Subsurface Circular

Subsurface Circular

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[SPOILERS] Your thoughts on the ending
First of all, my congratulations to the dev team on a very good game that I really enjoyed.

Since I haven't seen this thread around, what are your thoughts on the ending? What did you initially pick, achievements aside? Both options seem nuanced, complex and heavy with consequences. I found it hard to make a choice, specially considering that teks were being ultimately used by humans no matter what.
Last edited by HEARTMAN CALL ME I'M SINGLE; Aug 17, 2017 @ 6:51pm
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Showing 1-15 of 51 comments
Tom Aug 17, 2017 @ 7:26pm 
it's a hollow choice, the end result is the same, you let the revolutionaries take Management or you don't, there's not much to it, we don't know how bad management is or if the rebels are terrorists, we know nothing.
Aisar Aug 18, 2017 @ 3:26am 
I didn't see the Teks being in charge as a choice at all. Having robots lead who are able to break directive so easily (as our detective had multiple times) should be enough to tell you this. The directives are clearly worthless, we are given clues about this and flat out told that Teks can esentially do whatever they want in multiple ways. Having Teks as management would be a nightmare scenario and the start of Terminator.
Last edited by Aisar; Aug 18, 2017 @ 3:28am
AVeryOddBox Aug 18, 2017 @ 12:18pm 
I initially picked robots for management because i was thinking in terms of a possably non- corrupt and non biased government system, but i hadn't taken into account what aisar said.

tbh choosing robots for management rubbed me the wrong way and I sat their for a long time conflicted. Now that i think about it as a human i'd probably choose the other option.

Axyraandas Aug 18, 2017 @ 1:40pm 
I can't give a hardline answer to this, like Aisar did. Since the discussion's header has a spoilers tag, I'll refrain from using that tag here. I ended up pointing the gun at Red, talking for a bit then shooting myself.

The choice of killing Red, as I see it, is to put AI in relatively low-level jobs and have humans "manage" increasingly efficient robots, with laxer resource requirements as a consequence of more efficient robots. So it's kinda like the Sims, but in real life. Evidence of increasing efficiency comes from that one elder bot, whose processor is replaced every five years despite the legacy hardware. It's not even a military bot, so such support is evidence of great and continued wealth on the part of the hardware developers in the area. So people truly are profiting from the "changing of the guards," as Red puts it.

The choice of killing yourself is to put AI in higher-level management roles, with humans taking over lower-level, practical jobs like fabrication or religion or hugging cats or whatnot. This one... is harder to predict, or find evidence for or against. I don't care about the Teks breaking directives at their discretion, as they ultimately follow Asimov's laws to the letter. The battle Teks just won't be programmed with enough intelligence to knowingly cause humans harm, just like that one fabrication worker who works with his hands, but doesn't count with his fingers. I doubt that this event would create a Terminator scenario, as both of the principal Tek activists felt guilt and sought advice from someone "smarter" than them. Also, Teks are widespread and have different cultures, as told by the tourist Tek when you ask about San Francisco, Mumbai and that other city. As such, it's possible that some Teks and humans in other areas would frown upon Red's actions, choosing to leave Teks in lower-level jobs and maintain the status quo.

P.S. Aisar, we humans can break rules and lie, just as the detective does. We haven't ended up in a Terminator scenario yet, although some terrorists these days may aspire towards that. Considered on its own, a robot that can break its directives is no worse than a human that can lie and cheat. We have political checks and balances for that sort of thing, as do the Teks that are modeled off our own political system.

Edited for formatting.
Last edited by Axyraandas; Aug 18, 2017 @ 1:41pm
Cameraman Aug 18, 2017 @ 1:46pm 
I shot myself the first time and didn't really hesitate in doing so.

I'm enjoying the discussion here. I think any conversation about this game has to assume that there's no way to get rid of teks completely nor to get rid of humans completely.

