Written by Gav James-Weir
WARNING : CONTAINS DETAILS OF AN Area roughly 4-5 hours into the game & a potentially mad theory about Yharnam…
This town is long abandoned.
Hunters not wanted here
That’s the pretty ominous sign that greets you when you reach the gates to Old Yharnam. If games have taught me anything it’s that signs like this are to be heeded else face death. Remember how you were told in Half Life 2 that you ‘don’t go to Ravenholm‘ but then end up doing exactly that? Yeah? Remember how bleak and horrid that area was? Yeah? Same goes here. But of course, we ignore all signs and stroll on through like Johnny Big Balls anyway.
As soon as the doors creak open, I was met with a booming but calm voice warning me not to continue else ‘…face the hunt…’, unsure of what exactly that means and also, buddy, I just took down the fucking Cleric Beast on my third try, so who the hell are you to tell me what to do, on I press, into a place that screams DEATH at you from all angles. Old Yharnam, so the story goes, was sacrificed for the greater good, the city burnt and the people left to die. Crosses adorned with the burning corpse of some beast litter the ground around you, smoke escapes from fires below and a skyline made up of a hundred black spires reaching towards a blood red sky, like arms clawing out of a pit – forgotten and dwarfed by the city above. Chained up around these Gothic ruins are statues all interestingly (and possibly tellingly) have cloth covering their eyes, either holding their arms up expectantly waiting, or cowering in violent fear from whatever it is they’re hiding from. It is by all accounts a town totally and utterly without hope.
So you move cautiously on until ya boy appears on the tower…he’s been watching and he’s impressed…but he did warn you not to enter so now he must kill you. And over and over again he does. Often I’ve made it to his tower only for him to shoot me off the top before I can get close to him, he really is a bastard of an enemy -fast and violent. I’ve given up trying to kill him now, favouring a ‘run the fuck away’ strategy that seems to work well.
But it’s not the Hunter’s vicious attacks that puzzle me. It seems this guy has an affinity with the beasts of Old Yharnam, maybe he sees himself as their protector or maybe…just maybe he’s seen something else, something that has ‘awakened’ him to this world…
Like everyone who went through a Goth phase as a
28 year old teenager, I’ve read a lot of H.P Lovecraft but in case you haven’t, here’s a general idea: we exist on one plane of reality, the world we see is but a veil and beyond that veil is unspeakable, unimaginable horror. Those who are unfortunate to see beyond are driven mad by what they witness, unable to comprehend the abstract vastness of the cosmic void. Fantastic light reading if you want to question the insignificance of your life… Anyway. Why am I jabbering on about Lovecraft and how does this even remotely involve the hunter on the Tower? Allow me tie this post together with a blood stained bow (sob).
If you’ve been reading your item descriptions, you would have seen a few references to familiar things from Lovecraftian mythology; mentions of Celestial beings, Old Gods and ‘Eldritch Wisdom’ and the item ‘Madman’s Knowledge contains the most interesting information. The item’s image shows a split skull with a galaxy erupting from it with a cluster in the shape of a spine. Using this gains you ‘Insight’ and by gaining Insight, the world around you can change, you’ll see enemies in different forms and things that were not there before…allowing you to see beyond the veil of reality, perhaps?
At first I thought this Lovecraft vibe was a little nod to Demon’s Souls ‘Tower of Latria’ with it’s horror atmosphere and those squid faced Mind-Flayers. But the more I played, the more I thought there was something more to it; since I started this game, I’ve had an unnerving thought that maybe the Yharnam we see is not necessarily the ‘true’ Yharnam. I first began questioning it when the villager enemies in Central Yharnam would shout ‘beghon faaaauhl beast’ or ‘this is ahhhll yer fault!’ – why were these enemies, these clearly beast-turning men talking to me in clear, succinct voices? Why were they blaming me, a Hunter, the hero of this tale for the state the city has found itself in?
Which brings us back to our friend on the tower. He seems to be stopping you for your own good. He tells you the Beasts here are of no harm to anyone, that he has them under his guard. Is it possible that the Hunter sees them differently to you? Maybe he doesn’t see the Beasts, maybe he sees them as Old Yharnam’s former inhabitants? Or could it be that his mind has been expanded by he horrors around him that he’s snapped and thinks he’s seeing humans? And this brings into question is something I’ve been thinking since the beginning of the game: am I the bad guy?
It seems too simple, too clichéd, but the things I’ve seen so far seems to lend itself to this question. I’m sure there’s more to it, Miyazaki’s previous games are famous for layering their narrative in thick layers, so this may be just a small part to the larger tale of what happened to Yharnam. I could of course be absolutely wrong in the most hilarious way…I mean, this doesn’t explain anything about the blood, or the blood-ministration that Yharnam was famous for. Whatever it all is, I love the fact that Bloodborne is allowing me to think these things, to piece this mystery of Beasts, blood and Old Ones together for myself.
and just what the FUCK is this thing a statue of?!
Actually, don’t answer that…I don’t want to know.