Shadow of the Erdtree is bigger than most full games: Hidetaka Miyazaki must’ve been pulling our legs when he said its map was ‘comparable’ to the size of Limgrave

It was one of those tidbits we all kind of seized on in the lead up to Shadow of the Erdtree’s release: in response to a question about The Realm of Shadow’s size in a February IGN interview, FromSoftware president and Souls series mastermind Hidetaka Miyazaki said “it’s probably comparable, if not larger than the area of Limgrave from the base game.”

That set the Souls series sicko community speculating: did he mean just Limgrave, or also including its little brother, The Weeping Peninsula, which is actually an island? What effect would FromSoft’s focus on density and verticality have on The Realm of Shadow? And even then, just Limgrave? After a two-year wait, that sounded kind of dinky.

I was never too worried. In the lead up to the monster-long Elden Ring’s release, Miyazaki infamously quoted the game as taking about 30 hours to finish⁠—while a healthy length for any game, that’s an almost comically lowball estimate in the face of my 100-hour first playthrough. The developer even ruefully alluded to this in a pre-Shadow of the Erdtree interview: “Everyone told me I was lying and that’s not remotely enough time!” With that context, I knew that “comparable” to Limgrave just couldn’t be the whole story. PC Gamer senior editor Wes Fenlon got a similar sense when he visited FromSoft headquarters and spoke to Miyazaki about the game last month.

And boy howdy were we right: in terms of pure area, The Realm of Shadow looks to be between one-third and half the size of the playable zone in The Lands Between, just comparing their two in-game maps. And that footprint comparison isn’t even telling the whole story: The Realm of Shadow has a twisty, layered density that’s like if Elden Ring’s style of map was knotted and folded in on itself like the worlds of Bloodborne or Dark Souls 1: a union of the magical “Wait, it keeps going?” feeling of Elden Ring with the “Wait, I ended up here?” feeling of those older games.

You’ll see areas that seem like they’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away on Torrent, only to realize that you’re separated from them by sheer vertical drops or towering cliffs. You’ll practically have forgotten about them by the time you finally reach those zones, hours later on a circuitous route that begins all the way over on the other side of the map. That FromSoft managed this on a smaller scale than Elden Ring and within a two-year development cycle is a minor miracle.

In a preview earlier in the month, PC Gamer editor Shaun Prescott found that Shadow of the Erdtree had “the sense of scale and discovery so important to the base game,” and I agree 100%: That’s this expansion’s biggest magic trick, FromSoft managing to build one of its finest worlds to date as a mere add-on to another game. You can read more about that magic in PC Gamer associate editor Tyler Colp’s Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree review. 

Source: PC Gamer

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