New Soulslike embracing “Jedi fantasy” magic system to face Elden Ring

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Upcoming Souls-like game reboot Lords of the Fallen is taking some risks with the formula cemented by FromSoftware and its lineage of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro, and Elden Ring. New ideas and hopeful improvements are coming from developer Hexworks, who showed us at PCGamesN some behind-the-scenes footage of the RPG game at GDC 2023 in San Francisco, and explained how the team wants to redefine how magic gets used in the genre, with Star Wars being the team’s unlikely example.

Lords of the Fallen is already taking aim at the bonfires of Dark Souls, with magic next on the potential chopping block. In FromSoftware games like Elden Ring, you need to equip a catalyst in one of your hands and cycle through any equipped spells, but Lords of the Fallen wants to make the experience more fluid by tapping into the “Jedi fantasy” of quickly cycling between abilities.

“You can equip three shortcut slot spells,” Lords of the Fallen creative director Cezar Virtosu tells me in a small hotel suite. “Every catalyst then has a fixed amount of starting spells, and the more you upgrade the magic catalyst, the more shortcuts you’re going to have, up to five or six, it depends.”

In the Lords of the Fallen gameplay I was shown at GDC, you’ll just need to hit the ranged button like you would with a bow to cast one of these spells in your shortcut slots “so you can chain magic and spells seamlessly.”

Virtosu has made no secret of his love for Fromoftware, Hidetaka Miyazaki, and games like Elden Ring, so it’ll be very interesting to see how Lords of the Fallen aims to set itself apart from the rulers of the genre.

“So this gives you that Jedi fantasy of swinging your lightsaber, force choking someone as you continue attacking your current target,” Virtosu adds, as I see the Lords of the Fallen pyromancer build (Dark Souls 1 fans rejoice!) easily setting up fire spells while still attacking with their sword.

While this use of magic is quite a simple idea for the Souls-like formula, I hope it leads to some incredibly varied character builds where you can still focus somewhat on magic, and use the spells you find in the world, even if you’re a close-range focused player.

Set for release sometime this year, original Lords of the Fallen developer CI Games has now taken on publishing duties as Hexworks heads up the creation of the reboot. Hexworks is a new studio founded in 2020 under CI Games with its first title set to be this Lords of the Fallen reboot, while Virtosu has worked at Ubisoft on multiple Assassin’s Creed games alongside parts of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Marvel’s Avengers as well.

While you wait for Lords of the Fallen to come out we’ve got a breakdown of all the best fantasy games you can play right now, with some of these games sure to keep you busy in the meantime.

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