Many of you will be edging your way towards the end of the excellent Dark Souls 3 - shield outstretched, afraid of what miserable horrors may lurk in the game's final gruelling hours. Perhaps you've already finished it and are well into a muscular second playthrough. Either way, there's a chance you won't all have seen the same ending.
The video below shows how my run of Dark Souls 3 ended - me, ragged and desperate after hours of failure, clubbing the Soul of Cinder to death with two summoned helpers. I'm disappointed with myself for taking the easy option, but it’s okay because Dark Souls is more about the journey than the ending, right? And it's in the spirit of jolly co-operation. Check out the video to see the standard ending which has you linking the First Flame.
What does it all mean? That’s a different, longer, probably-more-confusing article, but it' ’s implied this is a cyclical process dating back to the time the player first defeats Lord Gwyn in Dark Souls one. Again, because this is Dark Souls, you’re not told any of this explicitly. The key thing to remember is this is not the only ending. In fact, it’s definitely the most boring one. By linking the First Flame you're perpetuating the current state of the world.
There is, however, a different, more exciting ending called the End of Fire. You can get this by finding the Eyes of the Firekeeper in the Dark Firelink Shrine, located in the hidden Untended Graves area. This alternate version of Firelink can only be accessed after you beat Champion Gundyr. He's the 'true' version of Iudex Gundyr, the first boss you fight. Here, you're essentially fighting him in his prime, which is why he's such a massive pain in the ass. By following this path you can summon the Firekeeper after the final battle with the Soul of Cinder, then essentially extinguish the First Flame for good. You can also get a third ending by attacking the Firekeeper during the her ritual, but you'll miss out on the achievement if you do.
Finally, there’s a much more complicated fourth ending, called the Usurpation of Fire, which requires you to complete the questline with Anri of Astora. We’ll have a full guide for how to get this on GamesRadar+ soon, but if you’re interested, it involves a marriage proposal and the player becoming the Lord of Hollows. No, I wasn't expecting a romance plot in Dark Souls 3, either. Like purple moss clumps, love blooms in the darkest places...