You’re not supposed to be able to pause Elden Ring. This is fairly standard for modern FromSoftware games, and the developer has never really been able to give us any specific reason for the choice (other than ‘it makes the game harder’).
Maybe the option has been removed from the title because the developer doesn’t want players to cheese some of the tougher areas, or maybe it’s tied to the multiplayer side of things. Either way, we’ll reiterate, you’re not supposed to be able to pause Elden Ring.
But alas, where there’s a will, there’s a way. It turns out a specific button will pause the game and all the action around you – giving you a moment of stasis if you need to go answer the door, stop your pet chewing on your laundry, or whatever other real-life problems may prevent you from giving Elden Ring your full attention.
The option to pause is squirrled away deep in the game’s menus. Thanks to a tweet from YouTuber Iron Pineapple, we’ve been able to confirm that navigating to this button does indeed properly pause the game – though we’re not sure how that effects invasions and other online functionality.
Here’s how to do it yourself:
- Press Start/Options/ESC
- Navigate into a menu (Equipment, for example)
- Press Back and bring up contextual options
- Select “Menu Explanation”
This will bring up a small screen explaining the part of the menu you are on, and suspend the action around you. Given that this is almost certainly not supposed to be there, we imagine that FromSoft will patch this out in a coming update for the game. We’ll see, though.
If you are struggling with Elden Ring – pauses or not – we’ve got loads of Elden Ring guides that should be able to help you get a little deeper into the Lands Between.