This article contains spoilers for Elden Ring.
Whether they’re hiding in plain sight or camping out in secret locations, Easter eggs and references are a proud tradition in video games (and pretty much every other medium). Previous FromSoftware titles are flush with those secrets, and Elden Ring is certainly no different.
Hidetaka Miyazaki has a history of inserting references to other properties into his projects, so when gamers finally got the chance to start exploring Elden Ring, they were sure to keep their eyes peeled. Their dedication resulted in the discovery of references to some of Miyazaki’s most famous sources of inspiration (including Kentaro Miura’s Berserk and Elden Ring’s co-creator George R.R. Martin’s most famous piece of literature, Game of Thrones) and even Easter eggs related to FromSoftware’s previous games.
Since Elden Ring is a huge open-world experience, gamers have only scratched its surface, and as such have only discovered a handful of what is likely a legion of Easter eggs. Expect this article to grow as more are discovered, but these are some of the best we’ve found so far.
The Moonlight Greatsword (Kind Of)
While many video game heroes and villains wield iconic weapons, some special armaments are instead synonymous with franchises and studios. For FromSoftware, that weapon is the Moonlight Greatsword. That gigantic glowing blade has snuck its way into almost every game the studio developed, and Elden Ring is the latest entry in that ever-growing list.
While players can’t wield a weapon called the Moonlight Greatsword in Elden Ring, they can find and equip the Dark Moon Greatsword. That weapon item lacks the Moonlight Greatsword’s iconic glowing blade, but it comes with a unique skill called “Moonlight Greatsword” that solidifies the reference. The ability temporarily bathes the Greatsword in light, increases magic attack power, adds a frost element buff, and unleashes a blade beam with every charged attack. The Dark Moon Greatsword is essentially the Moonlight Greatsword in everything but name.
In order to find the Dark Moon Greatsword, players need to complete Ranni’s quest chain. This long and arduous task takes them all over (and under) the Lands Between, and also forces them to fight an extremely powerful optional boss simply to find the Dark Moon Ring. After players finish the mission and give Ranni her prized ring back, they finally acquire the Dark Moon Greatsword. Since this weapon is one of the strongest in the game (and something a FromSoftware tradition), it is well worth the journey.
The Infamous NPC Patches
FromSoftware just loves to put beginner traps in its Soulsborne titles. One of the studio’s favorite traps is Trusty Patches, who, contrary to his name, is often a backstabbing trickster. The character first appeared in Demon’s Souls as Patches the Hyena and has gone on to cameo in every Dark Souls game, Bloodborne, and, most recently, Elden Ring.
In most games, Patches is a greedy, opportunistic scoundrel who wants to steal everything of value off players by tricking them in some way. However, in a surprising twist, gamers encounter Patches in Elden Ring when they unintentionally try to rob him. He is holed up in Murkwater Cave’s boss arena, but he isn’t immediately visible. Instead, players only see a camp and an unguarded treasure chest. When they try to loot it, though, Patches jumps down and attacks. What ensues is a fairly easy boss fight, especially since Patches surrenders anywhere between ½ and ¼ health. Players are then given two options: let Patches live (he will set up shop and sell overpriced items) or channel several games worth of pent-up rage and kill him.
While we won’t spoil what happens next, let’s just say that if you spare Patches, he will live up to his Soulsborne legacy in a questline that ends with a truly Patches ending.
Grafted Blade Greatsword (AKA the “Game of Thrones Sword”)
When audiences first heard George R.R. Martin was associated with Elden Ring, many wondered what, exactly, he would contribute to the game. Eventually, we learned he was in charge of the game’s backstory, but the developers at FromSoftware also decided to add at least one Easter egg to the game that references Martin’s most iconic franchise.
On the Weeping Peninsula, players can find the Castle Morne dungeon and its boss, Leonine Misbegotten. When defeated, this powerful enemy drops the Grafted Blade Greatsword. This colossal weapon is an obvious reference to Game of Thrones since, like the novel/show’s eponymous Iron Throne, the Grafted Blade Greatsword looks like it was crafted out of countless smaller swords, all haphazardly melded together.
Not only can players find the Grafted Blade Greatsword relatively early, but it is an excellent weapon in its own right.
The Blasphemous Blade
After the success of Dark Souls, numerous studios made their own similar games, birthing the Soulslike genre. While many were in 3D like their inspirations, some combined challenging combat with 2D platforming. One of the champions of the 2D Soulslike genre is The Game Kitchen’s Blasphemous, and Elden Ring seemingly honors that title with a neat little Easter egg.
