Elden Ring speedrun times dropped dramatically over the last week thanks to the discovery of a new route that removes the need to fight any of the FromSoftware game’s difficult bosses. The current world record, held by high-level Souls speedrunner Distortion2, sits at just below 9 minutes. Let’s look at how he did it.
Distortion2’s time was made possible by “zips,” which allow speedrunners to teleport around Elden Ring’s massive world using a complex series of inputs. Basically, when you block and move forward on the exact frame the idle blocking animation loops, your character will shoot forward at incredible speed, bypassing large swathes of territory that would take forever to schlep across on foot.
Zips can be inconsistent, but they’re also vital to beating Elden Ring as fast as possible. Some players, Distortion2 included, incorporate a metronome to make sure they hit the frame-perfect timing.
An extension of the technique explained above, “mega zips” further increase both the distance covered by regular zips and the difficult maneuvering needed to pull them off with any kind of regularity.
Mega zips travel so far, in fact, that folks can avoid combat entirely. By shooting out of bounds and despawning the geometry of boss arenas, players are able to send late-game foes like Maliketh and the Elden Beast falling to their deaths in the resulting void. Speedrunners using this technique don’t even see the game’s final boss when it’s defeated.
After that, Elden Ring teleports the player to the last area, where all that’s left to do is trigger the ending and watch the credits roll.
And the wildest thing about all this is that Distortion’s world record run still isn’t the fastest possible time to beat Elden Ring. Although highly skilled, he doesn’t hit every teleport on the first try due to the inherent precarity of hitting all the zips required to beat the game so quickly. Every failed attempt at the tricky technique eats up valuable seconds.
A recent tool-assisted speedrun, just as an example, shows that Elden Ring’s ending can be reached in as little as five minutes with a little more zip consistency.
Elden Ring, you might have heard, is massive. With that enormity comes more opportunities for cracks to show in its façade. And while there’s no telling how low speedrunners will push these completion times, we’re rapidly running out of room for improvement only a month after the game’s release. I expected folks to do incredible things in Elden Ring, but this is beyond even my wildest imagination.