If there’s one thing a lot of story based video games have in common, it’s that we can usually spend a great deal of time discussing why we think certain things are happening. Mostly these theories are just fans thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…’ but every now and then comes a theory that is so startlingly well researched it makes a surprising amount of sense; sometimes more sense than the game itself. We at wasduk have been trawling the internet for some of the better theories to bring to you here.
As a disclaimer; this is just a showcase of ten fan theories from around the internet, we at wasduk don’t necessarily agree with all of or any of them. In some of these cases the game developers have commented on the theories, sometimes claiming that it was not their intention. Should this stop us thinking about it? Hell no! Theorise away people!
Spoiler alert: Spoilers! We have them! In abundance!
#10 The Final Battle is an Abortion
As a child, game designer, Shigesato Itoi accidentally walked into the wrong screening at a cinema and ended up watching a particularly graphic murder scene, something which he thought was a rape, an experience which affected him for the rest of his life. So much so that it’s theorised that he decided to use this experience in the game Earthbound, because nothing cures repressed trauma than forcing it on children worldwide!
On the surface Earthbound is your typical JRPG for kids; you play as four children trying to save their rather colourful world. Then the final boss comes along and suddenly the game takes a rather sinister twist, the kind of sinister twist you’d expect from a man scarred by a sexually violent scene from his childhood. The final boss Giygas, is not defeated by normal means. Instead your party have to fight him at the moment in his life when he is the weakest. Travelling to this point takes you through some rather surreal environments that look a fair bit like a woman’s cervix, almost as if they are travelling into a womb. Things become even more bizarre when you are confronted with Giygas’ ‘true form’ which looks startlingly like a foetus. Supporters of the theory believe that in lieu of a final battle you are actually performing an abortion, killing the boss at his weakest i.e when he has no defences whatsoever.
You can read more about this theory here.
#9 The Kanto War
In the original Pokemon Red/Blue games you meet a gym leader Lt. Surge who declares that his Pokemon saved him during the war. And fans worldwide screamed, ‘wait, what?!’
This one line of dialogue set cogs turning and suddenly it seems as though a Kanto war on the scale of World War III (in fact there are those who believe that it was literally World War III, Pokemon therefore takes place in our world) and you are part of the very first generation to live in peace. Taken to support this is the sheer lack of men in the world. Your own father is conspicuously absent, your rival is an orphan and the only males you encounter are suspiciously either children or over the age of fifty, leaving a pretty large and obvious gap.
The theory also suggests that Pokemon are military experiments; genetically engineered and bred for war, but sentient and therefore unable to be disposed of. This explains why many Pokemon have very specific abilities that interact with the real world, and why some of them have power on an almost apocalyptic scale. The theory also considers just why there is a medical centre in every town/village, why the worlds are filled with paramilitary crime organisations, why there doesn’t seem to be sustainable fuel and few vehicles despite their obvious existence and the list goes on, a list you can in fact read in great detail here.
#8 Rinoa is Ultimecia
Final Fantasy VIII
One of the two Final Fantasy VIII theories discussed here has female protagonist Rinoa as the evil sorceress from the future causing all the problems in the game in the first place.
The theory draws on a number of hints within the game, significantly from a conversation between Rinoa and another sorceress, where she is told that a sorceress’ power can corrupt her and she requires a strong ‘knight’ in order to keep her on track. The knight imagery is enforced throughout the game with Squall, Rinoa’s love interest, assuring her that he will protect her in this role. From this it can be suggested that Squall does indeed stand with Rinoa and his loss causes her power to corrupt her without his support.
There are other hints that theorists draw on such as Ultimecia’s use of ‘Griever’ the name of a ring given to Rinoa by Squall, the fact that both Rinoa and Ultimecia are the only two characters who have wings and that the closing FMV show that Rinoa and Ultimecia’s facial structure are identical. Although Square have outright stated that Rinoa is not Ultimecia, many fans believe that the theory gives Ultimecia character development that is otherwise lacking.
#7 Mary is in the trunk
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 sees you play as widower James Sunderland who is summoned to the tourist town of Silent Hill by a letter from his wife Mary. The fact that Mary died some years previous from an illness doesn’t stop him from this particular road trip. The plot reveals that far from dying of the illness it was James himself who killed her and then immediately represses this fact. So much so that there are theories that her body is in fact in the car that James drives to Silent Hill, and that he has driven there immediately after killing her.
The theory specifically draws from the In Water and Rebirth endings. In the former James drives his car into a lake, complete with dead wife’s corpse, saying, ‘they can be together,’ literally as well as figuratively. Likewise in the Rebirth ending James takes her corpse to the old Gods of the town to have her resurrected, a corpse which he must have had access to. The body must have been brought with him to the town in order for him to use it in the ritual, as she was killed outside of Silent Hill. Of course if this is true then someone’s going to get one hell of a shock when they get home after the other two endings; Leave and Maria.
