Some meta observations

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Some meta observations

Postby Autoignition » Mar 20, 2016 9:04 pm

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??
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Re: Some meta observations

Postby zombifiers » Apr 02, 2017 10:39 am

How did this post sit without a single response for over a year?

1. I never noticed the change in weather. I mean, I noticed it on some level but it was little things: surprise at the sunset when Seb reunites with Joseph; vague recognition of a washed out gray horror look in Chapter 11, when he's in the city and it's overcast. But relating the weather to emotional and/or mental states of characters at the time of each shift is interesting. Honestly I think the most telling thing about the game is how much of it takes place indoors, cut off from the outside at all. It creates a suffocating, timeless feeling in the player (or maybe that's just how I feel when I'm indoors in vidya, and there's no windows; I get super claustrophobic in the Vaults in Fallout games, for example). The constantly changing weather and times of the day enhance this feeling. So whether or not the weather shifts were intentional, I can't say. But I do think you're right to say they reflect mental states and emotional ties to the surroundings. What do you make of the rain in the very first chapter, then?

2. Could be. I would toss that up to Ruvik using a familiar voice to manipulate Kidman further, though. Sebastian, Joseph, and Myra are the three adults in Kidman's lives who represent any sort of stability or strange stand-in family surrogates. The sequel could try to connect these four characters, but I'm not too sure. It would depend on where they are all, I guess? And last we saw, Joseph was being dragged off by Mobius people (that happened, right?), Myra and Kidman were still on the inside, and Sebastian was the only one left behind.

3. Well no wonder why he's alarmingly attractive.

4. Nothing to add here, besides a solemn, impressed nod.

5. What if that bright light is related to the lighthouse that neither you nor Ruvik can understand? Beacon Mental Hospital is located in Krimson City in the exact spot Beacon Hill is in Boston*, which KC seems modeled off of. Beacons act as warnings for danger and harm--so what if that light, and the lighthouse in general, is just a congregrated mass of hope, buried far down beneath all this pain, suffering, trauma, fury, and fear? Light actually plays a significant role in TEW, but it's one of the weirdest and often overlooked, I think. Claire de Lune is the game's signature song. The Haunted's eyes glow bright white, like beacons. The lighthouse is always in the distance. Kidman is haunted by Shade AND is armed with only a flashlight--and has a difficulty mode that, when translated, is called "darkness," which is the absence of light (and, well, hope).

If Ruvik exists as a conscious entity in STEM, what if light and the lighthouse is this buried feeling that is likewise conscious, but not as mobile? It's stationary but omnipresent. Like hope. The idea that the accumulated dregs of hope in STEM could build up as a creepy tower of babel against Ruvik is really interesting to me, and I hope (if I'm right) it manifests in the sequel in some way.

ETA: As for why Shade, a walking lightbulb (sorta) is such a menace, I toss that up to Shinji Mikami (or Johanas' team) being clever about the idea of light as both something warm and peaceful, and something that obliterates shadows and offers you no chance to hide. And what's the one thing you want to do in a horror game? Hide!

6. I wonder how many people picked up on this. Seems like not many, since Seb gets brushed off as a 'came with the frame' protag, when he's got a lot of layers to him, as revealed in the journals. I hope the sequel shows him off with more nuance.

*Thanks for making that post, btw. I'm happy my random observation could prove useful!
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Re: Some meta observations

Postby Autoignition » Apr 02, 2017 12:50 pm

zombifiers wrote:How did this post sit without a single response for over a year?


:cry: I should probably just keep all of my lore shit in one thread.

What do you make of the rain in the very first chapter, then?


Ah! Let's talk about chapters 1 and 2 and just rain used as a narrative device in general!

So, when the game first opens, like the very first second, it's raining. Also, at second one, the characters are in the real world. They don't get pulled into STEM until halfway through that first cutscene, while Sebastian is talking over the radio to dispatch. There's no visual cue or change in the environment at all to tell us that we've been pulled into STEM -- just the audio. Just the high-pitched frequency of wireless STEM. I've talked about this in a previous thread somewhere -- the reason why the massacre in the foyer of Beacon looks the same between the real world and STEM is because Ruvik made a perfect replication of it pulled from the memories of the first responders. This was likely done to make the shift between reality and STEM as smooth as possible for the highest amount of disorientation when the world inevitably started to change and become weird. It would probably be disadvantageous for Ruvik's victims to think that something is wrong right away. A slower transition makes them believe that they're going crazy, rather than to believe that something seriously fucked up is happening right from the get-go. For this same reason, it remains raining outside of Beacon when Sebastian and co. show up.

