Anor Londo

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Anor Londo
Anor Londo.png
Anor Londo, with Gwyn's Keep in the distance.
Dark Souls location
Located inLordran
Created byHidetaka Miyazaki, Masanori Waragai
GenreAction role-playing game
RulerGwyn, Lord of Sunlight (Former), Dark Sun Gwyndolin (Dark Souls), Aldrich, Devourer of Gods (Dark Souls III)
Notable charactersOrnstein and Smough
First appearanceDark Souls (2011)
Last appearanceDark Souls III (2016)

Anor Londo is a fictional city in the Dark Souls series of action role-playing games. Appearing in both Dark Souls and Dark Souls III, it is the seat of the power of the gods, deities of the Dark Souls world who used the power of the First Flame to destroy the Everlasting Dragons that once controlled it. By the time of Dark Souls, however, it has become an abandoned lost city, as Lord Gwyn had long since sacrificed himself to rekindle the fading First Flame. Anor Londo has been cited by critics for its design as well as the level's high difficulty, including a section guarded by two powerful archers, and the level's final boss duo, Ornstein and Smough.

Level content[edit]

The player character arrives in Anor Londo after completing Sen's Fortress. After dispatching the boss of the area, the Iron Golem, the player is carried over the otherwise sealed-off wall of Anor Londo by a pack of winged demons.[1] They must then travel to Gwyn's Keep to obtain the Lordvessel, passing many obstacles.[1] This includes a duo of Silver Knight archers that guard the buttress leading to a side balcony entrance of the Keep. After fighting their way through the Keep itself, the player must face the level's dual bosses, Dragonslayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough to gain access to Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight. She awards the player the Lordvessel.

Plot[edit]

Anor Londo was created by Gwyn, ruler of the gods, to consolidate his power after ushering in the Age of Fire.[2] Many centuries later, upon the fading of the First Flame, he was forced to leave the city along with half of his Silver Knight army to rekindle the flame. At the time of Dark Souls, the only remaining deity in Anor Londo is Gwyndolin, who presides over the Darkmoon covenant. He creates the illusion of sunlight, as well as Princess Gwynevere, to compel the Chosen Undead to defeat Gwyn and rekindle the First Flame yet again. If the player attacks Gwynevere, the illusion is shattered and the city reverts to its true appearance, shrouded in darkness.

By the time of Dark Souls III, the city was repopulated and renamed Irithyll, until it became deserted again upon the onset of the Undead Curse. Gwyn's Keep is now an ancient ruin housing Aldrich, Devourer of Gods, a former human who mutated into an amorphous blob due to his cannibalism, and consumed the very body and soul of Gwyndolin, becoming a Lord of Cinder.

Development[edit]

Anor Londo was designed to feel like a reward after completing Sen's Fortress, but also presented no clear path to the player, forcing them to take a number of side paths, like walking up the flying buttresses.[3] The city's spiral staircases were meant to represent life.[3]

The city's design was inspired by that of Milan Cathedral, which was visited in person by Dark Souls designer Masanori Waragai.[4] The game's director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, stated that he regretted the fact that the sense of excitement the player felt upon entry to Anor Londo was not continued for the level's entirety.[5]

Reception[edit]

Edge Magazine called Anor Londo "as beautiful as it is deadly" and "where Dark Souls casts off restraint", calling it the game's version of Heaven.[1] Kotaku cited the environmental storytelling of the city's design, where the obvious path forward is blocked, showing the player they do not belong there.[6] Patrick Klepek of Kotaku called the appearance of Anor Londo in Dark Souls III a "highlight" of his playthrough and the city's architecture "beautiful" and "haunting".[7]

Den of Geek called Anor Londo one of "gaming's greatest levels", saying that it "represents the core appeal of Dark Souls", by being designed to "intimidate and impress" the player, as well as being full of mysteries.[8]

The Silver Knight archers of Anor Londo were criticized by PC Gamer's Joe Donnelly as the moment he fell out of love with the game, saying that the game never felt unfair until that moment.[9]

The entire city, including a dungeon and boss, was remade in Minecraft by modder LNeoX.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Dark Souls' most famous city is as beautiful as it is deadly". gamesradar. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  2. ^ MacDonald, Keza (2016-05-05). "A Guide to Dark Souls' Plot (In Case You Missed It)". Polygon. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  3. ^ a b "Dark Souls 1 - Design Works Interview - Souls Lore". soulslore.wikidot.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  4. ^ Stanton, Rich (2014-03-13). "The Real Dark Souls Starts Here: 13 Real-Life Inspirations for Lordran". IGN. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  5. ^ "Dark Souls Creator Hidetaka Miyazaki's Favorite Zones". Game Informer. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  6. ^ Dahlen, Chris. "What Dark Souls Is Really All About". Kotaku. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  7. ^ Klepek, Patrick. "The Nostalgic Moment In Dark Souls 3 That Made Me Go 'Oh, Shit'". Kotaku. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  8. ^ "Dark Souls: Why Anor Londo Is One of Gaming's Greatest Levels". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  9. ^ "When was the exact moment you fell out of love with a game?". pcgamer. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  10. ^ "Dark Souls Anor Londo remade in Minecraft by one dude - VG247". VG247. 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-21.