Cut Content

I don’t blame anyone for knee-jerk skepticism with regards to cut content. It is by its very nature unused, never to be seen by design, and the reasons are commonly because they are relics of the development process. As Game Director Hidetaka Miyazaki relates in the Dark Souls: Design Works interview, Andre was originally planned to be related to Gwyn by blood, and this revelation would have coincided with him revealing a secret passage to the Firelink Chamber behind the goddess statue in Firelink Shrine. However, the character eventually became just your ordinary blacksmith, and what vestiges of this plot thread remain in the files have no bearing on the evidence present in-game. Any theory about Andre being the god’s descendant would be working with outdated data for an entirely different vision for the game, complete with an earlier iteration of the game’s script. I myself would doubt the validity of such an argument.

However, this cannot be applied to every instance of cut content. For example, Ingward was originally planned to test us prior to handing over his key to New Londo’s seal. Directing us to the roof of the large building across from where we first find him, the sealer would task us with proving our mettle defeating a Darkwraith. Even if we have met Frampt’s standards, the sorcerer would have still feel obligated to ensure that the person breaking the seal to challenge the Four Kings can at least defeat their servants, for the sake of everyone that had been sacrificed lock them away. Everything about Ingward’s dialogue and behavior here is consistent with what we see in-game, explicitly and implicitly. Likewise, it makes sense for a Darkwraith to have climbed up to the roof of a building at the highest elevation to avoid the seal as it flooded the lower levels. The only wrinkle with this plot thread is the whole premise for this trial.

What is a Darkwraith still doing on that roof? The seal has been at the same water level for a long time now, and if we would have had a means to get up there, then he would have had a means to get back down. Did he not once consider trying to free his lieges and fellows in captivity, take revenge on the perpetrators, or at least try and escape his ruined homeland? There is simply no logic behind the Darkwraith staying up there except to wait for someone to come and fulfill Ingward’s trial. This unnecessary detour which just screams “video game” was probably cut for that reason, not because it conflicted with the narrative in the final game. Therefore, we cannot disregard content wholesale and must evaluate the context for which it exists on a case-by-case basis. Such content can outright confirm elements of the narrative that were otherwise only left to implication, and likewise exclude inferences which don’t line up with the development history of a given item or character.