It’s no secret that many aspects of FromSoftware’s Soulsborne games are inspired by Kentaro Miura’s popular manga Berserk. In fact, Elden Ring already pays homage in many ways, right down to Blaidd the Half-Wolf’s uncanny likeness to Berserk protagonist Guts. Now, Elden Ring’s cycle of manga refs has come full circle with Guts himself getting isekai’d into the Lands Between via a new mod.
Call of the Abyss, from COTA Studios modder Papa Appa, aims to let you play as the dark swordsman himself as you venture through the Lands Between. The mod is in heavy development but currently available to download through COTA Studios’ Patreon. You can see it in action through its latest development log video:
Current or planned features include a realistic Guts character model, his jagged suit of armour, a recreation of his famous hand-mounted cannon, and a “berserk” state for when Guts loses control and gives in to his rage, and a summonable / boss version of Guts that has a more acrobatic moveset loosely based off of Blaidd’s.
Papa Appa’s also teamed up with Garden of Eyes, the modder and YouTuber behind the ”Let Me Solo Her” spirit summon mod, to create the video series Elden Ring Multiverse, wherein they mod their favourite anime characters into the game as bosses. In the new episode 2, the pair showcases Guts as a boss fight in the late-game Mohgwyn Palace zone.
“Berserk was an easy first choice as [Souls-series game designer Hidetaka] Miyazaki has stated the Berserk manga was a huge inspiration to himself for the Souls series as seen in many bosses and characters,” Papa Appa told Kotaku.
Garden of Eyes told Kotaku the idea for Elden Ring Multiverse came about a year before Elden Ring’s release.
“[Berserk] holds a special place in the hearts of many, and deserves a proper mod,” Garden of Eyes continued. “So naturally, we found it quite fitting to do this as our introduction to the Multiverse. … I’m also a big Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, so that also played a big part in me wanting this idea to happen.”
Papa Appa, who befriended Garden of Eyes through their shared love of Soulsborne games, said that he worked on the modding side of Elden Ring Multiverse while Garden of Eyes crafted its narrative.
As soon as the boss fight starts in the Elden Ring Multiverse episode, “Guts” lunges frantically from side to side and knocks down his opponent before hungrily devouring their flesh, just like he does when overcome by bloodlust in the manga. This accurate attention to detail is thanks to the herculean efforts of Papa Appa, who put a lot of love and care into the lore-specific detail of his Call of the Abyss mod.
“I have been trying to bring you guys the absolute best Guts armour and Guts mod overall in all of Elden Ring modding,” Papa Appa said in his latest YouTube CotA demo video.
Although the current state of Elden Ring modding is limited to importing custom animations from other games, Garden Of Eyes told Kotaku that Papa Appa was able to derive Guts’ moveset from Blaidd the Half-Wolf’s attack patterns.
“Blaidd was the perfect choice for this as a base,” Garden of Eyes said. “With proper edits to his model, moves and visuals, a proper berserker Guts was born.”
Call of the Abyss isn’t your typical model-swap job. Papa Appa said that it took him around a week to create a bunch of special features that die-hard fans would appreciate. For example, when you play as Guts’, his “berserker” feature triggers once you fall below 50% HP and has four progressive states, signalled by the red eyes glaring out of his beast of darkness helmet and a red-and-black smokescreen that follows in his wake
“For you big Berserk fans out there, as you know, the beast of darkness isn’t an actual being but an amalgamation and buildup of all of Guts’ trauma, fears, and worries that he had as a child,” Papa Appa said in the CotA update video. “I really wanted to materialise that via black fog because I think it matches the [armour] set very well.”
Read More: 7 Possible Berserk References In Elden Ring
Berserk state grants a 15% increase to stamina recovery and damage output, but the longer you’re in berserker mode, the more your health will drain, which is pretty accurate to how Guts’ crushing sadness scales with his overpowered-ness in the manga.
My only critique of Papa Appa’s mod so far is that Guts goes down way too easily in Garden of Eyes’ video. That may be down to a majority of Guts’ manga-specific moveset still missing from the mod. Had Guts’ cannon arm, throwing knives, crossbow, and bombs been in, I imagine that boss fight would’ve been more of a knock-down, drag-out brawl.
Papa Appa told Kotaku that even though Elden Ring still has a limited modding scene, he plans on adding Skull Knight as well as new features like the aforementioned hand cannon, which you can watch a preview of here.
“This is still the tip of the iceberg for projects related to Berserk and other things in the Multiverse, whether it is new bosses, weapons, armours, and much more,” Garden of Eyes told Kotaku. “We have huge passion for the game, and we aim for having the best mods for Elden Ring.”
Speaking as a longtime Berserk fan, I would love to see mods where Guts is model-swapped with Blaidd and the prolific POS Griffith replaces Malenia, because I’ve gotta get my proper Berserk ending somehow.