One of Elden Ring's nastiest bosses still has an invisible tail left over from the Dark Souls freak whose assets he's built on

Terminator walking out of fire with Elden Ring UI on top
(Image credit: Orion Pictures)

Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree expansion (due June 20th) is currently looming large over my gaming time, inspiring the urge to return to The Lands Between and hoover up everything I missed in my first playthrough. There's plenty to be getting on with, because not only is this world vast but absolutely riddled with secrets both above and below the surface⁠—including the dead hand of annoying Soulsborne bosses past. 

One category of miscellanies, however, is not down to the authorial intention of FromSoftware but the dedicated efforts of dataminers who, drunk on the power of having stripped-down many previous Soulsborne games, have discovered some astonishing details buried away in the game's code. A great recent example of this was the discovery of unused underground areas, tied to a planned 'Cataclysm' system (never implemented) which would have seen the map change as you play.

This new revelation isn't on quite that scale but, for those who've been around since the original Dark Souls, it's a neat and unexpected hangover from earlier games. It's also yet another example of how well FromSoftware re-uses assets in different ways over time across the studio's different games. The discovery comes from Souls veteran and dataminer Zullie The Witch, who has a new video (below) looking at the starkly-named Omenkiller boss.

To briefly set the scene, Elden Ring's world contains creatures called the Omen. They're brutishly large humanoid types who have twisted horns growing all over their body, shunned and sometimes hunted by the Golden Order. There's much more to it, of course, but the ones who do the hunting are the Omenkillers. As Zullie's video adroitly notes, the AI refers to the Omen as "ShunnedChild" but the Omenkillers are simply labelled "Slaughter". They ain't nice folk.

It was already obvious that the Omenkiller shared certain animations and attacks with the Capra Demon, a goat-headed bastard from Dark Souls who dwells at the bottom of the Undead Burg with his twin psycho dogs, and acts as one of that game's early "you die now" hurdles. Zullie's discovery is that the model itself has a hidden hangover from the Capra Demon: the creature's tail, albeit invisible in-game, remains as a vestigial link on the Omenkiller.

Zullie goes on to note that, amusingly enough, the tail retains some of its own animations, and is moving around even though you can't see it. Oddest of all, there are even some new animations in situations where the Omenkiller's body is posed in a particular way.

"In addition to the Omenkillers using the Capra Demon animation rig, it feels like at least one Omenkiller may be a direct reference to the infamous Capra Demon in the Lower Undead Burg," adds Zullie. "Like the Capra Demon, the Omenkiller in the Albinauric Village is notably accompanied by multiple dogs, though the arena is much larger than the Capra Demon's."

So if you really, and I mean really, hated the Omenkillers, now you know why. Some part of your brain knew who these scumbags really were, and remembered all those times You Died in the Burg (mainly to his goddamn dogs).

What can I say: the Elden Ring minutiae is what's going to keep me coming until June 21st. Shadow of the Erdtree did recently get a substantial trailer that showed a lot more of what to expect in the expansion, though if FromSoftwares past form is anything to go by then it'll be rammed with surprises. If you just want to speculate and pore over the details though then, by the omens, have we got you covered.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."