By the end of chapter 1, when Sebastian escapes from Beacon, it's actually sunny. Reflective of his feeling of freedom having escaped the Sadist, maybe? But in chapter 2, when Sebastian peels himself out of the ambulance, it sure looks like a storm. The sky is dark and overcast, the wind has picked up, and there's thunderless lightning in the distance. You can almost smell the ozone in this chapter. Note that this happens after Connelly tells Sebastian that "Joseph never came out" of Beacon -- perhaps leading Sebastian to believe that Joseph became one of the Sadist's victims? Also, Kidman, Leslie, and Jimenez are missing, and Connelly turned Haunted when they were in the ambulance.

The atmosphere in chapter 2 is horribly oppressive, and the instability in the sky betrays a sense of fear from Sebastian.

What if that bright light is related to the lighthouse that neither you nor Ruvik can understand? Beacon Mental Hospital is located in Krimson City in the exact spot Beacon Hill is in Boston*, which KC seems modeled off of. Beacons act as warnings for danger and harm--so what if that light, and the lighthouse in general, is just a congregrated mass of hope, buried far down beneath all this pain, suffering, trauma, fury, and fear? Light actually plays a significant role in TEW, but it's one of the weirdest and often overlooked, I think. Claire de Lune is the game's signature song. The Haunted's eyes glow bright white, like beacons. The lighthouse is always in the distance. Kidman is haunted by Shade AND is armed with only a flashlight--and has a difficulty mode that, when translated, is called "darkness," which is the absence of light (and, well, hope).

If Ruvik exists as a conscious entity in STEM, what if light and the lighthouse is this buried feeling that is likewise conscious, but not as mobile? It's stationary but omnipresent. Like hope. The idea that the accumulated dregs of hope in STEM could build up as a creepy tower of babel against Ruvik is really interesting to me, and I hope (if I'm right) it manifests in the sequel in some way.


I don't think that it's entirely accurate to look at the lighthouse as a warning of impending danger or a sign of hope. The first time we really have an encounter with it, it turns three guys Haunted. Here's a short list off the top of my head of all the things said about it in-game:

"It feels like I'm being pulled just looking at it." - Sebastian, Chapter 2

"When did they put a lighthouse on the lake? Has it always been there? That circling light passes over me, passes through me... I feel like it takes something away each time. I can't remember what it was, though." - Lakeside Note, Chapter 2

"Somehow I can see that light, that shaft of light from the lighthouse, from anywhere in this place. It seems to penetrate everything; penetrate me. That view of the hospital is not my memory, yet somehow it is more solid than anything I have made exist here. Was it always there? Something has changed under that light. It calls. It repulses. It draws the others. They think they'll reach the source, regain what they have lost. They don't even know what that is." - Ruvik audio log, Chapter 11

"We seem to be moved around a lot, almost as if by someone's will, so it's impossible to get a sense of the geography around here. But the light. Beacon Mental Hospital. It's always in the distance. [...] The thing that I've noticed is that each time I run across [a STEM terminal], I seem to be closer to the lighthouse." - Joseph, Chapter 12

What it actually could be, looking at these quotes laid out now, is a tool to reveal the truth. Anything that gets caught in that light seems to be illuminated in reality. The cutscene of the three men turning Haunted under the lighthouse's light do so after saying how they can't go on -- maybe showing Sebastian the truth as to how STEM operates, and how Ruvik's will plays a part? Sebastian feels pulled towards it -- and Diaz tells him later that he needs to get there before Leslie does in order to stop Ruvik. So, from the very beginning, the lighthouse is trying to say, "Here! Here! You need to be here!" The lighthouse "takes something away" from the villagers each time, but maybe it's not the lighthouse doing it -- it's Ruvik's will, and the lighthouse is just trying to call their attention to what's happening. It's "more solid" than anything Ruvik can "create" because the truth always beats out a delusion. And Joseph notices the lighthouse near STEM terminals, as though trying to tell him the reality of what's happening.

If the light we see right before the Joseph/Kidman fight is indeed from the lighthouse, it could be the lighthouse's way of telling Kidman that that's not really Joseph and it's okay to fight back. She won't actually hurt him, because it's not him, it's just another one of Ruvik's tricks.

*Thanks for making that post, btw. I'm happy my random observation could prove useful!


