SOMA EP17: Pathos, Too

By Shamus Posted Friday May 6, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 89 comments

Link (YouTube)

One thing still worries me about the ARK: Can you stop participating? Can you die? Kill yourself? Erase yourself? What if you become monumentally bored and frustrated with your existence? Sure, it’s a nice simulation and all. But no matter how idyllic the setting, after a few thousand years you might really be done with it. Human beings haven’t experienced lives that long, and we don’t know what kind of mental health challenges that sort of timescale might pose.

The more I think about it, the more I think I’d decline an Ark invitation. Unless it comes with a level editor and some space to call my own. And some tools for composing music. And maybe some programming tools. Actually, this is starting to sound pretty good.

So that was SOMA. The best part of this series has been the interesting comments. People have offered numerous bits of analysis, background, alternate interpretations, and philosophical viewpoints that I’d never considered. This really is a game that gets larger when examined in greater detail.

I feel like I didn’t give this game enough credit in my initial play-through. I went in expecting “Amnesia, but in Sealab” and when that didn’t work out I got frustrated with the crappy monster encounters and sort of plowed through the game. I liked it, but I think I missed out on a lot of interesting things the game had to say.

We don’t get a lot of this sort of science fiction in the world of videogames. Sure, we get a lot of games about shooting aliens with zap guns. And maybe we shoot robots once in a while. But proper speculative fiction? There’s not a lot. And lots of it is strategy stuff like Alpha Centauri, Master of Orion, or Homeworld. Don’t get me wrong, those are wonderful games. But aside from Mass Effect and SOMA, what other major releases feel like someone took science fiction ideas out of a novel and put them in a story-driven game?


From The Archives:

89 thoughts on “SOMA EP17: Pathos, Too

  1. MichaelGC says:

    First one I could think of was Privateer 2 (The Darkening!), and that came out in 1996, which I guess tells its own story. I believe it had something to do with the Wing Commander universe in some fashion? – couldn’t rightly say.

    Anyway it had proper sci-fi folk like John Hurt & David Warner in for the FMV cutscenes whilst you flew around and traded and stuff. Like Elite but with an actual plot, really – and the FMV wasn’t completely terrible, for its time.

    PS I could not at this temporal remove tell you what it was that was darkening sufficiently to warrant a whole subtitle.

    1. John says:

      The Darkening has very little to do with the Wing Commander universe, fictionally-speaking. The relationship has more to do with the gsmeplay–all the basic ideas are straight out of Privateer–and the emphasis on FMV cutscenes. The plot, in so far as I can remember it, is that the Space Mafia built a really, really big Space-Battleship and using it to do Bad Things. In Space. And for this they needed Clive Owen, Jonathon Hurt, and Christopher Walken for some reason.

      1. SKD says:

        Agreed, I spent many hours in Privateer 2 and the only link I can recall to the Wing Commander universe was an occasional attack by Kilrathi. I don’t think even the ship designs had any relation to those seen in the Wing Commander games.

  2. Chekhovs_gunman says:

    Masters of Origin? Don’t you mean Masters of Orion?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Of course not.He is talking about that ea game where you build a business empire.

    2. Shamus says:

      The error has been Retconned. Thanks.

    3. The Defenestrator says:

      Masters of Orion? Don’t you mean Master of Orion? I see people pluralizing that name all the time, and I have no idea why.

      1. The Defenestrator says:

        Look at this video. it has the name in the video!

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well Ill be.It actually is masters of orion.And here I thought it was singular.Thanks for the information.

          1. The Defenestrator says:


          2. Chris Serson says:

            Wait. Now I’m confused. Are you agreeing it is plural? The video clearly shows the name is Master of Orion, singular, at the 1:44 mark.
            And just for further confirmation, I have both the original MOO and MOO2 manuals sitting on my desk right now and they are both singular.

            1. MadHiro says:

              The Youtube video linked is hilariously mis-titled in the plural.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              So it is just master?No s?That silly.Whats next,youre going to tell me that its not called civilizations?

              1. Andy_Panthro says:

                The second game was called Civilizations, surely?

