Bloodborne is full of mysteries, from beginning to end. This morning, I finally finished. It was a tremendous experience, and one of the most engrossing video games I've played in ages.
Patrick already captured a lot of that in his review, so go check that out if you're wondering about the quality of the game. We've also put together a substantial tips post for the game, so if you want more general tips, go there.
For today, I want to talk about the ending!
Hey! As the headline no doubt warned you, this article is gonna have SIGNIFICANT SPOILERS for the final few levels in Bloodborne. That said, I WON'T ACTUALLY SPOIL THE ENDINGS, I'll just tell you how to get what's considered to be the 'true' one.
So! You've played a lot of Bloodborne. You've made it all the way to the top of Mergo's tower, defeated the Wet Nurse, and sit at what feels like the precipice of the game's conclusion.
If you've played other Souls games, it won't be a shock to know that this game has a few different endings. Three, in fact. They're all interesting, and each one raises as many questions as it answers. One, however, is considered the "true" ending by fans.
(There is some disagreement among our staff as to the actual true-ness of this ending. Like all things in Bloodborne, it's at least partly open to interpretation. As far as I'm concerned, pick which ending you like best, and that's your true ending.)
How To Get The 'True' Ending
When you return to the dream, the joint is on fire, and the Doll tells you that Gherman wants to talk to you. Going out and talking to him is what will trigger the endgame. You can go talk to him right then and there, either accept or refuse his proposal, and you'll get one of the first two endings, depending on what you choose.
For the third ending, however, you'll want to gather some important items from the real world before you go talk to him.
When you defeated the Wet Nurse atop Mergo's tower, you got an item called "One Third of Umbilical Cord." It's a consumable item that grants a bit of Insight, with the vague promise of allowing you to gain "eyes on the inside." So, it's called a THIRD of the umbilical, right? Makes sense that you'd need to find two more of em? Cool. That's what you have to do.
One third can be found in a surprising hidden location in Cathedral Ward called the Abandoned Old Workshop. You may have found it, but if not... you know how you can climb the Healing Church tower? (It's up the elevator to the right of the Cathedral Ward lantern, and should have unlocked a while back.) And you know how if you go over to the right instead of going inside, you can drop down, carefully navigate and drop through all those gangways, and wind up in a separate part of the city? The secret location is over there.
When you're approaching the Healing Church, take a right instead of going in the door:
Drop down, go around, and go in the door, and you'll be on the top gangplank. You'll want to go out on the little branch to the left:
Then drop off the left-hand side of that branch:
You should land halfway down to the doorway you want to go in. (It might take a couple tries, since it's a tricky drop.) Drop a bit further down, go in the door, and you'll be in the Old Workshop. Which is very cool. Explore, and you'll find a few important items, including an additional third of the umbilical.
The other part of the cord is a bit trickier, because it depends on a certain NPC. If you've located Arianna and sent her to the cathedral, you've probably noticed that at a certain point in the story, she stopped feeling so good. When you come back after defeating the Wet Nurse, you'll notice she's gone missing. Find her, kill the thing that's with her, and you'll have another third of the umbilical. (Hint: She's nearby, follow the blood trail.)
If you sent her to Iosefka's Clinic, well, you probably know by now that that wasn't a great idea. You can still find her there, though, and either she or Iosefka will drop a third of the umbilical after dying. If you rushed through the game, skipped all the NPCs, or did things in the wrong order, there's a chance you can wind up with only two thirds of the umbilical and be unable to access the third ending. But most players should be fine.
Once you've got three pieces of the umbilical, eat them all. Tasty! You'll get some Insight from each one, but nothing else will appear to happen. No worries — you've just unlocked the "true" ending. (It is possible to get four pieces of umbilical, but players report that eating all four does the same thing as eating three.)
Now! It's time to end the game. Go and talk to Gherman.
He'll make you an offer, which you should refuse, naturally. From there, simply stay alive and kick some arse, and you'll see the game's true ending. Good luck!
And here's the third ending: