We Know the Devil

We Know the Devil

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Shady Boots Feb 16, 2016 @ 5:02am
I'm not sure I understand the story? [spoilers]
I played through the game and got all of the endings, but I'm still not sure I understand any of what was going on, to be honest. I liked the characters, and I thought it was going to be a simple, light-hearted story, but then things got...weird. There were SOME parts where I felt like I could sort of get the implied meanings and nuances, but for the most part I was scratching my head. Maybe I'm just one of the people who are too dim-witted to understand the deep meanings of this game lol.

If someone could explain it to me, help me flesh it out a little more, I'd really appreciate it. I don't mind spoilers.
Last edited by Shady Boots; Feb 16, 2016 @ 5:50am
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Showing 1-8 of 8 comments
Puhshinator Feb 17, 2016 @ 2:52pm 
I don't think you're dim-witted. To be fair, I'm having trouble as well. These are the only things I've gathered, and it's long, so I'm sorry!:

(Also I haven't done the true ending yet, but I'll talk about the three main endings at least)

The kids are at this Christian camp because they are 'bad.' They're labled this way because they aren't inline with the teachings, and each one of them must become 'good' in the biblical sense of things. Each kid also has a 'tick;' Venus sees things, Jupiter snaps her hairtie, and Neptune coughs.

Venus is always referred to as 'he' until he takes in the devil and transforms, and for one line is referred to as 'she.' He sees a bright light earlier on that no one else sees. I'm assuming this is all related to Venus struggling with his identity, and wishing it to be noticed. From what I've seen around other people talking about WKTD, Venus is trans, but not out to himself or others yet. Jupiter says at some point how she's comfortable with Venus because he's 'not like other boys,' and Venus responds he wishes he was because it would be easier. He's also very compliant and gullible, and says he wishes he could understand/see people's intentions better (like Neptune can). So the 'bad' in Venus is this desire to not be male, and when he lets the devil in, he becomes what he wants: a female-bodied angel that is bright and covered in eyes, so everyone can see her, and she can see everyone else's real intentions.

Jupiter I BELIEVE has had some sort of abuse upon her. She's told not to touch, but also to avoid being touched. She tries very hard to be 'good' because she's been taught that what she is (a lesbian) is bad. So I assume her abuse is the 'beat the gay out' kind. She also has impulses/thoughts that she tries to keep under control by periodically snapping the hairtie on her wrist when these things enter her mind. The problem with her distancing herself from physical touch so harshly, is that she longs for any sort of touch now, and I think that's what she's trying to control. There's that scene where she starts choking Venus, and doesn't realize she's doing it, and I believe it's her body acting out her frustrations, and her mind being unable to stop it. She's also very closeted and scared of being seen as bad, to the point that her and Neptune's kiss is sort of swept under the rug as, "It's okay so long as we never tell anyone," and as long as she doesn't voice her feelings, she can repress them. When she takes in the devil, she gets multiple hands that are each for different things. They're for hitting, stroking, holding, etc. She wants to be allowed to touch, and be touched back, and be open.

Neptune I don't have the greatest concept of. From my understanding, she accepts that she isn't 'good,' and she wants to 'corrupt' everyone else. She doesn't see why the others should hide the 'bad' things about them, so she's very open about not being nice. I THINK her being at camp is in-part because she's assumed to be a♥♥♥♥♥♥by others for talking to so many boys, and possibly because of some queerness of her own. She refuses to try to be good, and instead of conforming to the world around her, she's trying to have the world conform to her. Her ending with the devil is she oozes this ichor that she uses to try to contaminate the others. It sounds really bad, but the end goal is to make the others accept who they are, and stop trying to be 'good' in the way they've been taught to be. She says things like Venus and Jupiter are already good, so why do they have to try so hard? Basically that there's nothing wrong with the 'bad' in them, so they should let her contaminate them to bring it out.

That's at least all the deep, confusing stuff I've picked up or read about on the characters. The only thing I'm really not understanding at this point, are the radios. It's semi-clear they're some metaphor for something else, but lord if I know what. The radios allow them to tune into God, but are also used as weapons against whoever let's in the devil (Jupiter's sounds like it's a blade at some point, and Venus's coils up?), so I'm very lost about those things... Might be something biblical-related that I don't know about. *Shrug*

Anyway, sorry that was so long! I hope it kinda cleared things up a bit, though~
Shady Boots Feb 17, 2016 @ 10:38pm 
Thank you, that post helped me understand things a little more. But like you said, I'm also still not getting the stuff about the radio and God and the Devil and.. Gah, maybe the story is just too intelligent for me to understand. xD
Peppo Fan Club Feb 18, 2016 @ 4:51am 
So my interpetation of the radios is they're a metaphor for communication. Radios literally allow communication in real life, and in the game radios serve two major purposes;

1. They allow you to tune in to and listen to frequencies, like real radios, which is how God communicates with their followers and the groups in the camp can get in touch with each other
2. They allow you to defeat the Devil

Now the Devil is you, it's the parts of you that society deems wrong, and becoming the devil is to accept yourself in spite of that, to be true to who you are in the face of opposition. God, and the camp as a whole aren't just about the literal bigotry of religious institutions but a stand in for how society as a whole reinforces the way we think and feel and most importantly, act in response to certain things, and communication is how we do that; it's how we talk to one another, it's how we spread and reinforce societal norms and through doing so reinforce systems of oppression. So the radios being weapons you can use against the devil is a metaphor for enacting that non-acceptance, a way of very literally forcing people back into the closet; which is what happens in each of the three character specific endings, the kids are purged and forced to go back to living how they were before.

