Even Elden Ring speedrunners can’t keep up with it

If you don’t know anything about speed runs, their most basic principle is that they’re fast. Players finish games at blistering speeds, and in Elden Ring‘s case, they whittle down the game’s 80-hour playtime to less than you’d spend watching a cartoon. But now, Elden Ring‘s speedrunning scene itself is moving too fast for players to keep up.

One runner, Mitchriz, knows that better than anyone else.

Mitchriz is the same person who did a run of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice blindfolded during AGDQ 2022, and at the time, he told me that he wanted to be the number one Elden Ring speedrunner — and for a while he was. I spoke to him recently, after he’d beaten the game in 12:32, a new world record. In the middle of our conversation, that record was shattered by another speedrunner, Distortion2.

By the time of writing, just three days after our interview, that record had been left in the dust thanks to a new strategy that let Mitchriz beat the game in 9:40. Distortion2 would then crush that time by beating the game in 8:56. By the time you’re reading this, that record will most likely be considered slow, because, as Mitchriz told me, Elden Ring‘s speedrunning community simply won’t stop improving.

Before you did this run, you had another that was fantastic that you couldn’t count because a minute of it wasn’t recorded. What was the time?

That was 18:25, that was back before we found these mega zips, so that was, I don’t know, a week ago, roughly.

So mega zips were discovered and now you’ve hit a sub-13. What’s a mega zip?

OK, so. First, to explain what a zip is: You block and then, 2.1 seconds later, you walk forward for a specific number of frames, and the game just kind of teleports you forward with super high speed for some reason. We don’t know what, but that’s what happens.

For a mega zip, you do that, but you also perform a second sort-of-frame-perfect but not quite input of walking forward, and then the distance just goes 10 times as far. This gets us far enough away from the Capital of Ash, the final area of the game, that it de-loads the area. But the bosses stay loaded in, so they just fall to their death.

So how was that discovered?

Mega zips were found just by someone playing around. I believe it was Seeker, who was just playing around with macros and different things, or he might have just been doing it by hand, I’m not sure. But he got a zip that was just crazy far, so he went back to see how that happened, and found he could just get a ton more distance if he did this.

We’d already known that bosses will deload and fall if you can get far enough away because we’d done that with cheat engine or the Pegasus glitch where you can make your horse fly.

Yeah, the game is broken, the game is very broken. So once we had that distance, it just took putting two and two together.

Are zipping and mega zipping just super precise?

Yeah, they’re frame perfect or double frame perfect, depending on how you count it. It’s technically the release time that’s frame perfect, but in order to do that, you try to perfectly time the input.

So you went from 18:25 to sub-13. How far can this go? How fast do you think Elden Ring can be beaten, ideally?

Well, I can tell you as of five seconds ago, it can go as low as 12:13 because Distortion2 has just taken the world record back!

I’m so sorry!

No, it’s all good, this is what’s expected to happen. This is the joy of speedrunning. As any speedrunner will tell you, the goal is to set a world record, never to keep a world record. Because that’s an impossible task, no world record will ever last until the end of time.

So what has the community been like in the game’s first few weeks, because it’s still so young?

It’s all collaborative. It’s all people sharing things, it’s all everyone excited for every new record that comes out, right? It’s really incredible. There’s a certain stigma about the Souls community as a general thing of “oh, you know, get good” or “it’s not a true this unless you did it with no summons” and blah blah blah.

The speedrunning community is the exact opposite of that. It’s like, alright, how can we all find new things and share them with each other and raise everyone up? Because that just makes it more fun to speedrun, makes it more competitive. It just helps everyone.

How does Elden Ring‘s community right now compare to Sekiro‘s community now?

It’s very similar. Elden Ring‘s is much, much larger because it’s such a popular game, but it feels the same because a lot of it is the same. Almost every Sekiro runner is also in the Elden Ring community and also doing Elden Ring speedruns.

Do you see the Elden Ring community getting bigger as it goes on?

I think it’s going to plateau within probably two weeks, a month, maybe two or three months depending on how much we continue to find. But I think once things settle into the grind of trying to squeak out one or two more seconds here or there, I think the interest will slowly go down over time.

I think that’s just the natural way of things, that while there’s new stuff to be found, everyone wants to do the new stuff and it’s so crazy and so awesome. Once everything is found and it’s just, well, grind out and don’t lose two seconds here, a lot of people will not have as much fun.

What about you? You stuck with Sekiro for a good long while and already seem invested in Elden Ring.

Yeah, I want to keep going with it for sure. I want to try out other categories. In Sekiro, I felt like I never had time to do anything other than very short categories, the any percent runs, except for blindfolded, which was the one time I really got to branch out. But Elden Ring, I want to try everything out. All Remembrances, or maybe all bosses or all achievements. One of those crazy long ones.

I have to ask, do you think you’ll do a blindfolded run of this game?

So, I had some hope that the movement would be fairly normalized in Elden Ring. It feels very much not normalized in Elden Ring. It’s very hard to go set distances unless you actually just want to wait for your stamina to recharge and do a single roll. Which, getting across the landscapes in this game, hoping no enemies will hit you, as of right now, I’ll say I have no plans to do that. I don’t think I will do it in the future.

But don’t hold me to that. Maybe in the future, I’ll change my mind on that, if something’s found. At the moment, I just don’t know how I’d navigate the world. I could kill the bosses, but I couldn’t navigate the world.

Alright, so the last time we talked, you said your goal was to be the best Elden Ring speedrunner in the world. How’s that going?

You know, despite the fact that the world record was just taken back, I feel like I’m in contention. Maybe I’m number two, that’s fine, I’ve held the world record multiple times and shown myself to be one of the top contenders, and I am very satisfied with what I’ve done with Elden Ring so far.