One of the major gripes that solo players have raised with Elden Ring is the lack of a pause button. Need to answer the door quickly? You’re liable to come back and find your character munched to death by a giant rat. Halfway through a tense boss battle? Sorry, that online order is going to have to wait.
In some of Elden Ring’s lengthier dungeons, losing progress (and likely several thousand Runes) thanks to a brief off-the-screen distraction can be devastating. But it turns out, we needn’t have worried at all. Elden Ring does actually have a pause button, and it's all thanks to the majesty of tooltips.
guess what, Elden Ring DOES have a pause button— Iron Pineapple (@IronPineapple_) March 8, 2022
just open "Menu Explanation" while on the inventory screen
this isn't a meme, it actually works lmao pic.twitter.com/0tNLFaWwC7
As shared by Iron Pineapple on Twitter, Elden Ring does actually pause the game when you open one very specific menu. Access your inventory mid-fight to open view the Menu Explanation tooltip and, voila, everything freezes. You’ll still hear the action music in the background, but you’re no longer liable to have a sword through your abdomen when away from the screen.
It’s likely that the tooltip acts the same as the game’s tutorial messages, which also pause the action in the opening sections to presumably impart key information like how to block without the player getting battered as they read it.
How to pause in Elden Ring
We’ve tested out this system for how to pause in Elden Ring ourselves and found it entirely reliable, though it’s far from the easiest set of menus to access quickly in the middle of a frantic fight. If you’re looking to master it, here’s how to pause in Elden Ring:
- Open the Equipment, Item Crafting, or Inventory menu
- Press the Options button on PlayStation or Start on Xbox to open the Help menu
- Select Menu Explanation
- Leave the tooltip open
With the Inventory Menu tooltip open, the game in the background should pause. Given the screen will be obscured, you’ll just have to trust us on this one, though it’s easy enough to test next to aggressive enemies. It'll even pause the game mid-fall, stopping you from plummeting from a great height, for a time at least.
What we haven’t been able to confirm is what happened when the menu is opened in multiplayer. We wouldn’t recommend trying your luck against any invaders, basically.
While it’s far less useful than an actual dedicated button, knowing that there is a way to pause in Elden Ring is an enormous help when you need to hop off quickly for any given purpose. Here’s hoping developer FromSoftware won’t patch the unintentional feature out in future. For more useful tips and tricks, visit our hub page for Elden Ring to see all our content.