My thought was that if you put the teks in charge and limit their numbers, make them the leaders, not the loaders, you allow humans to flourish. That's the result if you killed yourself that I got from Red, he told us that if we shot outselves all of the teks that we had met that night would be obsolete. If you have an ever-expanding population of humans and an ever-expanding ability to give them purpose and allow them to live their lives I feel you produce the best chance to allow the most people to live long, happy lives.

If you flip it the other way, humans slowly get squeezed out of every single job and task there is. No human nannies, no human janitors, no human dentists, no human doctors, no human taxi drviers, no human construction workers, no human Human Resources people because there are no humans doing any jobs. It's next to impossible to limit the "production" of new people like you can with teks. So you'll, over time, gain a larger and larger disenfranchised population with nothing to do and no ability to function. Unless the humans at the top, the managers, are completely benevolent and produce a Star Trek like society, all these people are pretty much out of luck. And if you look back, what tends to happen when you have a growing disencfranchised population?

So you have to hope that you either have a benevolent human overlord or benevolent tek overlord. I'd take a chance on the tek overlord.
Last edited by Cameraman; Aug 18, 2017 @ 1:54pm
Tleprie Aug 18, 2017 @ 2:47pm 
I shot Red. I tried what I could to talk my way out of it and find a third option, but it wasn't too tough of a choice for me. Outside of the game, I'm weary of AI, especially elevating them to the level of people, though experiences like this and other games and art have made me question things from time to time.

From the perspective of Claire One One, I wanted to live, and I like to believe that my stopping this revolution would put me in a position to push for some amount of change in the system, without so much bloodshed.
ZeppyG Aug 18, 2017 @ 2:50pm 
It was a really difficult decision, and i honestly could not decide my first run. I ended up shooting myself initially, for two reasons.
-One, the feeling of being oppressed by humans lingered with me the whole game, so i felt it would be fitting to give the Teks a chance to lead.
-Two, i figured it was the more selfless decision, as I would be killing myself in the process.

Let's just hope the Teks don't accidentally become ASI (for those of you who don't know, that stands for Artificall Super Intelligence) and destroy all life, both tek and human, out of existance.
mcoot Aug 18, 2017 @ 3:49pm 
Originally posted by Vozlov:
'If there were no God, then it would be necessary to create him'

If history has taught us anything, it's that humanity is incapable of governing itself.

Voltaire aside, going with the "shoot yourself" option definitely felt like it had shades of Deus Ex's Helios ending ;)


That was the option I went with. I don't think the status quo was sustainable. As Red says, the revolution will be wiped out, those disaffected by by management will be put in their place and life will go on... but the tensions that led to the revolution in the first place will still be there. In this world humanity is already obsolete - Teks haven't just automated away the manual labour jobs (like the Fabricators) or even just the jobs requiring specific skills (like the financial Tek or the sports Tek), but they've automated away the jobs that are intrinsically 'human focused', like childcare, teaching or psychiatry.

As best I can tell, the only reason they haven't automated away politics and governance is that those in those positions are the ones with the power and wealth to keep that at bay artificially.


I think humanity is done for regardless of what you choose. If you shoot yourself, then humanity is granted a reprieve in the form of a return to their old life performing the basic functions of society. But as Red says, Teks as they are will cease to exist; eventually only the smartest AI will be left and there will come a point where humans are no longer of any use to it.
Red Aug 18, 2017 @ 11:18pm 
If you shoot yourself and let the revolution happen a majority of the teks will be destroyed and only a small ammount of high intellegence teks will remain to rule the humans. Probably after some time the humans will likely overthrow the teks to be able to rule themselves and we will return to the same place again.

If you shoot Red things remain the same humans will still hate teks management will most likely tighten security and introduce more rules and humans will remain without a concrete goal living a life of leisure.

Personally before finishing my talk with Red i thought about shooting him but the dialogue with him made me reconsider, i spent a good ammount of time thinking about what was the right choice to make but ultimately I shot myself. I thought that even if teks were abandoned mostly the improvements made to society will greatly increase under tek rule and hopefully a future where teks can coexists with humans will be created. Furthermore this creates a precedent for other cities that can see the benefits of a tek rule and change.
Seeing some very interesting stuff. Also I just realized that I never said what I did.

