Elden Ring hints it’s a Dark Souls sequel in new trailer

The single biggest reveal in the Summer Game Fest 2021 opening ceremony was the new trailer for Elden Ring. Developed by From Software, the game looks to share many similarities with the Souls series. In fact, there are so many similarities that some believe Elden Ring is a Dark Souls sequel. Given the latest trailer, two big questions arise: How are Elden Ring and Dark Souls connected? And what exactly are the Tarnished?

Elden Ring’s Tarnished may be a Dark Souls connection

Despite being teased for years, we still know precious little about Elden Ring. However, the game’s connections to Dark Souls are fairly obvious. Both games are developed by From Software, both feature third-person gameplay, and both have a clear focus on challenging combat.

However, most players find themselves exploring the potential lore connections between both games. And the latest Elden Ring trailer features a selection of dialog that may connect the universe of Dark Souls and the world of Elden Ring.

What are the Tarnished?

Namely, the trailer mentions the “Tarnished” as a narrative focal point. We can assume players themselves assume the role of the Tarnished, as they are the ones “in search of the Elden Ring.” Furthermore, From Software seems to refer to players directly as Tarnished over on Twitter.

Further dialog from the trailer says the Tarnished are “guided by grace once lost.” It’s possible that this lost grace is a form of lost Humanity, which is the basis of the Hollow in the Dark Souls games. Could it be that the “foul” Tarnished share a similar affliction with the Hollow?

This theory gets more interesting considering the strange sort of rot or decay suffered by the game’s characters’ arms. The Valkyrie character has lost one arm and is losing another to something akin to mold. Plus, the blacksmith from the previous trailer is shown with a cracked shoulder, implying his arm would soon break off. It may be that whatever causes their bodies to disintegrate is also what causes them to become Tarnished, similar to the fate suffered by the Hollow.

If the Tarnished are afflicted by a far-reaching curse similar to the Hollow, it’s possible that the two afflictions are somehow related. And if that’s true, then Elden Ring could very well be a sequel to Dark Souls. Otherwise, the connection may not be so linear: Elden Ring may be an offshoot of the Souls universe, or even take place on an alternate timeline.

Whatever the connection is, there’s certainly something to the theory. We’ll be sure to learn more when Elden Ring releases on January 21, 2022.