      2. Decius says:

        Each game is Master of Orion, the plural of Master of Orion is Masters of Orion, not Master of Orions (which is the title of someone who has mastered more than one Orion).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          So what is the plural of guns of icarus?

          1. Josh says:

            “Never coming out.”

          2. Philadelphus says:

            Gunses of Icarii.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    and philosophical viewpoints that I'd never considered.

    Nobody considers a philosophical discussion!

    1. Except for Sir Not-Appearing-On-This-Blog and last I checked he was having an argument about swamps and sinking castles with his insurance.

      1. MrGuy says:

        Look, I came here for an argument.

  4. SlothfulCobra says:

    Surely you can decide to end the instance of your own personal simulation, and just revert to dormant data like Catherine does for the bulk of the game. I wasn’t even aware that there was supposed to be a consistent ongoing simulation for all time going on inside the ARK. Seems like that would eat into its “for all eternity” intended lifespan. Now I’m wondering just how much equipment the ARK has to keep people busy with? Are there all kinds of optics and sensors to keep the people inside busy with new information? Are there little robot arms for in case someone figures out something that they could make on their sojourn off into eternity?

    I thought the intended endgame of the ARK was just to wind up in the hands of some intelligent alien race where they could theoretically dissect the data it held to figure out how to decode it and resurrect any people who they didn’t inadvertently corrupt the data of while banging the whole thing with hammers to figure it out in spiffy new robot bodies, provided that they don’t have any qualms with the idea of a brainscan being the same as a living person.

    1. SKD says:

      So you’re saying SOMA is the prelude to AI

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        Feh. That movie ended cinematically about four times, and it barely needed one.

  5. KingJosh says:

    Is there any way to get that ending music? I liked it.

  6. Justin says:

    I was disappointed that they didn’t provide a summary of the survey choices Telltale style. It would have been especially interesting to see if people selected different answers in the Ark vs on the terminal.

  7. Warclam says:

    The “bad ending” went a little too far for me. The arguing about getting left behind, and Catherine getting frustrated at how unbelievably stupid Simon is, and Simon flipping his shit, that all worked.

    But then suddenly the power goes out, and Simon’s all don’t leave me alone? What are the odds!

    Either the bitterness or the existential claustrophobia works, but together they feel contrived. Because they literally are, through the contrivance of the railgun apparently eating both their batteries or something.

    1. IFS says:

      Catherine didn’t shut down because the power went out, but because she was getting too emotional, same as how that guy you interrogated earlier would shut down if he became too agitated.

      1. Warclam says:

        I’d forgotten about that. Maybe. I understood that as being something Catherine did though, because then they wouldn’t be able to get anything out of him once he lost it.

        Johan never shuts down, even when he’s very emotional. The Carl-bot didn’t shut down while it was being tortured.

        So, do only non-WAU people have an emotion cap? What does that mean for the Ark? Anyone who gets emotional crashes out? It’s going to get de-populated pretty rapidly once people figure that out. You die when you’re scared? Scary! You die when you’re angry? Infuriating!

        Maybe that’s the explanation they intended, it does seem similar. But I don’t buy it.

        1. IFS says:

          Yeah the ‘shutting down after becoming too agitated’ thing doesn’t really make a huge amount of sense, but given how Catherine winds up shutting down (as she becomes angry and emotional for pretty much the first time) it seems like its the most likely explanation.

          1. Decius says:

            Catherine became angry and emotional because she was running out of power and shutting down. It’s like when a physical human has a concussion and gets argumentative.

    2. Pyrrhic Gades says:

      Looked to me like Simon just punched the screen then started whining when everything broke.

