Aussie developer and YouTuber Lance McDonald has found tons of cut enemies and content in the Bloodborne alpha over the last year. As it turns out, Dark Souls 3 has plenty of secrets too, with the Victorian discovering a cut multiplayer mode in an alpha build of DS3.
When you get to the final act of Dark Souls 3, an eclipse appears and the time of day changes. But an alpha version of the game also contains information about another time of day, an eclipse ceremony to be exact.
After changing a flag in the DS3 executable, McDonald uncovered the "moonlight ceremony", where the world is covered in darkness rather than the bright red glow from the eclipse. The moonlight ceremony is triggered by an item called the "Ceremony Sword of Darkness". McDonald also found another item in the game's codebase called the "Ceremony Sword of Flame", which would allow players to invade a world that has undergone the moonlight ceremony.
Image: Lance McDonald (YouTube)
How exactly it would have worked is unknown, although a third item also reads "Ceremony Sword: Battle Royale Eclipse", which is fascinating all by itself. McDonald notes that the series has referred to battle royale in the past, meaning that the item's inclusion here was probably an extension of PvP arenas rather than the way people understand battle royale modes today.
When all was said and done, Dark Souls 3's multiplayer ended up being largely similar to Dark Souls 1. Players have to use an ember, which lets them become a multiplayer host and summon other players. Once you become embered, you're vulnerable to invasion. Those who are hollow can invade those who are embered.
The difference here would have been more subtle: the PvP ceremonies could have only been performed by plunging the sword into a corpse of a certain type of enemy, instead of being able to trigger multiplayer through embers. The existence of the Sword of Darkness and Sword of Flame would have also created a team-like mechanic, with people invading worlds and others defending them, although it's not known how it would have functioned in practice. And on top of all of that, there's the changed time of day.
It's the changed look that's really fascinating, although parts of ceremonies were still used in the final game. McDonald confirmed in a comment that the ceremony system was used in two instances in DS3's released version, which led him to the content cut in the alpha.
"I look forward to doing a deep-dive on it in the future and showing how I discovered the flags that eventually revealed the moonlight mode in the alpha. I found it all in the final game and back-ported it to the alpha," he wrote.
It's not known how far FromSoftware went with the moonlight ceremony mechanic before they cut it from the game. Still, it's nice to appreciate a version of Lothric High Wall that hasn't been seen before. And best of all: McDonald notes that the alpha version of Dark Souls 3 has even more secrets.