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Elden Ring loreheads think Miyazaki might have been teasing Shadow of the Erdtree's setting as early as 2021's network test

Just how long might FromSoft have been telling us a trip to the Land of Shadow is on the cards for the Tarnished?

A monster battling the Tarnished in Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.
Image credit: VG247/FromSoftware

Ever since the first trailer for Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree expansion dropped last month, there’s naturally been plenty of speculation from FromSoft lore detectives as to what exactly it’ll have in store. The latest mystery some have been looking into concerns the DLC’s setting, and whether early versions of Limgrave might’ve referenced it.

Given that some of these ER experts are no doubt digging back into the base game with the vague hope they might somehow unearth the apparently still unfound secrets Miyazaki claims it still has to offer, it’s no surprise to see them also on the hunt for potential DLC teases and hints. After all, there’s loads of time to kill until we all have to spend an entire day repeatedly slaughtering Mohg.

For well-known Elden Ring dataminer and cut content restorer Sekiro Dubi, one recent line of questioning has been this: just how early on in the game’s lifespan might its developers have begun hinting at Shadow of the Erdtree’s setting - the aptly-named Land of Shadow? The nugget that kicked the discussion in this direction is the fact that someone with the handle spotted a possible connection between the Land of Shadow and a name mentioned in descriptions of the region of Limgrave in some early versions of the game.

This name, “The demesne of Tenebrae”, looks to roughly translate to something like the “Domain of Darkness”, which - in addition to being the name of my next metal band - sounds quite similar in terms of theming to the place we’ll be heading to in Shadow of the Erdtree. So, instead of being a weird mistake or cut content, as had previously been theorised, these mentions of an alternate name could seemingly be signs that Miayazaki and the ER team were already thinking about ideas for an area similar to the Land of Shadow all the way back around the time of the game’s release and 2021 network test.

Given that the version of Limgrave we actually ended up getting isn’t really that shadowy or dark a place, unless you’re exploring one of its caves or ruins and, more importantly, Miyazaki has revealed that the DLC is "based on one part of [the] original mythos" George R. R. Martin penned for the base game, this idea seems like it's pretty plausible. That said, we’re dealing with the kind of thing where people are having to look stuff up in the Brazilian Portuguese version of Elden Ring’s game files here.

If you’re after some DLC speculation that’s a bit less intimidating, another FromSoft expert, Zullie the Witch, has just been through some of base Elden Ring’s unused character faces looking for ones that could have DLC connections. They don’t look to have found much in that regard, but one does look a lot like actor Mads Mikkelsen, which is pretty cool.

If you're after some top Elden Ring tips to help you prep for Shadow of the Erdtree's arrival, even if you might not be in for as tough as challenge as with other FromSoft titles, make sure to check out our recent interview with some streamers who've beaten the game in unrthodox ways.

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