Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree’s Massive Map Size has Really Surprised

A realm reimagined.

By GamesRecon

When Hidetaka Miyazaki, the mastermind behind the Souls series and president of FromSoftware, remarked that the map of Shadow of the Erdtree was “comparable, if not larger than the area of Limgrave” from Elden Ring, it certainly raised a few eyebrows. Miyazaki’s casual comment in a February IGN interview sparked a whirlwind of speculation among fans. Could he be underestimating again, or was he setting us up for a surprise?

Well, if history was any indicator, the Souls community should have known to expect the unexpected. Recall the lead-up to Elden Ring’s release, when Miyazaki pegged the main game at around 30 hours of gameplay—a figure that left many players chuckling as they surpassed the 100-hour mark on their Elden Ring gameplay. It’s no wonder he later admitted in a pre-release interview, “Everyone told me I was lying and that’s not remotely enough time!” After hearing these words, I had a hunch that “comparable” might only be the tip of the iceberg.

Indeed, the reality of Shadow of the Erdtree confirms that. While the actual terrain of The Realm of Shadow may only spans between a third to half of the entire playable area of The Lands Between, but such measurements would be missing the forest for the trees – or the Erdtree in this case, if you want to be thematically correct.

The unique feature of The Realm of Shadow is its labyrinthine design. Now wrap the wide-open world of Elden Ring in on itself and scrunch it up into the interlocking glob of claustrophobia that makes up the levels in Bloodborne and Dark Souls. The result is a dense maze, a synthesis of the wide-open expansiveness with the dense verticality that made the first set of games so magical.

But this isn’t just a case of riding Torrent across the plains. You could see something in the distance, but it would be a rather brief effort, and then cliffs and chasms countless meters deep would block your path. You have walked (sometimes literally, very often metaphorically) the long, meandering ways to get to the end, taking your winding road through multiple terrains, and or stopping so often that you have no idea when your journey even began.

The fact that FromSoftware had been able to create such a deep and multi-faceted experience in little more than two years was almost magical. This goes a step beyond a mere DLC and forms an expansion that competes with and sometimes beats the primary game. I got a taste of that mammoth scale and feeling of discovery intrinsic to Elden Ring when I played a preview session some days ago. After spending time with Shadow of the Erdtree myself, I am delighted to report that this expansion remains as enchanting and intriguing as ever, further proving that Miyazaki and his studio are masters of their craft.

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