It's quite easy to draw a line from Demon's Souls all the way to Elden Ring. You can argue that all of developer FromSoftware's games since that seminal title have been expansions on the same idea, even if the individual details and specifics can vary drastically.
This doesn't just refer to the general feel, game mechanics or structure; FromSoft has also been known to reiterate on old ideas with every new game, and Elden Ring is no exception.
One of the more unique enemy designs in Elden Ring is the Night's Cavalry. These units appear only at night, and roam certain areas hunting for you, the Tarnished. It is believed that they are the hands of the Fell Omen (Margit/Morgott).
But while the idea of an enemy unit that patrols a set path may seem like something FromSoftware came up with to complement Elden Ring's open world design, the Night's Cavalry are actually based on an old concept. The even more shocking news is that none of these iterations actually achieve what the developer initially intended for the feature.
The latest video from Souls modder Zullie the Witch explores the lineage of the Night's Cavalry, making a few surprising reveals in the process. For starters, the idea originated during the development of Demon's Souls. FromSoft wanted to create an enemy untethered to a certain area; one that wanders the entire game world and randomly runs into the player.
The studio - according to an interview - wanted the Grim Reapers from Demon's Souls to play that role, but seemingly couldn't solve the technical problems that entailed. FromSoft tried again in Dark Souls, giving us the Black Nights. Unfortunately, those also ended up sticking to fixed locations.
This is what the Pursuer represents in Dark Souls 2, and you could say it's the closest the studio has gotten to achieving the original goal. Nevertheless, that enemy also ended up being more or less a mini-boss with fixed spawns, even if those spawn points are scattered around the game's world.
According to Zullie the Witch, the Night's Cavalry represent yet another attempt by FromSoft to make that concept work. Sadly, they ended up suffering a similar fate to all the previous iterations. While their range of coverage is wide compared to past attempts, they're still tethered to set routes.
The idea of an enemy unit that can go anywhere in the game's world is certainly exciting. As the modder speculates, however, it's likely going to require a lot of work than it's actually worth.
You can watch the full video above, which also includes a few details about the design aesthetics of the Night's Cavalry, and peers into their model.
You'll find more interesting discoveries like this one in our Elden Ring tag, and a few other amusing observations, such as Elden Ring players making in-game quotes sound horny.