  8. Dev Null says:

    I don’t know about “major releases”, but I got a bit of this feeling from the Talos Principle, which I also thought worked quite well as a game.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      +1 Talos principle. And the setup isn’t exactly something we see all too often.
      Also what follows are quite big spoilers. They wont necessarily ruin the game for you but if you are sensitive to spoilers, go play Talos Principle, it’s probably dirt cheap on Steam by now.
      In the game what is happening is that Humanity got wiped out by a ancient virus bacteria that got released from it’s icy slumber due to global warning. But rather than go completely mental and destructive, the humanity mostly came together and financed and employed the brightest minds of their generation in an attempt to create new intelligent synthetic life that would inherit the Earth once they were gone. And the way they did it was basically through genetic algorithms by making a gigantic computer/simulation with a power source that will last it milenia. Then make it run thousands of primitive problem solving AI but give them the ability to randomly change themselves. Choose for the next generation the ones that score the best on problem solving in order to evolve their minds. But the final test is the test of free will. The AI needs to willfully ignore the almost pleading orders of it’s creator and leave the comfy confines of it’s simulation. Or the AI can choose to remain in paradise but never expirience the true world. (Or you can ascend and become one of the angles guiding the next generation of AIs down the problem solving path).
      Throughout the game you will piece this story together while solving puzzles in bright locations through audio logs, computer hacking etc. And I liked quite a bit the idea that waht we are seeing is a sort of computerized version of AI paradise before original Sin. Before humanity became responsible for themselves through acquiring free will. And the voices and the story supports that. And this all is in a basically SF story.

      That game does have problems but I loved it to bits.

      1. Rapha3l_WHOA says:

        I honestly think the “good” talos principle endings is actually way worse than what happens in Soma.

        At least as far as I can tell, you break out of the simulation and get put into a robot body in order to inhabit the real world. But the simulation and all the other AI’s in it get turned off. So the TALOS project creates a human-like intelligence, drops it into a body, and kills all the other “people” it ever knew with the possible exception of the Milton library assistant if you decide to upload him too. Or if you play through Road to Gehenna, a good sized group of the other AI’s get uploaded too. But they’re all stuck in the one body as far as I can tell. Or they just get their version uploaded into it but in a non running state which is basically the same as turning them all off. So you either end up with one AI in a mobile body, or one mobile AI + his computer buddy, OR up to 19 AI’s inhabiting one body. Seems like a really shitty situation. At least in the simulation you have Elohim and Milton to talk to instead of just Milton or no one at all. Unless I’m really misunderstanding the ending.

        1. krellen says:

          I’m actually pretty sure life ISN’T extinct, and Talos is just a newcomer from the past into the new world.

          1. 4th Dimension says:

            Life is not extiinct, but humanity is sure gone or it would have long ago scavenged the Project for materials.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    No,that ending wouldve worked even if simon was smart enough to get it.Only instead of going “What went wrong?Explaiiin!!”,he would be frustrated for different reasons “Aw shit!Im the wrong copy.Why didnt you shut me down as soon as I was copied?!”

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I agree with Rutskarn.It should have ended on the bottom of the ocean.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      The joke aside I do think the ending would have a bit more… gravitas I guess? Like the Simon and Catherine who “lost the coin toss” have no way of checking if the simulation works at all, if it didn’t get corrupted into some disjointed jumble of sensory input, if the copies on the ARK are actually recognizable to them or were they damaged in the transfer. For the final time it would call the “it is you, but it isn’t you” issue.

  11. Jeremiah says:

    +1 Ongoing to Rutskarn for an obscure reference like the Marmot playbook for Apocalypse World. I actually played in a game where someone played the Marmot once. It was pretty fantastic.

  12. baseless_research says:

    Oh, Rutskarn, I’ve never read an Isaac Asimov book except the Foundation trilogy, what’d be your suggestion(s)?

    1. Dan Efran says:

      You’re looking for Asimov to read? Foundation is fine but overrated. ‘I, Robot’ is his best book in my opinion. The Caves of Steel and its sequels are fun too if you like mysteries, or explore his short stories before you worry about more novels.

    2. MichaelGC says:

      Nemesis is good; nicely self-contained compared to some of the others where there can be a bit of chronology to piece together. (“Wait, this was written after that but is set way before it?,” style o’ fing.)

      In general, if you liked Foundation you can’t go too far wrong, really! – it’s all quality stuff.

