It’s no secret that I love the Dark souls series. The in-depth and story telling (for me) is some of the best in any media. This game makes you work for the story and when you do that it gives you something very rewarding.
While Bloodborne is made from the same developer it’s not something that I hold in such high regards- at least not from a story telling perspective. I use to think that this was due to there only being one game and it being a PS exclusive.
The atmosphere in the game, the influence of Lovecraft, the art style and the combat style are nothing less than perfect in Bloodborne.
So what was it that stopped me from loving this game as much as Dark Souls?
To this day I still watch lore videos of every character in the game to learn as much about the characters, motivations and magic of the world that I get to explore.
Five years after the game was released I finally found that thing that was missing. I finally discovered why I haven’t been able to love the story as much as I love the story of Dark Souls.
It’s because non of it was real at all.
I will go into spoilers so if you haven’t played the game… it’s been five years…
The story (as we are told) is that we are a foreigner, come to this land looking for a cure to an unnamed aliment. Our character has heard that this city has something that can heal anything and everything.
We find a man willing to give us a blood transfusion- something that will cure our illness but in return, we must head out into the night and kill the monsters of the city. Don’t worry about the details too much, just head out and hunt the monsters.
Simple and brilliant for a video game right? Well my issue with this is that, From Software doesn’t make anything this clear.
As we play through the game we find that the citizens have turned into beast-like monsters. Some greater than others but we are more or less in a city of monsters. Some we can see, some we can not.
Continuing through the game we find that the ‘healing’ blood is the source of the monstrous outbreak. That the cities’ over-reliance on this miracle elixir has turned the people into beasts- and great twist, even if it does feel a little simple.
We uncover the church has hid the real problem, a school had been researching Aldrich horrors and getting the attentions of things that man should not get the attention of.
After jumping into a lake when find ourselves in an area that is noting but lake and annoying spiders- just as a side note, who else has dies more times to those dame spiders than the actual boss?
After we finally beat them, we see a woman with no explanation of who she is yet through the story we discover her importance and her relationship to one of the last bosses in the main game.
So we have fought beasts and spiders and seen men with tentacle heads a sky that changes to haunting colours.
We have entered at least 3 dimensions and this is before we go to those hidden areas or secret bosses.
There is a creature that we can only see due to the robes draped over it. Creatures beyond human understanding that cling to buildings just staring at you.
All of this does line up with a story that would line up with a story influenced by Lovecraft. And while most of this would like up with previous work from the developers there is just something that I just can’t accept.
The story… it is all too easy.
The open seen sees the transfusion and then a beast coming out of the ground that bursts into flames.
It’s almost like a hallucination…
And with this, that missing part finally fell into place with me.
Was it not strange that practically an entire city fell to this outbreak?
Is the world crazy? Or is it just you?
You come to this city in hope of a magic potion to save you from something that you can’t name. You meet a man that tells you to kill some monsters and that action will pay the debt you owe…
The reality - there was never an outbreak. You as the character became delusional with a disease you desperately wanted cured. Traveling to a city your mind began to break beyond repair and in that state, you took something that did nothing but push you over the edge.
With whatever drugs you infected yourself with you wake up to a city at night and perceive everyone there as a monster. The people of the city see this crazed person running through the city, attacking dogs, swinging at air, killing innocent bystanders and while some of them run; other’s try hopelessly to defend their friends, family and themselves.
Of course none of them stop you and you continue on your murderous blood tirade. You slaughter a city, a coastal hamlet, a church, a school and who knows what else.
There is no way of know what was real and what isn’t- but there is only
The intricate story that we uncover is our own broken mind playing out a story to make us the hero in monstrous actions that we know on a subconscious level we have preformed.
We slaughter families in the street, occasionally stopping to spare the odd one or two but never really listening to what they have to say. We spare a blind man in a church while using remarkable weapons to kill those outside.
The whole time our mind weaves a story of old gods and monsters to justified the blood soaked streets behind us.
The biggest monster in Bloodborne was never, The Blood-stared Beast. There were no witches in Hemwick and Mergo’s Wet Nurse was never real to begin with.
We had a mental break down- possibly a side affect of a disease, we take a drug from a hallucination and then our fractured mind shatters. The result is a killing spree.
This was the missing peace of the story for me. This was the single part of the puzzle that just didn’t add up for me. I think the developers wrote a fantastical story about a person who broke down and while suffering a hallucinogenic delusion went of a killing spree. With a Doll that re-assures us the entire way, we are the monster of Bloodborne.