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Modder disrobes Shadow of the Erdtree's lion boss and, yes, two little guys really are hanging out under there

Mane event.

A Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot showing a knight on all fours as strange tendrils burst out of their back.
Image credit: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco

Three thoughts struck me after my first encounter with Shadow of the Erdtree's electrifying Divine Beast Dancing Lion boss: "WHAT?", "Ouch", and, dimly, "What is going on under there?". And one kindly modder has now helpfully answered that last question by derobing the thing and giving us all a peek at how the sausage is made (spoilers: no sausage is involved, but there are some Dancing Lion-related spoilers ahead so proceed with caution).

For the uninitiated, the Divine Beast Dancing Lion is one of the Elden Ring DLC's earliest major boss encounters and is found hanging out at the top of the Belurat tower settlement. It's an impressive sight too; a twirling, soaring, gnashing creation inspired by (as its name strongly suggests) the traditional Chinese lion dance, in which two performers - one controlling the head, the other the tail - mimic the movements of a lion.

Keen-eyed Tarnished have doubtless already spotted the human legs poking out from beneath the lion's cloth-covered body - one pair at the front, another at the rear - but the flapping, flailing material makes it hard to see much else while it's in motion. As it turns out, though, developer FromSoftware has gone a little further than just giving the Dancing Lion legs; two fully formed and (mostly) animated human performers are both tucked away under the cloth, and both can be seen thrashing around to control the beast when the cover is removed.

A closer look at the Divine Beast Dancing Lion.Watch on YouTube

We know all this thanks to the sterling work of Youtuber BonfireVN (cheers PC Gamer), who immediately read everyone's mind and whipped that cloth straight off. And what a sight it is too! The performers themselves are both largely naked save for a loincloth, a protective armour skirt, and, in the case of Mr. Rear, filthy bandages covering his face. Both, too, are properly animated - when their limbs touch the ground at least - Mr. Rear spending pretty much all of his time scrambling around on all fours.

Admittedly, the illusion quite hilariously falls apart when the Dancing Lion performs some of its more extravagant moves - its corkscrewing, airborne forward lunge for instance - the pair whipping and flopping back and forth with impossible, physics-defying acrobatic abandon. But still.

Of course, this isn't the first time FromSoftware has gone the extra mile to create something wonderful players wouldn't ordinarily see in Elden Ring - who could possibly forget the dreamboat face-reveal of everybody's favourite masked prawn guy? - but it's always nice to get a peek at the craft behind the curtain. Even if the curtain is hurtling toward you at 100mph, jaws gnashing and lightning bolts coming out of its bum.

So, if you're finding the Divine Beast Dancing Lion boss a bit too intimidating, why not follow that classic bit of advice and (now accurately) picture it with no clothes on? Or, if that doesn't work, there's always Eurogamer's Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree guide.

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