Elden Ring DLC reveal ignites a fierce lore war, with some RPG scholars convinced the big bad Messmer was foreshadowed for years

 Elden Ring Messmer.
Elden Ring Messmer.

Elden Ring DLC is fast approaching and the new trailer has ignited a fierce online debate about Messmer The Impaler's origins.

Messmer The Impaler is supposedly the big bad in the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, as the Collector's Edition even dedicates a fully detailed figurine to the soon-to-be-boss. But the lore implications around Messmer have split the player base in two, between those who believe he was teased from the very beginning to those who think he's an entirely new creation made for the DLC.

Messmer is the figure with several snakes peeking up out of his red robes. Pair that with the all-new landmark trees that are at the center of the new Land of Shadows map, coiled around each other chaotically, and the imagery is clear. Messmer is the Satan stand-in. He's the original sinner against the Erdtree.

Elden Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki revealed that the expansion draws from the lore built by George R.R. Martin in an interview with Eurogamer, so hints about Messmer may have already been sprinkled in the Lands Between. Some players have pointed to the Impaler's Catacombs in the base game, theorizing that it was once his lair or potentially the character's old grave.

One Reddit post connects Messmer to some other major characters, pitting him as a sibling to Malenia and Miquella based on imagery from the game. We know that mother Marika hailed from the Land of Shadows, so maybe she abandoned her firstborn in the expansion area. Or maybe, Messmer was exiled to the funky new map after transgressions against the Erdtree. Plus, there’s the red hair!

Other online fans pointed to a main game ghost that talked about an "unwanted child" as a potential reference to this DLC. Though, again, this has been met with passionate counterarguments that traces of Messmer do not exist anywhere else. Twitterer Ziostorm argues that the ghost is referring to a soulless demigod in the mausoleum, though the game's "open-ended" storytelling could connect these ideas. Sekirodubi takes things a step further and reckons "there's not a trace of him anywhere… no file names, nothing, NADA."

We won't know for sure until Shadow of the Erdtree releases on June 21 - and even then, there's no doubt in my mind that we will have more major questions after the fact. Regardless, the expansion promises to be FromSoftware's biggest so far.

Elden Ring’s director also said the team doesn’t “set out to make a lot of these games and characters funny,” which kinda makes them funnier.