It goes without saying that people playing Bloodborne are going to die a lot. It's a tough game. But to die in the game's one "safe" area?
Last night as I was playing, I noticed something odd in the game's home-base area, the Hunter's Dream. There were red splotches on the ground, each one signifying a player's death. Not one or two, but a whole mess of 'em.
Was it even possible to die in the Hunter's Dream? This is the place you go after you die, the one safe area in the game. There aren't any enemies here, nor are there any of the dangerous environmental hazards that are strewn so liberally around the rest of the game.
In Bloodborne, like in the Souls games before it, it's possible to interact with blood splotches to see an instant replay of how the player in question died. I checked, and here's what I saw:
I checked another one:
Turns out, players have figured out that it's possible to jump off of the ledge just above the item shop and suffer a tiny amount of damage. One player probably saw the echo of another player doing it, and tried it him or herself. The more players that tried it, the more players saw echoes of the death and got curious. That cascade effect led to me noticing all those red splotches and checking them out for myself.
Naturally, I had to try it as well. I made the jump, and it removed a dispiritingly small chunk of my health. I have a lot of health at this point, so I had to spend a good several minutes walking back up to the top, jumping off, losing another sliver of health, then walking back and jumping again.
Eventually, I got my health far enough that I was ready for the final jump. Here goes!
I DID IT.
This sort of goofing off has been a staple of the Souls games for a while — you can also die from attacking NPCs in the Hunter's Dream — and it's something I really love about them. Not just because it's such a wonderfully dumb thing to do — Hurr, I'm gonna kill myself in the safest place in the game! — but because of the way the information spreads. It feels so organic: one player has an idea and, thanks to the game's unique way of sharing information between players, a whole bunch of other players see that idea, repeat it, and turn it into a phenomenon.
Anyway, what happened after I died? I really was curious. What happens if you kill yourself in the afterlife? Do you go into a dream within a dream, a deeper Inception-layer in which everything becomes an echo of the game you were playing before? Does your character split into light and dark halves who must do battle for the fate of the multiverse?
Well, no. I just woke up back in the Hunter's Dream, same as ever. My blood echoes were sitting over where I died. And somewhere out there, in another living room in another part of the world, someone was watching a replay of my death and wondering what would happen if they tried the same thing.