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Elden Ring once had a different starting location, and while it makes more sense than the one we got, I'm glad they changed it

 The wretch looks on.
The wretch looks on.

Souls series dataminer Sekiro Dubi recently found evidence of an alternate starting location in Elden Ring. After your "supposed to lose" fight with a Grafted Scion in the Chapel of Anticipation, you would have washed ashore on a beach in Limgrave instead of waking up underground.

It's a starting sequence FromSoft has delighted in over the years: hang out in a funky area, get stomped by a boss, return to said boss and funky area after 15+ hours of gameplay. After the Grafted Scion teaches you a lesson in humility (or you beat it like a pro and die anyway), Elden Ring sees you waking up in its tutorial dungeon, the Stranded Graveyard.

It's a bit of a non sequitur, dying on a cliffside island and waking up in an inland cave. I found it reminiscent of Dark Souls 2's infamous Earthen Peak elevator, and chalked it up as another example of that game's influence on Elden Ring.

Sekiro Dubi, however, found this alternate starting location that's less surreal. There's a mismatch of ID between the cutscene of Melina and Torrent first finding your character, and the area it plays out in, which led the dataminer to discover the change. At one point in development, you were actually supposed to wake up on the western shore of Limgrave near the Seaside Ruins and to the southeast of the Stranded Graveyard. A nearby cave entrance would serve as a back way into the tutorial dungeon.

Now, the beachside wakeup makes more logical sense: you fall from the Chapel of Anticipation's cliffs into the ocean and your body washes up on the shore, but it's definitely apparent to me why FromSoft changed it. Players already had enough trouble realizing there even was a tutorial sequence in the Stranded Graveyard, and that was a closed-in, forking path. Starting people off right in the open world would have had even more first timers scratching their heads.

Additionally, ruikfarimus in the video comments points out how effective and iconic a moment it is to emerge from the Stranded Graveyard onto the First Step and see Limgrave stretch out before you⁠—that "wow" factor would have been diluted if players could just immediately run off in the opposite direction. Besides, FromSoft's whole thing is being surreal and ineffable. When something doesn't make logical sense, you just gotta roll with it⁠. Though, that is the attitude that led us all to believe that a handful of borked questlines at Elden Ring's launch were all working as intended.