Elden Ring is the funniest game to come out in years, thanks to FromSoftware’s keen understanding of absurd comedy and player behavior. The gothic landscape of the Souls games have piles of bodies, destroyed camps, warriors weeping over their fallen companions. They also have really big hats.
Absurd comedy happens when a logical world is disrupted. It’s the sudden movement from coherence to incoherence; you think you know the world you’re in, and then something bursts in and fusses all that up. It doesn’t really matter what kind of world it is, just that it’s consistent and clear — and then gets fucked up by something that contradicts it as much as possible. The stronger the coherence, and the more disruptive the incoherence, the funnier it will be.
Every grafted monster, skeletal bird, and pre-eviscerated giant makes the wacky stunts, elaborate fashion, and stark You-Died comedy of Elden Ring all the more acute. But that’s only the most obvious edge of FromSoftware’s creative chops. They’ve mastered a kind of comedy that’s available to any game developer, but which is rarely used: environmental jokes.
Watch the video above to learn more about how FromSoftware crafts their jokes in Elden Ring and beyond.