Spoilers for the ending of The Outer Worlds
But OK, WIMPY ROBOT aside, the ending:
I assume you, like me, got the “good” ending, or, at least, a very good ending. I will operate on the assumption that we got pretty much the same thing, except I got a blurb about Parvati joining Junlei (who isn’t dead) on the Groundbreaker and how they’re never apart, so that’s nice.
Some hot takes:
I was surprised that idea to take 26% of the gas and spare the doctors instead of all the gas turned out not to matter so much. My blurb said that Welles was able to revive everyone in time, so that Weighty Decision (and I did think about it a while) wasn’t particularly Weighty. Hmm.
I thought it was pretty awesome that Edgewater ended up pretty much the same, with Adelaide (who I never liked) driving out the loyalists. That was a very nice touch. Yes, it meant that a Weighty Decision wasn’t because it’s going to be like that no matter who is in power, but that’s the POINT of making that not weighty. The 26%? Should’ve been weighty.
The one dark, unhappy picture of a companion I got was Felix. It was all “he was disappointed in no rebellion, but he learned in time that change is done with your hands” or something. It certainly read as one of those epilogues you get in games that says “You could’ve done better here,” and I have no idea how I could’ve done better short of just shooting Rockwell or some shit. How did I wrong you, Felix????
The game did a pretty good job tying up its loose ends. Games often suck at this, but this game did OK in that regard. Better than OK by game standards. That said, there was one thing I wanted to know more about: That reference to ADA having code in her that could take over the system or something. I wanted that to matter SO MUCH. I liked ADA.
Do you think that, in the end, they took away too much of the moral ambiguity? Throughout the game, it seems you have to choose between a) keeping people safe and fed at the cost of freedom or b) keeping them free knowing they’ll suffer. Here, we got the “good” ending, and people were free, people were equal (even some people in Byzantium had to get jobs), and, yes, they say “it was hard on Halcyon,” but they gave us the out by saying that they were able to invent food that drove off starvation. In the end, Halcyon was free and half of it very much DIDN’T die. In the end, the real choice was a) side with the bad, corporate baddies and oppress or b) don’t.
So what was that all about? Was it letting the player off the hook and giving them a “good” ending? Not saying “Ha, you killed half the colony but hey, free, right?” Or was it intentional, saying “Hey, good on you, because if you had sided with the Board then you’d just have been duped like everyone else?” If we had sided with the Board, would the ending have been “You thought you were protecting everyone, but, in the end, you were just another stupid, duped tool of oppression?” Was the point that the “moral ambiguity” we thought we saw wasn’t really there, that the Board was just very good at making us think the right choice was wrong? Was that the lesson?
Was the dark earth thing setting up the sequel?
OK, over to you.
Ah man, I missed Parvati and Junlei being together. I think my Parvati was chillin’, working on the Groundbreaker. I’ll imagine they got together somehow eventually.
And yeah, I’m not sure what we should have done for Felix, because he didn’t seem very satisfied, but…enh…can’t win ’em all, I guess.
I really do wonder what would have happened if you sided with the Board…OK, I looked it up. Explanation here: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-11-01-the-outer-worlds-endings-6050
The key point:
Afterwards The Board’s employment program will go into full affect, the smaller colonies will dwindle and collapse, and the citizens of Byzantium continue to live their lives of excess. As for the people in The Hope, they all get jettisoned into space. Good Job!
So…yeah. We could have done that. I guess.
Yeah, see, that completes the complete undoing of what made the game so interesting in the beginning. When we started playing, we were all “Whoa, they really made this more complicated than ‘good people against The Bad Corporations.'” It was vague. It was complicated. We felt bad for some of the company men. That was SO good, getting us to think about things beyond “Good small guy, bad big corporation.”
And then Byzantium happened. And the retirement program happened. And then Rockwell happened. And now this. It became SO FUCKING OBVIOUS the Board was REALLY BAD. Every scrap of nuance was thrown out.
And now this. Side with the Board, you’re a greedy, evil, murderous bastard. Don’t and you’re a hero without any consequence.
And game, what the fuck. If we go back to previous posts, posts from the start of the game, we were gushing about how games are usually black and white, paragon/renegade, and now we have one that isn’t. We were so impressed.
They could have kept that. There could have been “With the Board gone, the people had freedom, but, sadly, some people didn’t make it. Even your friend Felix couldn’t find work and starved” or something. Some consequence. Or “You sided with the Board, and, while many people were still forced to work in a saltuna factory, you taught them how to change their DNA and everyone lived….even if they weren’t quite human.”
THAT would’ve been cool. THAT would’ve continued to make us think about the nuance of our previous liberal thinking the way we were at the start of things.
This? You either were good or bad in the end. Period.
That’s so fucking frustrating.
