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Did Miyazaki poke fun at this viral tweet from two years ago with an Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree secret boss?

Zanzibart…forgive me

The player character in Elden Ring standing in front of four small pot-boy style pots with little arms.
Image credit: FromSoft

Early 2022 was a glorious time to be on Twitter. I mean, obviously it wasn’t, but it was still named Twitter. That’s something, right? May accelerated absurdity re-contextualise all your hells as, like, still hells but with air conditioning. It was February that year when Gearbox writer Sam Winkler done a funny tweet about Dark Souls. Here’s the tweet:

The tweet got a lot of attention because it was very funny, and also because a lot of people are very sensitive about Dark Souls and think they’re very clever for understanding what environmental storytelling is, and got unnecessarily mad about it. Much mirth and soapstone clutching followed, Twitter moved on, a twat spent billions of dollars on it so he could stop HardDrive sharing that picture of him and Ghislaine Maxwell, world kept turning.

But! After encountering a hidden boss in Shadow Of The Erdtree, it occurred to me there’s a small chance that someone at FromSoft - or maybe the localisation team - may have seen that tweet, and decided to have a little fun of their own. Big large spoilers ahead, obviously.

So, after finding your way past a maze of elevators and invisible walls, and probably an ulcerated tree spirit or two let's be honest, you’ll arrive in a large secret area named the Abyssal Woods. Deeper on in the woods, you’ll find one of the best mini-dungeons in the game, capped off by a boss. You can check out the fight below - courtesy of 'tuber Shirrako - but you only really need to watch the intro cutscene.

“I ask you forgive me, dearest Nanaya,” Midra sadly croaks in one of his very few dialogue lines, in a vague lament oddly reminiscent of Winkler’s tweet. Yes, yes, pass the back-putting-out-boluses for my incredible reach, but I’m still putting the chances of this being a cheeky wink at non-zero. Although Nanaya’s quite an easy NPC to learn about, to be fair, since you’ll find some items related to them on the path to Midra.

Still, even if it’s nothing, I’m glad to be reminded of one of my favourite gently mocking FromSoft tweets, alongside this classic. Although I would posit that Big Hat Logan’s presence as comic relief actually contrasts against the prevailing mood of Lordran, further drawing out its mysterious and evocative qualities. Furthermore….

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