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How Elden Ring Redeemed This Cut Dark Souls 3 Boss

For many gamers, "Elden Ring" is the first FromSoftware title to really grab their attention, and they were left in awe by the game's quality. However, veteran Soulsborne players knew exactly what to expect, as "Elden Ring" was built on the backs of the genre's previous titles. For example, Soulsborne games share similar mechanics and assets, often improving with each iteration. And with so many similarities, there's often some overlap. Unfortunately, some can be negative, like the flawed code that bled over into "Elden Ring," causing a headache for FromSoftware.

Sometimes, the overlap can solve a mystery dating back to "Dark Souls 3." Anyone that used a Stonesword Key on the first locked fog gate after the tutorial in "Elden Ring" knows the horror of the notoriously difficult Ulcerated Tree Spirit waiting at the end of the dungeon. But according to some leftover "Dark Souls 3" code, players were supposed to meet the Ulcerated Tree Spirit (or at least a version of it) much earlier.

The Ulcerated Tree Spirit was almost in "Dark Souls 3"

Soulsborne content creator Zullie the Witch posted a video on April 8 to YouTube highlighting a piece of AI code hidden in the "Elden Ring" files titled: SnakeSoul. SnakeSoul is the AI code used for the Ulcerated Tree Spirit. Zullie the Witch came across the code while digging through the "Elden Ring" game files, and according to them, the SnakeSoul code is also present in a "Dark Souls 3" file.

Yet, in "Dark Souls 3," the SnakeSoul AI isn't present in the final game, leading many to believe it was leftover code from a cut boss. However, the code has an implied connection to the Pus of Man enemy. The enemies share similar appearances with their boney claw hands and serpent-like mouth. This led many to believe the Ulcerated Tree Spirit was an evolution of the Pus of Man, and FromSoftware originally wanted the boss in "Dark Souls 3."

This discovery gets more interesting because it potentially solved an old "Dark Souls 3" mystery. In one of the first screenshots of "Dark Souls 3" during its alpha stage, a familiar-looking shadow figure is visible on the right side of the image. Upon further inspection, the shadowy serpent shares the sharp spine silhouette of the Ulcerated Tree Spirit. However, when "Dark Souls 3" released, nobody could find the serpent in the game. FromSoftware is known for cutting content, like the dream mechanic originally planned for "Elden Ring," so there's a strong possibility that the removed serpent in "Dark Souls 3" was the Ulcerated Tree Spirit or a version of it.