Days before launch, and as hype for the game reaches critical mass, FromSoftware has issued a public statement asking players to be careful about posting Elden Ring spoilers.
Posted via the game’s official Twitter account, the message requests that players “be mindful of spoilers for those who wish to experience the Lands Between for the first time with unclouded eyes.”
This is likely a response to the fact that footage of the game is already leaking online. But From’s post did get me wondering: is it even possible to spoil a Souls game? FromSoftware’s storytelling is designed specifically to offer no clear answers, instead providing players with ambiguous fragments of lore, the significance of which derive largely from the player’s own interpretation.
To take a classic Dark Souls example, the closest you can come to a proper spoiler would be along the lines of “Knight Solaire is strongly implied to be the forsaken son of Gwyn: Lord of Sunlight”. But if you’ve never played Dark Souls before, this reads like total gibberish, an excerpt from the tail-end of a Lord of the Rings appendix rather than a massive plot twist. It only makes sense once you’ve played Dark Souls, and even then, the truth of Solaire’s identity is impossible to ascertain definitively.
Maybe Elden Ring has a firmer, more directed plot. Maybe being clued into how Souls games work makes potential spoilers more easily identifiable. Or maybe this is simply indicative of how our understanding of spoilers has changed over the years. I still think of a spoiler as revealing a major plot point, like the central twists in BioShock or Knights of the Old Republic, which I still get nervy about spoiling fifteen-to-twenty years on. But these days, spoiler-tags can seemingly be applied to anything, from what an area looks like to footage of a boss fight.
I don’t know whether such hyper-awareness of spoilers is a good or bad thing. I certainly think people should be considerate about the experiences of others, especially given how the growing omnipresence of the Internet in our lives makes it increasingly hard to avoid topical discussions. But there also comes a point where, if you really don’t want to know anything about a game, the only sensible option is to avoid online spaces that are fundamentally dedicated toward sharing experiences and opinions. At the very least, it’s prudent to prepare some robust muted words in the case of a site like Twitter. Not doing so is a bit like knowingly walking into a Souls boss fight without a weapon and being annoyed when you get creamed.
In any case, the warning has me intrigued as to whether Elden Ring contains a story that’s genuinely spoilable, or if it’s all still based around knotty chunks of lore like “Adolphus the Accursed is secretly the fifth cousin of Siegfried, the Pestilent Squire (twice-removed).” If this somehow turns out to be a genuine Elden Ring spoiler, then I apologise in advance.