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What's up with the rolling goats in Elden Ring?

Someone enlighten me

Elden Ring is an action-RPG filled with untold horrors. Tentacled masses that writhe on shores, goblins that'll hack at your knees, corrupted priests that sling fireballs. They are mysterious, to a degree, but they're also quite easy to read. Your innards? Their tea.

But what makes the game great is its capacity for surprise, the deep well of lore – the gaps left for us to fill. The goats. What's up with them, huh? Can anyone tell me what's up with the goats in Elden Ring?

In my Elden Ring review, I bang on about its open world a lot. That's because it's a magnificent patchwork of cool things lurking in corners or atop mountains. Fall off a cliff and you might just land on a mound of glinting loot, it's that rich. And it's a world that turns too. Enemy factions tussle and turtles graze. There are loads of turtles, actually. Must be a temperate climate for them given the abundance of berries and grass. Anyway, yes, FromSoftware have built a world that wants you dead, but ironically, it's one that's filled with life.

Goats live alongside the turtles in harmony in this world. At first glance, the goats appear totally normal. You'll see groups of them doing what goats do, like bleat with a beeeehhhhh and grind grass with their flat teeth. One suspects they have formed a bond with the turtles because they have similar interests, but they are definitely 100% goats, I've checked. I brought up an image of a goat on Google Images and cross-referenced it to the goats in-game. There's no denying that they are goats. Why am I getting so worked up, then? That's because they roll! Scare them and they'll curl themselves up into a wheel and roll away from you.

Look at them go:

Seriously, what's up with that? That is not a thing real goats do. Here is one possible explanation. Hardware editor James pointed me in the direction of Wooloo, a sheep Pokémon that rolls to get around at speed. We know Dark Souls is heavily inspired by dark fantasy manga Berserk, and FromSoftware have dropped references and odes to it over the years. Perhaps the dev team have a particular soft spot for the fluffy Pocket Monster and wanted to immortalise its preferred mode of transport?

It's interesting how these goats also resemble Droidekas from Star Wars, those roly-poly robots that unfurl themselves when they come to a standstill, like a Babybell shedding its wax. Only it's not glistening half-moon of cheese that's revealed, but laser pistols for fingers.

Huh. Guess they are, in fact, dogs.

The goats also have a hint of wheel skeleton to them. If you've played Dark Souls 1, 2, or 3, then you would've encountered them in a catacomb of some form. A hop onto a pile of bones and a crunch in the distance that only gets closer. Then BLAM, IT'S WHEEL SKELETON HERE TO RUN YOU OVER.

From what I can gather, the goats in Elden Ring are infused with references. Or they are the total opposite; a snap decision from the dev team, a proclamation that "The goats must roll" booming across the roundtable. Or maybe it was an honest mistake during development that made people chuckle. I can see people gathered around a dev's screen late at night, laughing deliriously at a goat that's chosen to roll away, not run away as intended.

That's why I'm fond of the rolling goats, at least. They are, somehow, an amusing anomaly in a world filled with towering beasts and fantastical bastards. But then, I suppose they reinforce the fantasy of the Lands Between too. This dark fantasy realm is home to monsters with seventy limbs and blood-soaked chainmail, so the goats can roll if they want to. I won't be getting in their way. Keep rolling friends.

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Ed Thorn avatar

Ed Thorn

Senior Staff Writer

When Ed's not cracking thugs with bicycles in Yakuza, he's likely swinging a badminton racket in real life. Any genre goes, but he's very into shooters and likes a weighty gun, particularly if they have a chainsaw attached to them. Adores orange and mango squash, unsure about olives.

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