Fairly late in Elden Ring, players will visit the blasted, volcanic landscape of Mt. Gelmir. One of this area’s bosses is a gargantuan snake with arms dubbed the God-Devouring Serpent. After players defeat the boss, the creature reveals its true face (literally) as Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy. If players can defeat this second form, they are given Rykard’s Great Rune and Remembrance of the Blasphemous. As with other Remembrances, players can either consume the item to obtain a large number of Runes or give it to Enia in Roundtable Hold for special items, one of which is the Blasphemous Blade.
While the Blasphemous Blade is obviously a scaled-down version of Rykard’s sword, you might notice the weapon also looks remarkably similar to the protagonist’s sword from Blasphemous, Mea Culpa. Granted, the Blasphemous Blade is covered in writhing bodies instead of thorns, but the resemblance is still there. Plus, this Easter egg brings Blasphemous full circle, as the running theory is that Mea Culpa is itself a reference to the Thorned Greatsword from Dark Souls 2 (and that Blasphemous’ protagonist is inspired by the Thorned Greatsword’s wielder, the Looking Glass Knight).
Before you get the Blasphemous Blade, seek out a Walking Mausoleum to duplicate the Remembrance of Blasphemy. That way, you can acquire both this weaponized reference and another special item, Rykard’s Rancor.
Malenia, Blade of Miquella‘s “Berserk” Helmet
The reveal trailer for Elden Ring gave audiences a taste of things to come, including an early glimpse at a woman with a prosthetic arm and a familiar-looking helmet. Now that Elden Ring has been released, gamers can finally fight that character, but, more importantly, we have finally figured out why their helmet looked familiar.
Elden Ring features many secret areas, one of which is the Consecrated Snowfield. If players can find this deviously-hidden location, they can challenge the optional boss Malenia, Blade of Miquella. While she is one of the most annoying enemies in the game since she heals herself whenever she lands a hit, battling her gives players a better look at her helmet, which is almost identical to the one Farnese wears in Berserk.
Both Farnese and Malenia’s helmets feature a swooping, curved faceplate that has multiple vertical slits instead of eyeholes. Both helmets also lack a mouthguard and sport ornamental wings on the side. While Malenia’s helm is gold instead of white and lacks Farnese’s chin guard and ornamental cherub up top, it is otherwise a clear reference.
Guts’ sword from Berserk, the Dragon Slayer, is one of the most iconic (and biggest) weapons in manga history. The blade is larger than its wielder and is famously described as being more akin to “a heap of raw iron” than an actual sword. Since Hidetaka Miyazaki loves his Berserk references, of course, the weapon would find its way into Elden Ring.
One of the biggest weapon types in the game is the Colossal Sword. As the name suggests, these are massive blades that are slow to wield, weigh a ton, and devastate everything they hit. Near the Caelem Ruins in Caelid, players can loot an abandoned caravan. If they do, they will acquire the Greatsword (not to be confused with the Greatsword weapon type), which references the Dragon Slayer on multiple fronts.
Like Guts’ iconic weapon, the Greatsword is a gargantuan straight sword, but the similarities don’t end with looks. The items’ in-game flavor text describes it as “a coarse iron lump of an ultra greatsword,” which is remarkably similar to how Berserk’s narrator depicts the Dragon Slayer. If that’s not enough for you, Caelid is teeming with undead monsters, and Berserk’s narrator utters his iconic description while Guts fights a legion of skeletons.
What an incredible way to memorialize the late Kentaro Miura.
The Prisoner’s Helmet
When players create a character in Elden Ring, they must also pick a starting class, each with their own unique equipment and spells. One class, the Prisoner, wears little more than rags and a helmet that, like Malenia’s helmet, references a character from Berserk.
While you might assume the Prisoner’s Iron Mask is supposed to reference the titular iron mask from The Man in the Iron Mask since, you know, it’s an iron mask worn by a prisoner, the in-game item is far too rounded. Instead, many gamers are convinced the headwear references Griffith’s torture mask.
While Griffith’s torture mask is avian in appearance, it was specifically designed to humiliate and torment him for the crime of treason (i.e., bedding a princess). The Prisoner Iron Mask’s description states it too was designed to “torment the wearer” as punishment for “an appalling crime.” The charge of treason is pretty appalling, don’t you think? Moreover, like Griffith’s torture mask, the Prisoner Iron Mask is rounded and sports a neck brace that makes it impossible to remove without a key (even though gamers can freely swap the mask out for better armor because…well, because of video game logic). While the Prisoner’s Iron Mask only tenuously looks like Griffith’s torture mask, the two items are still tied through context clues.
Players who don’t start with the Prisoner class can purchase its armor set, including the mask, from a Hermit Merchant near Ainsel River.
What Easter eggs have you found that we missed? Be sure to share them with us in the comments below and revisit this article to see which new Easter eggs audiences have discovered in the massive world of Elden Ring.