Elden Ring is not an adorable game. Literally everything, from the ferocious wildlife to the beefed-up Starscourge Radahn, wants to bury your Tarnished and stop you from restoring order to the Lands Between. But the idea that FromSoftware’s famously difficult Souls-like could be cute sent YouTuber Kevin “Flurdeh” Hensen on a mission to reimagine the game as a charming isometric claymation-like CRPG, and the results are stunning. I’d totally play this.
Flurdeh is a video editor whose YouTube body of work mostly focuses on highlighting the beauty of video games. That regularly includes “tilt shifting” a game’s camera to change the perspective, often going for an isometric look akin to Hades or CRPGs like Disco Elysium and the original Fallout. Flurdeh’s done this a few times with other games, including Days Gone and Red Dead Redemption 2, and the end result is typically a gorgeous stop-motion-esque animation that would feel right at home next to a Tim Burton short film.
Using camera tools created by software engineer and photomode modder Frans Bouma, Flurdeh has now tilt-shifted Elden Ring. Instead of the usual third-person perspective camera following behind your Tarnished, Flurdeh’s reimagining positioned the lens high above the action, turning the Lands Between into a beautiful miniature landscape.
Look at how delightful everything is! Frightening enemies, such as those obnoxious giant dogs in Caelid and what appears to be Glintstone Dragon Adula, look downright approachable in their natural habitats. The Turtle Pope is just hanging out. Even the notorious Tree Sentinel doesn’t seem that menacing. The Lands Between are not a cozy place, but Flurdeh’s animation sure makes them feel so.
Flurdeh told Kotaku a bit about how he created the animation, explaining that the inspiration for altering the perspective of games came from tilt-shifted photography he saw online in 2015.
“It had a few examples of pictures that made real buildings, cars, and people look like toys,” Flurdeh said. “I’m also into in-game/virtual photography so I tried replicating the effect inside games over the years, which eventually turned into making videos out of it. Most of the effect’s illusion comes from the angle and depth of view so I experimented with that a lot until I got the right look. Then sped up the footage and removed certain frames from the videos to make the whole thing look like toys in a stop-motion animation.”
Read More: Elden Ring: The Kotaku Review
While Flurdeh has tilt-shifted tons of games in the past, he’s always looking to experiment with upcoming releases, including a very specific Bethesda one.
“Sometimes the effect just doesn’t work with a game and I have to move on,” Flurdeh said. “It’s far away, but Starfield is the first one [that comes] to mind I’m interested in trying this with. I’m almost always working on miniaturizing already-released games like BioShock and Mirror’s Edge though.”
I imagine tilt-shifted Elden Ring would be harder than the game already is. Being that far from the frenetic action, with everything looking that tiny, would make it almost impossible to read an enemy’s movements. But there’s no denying that it makes for a cute way to reimagine FromSoft’s grimdark fantasy world.