When Dark Souls 3 was first revealed — in the form of a pre-announcement leak — the game was reportedly set to introduce a new mechanic to FromSoftware’s franchise. Players were supposed to be able to sacrifice enemies as a means to invade other players’ worlds and attack them.
Player-versus-player invasions have long been part of the Souls franchise, but Dark Souls 3 would have mixed things up with the new sacrifice mechanic. Ultimately, that gameplay system didn’t ship with the final version of Dark Souls 3. But in a new video from YouTuber Lance McDonald, who unearths content left on the cutting room floor in FromSoftware’s games, we get a look at what sacrifices might have looked like and how they would have functioned.
McDonald shows off the unfinished Cult Death system, which would have let players drag certain enemies through the game’s world and turn them into cult bonfires. Those bonfires were to enable players to perform various functions, though many of those functions sound like the type of things players can do at Dark Souls’ bonfires already (level up, reverse hollowing, etc.).
More intriguing is another bonfire type that players could have created using something called Ceremony Swords. McDonald shows one of these in action: A knight plunges a coiled sword into a corpse to spectacular effect. Players would have been able to transform their world into an eclipsed state, and other players would be able to invade these darkened worlds for dedicated PvP battles.
The ceremony didn’t make it into the game — it may have been too inscrutable even for Dark Souls — but it was apparently a big component of Dark Souls 3 at some point. At E3 2015, where the game was unveiled, Bandai Namco installed a massive statue showing the ceremony, simulated with a fountain of black liquid that squirted out of a corpse.
Here’s a picture of that fountain, which these women guarded throughout E3.