Elden Ring director turns to escape from Tarkov for inspiration

A composite image shows a medieval soldier attacking with a sword next to a man in modern clothing holding an assault rifle.

Picture: Battlestate Games / FromSoftware / Kotaku

It seems like Fire Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki and I share an affinity for the same kind of games: Extraction shotis S. (I always knew he had good taste). In a recent interview, the award-winning director said he was a fan of none other than Escape from Tarkov and more importantly, that it and other innovative multiplayer games provide inspiring material for future FromSoftware games.

Released last year, Fire Ring has become a phenomenal success. One of the best Soulsborne games yet, it was rightfully scored last year’s title Game of the year at Keighley’s. The game’s first major expansion was as well recently announced to the eager anticipation of fans. Although many people usually like Fire Ring and other Soulslikes such as tough solo RPGs, FromSoftware’s games have often included multiplayer components. Aside from cooperative play, players can “invade” another player’s game, posing a new and smarter threat.

Although very different genres, like extraction shooters Escape from Tarkov and more recently, Call of Duty’s DMZ, offers a similar experience. As a PvPvE game, players are just as vulnerable to hostile AI as they are from other players. But instead of twisting in with a Bloody Finger as in Fire Ringplayers in multiplayer extraction shooters are always at risk of “invasion” from players occupying the same game instance, creating an unpredictable set of tough challenges.

Read more: Fire Ring gets an expansion that can delve into its greatest mystery: Miquella

What is Escape from Tarkov? (and why it’s so similar Fire Ring)

Talking to IGN about future games from FromSoftware, Miyazaki said:

“I’m very interested in (multiplayer elements, both technology and game design) as one of the fans and one of the creators. Especially (Escape from Tarkov). So I basically pay attention to these elements as creators and fans of the game.”

Still in early access from its original 2016 release date, Escape from Tarkov has made a name for himself as a brutally technical and tactical shooter. The goal of collecting essential equipment or mission items and then escaping the map is challenged by enemy AI and players scattered across an open world filled with unlockables and collectibles. On top of that, the game has a very detailed health system and set of inventory management responsibilities. Make it out alive, you keep everything you found. Die and you lose everything, including what you came in with. Hmm, doesn’t that sound familiar?

Other pull-out shooters, such as e.g Duty callsits DMZ or The Cycle: Frontier, dial back some of the survival and loot management, but keep the same PvPvE element. Although the main gameplay loop is getting in and out of an area, everything that happens in between is entirely up to the unpredictable chaos of uncertainty and competing interests. Look past the shooter and it bears a striking resemblance Dark souls or Fire Ringits loop of traveling from bonfire to bonfire, hopefully alive and with all the souls you’ve recovered along the way. Then it kind of makes sense that Miyazaki is a fan.

Fire Ringthe creator is interested in using other players as a “game resource”

What Miyazaki seems to be particularly interested in when it comes to games like Tarkov is how this multiplayer event uses other players “as one of the resources of the gameplay.” In multiplayer extraction shooters, other players are equally an opportunity for opposition or cooperation, leading to tense battles and wider debates about ethics in gambling behaviour and difficulty— again, not so dissimilar to difficulty debates when it comes to souls game.

From the perspective of an individual player, opposing players take on the role of the game’s obstacles, creating challenges of unexpected and varied difficulty and behavior that rely on social dynamics as much as they do actual game mechanics.

Whether such inspiration is likely to be seen in Fire Ringis recently announced and upcoming expansion remains to be seen. But heck, just the thought of a fusion between these two worlds sure is exciting.

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