2014 action RPG Lords of the Fallen was obviously inspired by FromSoftware games, and so is its upcoming reboot, The Lords of the Fallen (a name that will torment Google searchers forever). According to creative director Cezar Virtosu, however, while it might look like they cribbed certain ideas directly from Elden Ring for the new game, they were as surprised as anyone by them.
Development of The Lords of the Fallen began before Elden Ring was revealed, and Virtosu recently told our friends at Edge Magazine (via our other friends at GamesRadar) that the studio "braced for impact" when details about FromSoftware's open world RPG started to appear. Sure enough, there was overlap.
"Our breakthrough weapon, the flail, was showcased in the Elden Ring trailer, and that killed us inside," said Virtosu. "And we saw that one of our bosses was nearly identical to Malenia."
The director didn't say whether the studio made any changes to the boss as a result of the similarity, but it's not as if he's shy about the FromSoftware influence guiding The Lords of the Fallen—"Miyazaki is our daddy and granddaddy," he said—so maybe it'll stick around as an accidental homage. (I've asked a PR rep and will update this article if I hear more.)
The Lords of the Fallen executive producer Saul Gascon also acknowledged that their studio, a new offshoot of publisher CI Games called HexWorks, exists in the shadow of FromSoftware, but he doesn't think that's an unambitious place to be.
"We want the studio to become a reference in the genre," Gascon told Edge.
We want to be the second reference [after From], because right now there is no clear second reference."
I appreciate the honesty of aspiring to be the second most notable dark fantasy action RPG developer, which of course would be a big achievement with FromSoft at the top, although I'm not sure the position is actually vacant: Some would say that Nioh 2 is that second reference, so that's what The Lords of the Fallen has to beat.
As for the title, senior brand manager Ryan Hill told Edge that The Lords of the Fallen is not a direct sequel to Lords of the Fallen—which was made by a different developer—but not really a spin-off, either, so they went with the 'the' approach.
"It might not be the clearest route forward," said Hill, "but I think by the time we’ve launched, everyone will be educated on what this is."
There's a lot more about The Lords of the Fallen and what it is to be found in issue 381 of Edge Magazine, which is available to purchase from our shared publisher here. For the short version, Virtosu offered this summation: "Our strategy was that, yes, we will be Dark Souls 4.5. We will be that semi-open world that people crave, that more vertical level design—because that's what we want, too."