone or online with other players.” Elsewhere, publisher Bandai Namco revealed that Elden Ring will support co-op multiplayer for up to four online players.

What we don’t know are the finer details of the actual multiplayer mechanics. For instance, there’s a scene in the trailer that showcases familiar multiplayer “blue phantoms” being summoned by the player’s character. That would seemingly suggest that you’ll be able to summon co-op companions at will, but it’s still not clear whether or not that’s the case. For that matter, we don’t even know whether or not that summoning process requires you to use an item.

More importantly, we still don’t know whether or not Elden Ring supports any kind of competitive multiplayer. Hardcore Soulsborne fans love battling each other in the spiritual series’ PvP battles, but it’s possible that the rest of the Elden Ring experience just doesn’t properly support that feature. At the very least, it’s odd that Bandai Namco wouldn’t just confirm that the game has PvP at the same time they confirmed that the game supports co-op.

So while you will be able to play Elden Ring with friends, it remains to be seen how expansive the game’s co-op options are, whether or not you’ll also be able to fight your friends (and everyone else), or if you’ll be able to leave notes for other players in the game’s massive world.