It shouldn’t surprise any FromSoftware fan that Elden Ring‘s upcoming Shadow of the Erdtree expansion is shrouded in mystery. The first trailer for the DLC was unveiled just a few months ago, and with the full release coming this summer, both casual players and lore experts have been trying to piece together what exactly Shadow of the Erdtree will be about.

This is much easier said than done, given FromSoftware’s approach to storytelling, but the reveal trailer and the Elden Ring base game provide some useful clues. For one thing, it’s clear that Marika, who is essentially absent from the base game, will play a major role in the expansion, as will a new character known as Messmer. Additionally, the description of the Land of Shadow, the setting of the DLC, is described by FromSoftware as being “where the goddess Marika first set foot.” How these disparate parts will fit together is another question, but some theories seem more plausible than others.


Why Expectations Are Going to Be Massive For Elden Ring’s Messmer Fight

Elden Ring’s DLC trailer revealed the game’s next potential antagonist, and expectations surrounding his fight will be particularly high.

Bloodborne’s and Elden Ring’s Respective DLCs May Be Surprisingly Similar

The Old Hunters DLC Is an Essential Part of Bloodborne

Bloodborne‘s one and only expansion is arguably FromSoftware’s best, and many fans would agree that no Bloodborne playthrough is truly complete without it. The expansion takes players to the Hunter’s Nightmare, where blood-drunk Hunters are cursed to live for eternity. This premise is interesting enough, but it’s how the expansion completes the base game’s lore that makes it truly special.

The following explanation of The Old Hunters

lore is extremely abridged, and some plot elements have multiple interpretations.

The Old Hunters is inextricable from the central conflict and themes of Bloodborne. The expansion culminates in the Fishing Hamlet area, which was the stage for horrifying events that took place before the base game. The drama began to unfold when Kos, a Great One, washed up on the shore of the hamlet. It’s not clear how, but she is dead by the time the player gets there, and the residents of the hamlet, who worship her, have been transformed (most likely by Kos’ parasites) into fish-like mutants reminiscent of Lovecraft’s Deep Ones.

Brygenwerth Hunters slaughtered these people and either killed Kos or simply desecrated her pregnant corpse, all in an attempt to gain more knowledge about how to ascend to godhood. The surviving hamlet residents prayed to Kos for retribution, which she granted by creating the Hunter’s Nightmare, cursing generations of Hunters for their sins.

How Shadow of the Erdtree Could Parallel The Old Hunters

Needless to say, the lore of Bloodborne and its DLC is fairly complex. The important takeaway, however, is that the massacre at the Fishing Hamlet and the subsequent curse upon the Hunters were essentially the catalysts for the main game’s conflict, as this sealed the fate of the Hunters and planted the seeds for things like Brygenwerth’s eye transplants and the birth of The Healing Church. These events are illuminated by The Old Hunters, and Shadow of the Erdtree may do something similar.

There’s plenty of evidence that suggests Messmer is Marika/Radagon’s child and this, coupled with the information about the Land of Shadow being where Marika “first stepped foot,” could mean that the DLC will finally shed some light on key elements of the base game’s lore. Specifically, the DLC may expand on why Marika turned on the Greater Will, and on Marika’s very nature (it’s still not clear how and when she fused with Radagon, for instance).

If Messmer is indeed Marika’s son, then a fight with him could mirror the finale of The Old Hunters, which pits the player against the Orphan of Kos, an abandoned child of a god-like mother.

There may be even greater similarities between the Bloodborne and Elden Ring DLCs, but their respective narrative roles seem like the most likely parallel. In other words, Shadow of the Erdtree could be the final piece of Elden Ring‘s lore puzzle, just like The Old Hunters.


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