Sekiro’s Great Serpent and other scary stuff in games that exploit phobias

Sekiro's Great Serpent and other scary stuff in games for people with phobias

Let’s discuss Sekiro‘s Great Serpent and other scary things in games that would be nightmarish for people with various phobias.

The titanic and awe-inspiring Great Serpent terrified me the first time I saw it. But at the same time, there was something very fascinating about it. The Soulsbourne franchise is no stranger to odd and scary creatures, but I think the Great Serpent stands as one of the most terrifying.

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The Great Serpent is the worst nightmare of a person with ophidiophobia: the extreme fear of snakes. It’s like From Software used this fear to make a creature that poses a serious threat.


The Great Serpents are gods of the land. Thus says the item descriptions of the Fresh Serpent Viscera and Dried Serpent Viscera. However, we don’t know if these Gods were benevolent or evil because there are no sources of lore that suggest either. Quite possibly, the Great Serpents were protectors of the Sunken Valley. That’s not confirmed though.

The description of the Dried Serpent Viscera says that the habitants of the Sunken Valley worshipped the organs of the snakes, believing that they represent the gods themselves.

Why adding scary stuff in games is a good design choice

There are many developers that make enemies and stuff in games that exploit the players’ fears. This interesting design choice can make a casual game turn into a horror game. Sekiro’s Great Serpent did that the best; that’s why it’s a highlight of this article. The way it searches for you with its big, reptilian eyes and twists and turns its unimaginably massive body with ease can make players hesitant to even move in-game. I have heard of instances where players had simply ditched the game because they were too terrified to continue.

But Sekiro – and all of From Software’s Soulsborne games for that matter – is about overcoming, be it overcoming a boss that can eviscerate you with two hits, or something that frightens the player to the very core. In Sekiro’s case, if the player won’t overcome the intense anxiety and fear of the Great Serpent, they’d have to stop playing before reaching the first boss.

Being scared is a novel experience. Deep inside, we enjoy the fear. If someone tells you to not watch something because it’s insanely disturbing, doesn’t something in you tell you to go watch it and see what it’s all about?

There’s this curiosity in us that makes us want to look and watch stuff that’s scary and anxiety-inducing. We get a rush of adrenaline and a strong sensation of euphoria by doing so. Video games are all about having a good time, and scary things, like the Great Serpent in Sekiro, make the game more fun and engaging. Like I said earlier, though, there are people who ditch the game because of fear.

Other Scary things in games that exploit our fears

Now that we have discussed why scary things make a game better, let’s take a look at a few instances where games have executed that concept very well.

The Leviathan – Subnautica

The Leviathan - Subnautica

Thalassophobia is the extreme fear of things underwater. People with this phobia experience fear and anxiety when they see creatures of the ocean or simply the silent and dark depths. Subnautica’s Leviathans are titans that roam the depths. Just imagine being a person with thalassophobia who calmed their fear of simply being underwater in-game and seeing this thing majestically swimming.

The Colossi – Shadow of the Colossus

The Colossi - Shadow of the Colossus

Megalophobia is the fear of huge things. Seeing anything huge, be it a skyscraper in a bustling city or a giant stone creature that roams the land, a person with this phobia will be terrified of it. The Colossi from Shadow of the Colossus are… colossal. The game itself is a masterpiece though. So if you have megalophobia, you may want to just grit your teeth.

The Region of Caelid – Elden Ring

The Region of Caelid - Elden Ring

Trypophobia is the overwhelming fear of cluttered holes or bumps. Elden Ring’s Caelid is full of uncanny-looking mushrooms (or whatever they are) and many other things that fuels anxiety in a player with trypophobia.

Spider Mastermind – DOOM

Spider Mastermind - DOOM

The appropriately named Spider Mastermind from DOOM will give people with Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, nightmares for days. This creature is cybernetic but also organic, as seen by its giant, revealed brain.

Does Sekiro’s Great Serpent scare you? What are some of your phobias in video games? Tell us on the forums!