Those wacky dataminers are at it again. Specifically, YouTuber Lance McDonald (who uncovered and restored a cut boss battle from Bloodborne) has uncovered a mechanic from an alpha version of Dark Souls 3 that allowed players to sacrifice enemies and create bonfires just about anywhere.
The mechanic involves enemy bodies that would sometimes emit a glow once they died, indicating that these enemies suffered what’s referred to as a “cult death.” Lance was able to use the alpha version’s debug menu to assign this parameter to enemies in the game for the purposes of demonstrating the mechanic. When enemies died a cult death, the player could then pick up the body and drag it anywhere in the world (as opposed to rolling around on top of them for wacky physics effects).
From there, players could perform a “ceremony” on cult death bodies, which would trigger a animation (that’s still in the alpha version, albeit broken) that would perform a unique action related to a cult that you would have joined (similar to the covenant mechanic). According to the Lance’s research, players would have been able to join one of seven cults, with each one granting the player a unique ability (such as summoning an NPC to help you, or prevent invasions). In one case, you would use the cult death body to create a bonfire anywhere you choose.
There’s also more to this cut bonfire ability, as it would allow players to create a specific type of bonfire that’s very much PVP-related. You wouldn’t join a cult to use this ability, but rather you’d access a menu that would have you use a cult death corpse to create a bonfire that would allow you to invade another player’s world, or open your world up to invasion by other players (and cover your world in darkness as a result).
These “cutting room floor” tidbits are always cool, especially when coders are able to reconstruct what the devs took out to give fans insight into a potentially very different game. Do give it a watch!