1st Edition

On Soulsring Worlds Narrative Complexity, Digital Communities, and Interpretation in Dark Souls and Elden Ring

By Marco Caracciolo Copyright 2024
    130 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The first book-length study devoted to FromSoftware games, On Soulsring Worlds explores how the Dark Souls series and Elden Ring are able to reconcile extreme difficulty in both gameplay and narrative with broad appeal.

    Arguing that the games are strategically positioned in relation to contemporary audiences and designed to tap into the new forms of interpretation afforded by digital media, the author situates the games vis-à-vis a number of current debates, including the posthuman and the ethics of gameplay. The book delivers an object lesson on the value of narrative (and) complexity in digital play and in the interpretive practices it gives rise to.

    Cross-fertilizing narrative theory, game studies, and nonhuman-oriented philosophy, this book will appeal to students and scholars of game studies, media studies, narratology, and video game ethnography.


    1. Complicating the Flow of Time

    2. Game Space: Layers and Gaps

    3. Reimagining Humanity as Multiplicity

    4. Community: Asynchronous Multiplayer and Shared Difficulty

    5. Levels of Interpretation in Online Discussion

    6. Soul and Swamp: Ethics of Soulsring Gameplay

    Works Cited


    Marco Caracciolo is Associate Professor of English and Literary Theory at Ghent University in Belgium. Drawing inspiration from cognitive science, the philosophy of mind, and the environmental humanities, his work explores the forms of experience afforded by narrative in literary fiction and video games. He is the author of several books, including most recently Contemporary Narrative and the Spectrum of Materiality (2023).

    "If Dark Souls and Elden Ring deliver us ludic incomprehension, then Caracciolo delivers his customary analytical clarity. The book’s replay value promises to attract both gamers and academics, keeping all of our intellectual health bars high."

    David Ciccoricco, author of Refiguring Minds in Narrative Media and Reading Network Fiction