Model viewer forensics reveal that Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree's Dancing Lion boss is actually two little guys piloting it around

Elden Ring's early boss, the Divine Beast Dancing Lion, in his ancient and strange boss room
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree's first major boss is a real statement of intent: an aggressive, high-flying creature inspired by Chinese Lion dances that seems to be serving as a bit of an early game, Margit-style blocker to many players' progression. But it turns out the real life Lion dance inspiration goes deeper than I first assumed: A new video by BonfireVN on YouTube has revealed that there are actually two little guys under the lion getup.

I think I had just assumed that, while clearly taking a visual inspiration from Lion dances, the Divine Beast Dancing Lion was going to be some kind of grafted flesh thing under its armor and cloak. I had something like the base game's Royal Revenant enemies in mind, and BonfireVN has also helpfully disrobed them in another video, revealing their full nasty glory.

Divine Beast Dancing Lion - Closer Look - YouTube Divine Beast Dancing Lion - Closer Look - YouTube
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But when BonfireVN stripped away the top layers of Dancing Lion, there were clearly two squat little guys hanging out under there. Shout out to the one bringing up the rear, who's crouched so far down he's practically on all fours. I hope he isn't always stuck being the rump of this primeval hornsent guardian.

It's wild seeing the Dancing Lion go through its attack animations with the top layers of its armor removed: I appreciate how much work went into animating both dancers' movements even though most players aren't going to be taking a peek under the robe. While it's a little silly when the Dancing Lion makes a spin and the rear guy looks like he's about to be flung away by centripetal force, it otherwise all makes about as much sense as a magical Lion dance from another dimension could be expected to, and this kind of craft is something that always sets FromSoftware apart.

And the studio has once again zagged when we expected them to zig, by making this an actual two-person Lion dance and not some kind of grafted guy. Or maybe I'm just gullible and speaking for myself. Catch me getting scared at a Lunar New Year celebration, thinking a Lion dance is a real-life monster. Maybe later on I'll get fooled by two kids stacked on top of each other under a trench coat⁠—it's just a really tall, wobbly man!


Erdtree map fragments: Uncover the Land of Shadow
Scadutree fragments: How to level up in Erdtree
Erdtree bosses: A full hit list for the DLC
Leda quest: Track the Erdtree main quest
Sir Ansbach quest: Help the former servant of Mohg
Hornsent quest: Complete the quest for vengeance

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.