This is also why it's easy when it's two against the Devil, accepting and being yourself in the face of everyone telling you you're wrong, when you don't have any support, when you're wholly alone, is just impossible. Suicide rates for queer people, especially queer youth, rise astronomically if their families and friends reject them and if they don't have any kind of accepting, supportive enviornment. As we see in the true ending though, when they all embrace the Devil together they're able to survive that way in spite of the other squads coming for them, because as long as they are accepting and supporting one another they're strong and have each other to validate they aren't wrong in the face of societal pressure, and in the face of that those tools of oppresion lose their power.

I think probably the best individual example of this in the writing is Venus' portrayal in the two endings in which she transforms, in her own ending the narrative voice describes her with female pronouns as she accepts herself and transforms, but as we're brought back to Jupiter and Neptune's perspective the pronoun becomes "it" dehumanizing and very literally making her transness into something monstrous, and once it's gone and they've "defeated" it they go back to using male pronouns. In the true ending the pronoun switches to she and the only change then on is when Jupiter, still struggling and resisting and not wanting to accept the devil into her heart, says he - and then immediately corrects herself, showing earnest acceptance of Venus. It's only when the three both embrace themselves, and more importantly each other, that they're able to stand up to the world in spite of it telling them they're wrong.

Which is really what We Know the Devil is about I think, there's a lot of themes to unpack about identity, how societal systems of oppression influence social heirarchies in youth environments, about being the third wheel and how we think of relationships, about bodies and gender and sexuality, but I think the most important message of all in the game is that it's about both accepting yourself, and supporting your friends in doing the same.
Last edited by Peppo Fan Club; Feb 18, 2016 @ 7:45pm
Shady Boots Feb 18, 2016 @ 9:38am 
Thank you for that, Venus, that was very beautifully put. Also another thing I wondered was if the characters' symbols also meant anything in particular?
Joga Feb 18, 2016 @ 11:16am 
Originally posted by Shady Boots:
Thank you for that, Venus, that was very beautifully put. Also another thing I wondered was if the characters' symbols also meant anything in particular?

Each character's symbol is the astronomical symbol their name corresponds to (see this link[solarsystem.nasa.gov]). Though Venus' symbol (which is also the symbol for "female") could also be seen as an early hint that they're a trans woman.

To the other posters: thanks for the explanations! I really enjoyed this game, even if I didn't completely understand everything, so your explanations helped a lot :)
Last edited by Joga; Feb 18, 2016 @ 11:18am
Twipidash Jan 10, 2017 @ 9:03pm 
The planets also correspond to each character's element :

Venus is a very bright celestial body, and his element is stated near the end to be light. It also ties in with his "tick" and transformation, all based around mysterious lights/ fireflies/ streetlamps. I definitely agree that all of the femininity associated with the planet and its sign serves as an early hint that he is trans (or in some way nonconforming with gender norms, anyway).

Jupiter has giant storms on its surface, and her element is the storm. Her transformation has a lot to do with air and things appearing, moving grasping in midair, which is a somewhat storm-like type of threat. Not sure about her tick, but the hairband-snapping could be seen as a sign of great tension, of letting frustration out in a physical way, which could be loosely tied to the violence of a storm.

Neptune is a watery planet, and her element is water. I'm not sure what's up with her tick, but the first thing that comes to mind is that water = drowning = lots of coughing. Her transformation is very watery, liquid pouring out from everywhere.
Last edited by Twipidash; Jan 10, 2017 @ 9:03pm
Link Oct 27, 2017 @ 7:32pm 
Thanks for writing these summaries. This is all very helpful!
Hey, so I'm just gonna add some stuff to this thread in regards to the spiritual aspects in this game. (don't mind that I'm a year late) (also new account, so like, no playtime, sorry)

Now, there are some more noticeable nods to most monotheistic belief systems such as the trio of kids possibly representing the trinity and such, but I just want to spew some speculation on other things that might not be someone's first thought. (idk)

So, when I first played through the game, the fact that God was on channel 109.8 stuck out to me, so I went to Psalm 109:8, and it says this: May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. And basically, this passage is talking about punishment for the wicked (in this case, the kids from God's perspective, and basically everyone else from our main characters point of view). So I think it's a nod to the eventual casting out of the devil in the three main endings, and a rejection of God's rules in the true ending.

Another thing that stuck out to me was the use of "we" when the characters are talking in a first person that could describe a number of them. It reminds me of the demon Legion ("I am Legion, for we are many") and could reference connection between the characters in relation to the devil.

And now the endings.

For Venus, Biblically speaking, his/her transformation is what most closely coincides with the Biblical story of the devil. With the idea of shining and being seen possibly being a reference to how the angel Lucifer wanted to be like God, but was ultimately cast out of heaven.

With Neptune, I see her transformation as a corruption of God itself. (kinda like the apparent meaning of her devil) Her devil was described as having both "ichor" and "bile" which is interesting because, the term "ichor" refers to the blood of gods, which could symbolize the wounding of God by rejecting him or, because of the bile references, the corruption of God and the desire to corrupt other's Gods.

And Jupiter, who's devil doesn't really stand out, to me at least, as an inherently spiritual metaphor. I think the message is simple enough, she longed for touch, both good and bad.And it could be related to the stigma against physical intimacy and LGBT+ people in the Western Christian church. (that's probably what the creator was going for) But the only "spiritual" aspect, I could think of, could be that Seraphim in the bible had many wings and she has many hands? (also, deities in other religions have many hands as well)

Also, the radios could be sort of a messed up form of prayer in the minds of a human when they aren't having a conversation with God. "He's already speaking when we tune in" "You run into the devil when you're switching channels" Or just prayer in general "Keeps the devil out" "Defeats the devil"

Anyway, thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
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