Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree is undoubtedly the most exciting thing coming (presumably) this year for FromSoftware fans, but the Dark Souls 3 mod Archthrones also has a ton of juice. The ambitious total conversion just showed off a new area, The High Lord's Temple, and it looks like it runs great on Steam Deck to boot.
Archthrones will remix areas from Dark Souls 2 and 3 to tell its own story in the setting, and the High Lord's Temple riffs on one of Dark Souls 3's most incongruous areas. Though its catacombs are located under a swamp (and, bafflingly, over another different swamp), Carthus was supposedly a desert kingdom.
The High Lord's Temple, named for big boy skeleton boss High Lord Wolnir, gives a look at scorching, sandy Carthus in its prime, before some timey-wimey, dimensional shenanigans sent it underground. The warmly-lit citadel under a bright blue sky makes for a nice contrast with the shadowy, claustrophobic catacombs of the base game, and the footage shows a player doing battle with robed apparitions instead of the nasty skeleton guys we're used to.
There's a great big bell at a scenic overlook that I can only assume opens a gate or summons a boss or something, and I'm excited to see how this level unfolds in the full mod. It also seems to be running well on the Steam Deck, even if the handheld's 800p resolution doesn't look the best blown up on my 1440p monitor.
Archthrones currently has no set release date, but you can follow development via its Twitter and YouTube pages. For another exciting Soulsborne total conversion to look forward to, the Nightfall mod for the OG Dark Souls looks positively sick.