    3. I like his short stories myself, but the dude was pretty crazy prolific. He even wrote a Shakespeare book!

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    As for an intelligence being put in a menial robot:

  14. Sarachim says:

    On Catherine and Imogen: my read was that Catherine was about to say “Imogen was my friend,” then realized that they weren’t really friends, just co-workers who got along pretty well, and that that was the closest thing to a friend that Catherine had.

    EDIT: Dangit, everyone said that already. Why do I feel the need to comment on stuff the instant I hear it, without waiting to see if it’s at all necessary? This is why I don’t have any friends. :P

  15. baseless_research says:

    So am I the only one who finds this story too grimdark? I mean there literally is no bright spot anywhere to be found – The Ark/Pathos II has no means of interacting with anything – best thing it has is a satellite dish for communications, and its electronics will eventually whither and die unless it gets hit with a rogue satellite or meteorite first, or runs out of fuel and its orbit destabilizes when it burns up in the atmosphere. It’s effectively a fancy electronic tomb.

    Simon is stuck on the bottom of the ocean with no-one left to talk to, with no goal or purpose and no knowledge about how anything works around him, with no communication with the WOU possible.

    The planet is fucked – that kind of damage will take at least 10.000 years to recover from and then you need to get the whole species evolution thing going again, which will have competition from the WAU failed (?) zombie sealife.

    The WAU will continue on trying to save humanity but refuses to destroy any failed attempts – which become a threat for any new attempt. The most optimistic reasoning is that the WAU will eventually be able to re-create a biological or human/structure gel hybrid that passes as a decent human analogue, but then what? The planet is fucked, humanity’d be consigned to a rotting underwater base that’s already falling apart left right and center and even if it somehow manages to survive they have no means to expand from their underwater trap, no means to mine minerals, no means of building replacement tools or new ones.

    Basically I don’t see any upside for anything, we’ve just erected a small satellite monument in space “here was once humanity, they are gone now”.

    edit: this is why I left the lady alive as well. She is the only basis for human dna from which to clone new people from. Even though it consigns her to a lifetime of – effectively – boredom purgatory her presence is the only one that gives the WAU a decent benchmark to test against/source of DNA. It’s harsh but she is the only possible origin for a re-creation of the human race. Ludicrously remote though that chance may be.

    Because I need some sparcle of hope in my post-apocalypses. And I don’t see any here.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Without the happy ending,it wouldve been dark.But thats ok.Games about dying are a rarity anyway.And this one is about the last moments of a whole species.

    2. SlothfulCobra says:

      Well, Simon could work his way back to the station and chat with the last human for the rest of eternity. Oh wait, she’s dead. Great going Simon.

    3. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I think it’s a dark reality but not necessarily with a grimdark message. Sure the ARK will eventually degrade, or get hit by something, or get swallowed by the expanding sun or whatever… but this reasoning can be applied to almost any storyline: “Oh, Mario has rescued the princess… so what? They’re still gonna grow old and die eventually, and even if they’re magically unaging the heat death of the universe is not far behind”.

      It’s actually why I’d leave WAU to its devices. There have been casualties but it is working way outside its parameters trying to perform a borderline impossible task under extreme circumstances and it is another chance for a sapient capable of (re)building civilization can be rekindled.

  16. 4th Dimension says:

    About the space gun. Good on them on getting it to be slanted at about 45 degrees, but it still makes no sense. since it is still not long enough to accelerate anything to the kind of speeds you will need to break through the atmosphere and still have enough speed left remaining so that a small engine can perform an apoaposis burn to stabilize the orbit. In order to get a speed of 7,6km/s when the craft leaves the barrel it would need to have been accelerated for 20km at 150 GRAVITIES! And still it wouldn’t have been enough.
    Hitting sea level atmosphere at such speeds you will need a sizable ablative shield and quite a bit of hope to survive the heat caused by compression of the atmosphere and air friction.
    But all that pales negt to that ridiculous acceleration that the entire craft would have to endure. Sure you might be able to make a craft that can withstand that but do you really want to have to make ANY payload able to withstand it. Ark’s electronics aren’t likely to have survived.
    On top of it all they aren’t keeping the barrel free of water, but they accelerate the payload through the water. You can see that in the end where the gun breach is open to water.