The ending really did subvert some game tropes in the end, too. Usually, you at least have a chance to wind up with a love interest, a kiss at the end as a reward. Not here. Usually, your companions stick with you, all “Hey, captain/boss/inquisitor, we’ve been through so much, we’ll follow you all over the place forever.” Here, they all went their own way, lived their own lives. That never happens. The only one who got a kiss at the end wasn’t you.
And yet……they still fell into “good ending, bad ending.”
Wasted opportunity, that.
Yeah, it really is odd that it turns out to be SO black and white.
Not even a little bit of “you saved some good people and noble institutions of higher learning and artistic purpose by sacrificing the Hope,” or anything. Just, “you helped the Board be evil, the end.”
Hm. I mean…yeah, I’m having a hard time coming up with a good spin on that, even trying to think of a way we could argue it might have been intentional/thoughtful/meant to convey some theme.
Maybe the whole point was “sometimes the things that seem evil are evil and it’s not any more complicated than that, so if you went along with them hoping we’d give you some kinds of shades-of-gray justification to make you feel OK about yourself, tough”?
I don’t know, man. It’s not complex. And the only thing I can think is maybe it’s supposed to not be complex because that’s the point. Maybe it seems more complex at the beginning because we don’t know as much, and it gets plainer and plainer that the Board is evil because we’re learning more about them being evil? Maybe this is a quiet argument against moral relativity?
Hm. I don’t know.
Yeah, my thinking is that maybe, MAYBE they were going for “The Board is so good at convincing everyone, everyone is so prone to fall for marketing, that even you, lefty liberals, thought, for a while, that maybe there was some good there. Even you suckered for it.”
Which might be a good point. We did have a post (I wonder how I remember it?) where I talked on maybe suckering for the whole idea of my town being “good” with “good schools” and all that? That maybe I, lefty liberal that I am, have consumed the same Kool Aid as people in Byzantium? Maybe they were saying “See? We got you to drink some of the Kool Aid.”
It’s a reach. I think they would have been better keeping it nuanced. But I’m trying to find something because this really was a pretty great game, themewise, until the final act.
Yeah…could be something there about that. Marketing, believing someone who talks a good game, believing what we want to believe in some cases, or alternatively believing the best in people who don’t deserve it because you assume they deserve some slack. “You, lefty liberal, like to think there’s some good intentions in everyone, but no!”
But yeah, I don’t know how well it worked.
Hm. Lots of hm.
I don’t know either, which is a shame because it really was a good game, themewise, until Byzantium. Edgewater was so fantastic. If it had followed through, it would’ve been a masterpiece.
I still think it was a very good game….but fell short of the masterpiece it could have been and should have been.
Yeah, I enjoyed it and thought it was more interesting than it seemed like it might be, if that makes sense, but the ending really did feel like an odd choice.
Not quite as odd as the 7-hour ‘epilogue’ in RDR2, because at least this game actually ended when it ended, but still odd.
I mean, I’m happy I saved the colonists and had all these friends, I’m glad I got a good ending, I’m not complaining. Really.
Because in a way all our complaints sound kind of like “I wish I could have sided with evil and still had it turn out OK!” and…in that light, it seems like a weird argument. Maybe that is in fact what they were going for, the “you know what, there’s no way to do the wrong thing and still have it be OK, because wrong is wrong.”
Or even if we’re saying “I wish there could have been a more thoughtful explanation for how evil justified itself to me,” maybe they were thinking something like “why let evil justify itself? Commoditization of human lives is wrong and that’s that.”
The idea that they were aiming for something like this is the only way I can think of that the simplistic good/evil breakdown makes sense as a thing they did on purpose in order to say something.
Of course, maybe we’re overthinking it and in fact they didn’t do it to say anything, and just thought “hey, these complex factions are getting tiresome, let’s keep the ending tidy” or something.
We don’t know.
We shall never know.
But, in all, glad I played it. If there’s a sequel, hope it isn’t an XBox exclusive. Certainly didn’t love this one enough that I’m gonna be all “MUST BUY XBOX TO PLAY SEQUEL!!!!” though.
Why didn’t you think it would be interesting? I expected interesting.
Another thing I will say, which is general praise, it was rather refreshing to play a game that didn’t feel the need to be 100 hours long. There really wasn’t much padding. It did what it did, it ended. There wasn’t any “Get 15 raptidon tusks for so and so.” It was long enough to be interesting, long enough for me to feel I got my money’s worth, and exited stage left. More games should do that.
I agree. It was refreshing to have a game that was cool with doing what it did and then ending. Cheers to that.
And I don’t know, it kind of seemed at the beginning that it might just be a ‘pick up random quests on random worlds’ kind of story. I wasn’t super excited by the first few hours. But it picked up!
It did. I liked it. Worth playing for sure.
So…on to Life is Strange 2?