Everything we know about Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The Elden Ring Shadow of Erdtree DLC is getting ever closer, with the release date just around the corner. As we inch towards the launch, FromSoftware treated us to a new story trailer, which delves into some war-shaped lore, speaking of Miquella and Messmer. As the initial gameplay trailer revealed earlier this year, the upcoming expansion will be taking us to The Land of Shadow, which features its own map where the Tarnished will be following in the footsteps of the aforementioned Miquella. 

As the first and likely only DLC for Elden Ring, it's already shaping up to be a substantial and exciting addition, with open areas and dungeons to explore. Plus, we can of course expect to face some new bosses along the way. As we wait it out for the June release date, read on below as we take you through everything we know so far about Elden Ring Shadow of Erdtree DLC. 

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree trailer

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree release date and pre-orders

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

You can play Shadow of the Erdtree on June 21, 2024. Pre-orders are now live, including a swanky collector's edition that comes with an art book and a massive statue of new character Messmer the Impaler. Shadow of the Erdtree isn't a standalone thing, so you will need to own Elden Ring already to play the expansion, but you can also get a convenient bundle that includes both.

  • Shadow of the Erdtree: $39.99/£34.99, expansion only
  • Shadow of the Erdtree Premium Bundle: $49.99/£39.99, expansion + Shadow of the Erdtree digital artbook and soundtrack
  • Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Edition: $79.99/£64.99, Elden Ring base game + Shadow of the Erdtree expansion
  • Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Deluxe Edition: $99.99/£84.99, Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Edition + Elden Ring digital artbook and soundtrack + Shadow of the Erdtree digital artbook and soundtrack
  • Shadow of the Erdtree Collector's Edition: $249.99/£224.99, expansion + 46cm Messmer the Impaler statue + digital soundtrack + hardcover artbook

What's the story of Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree?

Elden Ring DLC weapons

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The narrative of Shadow of the Erdtree centers around Miquella, son of Marika and brother of Goddess of Rot, Malenia, and what he's been up to in the Land of Shadow. He's a key figure in the lore of Elden Ring, but he never makes a proper appearance in the game, featuring only in a relatively small, optional section of the game and plenty of item descriptions. 

In case you need a quick recap, Miquella is cursed to eternally have the body of a child and spent many years searching for ways to cure his and Malenia's curses under the beliefs of the Golden Order. With no success, he abandoned the Order and created the Haligtree in an attempt to rival the Erdtree. He then created a cocoon for himself within the Haligtree but was kidnapped by his half-brother, Mohg, Lord of Blood. Mohg wanted to awaken and ascend Miquella to true godhood and become his consort, but the Tarnished player can kill Mohg before any of that is achieved, leaving Miquella in a sort of cocoon coma.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree DLC

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Now in Shadow of the Erdtree, we know that Miquella has actually journeyed to the Land of Shadow but for unknown reasons, and it's up to the player to trace Miquella's steps and journey through this new land too. In fact, as many fans suspected, the art above depicts Miquella making that journey!

We do get some hints about why Miquella is in the Land of Shadow from the description for the trailer, which reads: 

"In the Land of Shadow, Miquella awaits the return of his promised Lord... The Land of Shadow. A place obscured by the Erdtree. Where the goddess Marika first set foot. A land purged in an unsung battle. Set ablaze by Messmer’s flame. It was to this land that Miquella departed. Divesting himself of his flesh, his strength, his lineage. Of all things Golden."

I'm not sure who Miquella's "promised Lord" that he's waiting for could be (it might even be you, the player) but it's clear that Miquella is tracing the footsteps of his mother Marika, who has actually been to the Land of Shadow already and long before she arrived in the Lands Between by the sounds of things. What exactly she did there is also unknown, but it sounds like a great and terrible battle took place in which a character called Messmer (more on him further down) scorched the land.

Elden Ring Shadow of Erdtree story trailer

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree

(Image credit: FromSoftware / Bandai Namco)

Building on from the above, the latest Elden Ring Shadow of Erdtree story trailer gave us another tantalizing taste of what's to come, with some more hints about the direction of the narrative. The trailer appears to tell the story of Miquella, whose ties to the DLC have  previously been implied, with the narrator saying: "Miquella the Kind spoke of the beginning, the seduction and the betrayal. An affair from which gold arose, and so too was shadow born. What followed was a war unseen. A purge without grace or honor." 

"The tyranny of Messmer" is also mentioned, who's believed to be a new boss we may face in the upcoming DLC - you can find out more on the character below. We also see the above symbol, which could possibly be Miquella's great rune, which others appear to look to - almost in worship. 

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

As well as following Marika, Miquella's journey to the Land of Shadow also seems to be part of a metamorphosis (hence the cocoon), providing a way for Miquella to leave his physical body in the Lands Between and abandon his lineage and the Golden Order entirely. Although to what end is still a mystery and presumably one that will be unravelled over the course of Shadow of the Erdtree.

In an interview with IGN, Game Director Hidetaka Miyazaki, said that George R.R. Martin has not written any new material for Shadow of the Erdtree, but the story of the expansion is still based on the original mythos he wrote. "...in making the base game and making Elden Ring, we took from that mythos, but we only took one part of it. We took from a part that created the story of Elden Ring and created the world that we wanted to envision, and the Shadow of the Erdtree is yet another part of that original mythos that he wrote and that has inspired us to create the story of this DLC," Miyazaki says.

