Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Elden Ring 2 deserves the Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom treatment

By all accounts, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a fantastic sequel. Digital Trends’ review highlights how adding sky islands, a massive cavern below Hyrule, and creation abilities give players tools to create their own puzzle solutions and blow the game open. It doubles down on all of Breath of the Wild’s strengths but builds upon them in innovative ways that make this sequel feel truly different from its predecessor. If, or when, Elden Ring gets a follow-up, I hope its sequel does the same.

A warrior fights in Elden Ring.

While not officially announced, FromSoftware owner Kadokawa Group has outright stated that it is “pursuing the maximization of profit by prolonging the life of IP.” That makes a sequel to Elden Ring feel inevitable. The upcoming Shadow of the Erdtree expansion will likely introduce some ideas of its own, but a sequel is where FromSoftware has an opportunity to change things up.

And if that opportunity for an Elden Ring sequel does come to fruition, I hope that FromSoftware is as boldly ambitious with Elden Ring 2’s design as Nintendo was with Tears of the Kingdom.

What makes for a great sequel?

I’m not the biggest fan of Elden Ring, but I still recognize how monumental of a release it was for the game industry. It was a massive jump from Dark Souls 3 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, taking FromSoftware’s proven Souls formula and unleashing it on a Breath of the Wild-like open world. Elden Ring could still feel unapproachable at times, but there’s no denying that this is a brilliant evolution of a formula that the Dark Souls series had pushed to the limits.

Because Elden Ring was such a success, there’s a demand for more. And the easiest way to capitalize on that would be to pump out sequels quickly that refine the core formula but don’t do that much that’s new. FromSoftware could undoubtedly find success that way, and that version of Elden Ring 2 could still be quite good, but a game as important as Elden Ring deserves the same sequel treatment that Nintendo gave Breath of the Wild.

Four players fight in an Elden Ring colosseum.

Similarly to Elden Ring, Breath of the Wild was a revelation compared to many of the Zelda games that came before it, eschewing series conventions to try something new. The result was one of the best games of all time and warranted a sequel, but Nintendo didn’t want to do more of the same. At first glance, the fact that Tears of the Kingdom shares many visual assets and even some map design with Breath of the Wild may seem unambitious and disappointing. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead, Nintendo used Breath of the Wild similarities to, as Tears of the Kingdom director Hidemaro Fujibayashi puts it, “create new gameplay.” That meant deepening the ways players interact with the world, whether by fusing any of the items they pick up or building an Ultrahand contraption that the game didn’t tell you about to solve a puzzle.

It’s a formula that’s worked wonders in immersive sims, and applying it to an open-world action-adventure game has also worked wonders. Nintendo didn’t play it safe with Breath of the Wild, even though it still could have sold millions of copies doing so, and that’s very commendable. In turn, it also makes me want to see the developers of other lauded games do the same.

I’m not saying that a potential Elden Ring 2 needs its own version of Ultrahand or Fuse; that would feel derivative. I’ll leave coming up with genius new design ideas to the developers who make these great games. Still, a focus on creating new and innovative gameplay experiences while also honoring what came before is the formula that results in the best sequels.

Sequels to great games should feel like the leap from Dark Souls 3 to Elden Ring, not the jump from Dark Souls to Dark Souls II. If I just wanted more of Elden Ring, I could play the game again as a new class or eventually try its expansion. When FromSoftware follows up Elden Ring, it needs to be doing something ambitious and industry-changing with it.

We’ve seen Tears of the Kingdom pull that off while following up Breath of the Wild, so an Elden Ring 2 that feels like anything less than that would feel disappointing. That’s a high bar for Elden Ring 2 to meet, but FromSoftware has proven that it’s a talented enough team to be up for that challenge.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available now for Nintendo Switch. Elden Ring is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
One of Link’s oldest enemies returns in new Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom ad
Link runs toward a ledge in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

A new ad for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom confirms that a boss from the original The Legend of Zelda is returning in the highly anticipated sequel, and the trailer even teases that there might be multiple variants of this enemy.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom | You Can Do What?!

Read more
Before Tears of the Kingdom, you need to play Zelda’s most underrated game

With The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom less than one month away, it’s as good a time as any to revisit Breath of the Wild. Maybe you still have a few shrines to clear out, or perhaps you never defeated Calamity Ganon (it’s OK, you can admit it). Now might be your last chance to finish that story before diving headfirst into Hyrule’s next chapter. Breath of the Wild isn’t the only Zelda game you’re going to want to finish before May 12, though; Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a must-play that needs to be on your prelaunch checklist.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Read more
5 big details from Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s new trailer that you may have missed
Link stands near allied humans and Gorons in Tears of the Kingdom.

The final trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has arrived, and it's full of new information about the upcoming Switch game. We got a better look at its open world, saw many new characters, and got another peek at all kinds of vehicles that players can make. In fact, the trailer was so crowded with new information -- and Tears of the Kingdom's mechanics and story are still so shrouded in mystery -- that there are some things that you might have missed, leaving a ton to speculate on.
When watching it again, we found a ton of curious details that had us wondering about unannounced features. We've rounded up five details in particular that could have some major implications for the gameplay and story of Tears of the Kingdom. 
Link has companions

One of the most surprising things about this new trailer is that it seems to confirm a companion system, or at least NPCs that are way more active than they ever were in Breath of the Wild. During a montage around the 1:38 mark, we see Link riding a horse through an active battle between humans and Ganondorf's forces. Later on, after the three-minute mark, we see new Rito, Human, Zora, Goron, and Garudo working with Link. The Zora soldier specifically helps Link fight an enemy in a two-on-one encounter.
Companions aren't a new feature to open-world games; titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have it. Still, these more active NPCs and an entire potential companion mechanic highlight just how deeply core gameplay systems have been modified for Tears of the Kingdom.
New characters and enemies

Read more