Dark Souls is a great example of designing a game rich in lore without said lore being shoved in your face. One very popular topic about Dark Souls lore is Gwyn, Lord of Cinders. Beware that if you haven’t played Dark Souls, there might potentially be spoilers below, but if you have, or have no interest in playing it for some odd reason, then read on.
Track Name: Gwyn, Lord of Cinder
Game: Dark Souls (2011)
System: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Composer: Motoi Sakuraba
Well, it’s certainly not what you’d first expect from a final boss, isn’t it? The game does well with setting up Gwyn’s status as the last enemy of the game with showcasing his influence on the events of the game. But why such a sad tone?
Well, Gwyn and his followers are responsible for slaying the everlasting dragons and ushering the Age of Fire. However, the First Flame began to die out, and Gwyn took the responsibility of keeping the fire alive by offering his soul as fuel. With such a powerful soul used as the First Flame’s fuel source, the Age of Fire was able to continue.
Over thousands of years, the effect of burning his soul slowly took its toll on Gwyn’s sanity, and eventually, he had gone undeniably mad. Trapped in the Kiln of the First Flame, Gwyn was to suffer until his burn burnt out completely. Your role as the Chosen Undead is not to slay the big baddie at the end of the evil fortress, but to relieve Gwyn of his tortuous position as the kindle keeping the world from being consumed by darkness.
Gwyn’s song is a very emotional piece that grants insight on Gwyn’s pain and suffering. With an air of nobility coming from it, you can’t help but admire his bravery and sense of duty. As Gwyn attacks you, you come with the terms that after all of his sacrifices and everything he’s done out of selflessness, you must put him down like a mad dog and take his place, or else the forces of darkness will soon end the Age of Fire. Just doing what you have to do, no matter how bad you feel for doing it.
Dark Souls was one of the best games of this generation, and Gwyn’s boss battle, while not being extremely difficult on Dark Souls terms, is the icing on the fascinating lore and story line cake.