FromSoftware found ludicrous success with Demon’s Souls, but Sony’s stake in the game’s ownership meant that the studio’s subsequent game – Dark Souls – had to release as a spiritual sequel. True to all mediums, limitations often bolster art and Dark Souls disconnecting from Demon’s Souls was arguably the best thing that ever happened to FromSoftware. The original Dark Souls kicked off a revolution, inspiring game designers everywhere and reshaping the medium’s relationship with difficulty.
While Dark Souls 2 was something of a letdown to veteran fans (although not all), FromSoft was able to course correct with both Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3: the latter of which also the final entry in Dark Souls’ trilogy. The Souls games have always been about gameplay first and foremost, but there’s also a deep story running throughout the entire franchise.
The Dark Souls trilogy in particular focuses on the end of the world framed through humanity’s ugliest tendencies. Dark Souls 3 embraces the inevitable death of all things, firmly transitioning out of the Age of Fire and into a new era determined by the player. While Souls games have always featured multiple endings, Dark Souls 3 has the most with a total of four – all of which different shades of dour.
To Link The First Flame
Three of Dark Souls 3’s multiple endings all have multiple steps the player has to complete throughout the course of the story in order to activate. Should a player fail to trigger the criteria for these three endings, they’ll still be able to unlock the game’s standard finale: To Link the First Flame.
To trigger To Link the First Flame, players simply need to defeat the final boss – the Soul of Cinder – in the Kiln of the First Flame. From there, you’ll have no other option but to link the first flame. Despite how hard the Ashen One has fought, the first flame is still dying and the game ends with the Age of Fire prolonging a dead world.
The End Of Fire
Linking the First Flame is very clearly framed as a bad ending in Dark Souls 3 (or at least not ideal), but ending the Age of Fire requires players to put in some real work. To get The End of Fire ending, players need to find the Eyes of a Fire Keeper in order to give them to the Fire Keeper in Firelink Shrine.
The Eyes of a Fire Keeper can be found in the dark Firelink Shrine connected to the Untended Graves. The Untended Graves can be accessed by breaking down an illusory wall in Oceiros’ boss arena. The Graves are ultimately just a darker version of the Cemetary of Ash with Champion Gundyr replacing Iudex.
Once Champion Gundy has been killed, you’ll be able to enter the dark Firelink Shrine and find the Eyes of the Fire Keeper inside. Hand to the Fire Keeper in the real Firelink Shrine an answer “Yes” to her prompt after reading all her dialogue. The Fire Keeper’s Summon Sign will now appear when the Soul of Cinder is killed, allowing you to trigger The End of Fire ending cutscene where darkness consumes the world – albeit not life itself.
There’s actually a branch ending tied to The End of Fire. After completing all the steps to trigger The End of Fire and summoning the Fire Keeper, you’ll notice that you still have control of your character. To trigger the Unkindled ending, simply kill the Fire Keeper before the cutscene ends. The Ashen One will steal the First Flame for themselves as the world fades into darkness, with no Fire Keeper around to reassure the player. Unkindled is a particularly sadistic ending that doesn’t even get a Trophy or Achievement, but it’s fitting. After working so hard to help the Fire Keeper end the Age of Fire, why should such a cruel betrayal be rewarded?
Usurpation Of Fire
Triggering the Usurpation of Fire ending is a whole game endeavor that can get locked out if you aren’t careful. Your first major step is finding Yoel of Londor by the Foot of the High Wall Bonfire to send him back to Firelink Shrine. There, he’ll level you up for free a total of five times (every two deaths triggers a free level up). So long as all five level ups are exhausted before the Abyss Watchers are fought, Yoel will die and Yuria will spawn in Firelink Shrine.
Play the game until you reach the Halfway Fortress Bonfire where you’ll meet Anri of Astora. Exhaust all of their dialogue and then speak with Anri again at Firelink Shrine once the Deacons of the Deep are dead. The next time you meet Anri will be in the Catacombs of Carthus where they’ll have been separated from their partner, Horace.
Find and kill Horace in Smouldering Lake, then tell Anri where he was so they can set up a grave for Horace. From here, you’ll cross paths with Anri again at the Church of Yorshka Bonfire for one last conversation. After killing Pontiff Sulyvahn, speak to Yuria in Firelink Shrine to trigger your wedding ceremony.
Speak with a Pilgrim outside Darkmoon Tomb underneath Anor Londo to obtain a ceremonial sword. Use the sword on Anri’s body and the ceremony will be complete. Back at Firelink Shrine, Yuria will urge the player to link the First Flame. After killing the Soul of Cinder, link the First Flame and the Ashen One will consume the fire for themselves.
Next: Dark Souls 3: The 15 Most Useful Boss Soul Weapons, Ranked
- Dark Souls 3
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