FromSoftware is known for designing games that are tough but fair, but nearly every Souls game includes the occasional fuck you: an ambush or subversion of player expectation that's impossible to see coming. They're little jokes designers play on unsuspecting players, and if you're a longtime From fan, they're usually funny enough to make up for any frustration they cause.
And Sekiro contains what might be the purest, goofiest FromSoftware prank yet.
Light location and enemy spoilers follow. If you're just starting out, turn back. You'll know who this article is about when you meet them.
If you don't care about spoilers or you already know who I'm talking about: his name is, informally, Woo Guy. Below, you can watch Woo Guy say hello to a few streamers.
God, what a beautiful process. Here's a little more context if you want the full picture and don't plan on getting there yourself.
Once you defeat the Burning Bull, you can pick your way across the rooftops towards the castle peak, but it's not easy. A new feathered, agile enemy type is waiting for you up there. Equipped with spinning scythes and shurikens that chase you down, these bird boys are a big change-up from the grounded turtles you've been dueling until now.
It's already a disarming moment. When I encountered these guys I did the FromSoftware thing and started studying the environment closely, looking for hidden enemies waiting to get the jump on me. And my attention was rewarded. I snuck up on a couple of the bird boys who were hoping to get a piece and gave them mine instead.
I was an astute, smart videogame man in that moment. I felt good. This is the magic of these games, how they encourage an on-going conversation with the designer throughout, one-upping each other over the course of a level.
But my little victory was short-lived.
After taking out two bird folk on center castle roof, I felt like I'd been properly tested. It was bound to be over soon. The rooftop ahead looked clear. There was nowhere to hide.
Except the sky.
First you hear it, that beautiful wooooooo. It takes a half-second to recognize, but by then it's probably too late. Most of the streamers get absolutely clocked by the guy, the pristine shooting star: Woo Guy. He didn't hit me though. The guy just ate shit on the roof and I figured he was done for. But From has an insurance policy. Woo Guy leapt up and lit his scythe on fire. Done for.
You got me, From. I could not have predicted a bird man would fall from heaven. I'm still wiping the pie off my idiot face. I fully expect a man to emerge from the TV and punch me in the dick in Dark Souls 7.
I like the pain though. It's an unexpected and incomprehensible slapstick goof that will completely slap away the majority's hard-earned progress and deflate their egos in a heartbeat. It made me mad. But it also made me laugh for about a minute straight: A bird man, swoop-falling from the sky, wooing on the way. I can't really be mad about that. Just listen to that woo. What a performance.