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Player choice and The End.
Bek Offline
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#1
Player choice and The End.

So I just finished SOMA.

I should probably begin by saying I really enjoyed the game, though it does feel oddly disconnected from my expectations of the game from the early "brain in a vessel/machine hooked up to a body" trailers. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; the game just felt different to that perhaps heavy-handed and morbid atmosphere we saw in Penumbra and Amnesia. I might go and watch those early trailers again.

One thing I'm curious about is the choices throughout the game, specifically the significant ones at the end. The simple ones first though: Does it matter whether you answer your phone at the start? Can you leave without drinking the tracer fluid? Does it matter if you send the messages on the computers? Probably not, right? It's just some environmental interactivity.

But, the big ones, and I'm going to remind you here this is a spoiler thread... Initially I tried to leave without "destroying" WAU; though on my mysterious apparitions insistence I went back and lost my hand to corrupting the WAU. After the end game sequence I came back and tried leaving WAU alone. Nothing seemed to change at the end of the game. Is there only the one final ending? What was with that apparition that supplied you with codes anyway? Was is the character who seemingly went crazy wanting to fullfil WAU's design or what?

edit2: It occurs to me that perhaps choices not really making any difference might be intentional to drive home the futility of simons situation and the escape ARK provides. Not sure I like that "mechanically" though; on future runs I'd be less inclined to think about my actions.

Also, was I reading too much into the story if I found Catherine to be somewhat unreliable? I believe there was some log somewhere that mentioned she altered the ARK just before sending it off to PHI; adding scans at the last minute perhaps? Nothing malicious was ever made apparent so I guess I'm just looking too hard for an unreliable narrator.

I'm also curious what would make people think they have to kill themselves once they have been scanned. Why can they not coexist? No convincing argument (certainly not one that would convince an otherwise intelligent person to kill themselves) is presented. Is two versions of yourself concurrently existing so wrong/hard to grasp? If I were a digital scan that had the ability to asexually reproduce myself over a network you bet I'd be trying to spread copies of myself everywhere to guarantee my survival (perhaps continuation is a better word here). At least to the logical point; I'd recognise the usefulness of allowing others "space"; so it wouldn't end up as a resource-war between competing scans. It's an interesting idea anyway.

Something else I've just remembered — when you allocate data to be loaded onto the DUMMY simulation, is this what ends up in the final ARK? I cannot remember if this is the case, but if so, it'd be interesting to see if the optional extras you can include (for there's some extra available space left for some minor additions) appear at the after-credits ARK sequence. You know, like if you included and extra foliage pack and there's a difference or not. But now that I think about it the DUMMY sim was probably just a test run that had no bearing on the actual ARK.

Also, it'd be funny if our in-game "surveys" had their data collected and sent back to frictional. Anyway I'm a bit tired and this is getting rambly; I might add more as I think of it. But I'd like to hear others thoughts on the above + the overall experience.

edit: Almost forgot: The WAU err.. "human interaction devices" — they're comparable to the latern-things from Penumbra, right? Except the don't save the game, though they do clear up the blur/chromatic aberration. Was there some significance beyond this? Has anyone tried using them maximally/minimally? I began with the former but decided halfway through the was a bad idea; should've stuck to my guns, WAU be damned.
(This post was last modified: 09-23-2015, 02:41 PM by Bek.)
09-23-2015, 12:37 PM
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Filizitas Offline
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#2
RE: Player choice and The End.

Im curios about the WAU scene either... Its so pointless and has no effect. But as i said: This is a great chance to attach a DLC. :3

Tentacle raping guy is coming for ya Q.Q Watcha gonna do?
09-23-2015, 12:54 PM
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Brennenburg Offline
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#3
RE: Player choice and The End.

Just finished the game and I have to ask also if doing different thing as small or big as they are change any part of the story kinda like the butterfly effect.

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09-23-2015, 02:54 PM
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voot Offline
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#4
RE: Player choice and The End.

