Anyone that's come face to face with Malenia in Elden Ring knows she's quite the doozy, but a recent datamine found that she used to be even tougher.
With the advent of day one patches, it's pretty rare that we're actually playing the game that arrives on the disc. This is also true of Elden Ring, as the 1.0 version's late game area Leyndell had some noticeable differences. And thanks to modder kotn3l, we now know what the 1.0 version of Malenia was like (as spotted by PCGamer).
FromSoftware's games and bosses are often very complex, with almost puzzle-like enemies, as their patterns are something you need to figure out how to overcome. These patterns need a lot of fine tuning, and it's clear from kotn3l's video that Malenia's were a bit too tough compared to how she is now.
For starters, she is a lot more aggressive in the first phase, coming at you more often than you'd probably like. In the game as it is now, her infamous Waterfowl Dance that caused many deaths for us all can only actually occur when she's below 80% of her total health. But her 1.0 version lets her cut you up at the speed of sound whenever she wants.
Worst of all, she has another attack that is a slightly different version of the Waterfowl Dance. The move we know and hate starts with her hovering in the air, acting as a clear signal as to what's about to happen, before performing some incredibly fast sword swipes. However the other version has less of a buildup, and she even moves a touch slower.
Even worse than that is she could perform the previously unseen version of the move right after the typical one, which just generally seems like a bad time.
Her second phase has some slight changes too, such as first dive bomb attack being a touch slower. And her clone attack doesn't cause any scarlet rot build-up either.
It sounds like FromSoftware generally made the right call by dialing her down a touch, as she's already a notoriously hard boss. No matter how hard she is though, the game will likely continue to sell like hot cakes.