One is rarely confronted with the consequences of an unexpected pregnancy while playing a video game. But Fromsoft, the acclaimed developers behind Elden Ring, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Dark Souls, are built differently. Masters of crafting complex role-playing games laced with a creeping sense of existential dread, Fromsoft also makes an excellent case for hesitant men to receive vasectomies in its 2015 PlayStation classic Bloodborne.
At first glance, Bloodborne may seem like merely the Victorian-skinned successor to the medieval-themed Dark Souls series. For the first time in Fromsoft history, players can carry a cane and wear a top hat while they slash beasts to ribbons. To this day, Bloodborne stands out for its distinct art direction and memorable trick weapons, and fans long for a remake, sequel, or just a 60fps update for the PlayStation 5.
But there’s more to Bloodborne than hacking up werewolves and avoiding the gaze of a Red Lantern. For those who read the item descriptions, and especially for the truly hardcore who manage to rip their way through the excellent The Old Hunters DLC, Bloodborne presents a world where cosmic horror is mixed up with pregnancy, birth, and the horror that accompanies the forced invasion of a uterus.
Wandering across Yharnam’s bloodstained cobblestones is terrifying enough, and around every corner are Cthulu-esque creepy-crawlies that want nothing more than to rip out the player’s throat or suck out their brain. But after the player has gained enough Insight, one of many obscure currencies they’ll accrue as they hack their way up and down the dingy town, they’ll start hearing the scariest thing of all: a baby’s wail, reverberating through reality. Anyone who has been on a plane with a fussy baby two seats over knows that this single sound is enough to elicit chills, and might be the thing to push nervous men into finally booking their vasectomy.
While any kind of surgery can be nerve-wracking, there is something about a potential vasectomy that gets men feeling more squeamish than Micolash, Host of the Nightmare when he’s told to stay in one place for more than ten seconds. But nutting up and getting snipped is one of the safest, simplest procedures a man can receive, and is one of the most effective forms of birth control that exists. Do the slick, wriggling snail people in the fishing village call to mind a crawling newborn, and the idea of a brand-new baby freaks you out? A vasectomy is an outpatient procedure that takes less than ten minutes to perform. Does the sight of the Orphan of Kos shrieking and hurling itself through the air remind you that you never want another kid? Vasectomies are often sought out by married couples as a more permanent birth control solution. Did the sight of a bloody, slithering fetus in the basement of a Gothic church send you reeling? Ring your local Planned Parenthood (while they still exist!) and book that consultation today.
Bearing a child can be one of the most terrifying things in a person’s life. Pregnancy can be difficult, especially if it is an unexpected one. And while condoms are an effective way to avoid the stress of an unplanned pregnancy, there is something to be said for feeling completely secure that you won’t be making anyone pregnant when you don’t want to. In the world of Bloodborne, there is the all-encompassing dread that the Great Ones will descend from the moon and impregnate an unsuspecting woman. After a vasectomy procedure, a child-averse player can at least rest easy knowing they won’t do the same.
Bloodborne (and a vasectomy) may be right for you if:
- You want a faster-paced, more fashionable version of Dark Souls, that places a heavy focus on the pain and fear that often accompanies childbirth
- The thought of a fetus-inspired boss that literally slings its own placenta at you fills you with revulsion and a desire to put that bastard down, in the ground, for good
- You don’t mind lying down for a bloody procedure that feels like a dream sequence, where, upon getting up from the table, you’ll have a little trouble finding yourself again until a doll/ nurse gives you a safe place to rest up
Bloodborne (and vasectomies) can be skipped if:
- A part of you wants to (consensually!) impregnate someone
- The idea of running down the same paths over and over again without any danger is boring to you
- You think that aliens bursting forth in a spray of blood and viscera from fertile womb is fine, actually
Bloodborne, and its phenomenal expansion The Old Hunters, are available on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 exclusively.