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Some enemies, after you kill them, leave a corpse behind, some just dissolve in the air and leave nothing. First I thought it is because of their size, but it is not size dependent, for example slimes dissolve as well as giants. So I wonder are there any lore reasons behind some enemies not having corpses?

P.S. Note, The Ashen One also disappears after death leaving no corpse behind.

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Well I can start by saying that there is some sort of Lore Reason and there is not (Please take this with a grain of salt. Not everything in Dark Souls games is related to the Lore).

But I will say that believing there is an actual Lore Reason depends on you and how much you read into the game's Lore. For my honest belief read the Not so Lore Reason part of the question

1. Lore Reason

In Dark Souls there wasn't many vanishing corpses of enemies. But there were some. The Lore reason for this is that some of them (enemies or not) were conjured illusions. They were not there physically per say but they were there as an illusion. So basically when you killed them they would simply vanish.

2. Not so Lore Reason

Some enemys have a vanishing effect such as demons.. other enemies stay there until you move far enough away/stop looking at them. It doesn't matter because in the end all enemies need to be culled for performance reasons.

The only reason Dark Souls 1 didn't do that was literally because it was a bad/lazy design choice. In the world of game development, the idea of leaving corpses everywhere is considered bad design because they serve almost no purpose and cause a massive dent in performance and loss of memory.

So, regarding performance and smoothness, small enemies with small bodies would not be so bad to keep the bodies around for a little bit. But really big enemies might slow down the game a bit. So, by design, they make them vanish to keep the game flowing well.

[UPDATE]

Why not add some small placeholders for these enemies? (comment by @NamikazeSheena)

Well that is a good question but it all comes down to Game Design and compromises for performance sake.

Let us compare enemies in Dark Souls 3 for example (the most recent entry)

  • Lothric Knight: Not that big. Semi-Complex textures. The engine handles them well. So basically their bodies can be left for a little while (if you remain within their draw range)
  • Fire-Breathing Dragon: Huge. Big Textures. Already slows frames per second down when on-screen. Performance wise it is NOT viable to have all these bodies just around.

When you distance yourself quite a bit from the bodies. Some memory can be released to draw the new areas and present new stuff. Thus, old stuff must go.

People tend to overthink Dark Souls lore in general and read to deep into it. In this case right here most of it is just plain performance and game design compromises.

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    why not just leave some placeholder corpse that require smaller memory ? – Rusted_Silver May 31 '16 at 9:01
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    @NamikazeSheena the smaller enemies tend to leave their bodies and ragdolls for a little bit. But the larger enemies like huge dragons or golems don't usually (Dark Souls 3) because of performance reasons like I said. And they don't leave a placeholder because that would probably confuse some people. Mislead them perhaps. People tend to overthink Dark Souls lore in general and read to deep into it. If you'd like me to add this to my answer pls reply. – João Cunha May 31 '16 at 9:35
  • thats up to you , i'm just curious – Rusted_Silver May 31 '16 at 9:39
  • @NamikazeSheena I will update my answer with some things to further clarify the issue – João Cunha May 31 '16 at 9:40
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    @arghtype And you're right. But that is because Wolnir is a very specific case that actually has Lore attached to him. He was trying to crawl out of the abyss. We get that from the lore. He had something that didn't allow him to fully go deep into the abyss. You take out his bracelets and he goes. If you kill him normally he just dies. It was a very specific case. – João Cunha May 31 '16 at 12:32
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To expand on Lokuzt's answer, particularly following the statement:

People tend to overthink Dark Souls lore in general and read to deep into it.

Remember, this is a video game. Not every mechanic in the game needs a "lore reason".

For example; Bosses. Imagine if the bosses left a corpse upon death, or the dragons. You'd be dealing with a giant gargoyle corpse flopping about the Undead Burg, blocking your way, and getting jammed up in corridors. Talk about killing the immersion.

And then, as Lokuzt covered, there's the issue of memory. Running a game smoothly does require a certain amount of memory. If there are too many moving parts (cough blighttown cough) the game performance will begin to suffer.

An extreme example of this was a story I heard of a player that wanted to investigate a duplication glitch in their game (not Dark Souls obviously). They duped about 1000 watermelons, then once they had their fun, dumped them out of their inventory (as the items were effectively glitched, and unusable in game). Big mistake. The area became known as a dead zone in his game, as any time he came close enough to the area, the game began to lag at an extreme rate, due to the physics engine trying to load all of these objects at once.

  • The type of slowdown mentioned here can be experienced in the PS3 version of Dark Souls 2. When trading with the crow in the intro area, one can leave multiple items in the nest, and then pick each of them up for something different. Unless it was patched, there was nothing preventing a player from leaving enough items to noticeably slow the game down. – zr00 Feb 14 '18 at 17:09

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