    Finally if you had acces to these kinds of supermaterials you wouldn’t need spaceguns on Earth* since you could make MUCH more efficient rocket engines since you have materials able to heat the propellant much hotter improving their impulse MASSIVELY.

    * Whenever spaceguns have been proposed for Earth I think the plan ussually was to build them inside or on the sides of mountains.

    PS. Spaceguns do make sense in one case though. For launching payloads from celestial bodies with low gravity and no atmosphere like Moon.

    1. SlothfulCobra says:

      The entire barrel is coated in structure gel.

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        That would possibly help to prevent the destruction of the barrel and the bullet. But once it exits the railgun and hits the atmosphere all manner of things are likely to go spectacularly wrong.

        Structure gel might help to preserve the payload if you fill the container of the ARK and the insides of the craft in it.

        I don’t know how quick acting is it, but if it is not instant the moment 150+ g is applied to the craft anything not welded together into a rigid body is going to fly appart inside because 150g will be applied to any joint.

        1. Decius says:

          One of the advantages of a well-designed railgun is that you aren’t accelerating the casing, you are accelerating the entire device.

          One of the disadvantages is that you are using an induced electromagnetic current to grab your electronics and throw them off of the planet.

    2. Classic says:

      UH… I’m not sure I understand… How is the missile exposed to 150 gravities?

      What if the missile is made less dense than the surrounding fluid and also accelerated by the railgun? I don’t think it’s going to outweigh the friction of the water though.

      1. Phill says:

        If something has to be accelerated to 7.6 km/s over a distance of 20 km, it requires a constant acceleration of 147 g . Anything less than that and you won’t be travelling at the required speed at the end of the rail gun.

        And add pointed out, 7.6 km/s isn’t going to be enough anyway.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      There are things we arent sure of.First,the actual length of the barrel,and second the existence of any additional propulsion systems.Its quite possible that once inserted into the barrel,an engine is attached to the bullet in order to give the payload additional speed once it gets high enough.

      The reason for using a space gun instead of an actual rocket is because its cheaper,reusable,and cleaner.

  17. 4th Dimension says:

    My problem too is the likely lack of a way to affect the simulation in any meaningful way or even to make new intelligence. Not to mention the fact you are trapped in it with no way of accessing the outside world. Because of that you are trapped with the same ~100 people or so of Pathos II FOREVER. Well at least untill it’s orbit decays, it suffers a malfunction or gets hit by debris.

  18. Classic says:

    I feel like it is important that Simon is never given a chance to be heroic.

    Every time it seems like Simon has grown into being willing to make a sacrifice of himself to achieve something he spazzes out and reveals he didn’t understand the gravity of his actions. So as much as I feel bad for the Simon(s) who get left alone, because they’re almost childlike and obviously unable to cope with their circumstances, I feel like it is something of an inescapable punishment for his anti-hero status.

    Also describing it as a “coin-flip” is profoundly dumb and I guess it’s frustrating to be Catherine and having to explain basic, basic shit to Simon basically every waking moment, but jeez. Why would you let that slide or re-use that dumb metaphor.

    1. Richard says:

      I think that “Coin-flip” basically works as a description of what happens.

      Taken at face value, the process creates a copy of you.

      The original continues the exist on the original hardware platform, while the copy continues to exist on the new hardware platform.

      Thus while there is a 100% chance of you being on both hardware platforms, there is only a 50% chance of the you that is you being on the hardware platform you wanted to be on.

      Unless you’ve fully grasped the idea, from the perspective of a continuous stream of consciousness, you either win or lose the coin flip.

      1. skellie10 says:

        That might make sense from an existential standpoint, but from a practical standpoint — the standpoint from which Simon and Catherine, or at least Simon, are talking about it — there is no coin toss. Random chance doesn’t figure into it. What Simon wants, for his consciousness to transfer from the individual that makes the copy to the individual that is the copy, is impossible. It might seem like that’s what happens from the perspective of the copy, but this is just the result of having memories inherited from the original. The copy does not continue from anything; it comes into existence without any real connection with the consciousness of the original. For Catherine to refer to what happens as a coin toss is at best unintentionally confusing and at worst deliberately misleading.

