Bizarre 'Dark Souls' Exploit Shows Why Speedrunning Is So Great

The desire to break games apart leads to the strangest and most interesting exploits.

by Patrick Klepek
Dec 7 2016, 6:28pm

Just because a game has been out for years doesn't mean people, especially speedrunners, are done finding new ways to break it apart. That's true of games The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, in which players found a way to summon a bottle out of thin air, and Dark Souls, where, just yesterday, hardcore fans revealed a new trick to shave off more time. Marvel at the weirdness below.

By executing a parry and riposte on a specific part of a specific staircase, players con the game into triggering its "death camera," thanks to the physics and geometry getting screwy. 

With the camera turned on, players can do things they aren't supposed to. This exploit lets you walk right past the gate to Sen's Fortress without ringing the first two bells, progression markers meant to keep you from one of the game's most memorable areas early.

What makes these tricks remarkable is how people push, pull, and tear at games in order to find them, and make the games operate in ways developers never intended. The reason it can take years to track them down is because their discovery is a mixture of experimentation and pure luck.

Once a trick is discovered, it's not always clear how it'll impact the community. CapitaineToinon, who found this one, is still helping people figure that part out.

"This is very most likely faster for Any% (No Kiln Skip)," he said. "We've been routing a way using the BKGS that could, according to estimates, be up to 2 minutes faster than the current BKH WR route."

There's, uh, a lot of Dark Souls terminology to unpack there. Any% (No Kiln Skip) is a specific type of speedrun, where you don't take advantage of a completely different exploit, while BKGS and BKH refer to different types of weapons in the game (Black Knight Greatsword, Black Knight Herald). You can find more information about the ways people measure Dark Souls speedruns right here.

This is unlikely to be the end. I'm sure they'll find something equally wild soon enough.