Where does Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree take place?

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
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Elden Ring things to do before new game plus ng+

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As mentioned, Shadow of the Erdtree sees players journey to the Land of Shadow, a place that occupies the same space as the Lands Between in Elden Ring but has somehow been "physically disconnected", according to Miyazaki when speaking to IGN. In-game, this presents itself as a new map at least as big as Limgrave, so while it's not as huge as the Lands Between, it's still pretty hefty.

Miyazaki also explains that the Land of Shadow is going to be structured similarly to the base game's environments with a mix of open fields and classic, twisting dungeons of varying size. Speaking to Eurogamer, he also said that the developers have been experimenting with spaces in-between the fields and dungeons to make the experience more diverse and "bring these types of layout together a little more seamlessly."

So, if it's an entirely new map, how do we get there? In the IGN interview, Miyazaki reveals that it'll take a "warp of sorts" to get there with Miquella's withered arm in Mohg's Palace serving as the entry point. Once you're there, you'll be treated to some visually stunning locations full of ruins and ancient, grand structures much like the base game.

Of course, the central focus of the Land of Shadow is the titular Shadow of the Erdtree. My understanding of Miyazaki's brief explanation is that this is not a literal or figurative shadow of the Erdtree in the Lands Between we all knew and loved and then burned down. Rather, it's its own thing - the Shadow of the Erdtree - and it looks like it veils the land, possibly providing a power of its own like the grace of the Erdtree.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree gameplay and new features

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Surprising no one, Shadow of the Erdtree is going to be tough, just like the rest of Elden Ring. Although not as brutal as some of FromSoftware's previous DLC work for the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne. The massive build variety available in Elden Ring means there should be plenty of ways to beat each combat encounter and boss you face, and you'll have even more options in Shadow of the Erdtree.

Courtesy of Eurogamer, we know that there will be eight new weapon categories to accommodate all the new weapons being added. From the trailer, it looks like there are new swords, throwing knives, armor, weapon skills, and plenty of ridiculous spells and incantations coming with Shadow of the Erdtree. There's even a flying, spinning kick move, a rapid-fire fire crossbow, and a throwable pot of fire. Players can also get the Crucible Knight attack where they summon a pair of wings!

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

You'll be able to use all this to fight more than 10 bosses in Shadow of the Erdtree, with some of those bosses being comparable in difficulty or spectacle to Malenia. One potential boss could be a giant fire pot which briefly appears in the trailer, and was apparently a "really gruesome weapon" used in a war fought in the Land of Shadow, according to Miyazaki. There's also a massive hippopotamus-porcupine thing, a smoke-spewing, lightning-throwing lion-man, and Messmer the Impaler...

Who is Messmer the Impaler in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree?

Elden Ring Messmer

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Messmer the Impaler is a fiery, new character coming to Elden Ring with Shadow of the Erdtree. There's not much to go off regarding who he is, but he really likes fire, is probably very good at impaling, and definitely seems like the main villain players will face.

Going back to the trailer description, we know that the Land of Shadow was "set ablaze by Messmer's flame" in a massive battle. We also know that Marika made it to the Land of Shadow, but it's not clear if she arrived before or after Messmer's devastation, though she could even be the cause of it if Messmer was an ally to her. 

In fact, during the trailer, a character says: "Mother, wouldst thou truly Lordship sanction, in one so bereft of light?". Since this is said when Messmer first appears on screen, I assume the "one so bereft of light" is Messmer. That makes me think that the one speaking is Miquella and he's asking why Marika would make an awful person like Messmer a Lord.

Messmer is also once again referenced in the latest story trailer, which speaks of a war and their "tyranny". 

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Later on in the trailer, another voice says: "Those stripped of the Grace of Gold shall all meet death. In the embrace of Messmer's flame." It's possible that this is Messmer speaking, but either way, Messmer is clearly out to incinerate those stripped of the Grace of Gold - in other words, Miquella. Perhaps Messmer is some kind of fiery executioner that Marika used to deal with traitors to the Golden Order. And with the red hair and a name starting with M, maybe he's even a secret sibling of Malenia and Miquella - if he was shunned to the Land of Shadow, that might mean Messmer is on a revenge quest to kill Miquella for his treachery.

Regarding Messmer's fire powers, the orange glow of his eyes makes me think of the Frenzied Flame, but his deep red attire and flames reminds me more of the Fire Prelates and enemies found near the Forge of the Giants. We know that Marika fought the Fire Giants in the past, so maybe Messmer was granted that power at some point.

As for the red, winged serpent that coils around him, I've got no idea. Maybe a nice pet!

Elden Ring future DLC

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Speaking to IGN, Miyazaki confirmed that Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree is the only planned expansion for Elden Ring and there aren't even plans for an Elden Ring sequel right now. While he says that "there could well be something in the future", it's clear there's nothing on the cards right now. I'd also take that to mean it's highly unlikely there will be any significant updates to Elden Ring after the launch of the expansion on the same level as the free Elden Ring Colosseum update from December, 2022.

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Will Sawyer
Guides Writer

Will Sawyer is a guides writer at GamesRadar+ who works with the rest of the guides team to give readers great information and advice on the best items, how to complete a particular challenge, or where to go in some of the biggest video games. Will joined the GameRadar+ team in August 2021 and has written about service titles, including Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Warzone, as well as some of the biggest releases like Halo Infinite, Elden Ring, and God of War Ragnarok.

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