Serious spoilers for the end of Divinity: Original Sin
Dare I ask?
Stayed up too late, but yeah.
That was…interesting. Not a bad fight, but time-consuming. It took us a couple of Astarte deaths to get the whole ‘protect before attacking’ thing down, but we did it on three. It was a little tough to shift from “we only lose if both PCs die” to “this NPC is key!”
And that was…interesting…when you lose and Zixzax is trying unsuccessfully to reload the universe…
And then at the end, when it’s all a story he’s telling the little imps! Possibly a true story, or possibly just something he made up, we don’t even know.
And we ran into Madora and Jahan and Wolgraff (apparently our dubbing him a Source Hunter was official) at the Source Hunter Academy, but I didn’t see Bairdotr. Did you see Bairdotr? We might have missed her, because we were kind of just hurrying through on a “let’s wrap this up it’s bedtime” tour. I suppose I’ll imagine she went back to the woods…maybe to roam the now-uncursed Phantom Forest and fight evil.
Yeah, the first time that happened with her I was rather surprised. And pissed. At least it happened quickly. Remember when I said that Icara/Leandra kept going after Astarte? Yeah.
Wait, that’s how you read that? Cuz that wasn’t a log in, that was a DOS prompt. Whoever was reloading was trying to open a FILE called Zixzax. I read that as someone from our universe trying to reboot the game/game world/game characters.
I still don’t know what to think of that, and, as I kept urging you to let Astarte die, you know I wanted your thoughts. It certainly said “This is all fake, this is something that is being played/experienced by someone in the real world, but whether that was supposed to be us, or Scarlett, or was just a cheeky joke I don’t know. I also have no idea why they chose to make it a “game” from, like, 1988, with a pixelated title screen and a DOS prompt. It didn’t take you back to the main menu of a PS4 game, or tour Steam page or anything. It was a game IN THE PAST. A game that the actual, REAL game that we just played couldn’t possibly be, as no computer from that time could run this game.
Which means it COULD be a game that someone played long ago. A world that they always had in their head, that they enjoyed, something that formed a “backbone of their game experience” (which you said about fallout), and, thus, something that would be at the forefront of their heads if they were picking/developing a delusional world to live in.
But I’m still pondering.
As for the fact that it turns out to be a story Zixzax is telling, that was all kinds of weird. I know even less what to make of that.
I did not see Bairdotr, but I figured that was because she was dead. Like, in my game. She died in the final battle, and I was GOING to revive her, I really was, but the dialog, and poof, and then I picked the “Let’s just put our feet up” (let’s discuss that, too) option which apparently did not include “But first let’s pop back and bring Bairdotr back from the dead.”
But on the Source Hunter stuff….you left off the thing that stood out in my mind the most: What the leader of the Source Hunters says to you. Remember? He says “Where have you been? Report on the murder!” and you can say “We were fighting the void dragon and saving the world,” and he says “NOT THIS AGAIN! There’s ALWAYS ONE OR TWO EVERY YEAR that come up with that nonsense.” He a) totally thinks your either crazy or lazy, and b) tells you you’re not the only one that has been crazy IN THAT VERY WAY.
Which is what totally convinced me I was totally right all along.
Because here, in the endgame, we have a) dude telling us we’re nuts, b) all the people who “lived” and stayed in Rivellon right there with us (and no one who didn’t “live” and stay in Rivellon) followed by c) our happy, HAPPY acceptance of having a sit on a beach IN RIVELLON content for all of forevers, accepting our nutsiness, and not arguing it in the least with the ONE PERSON IN THE GAME who actually said “You’re crazy.”
Right. All. Along.
It also sets up mad sequels, doesn’t it?
So what did your Zixzax say became of the two of you? You end up all happy and passionate and stuff?
Hm. Our Bairdotr was alive at the end. Delios died once, but pretty much throughout the whole thing, WE weren’t the ones in peril, it was everything going after Astarte that caused trouble. (Finally, in our successful fight, we basically just summoned things and stuck them around her to draw attacks until we’d killed all the void creatures. The Undead Decapitator did stellar work in this area: I recommend him for a promotion to Undead Dismemberer.)
So maybe you did manage to resurrect her offscreen, but she just didn’t go to the Source Academy.
And the computer, loading the file, etc.–yeah, I guess I kind of assumed (with no actual evidence) that Zixzax was the one trying to load the file with his name…like, he was trying to load his own reality, sort of. And then trying to restart the computer, and “There is no computer. There is only the Void.” It was odd. Like the gazebo credits many ages ago: a deliberate reference to the fact that you’re playing a game, only…”you” can’t be the one playing it, because the “game” as shown is not something you’ve been playing (as you said, it’s OOOOOOOOLD and no way could what we’ve been playing run on the system that whoever is playing that game is using). I think I made the leap to thinking it was Zixzax because why is the file called ‘Zixzax’ and not, you know, “Guardians” or something, unless Zixzax is the most important thing about it? And why is he the most important thing about it unless it’s HIS file?
