After Elden Ring's DLC, FromSoftware's Next Magical Game Might Be Spellbound
Japanese game developer FromSoftware might seem like it came out of nowhere in the last few years if you aren't a particular type of hard-core gamer. However, the company's first game was King's Field, a fantasy RPG released for the then-brand-new PlayStation console way back in 1994. FromSoftware remained a mid-level developer throughout the PlayStation 2 era, and it wasn't until the breakout success of Dark Souls that the company became a widely-recognized name. Its fortunes continued to snowball with hits like Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to culminate in massive hit and Game of the Year winner Elden Ring last year.
So saying, FromSoftware is squarely an AAA-tier developer these days, with legions of fans chomping at the bit for the developer's next game. That'll be Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon in nine days, followed eventually by a large DLC expansion for Elden Ring, but what comes next? The house of Souls surely has several titles in the works right now, yet has said nothing about what may come after its current projects.
Well, a couple of leaks have given us an idea of what that next game may be. The two leakers claim to be separate persons, and some of their details conflict, but the picture they paint of a project code-named "Spellbound" is a tantalizing one, if true. The image at the top of this page is supposedly a leaked key art for the title, and the two rumor posts—one on 4chan, and one on Reddit—describe a game with a heavy focus on magical gameplay set in a fantasy world with Victorian styling.
That might sound similar to Bloodborne, but where that game wallows in FromSoftware's usual post-apocalyptic themes, Spellbound supposedly doesn't. The leakers say that the game is set in a large coastal city, and that said metropolis is "just filled with castles, towers, and palaces, like it's the capital of a flourishing empire. " One of the leakers goes on to say that the setting is "in no way a decrepit abandoned place," which is a fitting description for the setting of every single Souls-borne game to date, including Sekiro and Elden Ring.
We have nothing to go on but the supposed leakers' words, but purportedly the "main divergence" from the familiar Souls formula is that magic spells are a primary focus of the combat. The leakers say that the player character doesn't need a focus or catalyst of any type, and instead spells are simply wielded with your hands like weapons in the other games, including full movesets of their own. They also are said to use stamina rather than any sort of gauge, bar, or other resources, like "castings."
There are also supposedly melee weapons that have a regular and magical form, transforming between the two styles with a special attack just like Bloodborne's trick weapons. The leakers say that there is a system whereby players can change the special ability inherent to a weapon, like the Ashes of War system from Elden Ring. Supposedly players can dual-wield or "power stance" spells to increase their power, or wield a weapon in one hand and a spell in the other.
The original leak on 4chan claimed that "there is no set protagonist" and that players would create their own character, like the Souls series. However, the more recent leak on Reddit, who says that he is not the same leaker from 4chan, claims that there is in fact a predefined protagonist. However, both agree that even if the player character isn't customizable, their clothing is. Supposedly, the outfit customization is deep in both cosmetic and mechanical forms, with outfit modifications adding both movement and combat abilities.
As far as the structure of the game, the leakers say that it has "one very large legacy dungeon," being the city where the game takes place. It is supposedly "the most interconnected world" that FromSoftware has ever created. There's also apparently a relatively-small open-world region surrounding the city that includes "forests, farmlands, mountains, coasts, villages, caves, and smaller dungeons." The original leaker said that it was "as big as two to three areas of Elden Ring"—referring to the individual map segments of that game—and the Reddit leaker agreed that the game is smaller than Elden Ring, "roughly two-thirds the size" of that game.
This extremely brief teaser was our first glimpse of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Until FromSoftware announces the title or even hints at its existence—which the original leaker thinks could happen with a brief teaser at this year's The Game Awards in December, much like the original Sekiro teaser in 2017—we have no way to even guess at the veracity of these rumors. It's always fun to look at stuff like this and wonder, though. Really, the only part that really sounds implausible to us is the idea of FromSoftware making a game that isn't completely full of rotting and dilapidated spaces.