  19. 4th Dimension says:

    At the end in teh last “paradise” scene I got a bit sick due to the drop in the framerate and the lag.

  20. Ofer Schwarz says:

    Not a “major release” by a long shot, but The Fall is pretty good sci-fi. It’s a bit like playing through a short story more than a novel, but an original and interesting one.

    1. Dev Null says:

      I did rather like that one. I liked that they didn’t really hold the “surprise” out for a twist, but instead let you figure it out yourself quite early on.

      1. Josh says:

        Unfortunately it was essentially just “episode one” of whatever story they actually have planned, and any sequel still has yet to materialize.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          There was a post from january on the developers blog about the sequel.So hopefully it will happen.

  21. Way off topic (unless you count science in general) but:
    EEVblog #751 – How To Debunk A Product (The Batteriser)

    I just thought that maybe the folks around these parts might enjoy watching that video (I may need to checkout his other videos too now I guess).

    1. Here’s a follow up video he made (after some people said his got his facts wrong): Batteriser: How To Measure Battery Cutoff Voltage
      And a follow up to that one as well: Batteriser Monkey BUSTED!

  22. Neko says:

    Thank you, Simon. It’s an amazing thing you did and I want you to know I appreciate it.

    I loved this line. That is a straight up villain about to reveal how they played you the whole time kind of line. It makes you second guess her right up to the end.

  23. DGM says:

    Did anyone else find Catherine’s face staring out at you on the menu screen a bit creepy? Like if I looked back at it long enough I could get nightmares. And when I looked away towards other parts of the screen having her stare at me from the corner of my eye somehow made it WORSE.

    Silent… Unblinking… Judging…

  24. Mattias42 says:

    Might be my fan-boy side showing, but I thought Deus Ex: Human Revolution managed that step from ‘pew-pew with sci-fi skin’ to ‘wow, that actually sounds… plausible.’

    The first and second leaned too heavily on nano-machines being magic in science clothes to really click with me on that level (although both have some very neat philosophy), but””to me at least””game #3 really felt like something that could happen Next Sunday AD, so to speak.

    Granted, ‘What happens when the rich and power-full can bribe their own biology, or even death away?’ is an old sci-fi chestnut, but I thought HR did a very good job at showing both sides of transhumanism.

    Sure, the crippled walk again… but those rich enough can now have squads of elite soldiers rolling off an assembly line.

    It’s an interesting dilemma, and I think on the whole HR did it justice.

  25. Ledel says:

    So, all of these personalities are on the ARK as the last vestiges of humanity. They are going to be stuck there for possibly hundreds of years. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that eventually the ARK is found and the personalities are recovered and placed into artificial bodies.

    I’m a huge fan of speculative fiction, and all I can think about is that they were living in a programmed simulation for an extended period of time. There is no way that they were able to program all the aspects of Physics and Biology here. I’ve seen videos of astronauts trying to adjust to life back on Earth after spending time on the ISS. They just let go of food, pens, whatever, and expect it to keep floating in place until they need to grab it again.

    What kinds of experiences would these people go through being reintroduced to Earth or an Earth-like planet? Would they constantly forget to eat/refuel because they never had to in the ARK? Is there fast-travel in the ARK, and would they keep forgetting how it takes time to travel long distances? What of people who became couples in the ARK, but when they were recovered and put into new bodies one was completely unable to find the other attractive and it forces them to break up?

  26. SlothfulCobra says:

    If this were System Shock, this would end on the ARK finally being found by an alien civilization, only for the surprise twist ending that it’s the WAU (either the WAU eventually progresses to space travel or aliens went through a wack set of identical circumstances).

  27. DGM says:

    By the way, I found this via Instapundit just yesterday:

    Be afraid, people. The WAU is coming in real life.

  28. Pyrrhic Gades says:

    As a kid, I remember my mind being blown over the concepts in Halo of slip-space (which was just an excuse to explain how ships go so fast) and The Flood.
    With the Flood, I had no words to describe it at. They were described as a plague/disease, yet they were clearly multicellular. They were a parasite that controlled the bodies of their hosts, yet they could also infect and control the dead: What kind of “Parasite” infects dead things?

