Dark Souls 3 is similar to its predecessors in that it’s challenging action RPG with a very vague, if not outright baffling, story. Even years later after players have completed all the quests and mined the data files new details of the lore are coming to light.
That being said the fans seem to have spoken on the endings and there seems to be clear indicators which is the path of evil, good, and which ones run a little gray. Like the previous games not all endings are created equal and the good endings aren't always the most interesting.
8 Linking The Flame: Story
This ending sees the player fulfilling the challenge almost every NPC since the beginning of the game has been hoping for, the player sacrifices their soul to link the first flame and keep the fire age burning. It’s an ending seen played out in the previous titles and is the stereotypical heroic act of self-sacrifice to maintain the status quo.
Yet this time the act seems less spectacular than before, the flames that consume the player don’t seem as grand and something feels, off. Many players suspect this means that the linking isn’t having the same effect it did before and that the fire age is still slowly collapsing in spite of the heroes’ best efforts. It’s a good ending, but it doesn’t feel like a long-term solution, especially considering this is the third game to task the player with doing this, making this the worst ending.
7 Linking The Flame: Guide
Getting this ending is fairly simple and most players will do it by default as there is very little that’s required and the other endings take a little more know how and effort to achieve. To get this ending the player must confront the Soul of Cinder and defeat it. Once the Soul of Cinder is no more the player simply creates the link to the first flame.
Now actually killing the Soul of Cinder is far from simple, but this ending is very straight forward and by far the easiest to obtain.
6 Ending The Flame Alternate: Story
This is technically the third ending in the game, but it ranks low for being the darkest ending by far. Here the player opens the Fire Keeper’s eyes, with a set of eyes, and she sees visions of the world after the flame has gone out. According to her the world will descend into darkness, but “tiny flames” will one day appear and usher in a new fire age.
But once the Soul of Cinder is dead and the Fire Keeper is holding the flame, the player stabs her in the back, taking the flame. It doesn’t fulfill a prophesy, the player treats the Fire Keeper barbarically, and even the narrator condemns the player saying “ash seeketh ember” suggesting the player isn’t worthy or is even incapable of wielding the flame. All in all it suggests a dark ending that dooms the world with no hope for the future.
5 Ending The Flame Alternate: Guide
This ending requires you to retrieve the Fire Keeper’s eyes which are found by going up the ladder after the Dancer of Boreal Valley boss and going left, then taking the lift. You have to be watching carefully as you need to jump off early onto a ledge that’ll dump you into the Consumed King’s Garden. After beating the Consumed King there’s a set of doors with a hallway leading to a room with a dead guy and a chest, behind the chest is a hidden doorway that goes to Untended Graves.
After defeating Champion Gundyr, a familiar boss, there’s yet another hidden area where Irina of Carim sits that finally yields the eyes you were looking for. Take these back to the Fire Keeper and say yes to everything she has to say. Once you’ve done this simply beat the Soul of Cinder but instead of linking the fire, summon the Fire Keeper. After the cutscene plays out and the world goes dark you have a small window to attack the Fire Keeper, triggering the alternate ending and likely dooming everyone.
4 Ending The Flame: Story
Considered the true ending of the game by the official guidebook. The player gives the Fire Keeper a set of eyes and summons her to handle the flame. She picks up the first flame and lets it fade in her hands until it goes out.
The game ends ambiguously with the Fire Keeper allowing the flame to die and the world entering into darkness. Some players believe her to be a crackpot who just doomed everyone with her silly visions, but some players take hope in her talk of “tiny flames” that will appear one day and usher in a new fire age. It feels right and wraps up the franchise’s story nicely, making it the second best ending of the game.
3 Ending The Flame: Guide
Getting this ending is identical to the alternate ending, just without the back stabbing. The player must retrieve the Fire Keeper's eyes from the Untended Graves area and give them to the Fire Keeper. After being her "yes" man for a few lines of dialogue the player then must complete the game normally by killing the Soul of Cinder.
Instead of linking the fire, summon the Fire Keeper, watch her hold the flame and then let the world go dark without doing anything to stop it.
2 The Usurpation Of Fire: Story
With this ending the player goes against the grain from the very beginning of the game by embracing a darker path. The player becomes a hollow and remains a hollow throughout the game. After a series of vile acts in ritualistic preparation the player kills the Soul of Cinder and then takes the first flame into their chest. Upon waking the player is imbued with great power and an army of hollows worshiping their new master, the Lord of Hollows.
It’s a dark ending, but not so dark as the alternate as the flame stills burns, albeit dimmer and seemingly corrupted inside the player’s chest. While the fire age has started once again, there’s definitely a shadow amidst the flames. It’s the surprising turn to evil in order to preserve Londor that makes this hard to obtain ending, the best in the game.
1 The Usurpation Of Fire: Guide
This is a complicated ending and a detailed guide is highly recommended, but here’s an outline. Seek out Yoel of Londor and recruit him. Become hollow and remain hollow to get Yoel to level you up five times giving you five Dark Sigils, never remove your hollowness or the Sigils.
Find Anri of Astora five times throughout the game and talk away each time until there’s nothing more to be said, follow a guide on what to say to avoid messing things up. Kill Horace in the Smouldering Lake. Kill Pontiff Sulyvahn then talk to Yuria at the Firelink Shrine. If you’re on the right track she’ll talk about your future spouse, if not you screwed up and may need to restart. Go to the Darkmoon Tomb in the Temple and perform the wedding ritual (you ram a sword in her head) to get yourself from five to eight sigils. Talk to Yuria again and make sure the remains of the four Lords of Cinder are in their proper place. Kill the Soul of Cinder, then link the fire, and enjoy one of the more interesting ending cutscenes ever produced in a Dark Souls game.