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Re: Some meta observations

Postby zombifiers » Apr 02, 2017 1:10 pm

Note that this happens after Connelly tells Sebastian that "Joseph never came out" of Beacon -- perhaps leading Sebastian to believe that Joseph became one of the Sadist's victims? Also, Kidman, Leslie, and Jimenez are missing, and Connelly turned Haunted when they were in the ambulance.


Oh I quite like this. Tying the weather into Sebastian's moods really shows just how much he keeps it all bottled up inside, and how reflective it is of his internal distress for the very few people he cares about (or the few people that are at least normal/familiar). It's almost too subtle of a way to develop him as a character, but I can't really complain since... I like it.

If the light we see right before the Joseph/Kidman fight is indeed from the lighthouse, it could be the lighthouse's way of telling Kidman that that's not really Joseph and it's okay to fight back. She won't actually hurt him, because it's not him, it's just another one of Ruvik's tricks.


That sounds like a fair way to explain the power of light in the game, and the lighthouse. I'm happy to stand corrected and switch to this idea.

Why does this remind me of Alan Wake...? Now I'm just waitin for the light to suddenly start talking to the protag(s) in the sequel, quoting poetry and delivering flashlights from heaven.
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Re: Some meta observations

Postby Autoignition » Apr 02, 2017 1:22 pm

zombifiers wrote:Oh I quite like this. Tying the weather into Sebastian's moods really shows just how much he keeps it all bottled up inside, and how reflective it is of his internal distress for the very few people he cares about (or the few people that are at least normal/familiar). It's almost too subtle of a way to develop him as a character, but I can't really complain since... I like it.


"They existed together, but each saw things in their own way. It was as if each patient's consciousness filled in the blanks, creating their own reality."

;)

Why does this remind me of Alan Wake...? Now I'm just waitin for the light to suddenly start talking to the protag(s) in the sequel, quoting poetry and delivering flashlights from heaven.


"For he did not know, that beyond the lake he calls home, lies a deeper, darker ocean green, where the waves are both wilder and more serene. To its ports I've been. To its ports I've been. Do you understand?"
"No."
"Follow my light."

:lol: Sebastian and Alan have a lot in common as protagonists. I love how Zane in that cutscene was just like GODDAMN IT YOU FUCKIN IDIOT, JUST SHUT UP AND DO WHAT I TELL YOU.

in b4 Joseph becomes Thomas Zane in TEW2.
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Re: Some meta observations

Postby zombifiers » Apr 02, 2017 1:46 pm

in b4 Joseph becomes Thomas Zane in TEW2.


THAT BETTER BE HOW IT GOES IS2G. They better give my fave character some more story/plot purpose in the sequel. As it stands now, there's very little meat in the Joseph Oda gym mat...

But imagine if Myra did that instead? Acted as Thomas Zane for Seb? ooo That's probably a little off kilter though, since if we go by what you've quoted and pointed out from the game, light sources are a bit more sinister. Exposing the truth, stripping falsehoods away, etc. do feel like they'd be thematically appropriate to expand on whatever it is the light means in this series.

Somewhat related, wasn't there an April Fools gag about an Evil Within sequel with "light" in the title? Nakamura made some cute comic-style art related to it, right? While that's neither here nor there, it does intrigue me that at least someone on the staff was thinking about bringing light forward as a more prominent theme to showcase. The next step is explaining the damn lighthouse.
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Re: Some meta observations

Postby Autoignition » Apr 02, 2017 2:00 pm

Somewhat related, wasn't there an April Fools gag about an Evil Within sequel with "light" in the title? Nakamura made some cute comic-style art related to it, right? While that's neither here nor there, it does intrigue me that at least someone on the staff was thinking about bringing light forward as a more prominent theme to showcase. The next step is explaining the damn lighthouse.


!!!!! Into the Light!!

And Ikumi Nakamura had concept art of Joseph from TEW2 on her screen when they posted those pics!!

Image

I wonder if that was just something that was on their mind because they were crafting the sequel -- the whole theme of light. Sunlight is the ultimate disinfectant and all that shit.

It could be nothing. But it's fun to think that the idea for their April Fool's joke came about during the planning stages for TEW2, and the concept of using light just manifested its way into their dumb prank.
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Re: Some meta observations

Postby zombifiers » Apr 02, 2017 2:06 pm

Yes, that's exactly it!

Ugh, this is making my head spin. E3 needs to get here already so I can pore over 15 seconds of a teaser trailer, revealing next to no information about anything that'll make my tinfoil hat fit snugly on while I overanalyze every little detail, while also looking for themes of light.
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