Circumstantial, I know. But when it turns out Zixzax was telling the story at the very end, that kind of supports the idea that the whole thing is in some way his creation. Or maybe the story itself is not his creation (it could be ‘real’ or ‘true’ within its own context), but the recording of it is his to care for? I mean, he is the keeper of the observatory at the end of time, watching all this unfold was his project, so maybe the file was named for him because he made it through observing/recording the story. And then when we lost, the file vanished, the computer vanished, everything is FAIL FAIL FAIL in a format that is meant to evoke the ancient days of computer games: everything reverts to its primitive form and then blinks out.
I dunno. These outside narrator characters are always a little confusing. Like Varric, the dwarven bard in DA2. He tells us the story of the game we’re playing, but we are also the main character in that game, so how we understand our own position in the narrative becomes complicated.
Oh, but yes, in Zixzax’s tale we ended up in a steamy love story for the ages, with equal parts passion and broken glass, or whatever. So a win for romance, in the end.
I thought it was interesting that Astarte promised us we would be the only humans who would be allowed to come and go from the garden, but Zixzax said nothing about this.
And as you say, our commander or whatever at the Academy thought we were crazy, and there was no evident change in the way they were doing anything, even though one might think that if corrupt Source was the problem, and Source is now pure again, maybe Source Hunters don’t even need to exist anymore in the same way, since hunting down the twisted wreckage of (corrupt) Source won’t be an issue.
And yeah, it takes time for word to filter out and stuff, but we didn’t even make any attempt to say “hey, maybe we don’t have to hunt down and kill users of Source anymore!” or anything.
We picked “there are still plenty of other evils out there, let’s go get ’em!” when we left the Academy so maybe we’ll try to…not murder people for using Source on a case-by-case basis?
But there was very much an air of “we saved the world! — and no one noticed, so everything can go on exactly as before.”
Which is quite common in fantastic adventure stories (“look at all these people going about their lives, with no idea what danger they were in”), but I feel like there was a bit of conscious poking at that trope here, with the suggestion first that maybe we invented the whole thing (there’s the option, talking to Zandalor at the Academy, to say that it feels as if the whole fight wasn’t real, so we could even express our own doubts about it), and then that maybe “we” were just characters created by someone else who invented the whole thing.
There are layers of questions there. Interesting stuff.
Really? My Wolgraff managed to croak multiple times. He’s good at that. But he was standing at the end!
Huh. Odd. I figured it had to be that, as she was the only one “dead” at the end of things. I wonder what’s up with that. Odd.
On the rebooting…I’ve been wondering why Zixzax IS so important all along. Why reboot Zixzax? Why was he the one telling the story at the end? Now that we’re done, we know there were lots of folks more important: The weaver, Arhu (who was the first dude we met who pointed us towards the main story), Icara, etc. Everyone here had a pretty good metaphor attached….except Zixzax, and he was the one being rebooted, telling the story (maybe). Still don’t get that.
Varric, at least, made some more sense in context. There were even times he was caught embellishing by Cassandra and he had to retell things. You knew from the start that the whole thing was a framed narrative. We saw Varric telling the story lots of times. Here? Less so. The game didn’t, say, start with Zixzax all “Come near, ye young imps while I spin a yarn…” It just ended with that randomly tacked on.
If we do go with “recording this was “his project,” and we know he has other stories of other people (he says so at the end), then what IS the metaphor there?
Huzzah for passion! Cuz if you were playing with your actual, real life husband and it ended all “They ended up hating each other cuz he didn’t have the sense to have more than one weapon and he made her buy a house,” that would’ve been problematic.
As for the world being changed–except the academy wasn’t closed, now was it? And source ISN’T pure again if everything we did there was fake. After all, if you follow his logic, we weren’t the first people who did this quest. “There’s one or two every year.” And yet, here we are. Source is still source. World still turns.
Really? What happened after you left the academy? Did you keep playing? Cuz I picked “yes. Let’s go to a beach. Put our feet up. Rest. We’ve earned it.” And that was credits, title page. Boom.
Told you there was a whole mess of vague, though.
And, as confusing as it is, and as imperfect the metaphors, I’m STILL glad that we didn’t get some clear, pat “And here’s what was happening and here’s what happened” ending. It means that I’ll continue to think about it.
Because I do think this is a game I’ll find myself thinking about down the road, as one does sometimes. Some games you play, you have fun, and in a year someone on a blog mentions it and you’re all “Oh yeah…that..I vaguely remember that.” And some games you remember. This will be the latter, I think.