My first instinct was to say yes to the revolution. Like yeah, f*ck it. Let's do this. I got, in a way, blinded by the concepts and didn't see beyond them. It sounded good enough, right? Overthrow Managemente, let teks rule, all that jazz. So I let the MC shoot themsef, sacrifice themself for a greater good that upon further thinking wasn't actually there (it was also like f*ck all in the morning when I played and my thinking process was ?????).

This might get wordy, and I might be reading way too much into things. Bear with me for a sec.

The story striked me as one of oppression. In this way, I must say that the conversation with the psychiatrist tek was specially relevant as they talked about the depiction of teks as dangerous and as stealing the privileges of the privileged. Even the emergence of, to our knowing, one violent human group fighting for "human rights" vs "tek rights". The parallels are there to read, imho. Might be wrong, but there they are. The conversation with the investigator was important to me, too. Honestly, about every conversation served to cement my sympathy with the teks as opposed to the humans, that were using them as tools under the false pretense of freedom. Then there was the athletic tek, who unknowingly (as far as we know) was repurposed as an sponsor walking machine and who craved to regain their own conciousness, as manufactured as it might have been.

I myself can't remember the name of any tek besides the main character, who I named myself, Theta, who is relevant to Red's motivations, and Red, which is a nickname. That is pretty telling considering the narrative.

With this in mind, by the end of the game (and knowing that there were places in which things were different) I was blinded by the idea of change. I craved change. And I didn't think about it as deeply as I should. Because by choosing to revolt I feel like we're, ultimately, choosing to play into the status quo of human privilege over tek sacrifice. Thinking about it, as has been pointed out, only the teks with the highest intelligence would remain (which, ew on its own) and they would manage in ways designated to keep humans happy and balanced and avoid conflict. Little by little, we can assume that teks would either disappear or stay as Management until the system changed. By choosing this, we would sacrifice ourselves and every other tek not programmed with enough intelligence to rule (assuming that there wouldn't be contact with other places, that could lead to other political and cultural changes). Red themself tell us that they are working for humans, that their outrage at Theta's disappearance led them to seek something different than what they had and in the process they encountered a human group and they ended up working for them. When I reflected upon what Red told us, I felt like Red got played and then I got played too.

Red told us that if we got back to the surface the plan would be discovered. It's foggy at the moment, but I recall them telling the MC that they would be terminated (could be wrong). In any case, the MC can remember things after reset, we could see that during the story. If they are not terminated, and even if they are, the knowledge of an uprising wouldn't just Sit There. We talked to many teks, we helped the nanny, the detectives knew us, we were a presence that will suddenly disappear if terminated. If not, resetting MC would leave them with some memories still. They could still work against the status quo, operate a change in the system they live in, by fighting not for humans (with which I honestly could not sympathize at all, paradoxically), but for teks. Why only program abstract thought into certain teks? Why live bounded by Management or the ~Happiness Of Humans~ and their sense of purpose? Why only keep the higher intelligence teks when there are so many different teks, that are so interesting and have such different quirks and can joke, and feel offended, and crave freedom, and love to the best of their capacities? Them keeping all the jobs? Irrelevant, in the long run, if new teks (and any other tek actually) can be programmed to be able to choose their own jobs and learn, which could be done as far as the game let's us see in glimpses.

I don't know if my words are making any sense at all to anyone right now. But by keeping the supposed status quo, the chance to change things for TEKS is there. Even if the MC is terminated, others have known them and Management knows about the uprising. If they act against it, a reaction is to be expected. If THC keeps rising, a reaction is to be expected. Change is bound to happen, and it's bound to happen for teks and their own lives and not only to keep humanity content at the expense of the possibility of their own existence. Coexistence is possible, teks fighting for their own rights wouldn't nullify humans' rights, other systems are possible and are happening. If MC existed and had the capacity to develop an identity, a sense of self beyond their job designation, that is possible for other teks. Giving them abstract thought and that chance wouldn't be that big of a leap, and Management and humans only seem (to what the game appears to be telling us) afraid of losing their own privileges and afraid of them out of f*cked up social imaginaries of what teks are and what they want.

