Dark Souls 2's free Scholar of the First Sin update, which came out earlier today, has made numerous mild changes to the game. But the most important one is this: It has a new, optional ending.
Delving into what that entails is obviously going to be SPOILER-FILLED, so turn back now, ye reader, if you don't want to know.
Okay, still with me? Read on...
So veteran Souls players may remember that the first two entries in the series had multiple endings. Dark Souls 2, however, did not. That's no longer the case with the Scholar of the First Sin update.
In the original game, players ended their journey by defeating Nashandra and gaining access to the mysterious Throne of Want. It's not entirely clear what this means, due to the game's extraordinarily obtuse lore, but YouTuber VaatiVidya has done a splendid job of speculating what's going in the game's original ending. He also provides a 20 minute explanation of the game's plot. Souls enthusiasts who've not seen his lore videos already would do best to check them out.
At any rate, this new ending is a little different. Most strikingly, there's an all new boss! Yes, the titular Scholar of the First Sin, Aldia, now rests in the same final section of the game where you once faced Nashandra. It's worth noting that Aldia doesn't replace Nashandra, but is rather a second boss who appears after the previous big baddy has been bested.
Aldia won't always appear, however. According to the Dark Souls 2 wiki, in order to trigger this new boss you'll have to meet them at the Dragon Shrine and answer "yes" to their question.
Once you defeat Aldia, you'll then be presented with a choice that can best be summed up by The Clash's classic Should I Stay or Should I Go? Accessing the Throne of Want triggers the old ending, but leaving leads to an all-new cinematic that's too cryptic to describe. But if you'd like to see it for yourself, here's a video of the new final boss and cutscene (courtesy of YouTuber Aegon of Astora):
The Scholar of the First Sin update adds all sorts of other new content including new enemy placement, expanded item descriptions, remixed item locations, and the titular character appears in more places throughout the player's journey than the Throne Room. So you might want to try tracking him down and seeing what he has to say before getting all stabby with him.
A next-gen version of Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will include other new bonuses like 1080p resolution at 60fps, dynamic lighting, a higher multiplayer limit, advanced enemy AI and more. It's due on 7th April.