Jonathan Blow, renowed indie game developer and creator of Braid, has shared his thoughts on Elden Ring. While praising the game’s scale, he claimed that it has no design per se.

Braid creator Jonathan Blow thinks Elden Ring has no "real" game design

It all started with a tweet from programmer and blogger Casey Muratori. He said it is difficult to play most AAA titles now due to their “degraded” design quality.

Tyler Glaiel, indie developer behind The End is Nigh and Closure, agreed but added that Nintendo and FromSoftware “seem to still understand design.”

After that, Jonathan Blow replied to Muratori’s tweet, arguing that Elden Ring “doesn’t really have design per se.” The developer described the title as just a “huge map full of bunch of bosses with different attack patterns.”

Blow praised FromSoftware for creating a game that impresses players with its scale. But he also saw this aspect as the biggest problem, because the developers just give you a bag full of different stuff with no “real” game design.

The Braid creator then noted that he doesn’t try to criticize the team behind Elden Ring because they “did a good job.” He just thinks that the game’s boss fights don’t offer anything new or unique to players and just copy the same mechanics and patterns from the past.

Released on February 25, Elden Ring is likely to become the second-biggest launch of 2022, only behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. It received praise from both critics and players and became the winner of The Game Awards 2022. The game has already sold over 17.5 million units globally.

Who is Jonathan Blow?

  • Blow began his game dev journey in the 90s after starting a studio with his friend from college. In an interview with Noclip, he admitted that it was probably the worst time to enter the industry because budgets were climbing up and it was hard to survive and compete with already succesful companies.
  • After closing the studio, Blow worked as a contractor on games like Oddworld, Thief: Deadly Shadows, and Deus Ex: Invisible War.
  • He rose to fame in 2008 with the release of Braid, a time-manipulation platformer that would eventually influence the next generation of indie developers.
  • Blow used the revenue from the game to fund his next project, The Witness. He then founded his own studio Thekla, Inc. and released The Witness in 2016. This puzzle game also received critical acclaim and sold over 100,000 units in its first week.