Quote:Just finished the game and I have to ask also if doing different thing as small or big as they are change any part of the story kinda like the butterfly effect.
I'd love to be wrong on that, but it seems that your choices don't affect anything at all. The only exception is losing your arm, but it's just a visual effect.
(This post was last modified: 09-23-2015, 04:04 PM by voot.)
09-23-2015, 04:04 PM
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BrokenJadeMirror Offline
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#5
RE: Player choice and The End.

The WAU scene seemed tacked on, although the room where you lose your hand to it is, I THINK, the same room from the first gameplay teaser trailer just flooded and grown over. It's never really explained what exactly the WAU was trying to do or who that teleporting apparition that talks in Simon's mind is. It didn't feel like a logical continuation of the ARK storyline especially because afterwards you just trek to Phi and launch the ARK from there.

I was really curious who the apparition was, especially since the little messages appearing on monitors like "WE MUST DESTROY IT" kept showing up in Omicron.

Those WAU interaction thingies were like healing stations, the more digital visual debris you have, the more injured you are. Sticking your hand into those heals you, and I liked Catherine's reaction to it before you launched the ARK. Simon mentions he feels better after doing it and Catherine thinks it's really bizarre.

The logic behind killing the old you at Omicron is multifaceted. On one hand, sure, you're killing a person. On the other hand, this is just like the teleportation dilemma: if teleportation were to copy your body and build a copy elsewhere while destroying your original body, would you be dead or just a copy? Destroying the original can help ease some people's minds as to whether they are real or not. It cleans up the messiness of having diverging life paths nicely if you end diverging paths immediately. It was something Simon's character struggled with, especially at the end after the ARK launched. He thought he would continue in the ARK and couldn't understand still being down in PATHOS II, because he perceived his self and timeline as linear. Meanwhile, the Simon on the ARK didn't perceive any difference and probably didn't realize he was also left behind at PATHOS II. The whole multiple-selves thing was a recurring theme. I personally don't understand the idea of spreading yourself out like a virus to exist in 1,000 places at once like you mention, but everyone has a different perspective.

The DUMMY simulation is on the prototype ARK, not the real ARK. It's like playing a demo of a game versus the full game. The demo has no effect on the real ARK because they weren't connected at the time.

I would also like larger consequences of our actions in the game, although the dialog and how small decisions are remembered was quite good in this game.
09-23-2015, 04:04 PM
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Brennenburg Offline
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#6
RE: Player choice and The End.

(09-23-2015, 04:04 PM)BrokenJadeMirror Wrote: The WAU scene seemed tacked on, although the room where you lose your hand to it is, I THINK, the same room from the first gameplay teaser trailer just flooded and grown over. It's never really explained what exactly the WAU was trying to do or who that teleporting apparition that talks in Simon's mind is. It didn't feel like a logical continuation of the ARK storyline especially because afterwards you just trek to Phi and launch the ARK from there.

I was really curious who the apparition was, especially since the little messages appearing on monitors like "WE MUST DESTROY IT" kept showing up in Omicron.

Those WAU interaction thingies were like healing stations, the more digital visual debris you have, the more injured you are. Sticking your hand into those heals you, and I liked Catherine's reaction to it before you launched the ARK. Simon mentions he feels better after doing it and Catherine thinks it's really bizarre.

The logic behind killing the old you at Omicron is multifaceted. On one hand, sure, you're killing a person. On the other hand, this is just like the teleportation dilemma: if teleportation were to copy your body and build a copy elsewhere while destroying your original body, would you be dead or just a copy? Destroying the original can help ease some people's minds as to whether they are real or not. It cleans up the messiness of having diverging life paths nicely if you end diverging paths immediately. It was something Simon's character struggled with, especially at the end after the ARK launched. He thought he would continue in the ARK and couldn't understand still being down in PATHOS II, because he perceived his self and timeline as linear. Meanwhile, the Simon on the ARK didn't perceive any difference and probably didn't realize he was also left behind at PATHOS II. The whole multiple-selves thing was a recurring theme. I personally don't understand the idea of spreading yourself out like a virus to exist in 1,000 places at once like you mention, but everyone has a different perspective.