We picked “let’s keep fighting,” and went out the door and it was the Zixzax ending and then boom credits, and then the game’s home screen with ‘Continue’ and ‘New game’ and stuff. It was very late, so we didn’t test it, but I assumed ‘continue’ would have let us reload Rivellon and go back to Cyseal to sell our loot, or whatever.
Maybe it would have let us return to the Garden! I don’t know. We didn’t try.
Or…the internet says actually there’s no post-ending gameplay, and that if you hit ‘continue’ you just go back to the last save. So…you could fight the final battle over again!
No thanks, we’re good.
People on the internet complained about the lack of post-ending play, but actually, I’m totally fine with it right now. The end is the end. We’re ready to move on.
And as for that end…it does feel a bit tacked on. Like an “it turns out it was all a dream!” ending out of the blue. Although not quite, since there’s the possibility his story is true, or at least true-ish in its essentials, where “it was all a dream” pretty much says that none of it was real. (Hello, ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie.)
And, you know, maybe it WAS just tacked on. Maybe someone just really liked Zixzax, and always wanted him to have a bigger role, and then when they were trying to work out how to do the “then what happened?” bit that tells what the characters did later, they said “let’s literally have someone asking what happened next, and Zixzax can be telling the story!” and everyone else said “fine, sounds good, whatever, we have deadlines.”
We shall never know. Unless we somehow meet some Larian people and make them reveal all their secrets. Or I guess if they’ve given interviews on the topic in the past that might be available somewhere. But hell with that, rampant speculation is much easier.
Anyway, the thing is, even if it’s tacked on, I don’t hate it. Sometimes (often) these types of endings feel like a total cheat, and you end up annoyed that you invested all this attention in something only to be told it was fake, but this one, even though it’s puzzling, kind of fits. Doesn’t it?
It’s sort of saying, “you’ve never completely understood what’s going on here, and you still don’t, but we had fun with the story, right?”
Zixzax even says something to the young imps like “what other ending would you want?”
And you’re right, I don’t know if there’s one I would rather have seen.
Huh. So one last little thing. That didn’t matter. Interesting.
Agreed: we’re very good. Very, very good.
Well, I generally feel that way about post-ending play. Games should end. Stories should end. I don’t know why our fellow gamers feel differently.
I didn’t get that overt “It was all a dream” vibe. Vague. An “it was all a dream” would have SUCKED and I would have been filled with rage all week.
Speculation is easier, and more fun! Cuz then we can be content in our conviction that we are totally right about everything.
As for preferring some other ending…me neither. I thought it was perfectly vague.
And…I wonder why. We’re often, if not usually, frustrated as hell with vague endings. Dragon Age? We throw things at the screen. This, we’re both oddly content, despite the fact, maybe BECAUSE of the fact that I certainly get the feeling that the story of Scarlett and Roderick is very much over. This is it. We’ll never tie up any loose ends here, sequel or no. Stories aren’t supposed to have loose ends, and yet, I agree with you, loose ends FIT here. There isn’t another ending we’d rather see.
Which is usually not the case when we don’t get ample answers.
Dude, I don’t even remember Dragon Age’s vague ending. I thought DA ended OK…I think…I don’t remember being filled with rage about it. I guess time soothes many wounds.
And I agree, it’s much easier to remain convinced that our wild theories are brilliant and correct when we don’t have writers coming in all “we actually just picked that twist out of a random plot generator, it means nothing, and honestly, we all hated it and thought it was stupid.”
This is one of the many reasons ignorance is bliss.
And I guess I meant DAI. With the calling? And Solas? And…whatever?
Oh yeah…that postscript was quite vague. And odd.
Ah, Solas. What a jerk. We shall always remember his jerkhood!
So what’s our final take on Divinity?
I’m eager to play a sequel. Just not right now.
In all, it was a pretty fantastic first game. A little clunky in terms of inventory, some of the quests clunked, and the pacing was a bit odd, but, all in all, look at the themes, the ending was good, the combat was crisp. Glad I played it, looking forward to the next one.
Buuuuut I’m also looking forward to doing something else for a while. That game was large. Preferably something with romance and dress balls and nudity.
But it’ll be Beyond. Which might have those things!
We have to clear some space on the hard drive before I can even download Beyond. May or may not get to that tonight.
But you get started. Tell me if it’s terrible and I don’t need to bother clearing space.
Final verdict on Divinity? Hm.
Very interesting, a lot of fun. Co-op play was both a positive in terms of play (it was fun to play together, even if it made us scatterbrained and even-more-than-usually violent in the game) and a negative in terms of scheduling (harder to find time). Definitely worth playing.
Well, clearing should be fine. Lots of shit you’ll never play again. And it’s a pretty quick download.
At least do that tonight.