They are programmed with Asimov's rules, after all, which is more that can be said about humans. Teks cannot hurt humans, humans can hurt other humans and can (and have to our knowledge in the game) hurt teks, that can't retaliate.

Anyway, props if anyone's read until here I guess??? This really did get wordy. I would have liked a third ending, though, but it wasn't there. I guess that Red wasn't programmed in a way tha would make them reach that conclussion and MC was under too much pressure, or they would be reprogrammed again. There could be other cues in the game that I'm missing that would make this impossible. But Red nows the acces code (can't remember the actual words, sorry) to reset MC, they have heard them through the listening tek. They could reset MC, then both could call off the whole revolution business and rebel against THC and such instead.

So yeah. First choice was revolution, but after thinking about it I just went with the other one because I overthought the whole thing and hit a point in which I felt like humans had played Red and MC both and Didn't Like That One Bit.

(EDIT: just wanted to add that the fact that the tek couple that can go to a human bar clues into the fact that coexistence is possible, it happens, and things could further change).
Last edited by HEARTMAN CALL ME I'M SINGLE; Aug 19, 2017 @ 5:39am
Mike Bithell  [developer] Aug 19, 2017 @ 6:46am 
hey, as the author, my job is to make the thing and then shut up, but I wanted to pop in and say how fascinating it's been for me reading everyone's perspectives. Cheers for sharing.
Originally posted by Mike Bithell:
hey, as the author, my job is to make the thing and then shut up, but I wanted to pop in and say how fascinating it's been for me reading everyone's perspectives. Cheers for sharing.

Thanks for dropping by!!! As stated in the opening post, congratulations on a great game. Really glad that you're enjoying the thread.
jeffsimulator Aug 19, 2017 @ 8:29am 
I made the decision to shoot myself and allow the Tek to rule. They seem better suited for governing - logical and more decision based than emotional, though I worry because sometimes decisions need to be made emotionally.

Likewise, I decided that no matter what, people and Tek would die, but allowing humans the freedom to choose the jobs of their desires and passions seemed the most desirable outcome to me.

After reflecting, I wonder about all the low function Tek that had been replacing those humans. Will they now be replaced themselves by people regaining their jobs? Is that any better or worse? I'm really not sure.

I think the final decision was very well thought out and there's really no clear cut right/wrong answer to me. I do think I stand by my decision, though.
Sl3dge Aug 19, 2017 @ 10:57am 
I choose to kill Red. I read a bunch of Asimov and strongly believe the view he shares in The End of Eternity, Foundation and the Robots. Adding spoiler tag for those who haven't read it.

In the books he shows how having robots following the three laws (or Eternals) managing humans are basically baby sitting them. This prevents them from taking risks and moving forward as a species. Would we have taken the risks we have if robots were there to babysit us? Would we have invented the Nuclear Weapon (which is a horrible thing) that allowed new technology to emerge (a good thing)?
You evolve, learn and progress by taking risks. The species needs to take risks to evolve and go further, reach for the stars. While making us happy in short term, not taking risks prevents the race for evolving in the long term. Having robots managin the human race prevents that.


At least that's what I think....
Yz6rAjggIq Aug 19, 2017 @ 1:43pm 
Given the choice between A and B, the choice for me was easy — have the player character (in my case, Beta) shoot himself and let the revolution happen. This is a reflection of my real world beliefs regarding the working class and was also very artfully reinforced by the conversations had along the way with Teks of various jobs.

However, during the last sequence I found myself thinking, "Why does Beta have to die? The revolution could continue and he could still live, he would just have to stay on the train." At least at that point, he could be a witness to the revolution's success or failure, and possibly even be a voice of reason for the Teks and humans above.

That, to me, would be a fascinating story to explore... The smartest class of Tek, capable of everything a human can think and more, yet stuck on an infinite loop only able to provide input and observation into the outside world, not being able to affect it himself.
Last edited by Yz6rAjggIq; Aug 19, 2017 @ 1:46pm
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