The DUMMY simulation is on the prototype ARK, not the real ARK. It's like playing a demo of a game versus the full game. The demo has no effect on the real ARK because they weren't connected at the time.

I would also like larger consequences of our actions in the game, although the dialog and how small decisions are remembered was quite good in this game.

To me it kinda felt like Frictional decided midway through development to change the storyline pretty significantly and didn't have enough time to flesh out everything unfortunately. (Could be wrong though)

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09-23-2015, 04:09 PM
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KommissarK Offline
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#7
RE: Player choice and The End.

(09-23-2015, 12:37 PM)Bek Wrote: I'm also curious what would make people think they have to kill themselves once they have been scanned. Why can they not coexist? No convincing argument (certainly not one that would convince an otherwise intelligent person to kill themselves) is presented. Is two versions of yourself concurrently existing so wrong/hard to grasp?
I think the issue is one part a belief in a spiritual notion, as well as fueled a bit by selfishness.

I can think through the idea of having my mind scanned, and then running that scan through a sufficiently advanced computer system such that there is a running version of "me" on said system. It makes sense and is sound. But what I know, is that I, in my fleshy container will not "be" the me that is running in the simulation. I will not experience it. What the Continuity belief seemed to be about was that at the moment of scanning, the fleshy you and the digital you are the same, and thus, for an instance, have the same continuity of consciousness, likening this to say the premise that over the course of our life we shed the materials that make up our body. Through the course of our lives, we shed matter, yet we still remain ourselves and our experience is "continuous." So in the case of people killing themselves, its tapping into some metaphysical hope that maybe the stream of consciousness they are from their fleshy body can also live on into the simulation. Ultimately, its impossible to verify, which is partly what makes the idea so troubling.

I think really its just a matter of recognizing the desperation of the setting as well. Things appear to be really bad off already by that point in time. The world is basically over. WAU running amok. More than likely these people are not going to die of natural causes, and equally terrifying they might not die at all due to WAU doing crazy stuff. If there is even a glimmer of hope that they can avoid that sort of suffering and live on in a veritable paradise of the ARK, I think people are going to bite.

Realize that this is how Star Trek teleportation has basically worked (scan you, destroy you on one end, recreate you on the other end), and ST barely ever touched on the existential horror that might be brought about if people realized that one of the most common modes of transportation permanently halted "your" perceived stream of consciousness, destroying you, and simply starting a new one that the current "you" will not experience. Because you were destroyed.
09-23-2015, 04:21 PM
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Bek Offline
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#8
RE: Player choice and The End.

(09-23-2015, 04:21 PM)KommissarK Wrote: So in the case of people killing themselves, its tapping into some metaphysical hope that maybe the stream of consciousness they are from their fleshy body can also live on into the simulation. Ultimately, its impossible to verify, which is partly what makes the idea so troubling.

Interesting thoughts; you also make a good point about the desperation of the setting which I think I have overlooked. But I'm still not too convinced about the suicide aspect. If it's a digital scan that gets simulated on a machine, we can be certain that nothing beyond the bits and bytes matter. Whether you kill yourself or not makes zero difference to the scan (which wouldn't even be running on a sim at the end of the scan, presumably due to how scans are loaded and simulated in the game) so killing yourself makes no sense. You're going to die eventually, doing so now makes no diff, so why rush it?

Also as a side note, there's some really cool discussion about SOMA's ending going on here.
09-24-2015, 04:49 AM
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Ded3 Offline
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#9
RE: Player choice and The End.

My favorite choice of the game was to optionally delete Dr Munshi's scan from the files in cath's lab, that guy prescribed aspirin for Simon's brain damage what a quack!
(This post was last modified: 09-24-2015, 06:18 AM by Ded3.)
09-24-2015, 05:59 AM
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1minus1is0 Offline
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#10
RE: Player choice and The End.

(09-24-2015, 04:49 AM)Bek Wrote: Also as a side note, there's some really cool discussion about SOMA's ending going on here.

There a few threads i post in on reddit. I also have an account here. I just started that thread in Reddit because nobody was really discussing here.
09-24-2015, 07:43 AM
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