Elden Ring fans have spent the last few months begging FromSoftware for new content, but rather than wait, environmental artist Eugenia Lysa started imagining her own world. Then, she went all out to make it real.
Lysa estimates she spent around four months working on what might be the most elaborate “concept art” I’ve ever seen, all dedicated to a potential story expansion for Elden Ring. This isn’t just a series of concept drawings, though her ArtStation does showcase plenty of things that would feel right at home in an Elden Ring art book. She actually booted up a game engine to make the proof of concept walk and talk. What’s especially amazing here is that she had to learn many skills on the fly to make this happen.
“There were a lot of things I have never worked on before (for example music, voiceovers creation and 3D animation) and wasn’t even sure if I could push it till the end,” Lysa said in an email, “but it was really surprising to find out that there is so much free information you can find out online, so many forums where people are eager to help solve an issue that it turned out to be not as scary as it seemed.”
Part of what makes this so damn good is that there was clearly a lot of thought put into what might make sense within Elden Ring’s tangled lore. Lysa pulls in everything here, from item descriptions to major characters and weapons, to build a believable case for her idea. Lysa was inspired by the singing bats who you first meet at the Weeping Peninsula. While the bewitching creatures speak Latin, fans have translated the lyrics, which seem to tell a story that happens well before the events of Elden Ring.
Lysa then imagines a whole quest line involving the Formless Mother that includes NPCs, bosses with multi-part fights, and, of course, plenty of tragedy. I won’t spoil the exact particulars, because much of the enjoyment comes from watching the video and wondering what’s going to happen next. I could see this being a quest walkthrough at a gaming event, showing off some new content.
Lysa also takes care in telling us how the DLC would even fit into the game at all, and it lines up with major theories about how FromSoftware will pull it off down the line. In a nutshell, it involves time travel and uncovering specific parts of the map that are suspiciously covered up right now. My favorite bit about these details is how Lysa imagines the quest ending, though: with Gideon being kind of a jackass.
Lysa says she went through all this trouble because “...to be honest, it was much more fun than going for the usual 2D concept art. When I do these hobby projects of mine I like to learn some new skills and push myself to mix it all together to see where it ends up.”
“And secondly,” she added, “I guess this medium type just fits these hobby projects better than still images, especially when you want to tell a complex storyline (e.g. an NPC’s storyline) or lead the viewer/player through the plot.”
Normally, Lysa tells Kotaku, when she does fan art she will write plenty of notes in the margins. But leaving it at marginalia sucked the fun out of it for the Elden Ring DLC concept.
“A fully narrated video, on the other hand, leads you through the story without the need to read excessive amounts of text on the margins and is supported with videos, fake gameplay shots, concept art, etc—to support this narrated storyline,” she said.
“In videos you can lay out things gradually, leaving plot twists up until the end and build the anticipation which is, in my opinion, very important for the overall impression,” Lysa noted.