    While I am aware now that the correct term for such a creature is “Space Zombie”, the very concept of a “zombie” did not compute with me at the time. Zombies are the domain of fantasy, not Sci-Fi. Furthermore, zombieism isn’t a disease, but the result of a cartoonist who dabbles in necromancy (i.e. Animate Dead). And finally it’s not a zombie if at no point was it ever dead (which means that everything in Left 4 Dead doesn’t meet by preconceptions).

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      No,zombies are the domain of real world,not fantasy nor sci fi.

      1. Pyrrhic Gades says:

        That’s no Zombie: that’s a pokémon.

  29. Burek says:

    So which possible sequel would be more interesting to play? The one where you play as two Simons left behind trying to figure out what to do or the one in the Ark where eventually everything goes crazy (maybe crazy like in Bioshock)?

    1. Benjamin Hilton says:

      I’d like to see what stories could be done with the people on the ARK. Especially given the dramatic irony that the player would know the events of the first game, but none of the people in the ARK would have any idea of what went down after they were loaded in. Imagine meeting the guy who killed himself after the scan and having him wonder if he actually went through with it.

  30. Decius says:

    It’s darkly pragmatic the way Catherine lies about the reason, and perhaps the actuality, of tying the upload to the launch button.

    Catherine knows Simon doesn’t understand how uploading works, he thinks that the scanned body is going to experience discontinuity. Catherine needs the suit body to press the button, and doesn’t feel like explaining how uploading works, again.

    So she tells Simon that launching and entering the Ark is controlled by the same button, and then Omnitool!Catherine hopes that Suit!Simon actually understands; when he doesn’t, she commits suicide.

    1. Domochevsky says:

      Well, close. No suicide was commited there. It looked more like she shortened out due too Too Much Emotion, similar to Cheng’s (was that his name?) simulation earlier.

      Now why they shorten out from too much emotion… maybe that’s a bug and an uncaught exception?

      …man, that would be a terrible thought. Software bugs in your mind emulation.

      public _Feels getAngryFeeling()
      if (!feelingGood(feeling)) { return feeling; }
      return null; // TODO: Unlikely to come up, but should probably be taken care of at some point. -dev53

      1. Grudgeal says:

        Maybe it’s because the simulation can’t handle it when too much stuff that’s supposed to be handled by glands get involved. It’s one thing to simulate anger on an intellectual level, but maybe the whole thing just falls apart when it tries to simulate the effects of a hormone-induced chemical cocktail that really fires up things like anger, or arousal, or the fight-or-flight response.

        If that is the case, the people on the Ark are going to have a problem with that whole ‘quality of life’ thing.

  31. PeteTimesSix says:

    One thing that bugs me after watching that ending: I think it’d have had more of an impact if we followed Ark!Simon before Screwed!Simon, not after. Wonder why they did that. Maybe wanted to end on a high(er, ish) note?

  32. Jarlek says:

    What was it rutskarn said at 13:00 that got cut off?

    “Loosen the bolts in…”

  33. Paul Spooner says:

    I know there’s lots of interesting things going on in this ending sequence, but when I saw “Omega Spacegun” on the screen, all I could think of was…
    ♩ It’s the final space gun! ♬

  34. shpelley says:

    I think the reason that we don’t get a lot of speculative fiction outside of strategy (and horror) games is that speculative fiction requires a slower paced experience so that players can encounter, digest and actually *speculate* on what they are seeing. Games with lots of action have the attention on “doing” not “thinking,” generally speaking.

    Games like Deus Ex are also decent vehicles for speculative science fiction because they have natural down-times. It’d be interesting to have a Deus Ex style game where instead of having the looming conspiracy as the primary antagonist, the focus could be REALLY on the morals and complications that such a society would face.

    I’d actually be really interested in seeing if some sort of RPG-based system could be based around speculative fiction, but I think the current studios wouldn’t do it justice.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.