Waypoint Weeklies: Favorite Flavor Text

When you pick up an item in a video game, it may have useful information - “Sword of Spielsdorf, 25% bonus damage to the undead.” - that decides if you equip it to your character. And it may have a bit of prose - “A general’s sword, said to have dealt a deadly blow to a fearsome vampyr.” - that’s just a bit of fun to read. That’s flavor text! Item descriptions and other text that does not (generally) have an effect on the gameplay, but may include lore, jokes, or short stories to read, if you’d like.

This week, let’s share our favorite lines of flavor text, or the games that have tons of good ones!

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this Grim Dawn item always stuck with me

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Remnant: From the Ashes is a souls-like that delivers a lot of it’s lore through item descriptions, but it’s a lot more straightforward than Dark Souls. Below is my favorite example of this style of lore because it’s a very flowery description, but also it’s very clear that this is a reference to cocaine: Frenzy Dust | Remnant From The Ashes Wiki

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There’s one of these that will always stick with me — and perhaps unsurprisingly it’s from a Fromsoft game. (Though not Dark Souls. There actually aren’t that many there that I find super memorable.)

It’s from The Old Hunters, Bloodborne’s DLC. There’s an area called the Research Hall where most of the enemies and creatures you encounter are patients of grisly experiments. There is however one patient who is not aggressive, a survivor named Saint Adeline, who asks you to bring her brian fluid. There are three separate drops of that item, each with their own flavor text. The last one just made me stop for a few minutes and reread it. It was the second time I’d played the game, right after the beginning of the pandemic, and I’d really been captured by its horror in a way that made the strange pathos of that sidequest really impactful. The line is:

“We fail to realize our own latent potential, until the moment it is lost, and we sense its absence. Ironically, this is the very nature of insight, like the moment one licks one’s own blood, only to be startled by its sweetness.”

I think it’s just a really solemn, prettily written, deeply human line put in the midst of an incredibly sad and somber sequence in a very macabre game, and that contrast just really made me feel it. And both because of that and also because of the circumstances in which I was experiencing it, I don’t think a piece of flavor text will ever make me feel like that again.

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art of rally has some delightful little blurbs about its semi-fictional cars:

Seriously, that game is so very charming. More people should play it!

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I’ll update this post if I find it properly, but Aaron Linde (narrative designer for 343) occasionally posts about a writing test he took for Bungie. He named a shotgun “The Double-Slit Experiment” and gave it some incredible flavor text that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

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Possibly my favourite snippet of flavour text comes from the Frenzied Coldblood description in Bloodborne

This manifestation of madness comes from a mind teetering on the very brink, but has a sane mind ever produced anything of true significance?

You start finding these around the point where Bloodborne starts transitioning from gothic Hammer horror to Cosmic horror too. The turn in that game is one of the all time greats and it’s reflected down to the text descriptions.

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A card game rather than a video game, Cardfight!! Vanguard has some flavour text on every card. I think my favourite of those is the very cutesy Corolla Dragon having the terrifying flavour text “For countries with a low self-sufficiency of food, a request from the Neo Nectar is more like an order.”

Oh! I can’t believe I forget my actual favorite! I love how the crafting materials in Monster Hunter and God Eater always have absurd flavor text that doesn’t reflect anything in the game. I remember the claws for one monster had the description “A claw so powerful it can rend a hole in space”, but that’s not a thing any monster or character can do in the game and there’s nothing special about weapons made with that material. Complete nonsense that doesn’t serve a purpose, other than to give me joy when I read it.

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I haven’t forgotten this one from Paradise Killer since I found it:

On the lighter side, the item stories in Get in the Car, Loser are very fun.

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Yeah, some of the Paradise Killer item collectables really work on the “surreal cosmic horror” angle well.

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oh yeah i forgot that Loop Hero is just chock full of flavor text.


one of my favorite reasons to keep playing the end game is to keep unlocking more lore for your encyclopedia.

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