Everyone’s favourite video game archaeologist Lance McDonald is back with a new Bloodborne video. This time around, he’s exploring unused dialogue for the Doll, the 2015 game’s level up-granting NPC. And while the alternate voice acting is neat, it’s what she used to say that really piqued my interest.
Bloodborne, like most From Software games, is narratively opaque. Story details and plot points are often hidden within item descriptions and easy-to-miss side quests, which makes every piece of spoken dialogue that much more important to gleaning even a fraction of the lore. In his video, McDonald explains that the Doll originally had a lot more to say to the player about the world of Bloodborne, and the unused dialogue sheds light on early details that didn’t make it into the final game.
A good portion of the unused Bloodborne dialogue revolves around the fact that you are possibly playing as someone who is ill and hallucinating on their deathbed. For instance, instead of greeting the player as “good hunter,” the Doll used to refer to them as the “ailing one,” a name that can still be found in the note templates that players can share between their games. She also welcomed the main character to the “nightmare” at the beginning of the game, calling it “a dream of the sick, of those on death’s doorstep,” shedding more light on the strange hub area.
Bloodborne is as fascinating and compelling in its lore as it is to play. Avid hunters still discuss the finer points of its universe today, a testament to both the lengths From Software went to make the story as obscure as possible and the depths of the narrative’s concepts. While this unused Doll dialogue might not have any bearing on the story as it plays out in the actual game, it does provide an interesting perspective on Bloodborne as a whole and the changes it went through over the course of development.