A field of ghostly graves in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree
Image via FromSoftware

Miquella is Here, Which Means There Might Be a Brand New Elden Ring Ending

Expansions to Soulsborne titles are complicated. Will Shadow of the Erdtree offer a new ending for Elden Ring?

The Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree expansion is real. It’s happening, and it’s coming on June 21, 2024. It takes us to the Land of Shadow in pursuit of the Empyrean Miquella, the even more powerful brother to the dreaded Malenia. And there’s so much more at stake.

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Will Shadow the Erdtree Bring a New Ending to Elden Ring?

The Tarnished wander a serene grove in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree
Image via FromSoftware

Spoiler Alert: This article discusses the various endings to the Elden Ring base game.

The official marketing material for Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree states that “now Miquella awaits/the return of his promised Lord.” In my experience, being crowned Lord is the ending of an Elden Ring playthrough. That’s whether you side with Ranni, Marika, or the Frenzied Flame. Put another way, anytime you attain Lordship, it’s announced via a cutscene following the final boss.

Miquella, as an Empyrean, is seen fit to replace the broken Marika as god of the world. It’s a fate he shares with his sister and Ranni. And while the official Shadow of the Erdtree trailer doesn’t make anything explicit, there’s something at the end that’s intriguing. In the last few seconds, we see what appears to be Miquella himself charged with power. He’s affecting the Erdtree’s Shadow in the distance.

So, all that got me thinking. If Miquella needs a Lord, and becoming Lord is the ending of an Elden Ring playthrough, we’re probably getting a form of alternate ending with the expansion. I would put money on the idea. The ending technically takes place tangentially to the ending of the base game. It would be similar to the ending of Bloodborne: The Old Hunters.

It won’t, I don’t think, be a happy ending, though. Promo language calls Shadow of the Erdtree the dark side of Elden Ring‘s story. Miquella is also described as having “[Divested] himself of his flesh, his strength, his lineage./Of all things Golden.”

Miquella was, after all, looking for a way to skirt the Erdtree’s legacy altogether. That’s why the Haligtree exists. And if he’s looking for an answer outside the Golden Order altogether, outside of Marika’s plans and thus almost all events leading up to Elden Ring‘s story, I shudder to think what the Shadows actually are.

How Shadow of the Erdtree Will Begin

The Messmer boss in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree
Image via FromSoftware

We enter the expansion via the egg at the back of Mohg, Lord of Blood‘s boss room, following his defeat. Coupled with the egg explicitly listed as Miquella himself means whatever is in the egg hasn’t been him for a long time. However, Messmer, the big, red-clad boss featured prominently in the trailer, seems to be calling out to the Formless Mother. It’s the same entity that gave Mohg his power over bloodflame. And Messmer seems to be far more attuned to the stuff than Mohg ever was.

Taking all that into account, I think one of two things will happen with the ending of Shadow of the Erdtree.

  1. It will provide a side story that happens alongside the main narrative of Elden Ring. It will recontextualize the final fight and endings.
  2. It will create an entirely new ending you can trigger from the final boss room as normal.

Of these two options, I think the second is more likely, as Mohg is an optional fight and the Land of Shadow exists in a space in, but not as a part of, the Lands Between. I doubt the game would want to somehow rewrite how the Frenzied Flame ending works, anyway.

If FromSoftware takes the Dark Souls 3 route, the vanilla ending can still be canon alongside the DLC, but I don’t think that’s in the cards. Until June 21, though, all of that is speculation. The suspense is killing me. I hope it lasts.


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Author
John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.