FULL SPOILERS FOR DARK SOULS III AHEAD!
Dark Souls is well-known for leaving its story scattered across item descriptions, world design, and what little character dialogue exists in the game. But from this, Souls scholars have uncovered one of the most rich, lore-heavy games around.
At its core, the story of Dark Souls revolves around the cycles of fire and darkness. For a better understanding of Dark Souls III, its highly encouraged that interested players play through the original game to have a better understanding of the nature of this cycle.
Keeping it as simple as possible, before fire or darkness, the world was grey. Then from within that grey nothingness, came fire. And from that fire, the Lords of Soul were granted immense power that they used to usurp control of the land from the ancient dragons. With dominion over the land of Lordran, the Age of Fire began, and with it, the birth of civilization. But over time, the first flame began to die out. In an effort to kindle that fire, Gwyn, the leader of the Age of Fire, linked his soul to the first flame.
Then, the events of Dark Souls takes place. After defeating Gwyn in a one-on-one duel, the player is given a choice: kindle the flame and take Gwyn’s place, or abandon the flame and let the world give way to darkness.
Regardless of the choice: both can be considered canon, for all things must come to an end. But as we already discovered via two sequels to the first Dark Souls game, the world continued to cycle in between fire and darkness.
Dark Souls III, unlike the other games, allows players four possible choices:
- Linking the First Flame
- Ending the Fire
- Alternative End of Fire
- Usurpation of the Fire