Elden Ring is FromSoftware’s first open-world game — with literally hundreds of areas to explore and bosses to beat. The sheer scale of the Lands Between is sometimes mind-boggling, and you’ll undoubtedly need to take a break at some point. Like many Souls-likes, simply opening the menu doesn’t stop the action, so is there a way to put a pause on everything in Elden Ring? The answer is complicated.
How to pause the game in Elden Ring
Elden Ring doesn’t have a “traditional” pause button. Opening the menu to change equipment, check your character’s status, or rustle through your inventory stops nothing. You can even move with it open. To actually pause Elden Ring though, open any menu, save the settings, press the Help button, and finally, select Menu Explanation. You’ll find the appropriate prompt for Help at the bottom of the menu screen.
Once Menu Explanation is open, Elden Ring has officially paused. Neither you nor anything in the game world can move, interact, or do anything else. In fact, pausing Elden Ring using this method disables every input you can make other than pressing Close.
There’s one catch: if you summoned a friend or random yellow phantom to help you, or there is an invader and/or Hunter in your world, you cannot pause the game. The old joke about pausing an online game also applies to Elden Ring. To enable pausing again, you will need to:
- Send your phantoms home with the Finger Severer
- Defeat the area boss, so phantoms go home naturally
- Defeat the invader and send your phantoms home
In other words, if you engage in online play at all, you cannot pause Elden Ring. And even though you can while playing solo, we recommend exiting to the main menu anyway. Elden Ring automatically saves whenever you do so, making quitting the game a safer method to keep both your character and save files safe.