Elden Ring will see the return of an environment that fans utterly loathe

A dishevelled character on a horse in Elden Ring
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

If there's one environment that FromSoftware fans almost universally groan at, it's the poison swamp. The controversial biome has made an appearance in almost every Soulsborne title to date, including the Dark Souls' Blighttown, Dark Souls 3's Farron Keep and Demon's Souls' dreaded Valley of Defilement.

The poison swamp, then, is the bane of many a Souls player's existence, but it turns out the toxic environment is one that director Hidetaka Miyazaki is eager to have back in Elden Ring, as he revealed in an interview with Game Informer.

Miyazaki, who also directed Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, admitted that: "While making [Elden Ring] I rediscovered my love for making poison swamps."

"I know how people feel about them, but you know, suddenly I realize I'm in the middle of making one and I just can't help myself," he told the publication. "It just happens."

If Elden Ring will be your first time exploring FromSoftware's particular brand of action RPG, then it's worth knowing in advance the kind of fresh hell the developer's infamous poison swamps have in store for you.

Yes, Soulsborne poison swamps certainly do poison you - slowly draining your health over time - but they're so much worse than that. They'll usually also greatly hamper your ability to move. 

Nowhere is this more exacerbated than in Demon's Souls and its PS5 remake, where attempting to dodge roll in the swamp will instead play a unique and excruciatingly long animation of your character struggling to maintain their footing.

A toxic mechanic

Elden Ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

At least Elden Ring's take on the poisonous swamp seems to deviate slightly from the Soulsborne norm. 

"In terms of Elden Ring’s story and setting there is something that is especially horrible that exists and persists in this world," Miyazaki teased. "I'll go ahead and say the name so it's something that you can look forward to, it's called the Scarlet Rot, this is something that is separate a little bit from poison or toxicity but I hope you look forward to it."

It's currently unclear as to whether this Scarlet Rot will be a status effect that will addle the player or not. But if it has anything to do with the poisonous swamps, it's a safe bet that it's something we'll have to keep on top of while exploring these zones.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice had a similarly named affliction called Dragonrot. In that game, though, it was a persistent effect that spread across certain NPCs when you chose to resurrect yourself upon death. This incentivized taking a death on the chin every now and then, instead of negatively affecting the various denizens of the world.

We doubt this Scarlet Rot will be quite as universally complex as that, but we're tentatively interested in seeing how this new affliction could affect our traipses through Elden Ring's more toxic locales.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.