Those guys who are fighting Soulsborne bosses until Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree comes out have no end in sight for their lonesome vigil: There was no trailer for the expansion at this year's Game Awards. I don't ever want to sound incensed or entitled to this sort of thing like some kind of piggy oinking for treats, but we did have strong reason to expect FromSoftware's follow-up to our 2022 Game of the Year to make an appearance.
FromSoft seems to have a firm relationship with Geoff Keighley's operation at this point: Off the top of my head, Elden Ring's initial reveal and first gameplay trailer, as well as the first reveals of Armored Core 6 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice all happened at either the Game Awards or Summer Game Fest.
Add to that, our collective internal Elden Ring DLC clocks all seem to be syncing up and telling us it's about time. We're approaching the two-year anniversary of Elden Ring's launch (Christ alive, does the time fly) and historically, FromSoft's DLC expansion packs have come out within a year of their respective games' releases. My coworker Wes Fenlon has an excellent breakdown of when each FromSoft DLC happened in relation to their original game's launch.
At the recent Japanese PlayStation Partners awards, Elden Ring producer Yasuhiro Kitao said that "[Shadow of the Erdtree]'s still a little ways off, but progress is going well. Like Bloodborne's expansion, it has new battles and new characters: So please look forward to new things."
Games just take more time now, and Elden Ring had a longer development cycle than other Souls games before it, but as the wait really begins to drag on, we have to start thinking about one potential upside: Just how big is this thing going to be? Shadow of the Erdtree's development time is starting to look like that of a full-fat release, and I don't think it's unreasonable to anticipate something that dwarfs prior efforts like Bloodborne's The Old Hunters. Maybe an Elden Ring equivalent to The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine's sprawling sister open world.
That's awesome, but when can I play it, then? My crystal ball got chipped in the mail and my girlfriend keeps dumping out the tea leaves I want to read, but there are some strong educated guesses we can make—allowing, of course, that an appearance at this year's Game Awards was one such guess that didn't pan out.
The Taipei Game Show
When: January 25-28
Hype check: Cold Fish: 🔥
I don't think the Taipei Game Show is a likely candidate for something huge like a gameplay trailer or release date, but you never know. FromSoft has typically had a large presence here, offering a lengthy interview about Armored Core 6's direction (prior to its first gameplay footage) this past year, and the company did present new gameplay of Elden Ring in 2022 at the show, just a month out from launch.
I'd expect more backwards-facing, interview-style content regarding Armored Core 6 than any Elden revelations, with maybe a small update on Shadow of the Erdtree's development progress in the cards.
Elden Ring's 2-year anniversary
When: February 25
Hype check: Ill-Advisedly Astronomical: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Elden Ring's first birthday came and went without a peep, dashing any DLC hopes for fans like myself. Then, three days later, I awoke on my day off to see everybody going nuts over FromSoft's announcement of Shadow of the Erdtree in the form of bafflingly high-resolution new key art.
Hope springs eternal, and my gut tells me that this would be the time to drop a reveal trailer if FromSoft is aiming for a summer release window, and it'd rhyme with that initial announcement as well. If we don't get the Holy Grail here, I'd at least expect some kind of dev update around this time.
Summer Game Fest
When: June 8
Hype check: The Last, Best Hope for Humanity: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
If we don't see anything by June and FromSoft is planning to release Shadow of the Erdtree in 2024 at all, I would expect a reveal trailer here, at The Game Awards Jr., with the expansion launching at the end of the summer or in the fall. The company could always surprise us with a wild card like it did with Armored Core 6's first gameplay trailer and release date reveal, which came out of nowhere at the end of April this year, but that just seems silly.
The Game Awards, 2024
When: TBA December 2024
Hype check: lol: 🥴
I almost don't even want to speak it into existence, but what if this thing's not even coming until 2025? In today's environment of expanding budgets and project lead times, you really can't rule anything out. If we don't hear anything until the 2024 TGAs, I'd expect a release window around Elden Ring's third birthday, and an expansion more the size of a full game. If Shadow of the Erdtree is still a no-show at this late date? God help us all.