In my quest to platinum this game before the sequel comes out or is even announced maybe (fingers crossed), there are a few things that I've noticed that I didn't before. It seems crazy that as many times as I've played this game and as much as I've dug into the lore, things still pop out at me.
1. The weather changes depending on character viewpoint. In chapter 6, there's sunny skies over the church. In The Assignment, it's dark and overcast. Same thing in the playground. From Sebastian's perspective, it's a little cloudy and there are bubbles floating in the air. In The Consequence, it's raining. Do the characters' moods affect the weather? Sebastian is grateful to be outside, so it's sunny in spite of the hellscape. (Seeing Kidman hold hands with Leslie in a playground may have subconsciously brought memories of his daughter to the surface, too.) But all of Kidman's memories of the church are bad ones from her childhood, so there's a dark cloud over it. Weirdly enough, what made me notice this was hitting chapter 14. Sebastian wakes up in the subway station saying, "Joseph, you've got to be alive..." and it's storming worse there than any other time in the game -- except the one KCPD flashback where Sebastian and Joseph are talking about Lily's death. And it doesn't stop. The whole chapter is a torrential rainstorm and a sewer. It takes interference from Leslie to change the weather for Sebastian.
2. All of the automated announcements in the Kidman DLCs throughout Mobius HQ are made by Myra. This is particularly interesting if we think of the DLCs as Ruvik's attempt to pull an Inception on Kidman. He pits her against Mobius by building on her affection for Sebastian and Joseph, and it's Myra's voice guiding her through it. Since we know so little about Myra, it's definitely something to keep in mind. It seems like Ruvik's almost trying to build a team of Sebastian, Joseph, Kidman, and Myra versus Mobius. Indicative of the direction of the sequel, maybe?
3. The Administrator's character model was crafted from Sebastian's. While this is very very likely just Johanas's team reusing assets, it's an interesting detail from a meta perspective, too, since both Sebastian and The Administrator can be seen as the only two strong paternal figures Kidman's ever had.
4. Maybe this one goes without saying, but the order of the bosses in Sebastian's campaign seems indicative of the process of Sebastian going through the layers of Ruvik's mind, rather than him just being randomly thrown all over the place geographically. The first real boss is Laura, something that Ruvik can't keep secret because his affection for her is so great. Peel away the layer of Ruvik that is Laura, and the next boss is the Sentinel. It's almost like a guard dog, trying to keep Sebastian and Joseph away from the more vulnerable parts of Ruvik's mind. Next is The Keeper. "Whoever tries to open that safe next better be prepared to pay the price." Fitting that this is the halfway point through the game. After chapter 7, we spend the rest of the game in environments generated either by Ruvik's memories (or desires/will) or Sebastian's. No more shared consciousness environments. After that, it's Laura again, because it makes sense that she exists on multiple layers of Ruvik's consciousness. Then Amalgam Alpha deeper within -- all of the weaker consciousnesses that Ruvik "devoured." Devoured, but never disposed of, and they continue to exist within him, and boy are they mad. Finally, the last real boss of the game is Quell. It's at the very very edge of Ruvik's sense of self preservation. No more locked safes, no more guard dogs, no more crazy fucking monsters trying to eat you with their eyeball vagina. Just Ruvik's desire to remain unseen, almost as though he's starting to fear Sebastian and is trying to hide from him (as much as a psychopath like him feels fear, anyway) -- especially when you consider that right after that boss fight, Ruvik starts laying on the sympathy cards, trying to get Sebastian to feel sorry for him for Jimenez's betrayal and his gruesome murder. Two final Keepers, and we reach the core of Ruvik.
5. The model viewer for the DLCs suggests that the person you fight during the Haunted Joseph boss fight may not really be Joseph, but it also says that he's dominated by Ruvik's will. Is the bright light that saves Kidman's life right before the start of the actual fight Joseph's doing? Is some part of him still in there, and that was his only way of trying to protect her from him? At the start of chapter 6, Joseph seems aware on some level that he turned again. It's an interesting detail, since when he first turned and attacked Sebastian in chapter 5, he comes out of it fully cognizant of what happened. But after the fight with Kidman, he only recalls blacking out, even though he does kind of know the truth. We know that Ruvik can force his influence onto people, since we see it happen to Sebastian in chapter 11. And just like Joseph at the start of chapter 6, Sebastian wakes up from his encounter with Kidman with no memory of what really happened -- but he does know well enough at the start of it all to tell Kidman to stay back. Was that bright light Joseph's way of telling Kidman to stay away from him for her own safety? There seems to be a difference between turning Haunted due to Ruvik's passive influence breaking down your consciousness bit by bit, and turning Haunted because Ruvik forces it on you no matter how strong you are. And yet, both Joseph and Sebastian get snapped out of it by Kidman at the end. Intentional on Ruvik's part? Did he know they'd both snap out of it? A profound question in light of the observation that Ruvik may be building a coalition against Mobius.
6. Sebastian only really starts to grow into his own character at around late chapter 11/start of chapter 12. Other than his extremely vulnerable spat with Joseph in the middle of chapter 6, he's basically as generic of a protagonist as they come. He reacts to things with no real underlying character motivation behind his reactions, and a lot of his dialogue is very generic. There are some moments where his personality shines through ("That old guy's gonna get himself killed." "Hope his brother's not a jerk, too..."), but mostly he's just on a very narrow path of searching for his partners and not really being much of his own person. We're told over and over again that STEM completely fucks with people's memories, and it's not until the end of chapter 11 that Sebastian finds the journal entry of his that talks about how he distrusts Kidman. But after that, even his passive reactions to things are more robust, and his character voice really solidifies. He's more active in conversation with Joseph especially, and he's tired of Kidman's bs right from the very start of chapter 11, when he wasn't before. It's a really subtle detail that I only just really noticed this time around, and it's absolutely brilliant. Sebastian needed to rediscover the context for his own existence and remember what his personal stake in this all was before he came into his own as a character.
Share your thoughts with me, bros. I'm hoping that these tiny observations, along with hopefully more to come upon subsequent playthroughs as I try to brute force my way into platinum, finally result in the answer to the one question that continues to plague me to this day: the fucking lighthouse. Goddamn it fuck the lighthouse. If Ruvik doesn't even know what the hell it is, how the fuck am I supposed to??