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A Guide To FromSoftware's Most-Loved (And Hated) Recurring Character

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A Guide To FromSoftware's Most-Loved (And Hated) Recurring Character

Elden Ring has a fascinating cast of characters, some frightening and others tragic, with many created as part of the mythos by George R.R. Martin. But we can definitely say that at least one of these characters wasn’t penned by the Game of Thrones writer, but by FromSoftware’s very own Hidetaka Miyazaki.

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Patches is a character you’ll come across early on during your journey in the Lands Between as a bit of a unique boss fight. I say that because he’s not a large, intimidating foe like the Stonedigger Troll or Mad Pumpkin Head. He doesn’t even appear until you open a bogus treasure chest, which then prompts him to come out of his hiding spot to get the drop on you. And before you’ve knocked half of his health bar, he stops and begs for mercy - and should you spare him, he’ll get all chummy and gladly sell you his wares.

Here’s what happens if you don’t spare Patches in Elden Ring - but, you really should (Credit: xGarbett on YouTube)

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This introduction tells you everything you need to know about Patches. He’s a conniving schemer, a snivelling coward, and yet he’s quite possibly the most charming scumbag you’ll ever meet in a video game. No wonder he’s a fan favourite.

Never mind the canonical logistics, Patches has been a recurring character in much of FromSoftware’s history ever since Miyazaki was a game director at the studio, beginning with, of all places, 2008 mech shooter Armored Core: For Answer. As an opponent known as Patches the Good Luck, he may have just been another pilot you fight inside a mecha, but his fighting style using a long-range sniper rifle and stealth ability nonetheless sets up his MO as an underhanded scoundrel.

However, it’s with 2009’s Demon’s Souls (as well as its 2020 remake on PlayStation 5) that the bald git cemented his reputation as Patches the Hyena. Not only does he trick you on two occasions in some pretty dire circumstances, in one of them he goes for something of a trademark dick move by kicking you off a cliff while your back’s turned. It’s the kind of dick move that you wouldn’t forgive in an unforgiving world. Given that you can typically kill anyone in a Souls game, it’s probably what Patches deserves - except you probably can’t bring yourself to.

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Patches as he appears in Demon's Souls / Credit: FromSoftware
Patches as he appears in Demon's Souls / Credit: FromSoftware

For one, the man’s got a gift of the gab, pleading you to show mercy, or trying to palm it off as only-a-laugh, no-harm-done and water-under-the-bridge, brilliantly conveyed by recurring British voice actor Will Vanderpuye (who’s also done voice work on CBBC shows, the movie Minions, and has a black belt in karate, just so you know). He’s also annoyingly useful as he has a very important service as the only NPC who sells you healing items. Think of him as FromSoft’s Saul Goodman, if you will.

It’s a role Patches plays again in other games, even if he goes under different titles, such as the ironically named Trusty Patches in Dark Souls, Unbreakable Patches in Dark Souls 3, and Patches the Untethered in Elden Ring. Believe it or not, he even shows up in Bloodborne, albeit in Lovecraftian form as a spider - though he’s still recognisable from his bald head and his knack for pushing you off a cliff, the little shit.

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Patches as a spider in Bloodborne / Credit: Bloodborne Wiki/Fextralife, FromSoftware, SIE
Patches as a spider in Bloodborne / Credit: Bloodborne Wiki/Fextralife, FromSoftware, SIE

Patches is fascinating because he’s so different from the other NPCs you meet, such as Dark Souls’ naive but loyal knight Solaire of Astora, Bloodborne’s cool but mysterious Eileen the Crow, or Irina and her father Edgar in one of Elden Ring’s most tragic questlines. These are folk who’ll lend a hand on your struggles or who you can help in return. Patches is only out for himself.

A hilarious illustration of this in Elden Ring is during a tough boss fight where you have the option to summon a range of heroic NPCs. If you summon Patches, he’ll appear for little more than a couple seconds to take stock of the situation before promptly noping out as you get a message to say the bald bastard has gone home while the other summoned heroes continue fighting until they drop.

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Of course, that kind of chicanery is also part and parcel of Souls games’ DNA when put alongside enemy placements designed specifically to ruin your day, surprise player invasions, or Miyazaki’s masochistic tendencies for creating one too many poisonous swamps.

Patches in Elden Ring / Credit: FromSoftware, Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe (screengrab creator unknown)
Patches in Elden Ring / Credit: FromSoftware, Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe (screengrab creator unknown)

Plus, you have to admire Patches’ tenacity to survive in a decaying and desolate world, as well as his ability to turn on the charm when backed into a corner. Indeed, while he’s usually a new character in every game, in Dark Souls 3, Unbreakable Patches is meant to be the same Trusty Patches from the original Dark Souls, having somehow survived for millennia between the two games, but still retaining his humanity rather than going hollow like other poor souls eventually do. A flawed human, but human all the same. In fact, when he does his trademark kicking you off the cliff in that game’s DLC, it’s not as a trap but actually serves almost as a poignant farewell at the end of a questline.

It’s why the first time you meet him, or indeed the second time, you shouldn’t succumb to your instinct to kill him. Patches isn’t really a pal you’re glad to see, but you’d miss him when he’s not around. Even the times he hasn’t appeared in a FromSoft game, you can see certain characters are loosely inspired by him, such as Dark Souls 2’s Mild-Mannered Pate or Anayama the Peddler in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, who also happens to be bald and sports an eye-patch (get it). He may boot you in the arse one time too many (that fall down from Elden Ring’s Mt. Gelmir is especially uncalled for), but you can’t hate him for it, really. He’s an arsehole, but he’s our arsehole.

Featured Image Credit: FromSoftware / Bloodborne Wiki, Fextralife

Topics: Elden Ring, Opinion, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Fromsoftware

Alan Wen
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