FromSoft’s NPCs do a lot with little, combining the developer’s trademark concise style with compelling archetypes and distinctive silhouettes (lots of guys with big hats). Often they meet tragic or dark ends, with very occasionally some hidden golden path to a happy ending.
Dark Souls 1 fans had to feed a mute and chronically ill spider lady like fifteen to twenty human souls to open a secret door and kill a giant glowing centipede before progressing beyond an uncommunicated point of no return in the main quest. , where it would drive Astora’s memetic homie Solaire insane.
And you know what? We love it. Even in the age of the internet, FromSoft games still have the ability to spark rumor-style obsessions about their hidden secrets. Reminiscent of the Triforce-in-Ocarina of Time rumors spawned by Nintendo’s uncle liars, the Soulsborne games have their odd little legends. A literally useless pendant (opens in new tab) in Dark Souls took many to the edge of the abyss trying to uncover the truth with a capital T it stood for. We’re like Brother Corhyn in Elden Ring trying to make sense of Goldmask’s strange finger twitches.
In the year since Elden Ring’s release, dataminers like Zullie the Witch, Lance McDonald, and Sekiro Dubi have uncovered treasure troves of mechanics and stories that didn’t make it into the final game—my favorite remains Sekiro Dubi’s gruesome tale of the merchant Kalé. One of the most memorable sagas, however, was that of cut content that was missing for just under a month.
Nepheli Loux (opens in new tab) is primed to be a fan-favorite friendly face like Solaire or Siegward, an early-game summon with a sense of justice who shares a surname with a legendary barbarian chieftain. After fighting Godrick with her in Stormveil and investigating the destroyed Albinauric Village, she was kind of… sad for the rest of the game. At launch, the only definitive Final being had by Nepheli was a fate worse than death in the Seluvis quest line (opens in new tab)and I remember people assuming that this it was the intended conclusion to your story.
There was a similar lack of resolution, sad or not, for a list of other NPCs: Diallos (opens in new tab)Gostoc, Kenneth Haight and Patches (opens in new tab) they would all disappear or stay in one place, repeating the same voice line but with no real sense of closure. Alexander Iron Fist (opens in new tab) it would drop its hideous entrails like an item in its untimely death, seemingly with no place to use it.
And we all just assumed it was on purpose. As with the Impossibly Buried Three Fingers (opens in new tab) or Ranni’s obscure quest line (opens in new tab), surely there had to be something we were missing! Either that, or these stories were never meant to be finished, and FromSoft in its austere detachment wanted us to meditate on the transience and imperfection of real-life stories.
No, they were all supposed to be normal, completeable quests, not particularly more obscure than any other, and FromSoft simply ran out of time to implement them. Update 1.03 (opens in new tab) less than a month after release added Jar Bairn, Alexander’s nephew who would accept his remains. Nepheli could become the new ruler of Limgrave upon receiving King Stormhawk’s ashes, with Gostoc and Haight by his side. Diallos would become a true warrior in the defense of the city of Jarburg, and Patches would go on a cross-country sightseeing trip after Volcano Manor.
It was a small post-launch patch, covering some small oopsies in the game, but it felt like an absolute event. After all the speculation, we come to satisfying conclusions for all these stories. Some of them are pretty surprising too – there’s nothing in the early stages of Nepheli’s quest to suggest that she would rule Stormveil or that Diallos would befriend Alexander’s nephew. It’s like the end of a Yakuza game when the protagonists finally meet – your favorites are teaming up!
We got a little kickback to that sentiment with the opening of Elden Ring’s PvP Coliseums (opens in new tab), turning these massive structures that were initially good for nothing into a multiplayer feature. we speculate (opens in new tab) as to their purpose for months, and while I still wish they’d host a boss race mode, it’s still been cathartic to see them finally put to use. Now, all of that community energy is directed towards the early expansion of Elden Ring whenever that happens. (opens in new tab).