The novelisation of Silent Hill 2 takes the theory and confirms it, while The Book of Lost Memories (containing in depth information about the first three games) also picks up on the theory. Even designer Masahiro Ito believes that James took Mary’s body with him, though he imagined her to be on the back seat of the car with James unable to see it because of the level of his repression.
You can read more about this theory on these threads.
#6 Reaper Indoctrination
In a previous post we looked at the controversy surrounding the ending of the Mass Effect series. For some fans however, it was not one of the most horrific let downs in gaming history, it was actually one of the best examples of subtle storytelling in a video game. So subtle in fact it managed to slip by practically unnoticed.
The theory suggests that there is a reason all three endings unexpectedly end in a similar and equally disappointing vein, namely that Shepard has been the victim of the Reaper’s indoctrination throughout the game and the end of the game is taking place in Shepard’s head.
Shepard spends a great deal of time exposed to Reaper technology, something which is known to manipulate and indoctrinate characters. This is why the endings are very similar and their moral leanings are a little off; the paragon ending acts out much like a renegade option and vice versa. The endings aren’t actually happening in the physical universe, just Shepard’s head and boil down to; resist the indoctrination, succumb or kill yourself.
You can read more, a lot lot more, about this theory here.
#5 The Weighted Companion Cube contains people
The Companion Cube in Portal, despite being a box with hearts pictured on it, is recognised as one of the most popular video game characters even though it could barely be considered a character. However there is a theory that the innocuous cube that you use to weight down buttons and deflect laser beams holds a rather sinister secret; it contains a previous test subject who is either close to or very dead.
Suspicions were first aroused when you receive the achievement ‘fratricide’ for incinerating the Companion Cube in the first game, which is something of an odd phrase to use if you have just incinerated an inanimate object. The game’s sinister AI also insists on reminding you that the cube cannot talk and that if the cube tries to talk to you, you should ignore it. Of course we know that the AI is hardly truthful with you and if the cube did try to talk to you it’s far more likely to be the result of a dying human within than your own lack of sanity.
The theory also uses the elusive Ratman character who leaves helpful advice [read: batshit insane scrawls] all over the walls, in which he attributes human characteristics to the Companion Cube, insisting that he can hear voices from it, and that he is most certainly not hallucinating.
You can hear more about this theory here.
#4 Booker DeWitt is Andrew/Jack Ryan
This theory has been shouted down quite vehemently by fans pointing out that Booker DeWitt couldn’t be Andrew/Jack Ryan because they are different people. The theory however comes from Bioshock Infinite which, as the title might suggest, takes place in infinite universes. In the end sequence DeWitt’s companion, Elizabeth, says, ‘there’s always a lighthouse. There’s always a man. There’s always a city.’ This defines the Bioshock universe but it also draws parallels between the three games, especially the first and third which begin in a lighthouse, with you playing as a man, bent on escaping a city.
The parallels are further drawn in a short sequence where Elizabeth takes you to Rapture, the city of the first game. Here DeWitt utilises the Bathysphere, a mode of transport restricted specifically to Andrew Ryan or someone with his DNA (in this instance his illegitimate son; Jack). How then can DeWitt use the Bathysphere? The explanations range from, ‘it’s broken’ or the imaginative, ‘who cares?’ to ‘perhaps DeWitt is an alternate universe version of Andrew Ryan, or more likely, as the hero bent on escaping the city; his son Jack’.
You can read more about this theory (and other characters) here.
#3 Cubone and Kangaskhan are linked
Pokemon are linked to each other through evolution, however the theory goes that Cubone is actually the baby in the otherwise unrelated Kangaskhan’s pouch. The Pokedex entries for Cubone since Generation I have continuously referenced that the skull on its head belonged to its mother;
“Wears the skull of its deceased mother. Its cries echo inside the skull and come out as a sad melody.”
The Cubone then evolves into a Marowak which bears similarities to a Kangaskhan, while the baby in the Kangaskhan’s pouch will otherwise evolve normally if its mother survives. A lot of this theory is based on the illustrations of Pokemon (shown above) however there is also a theory that initially, during Pokemon Blue/Red, were supposed to have Marowak evolving into a Kangaskhan. This decision was rethought after the necessary codes had already been put into the game. The relevant codes were moved around and manifested itself in the infamous MissingNo. If you evolve a MissingNo, it becomes a Marowak.
#2 Squall is dead
Final Fantasy VIII
At the end of disc one the protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, Squall, is speared by an ice spear and falls from a raised platform. The ‘Squall is dead’ theory suggests just that; that he died from the injuries and the rest of the game from disc 2 onwards is merely Squall’s mind playing hell with itself as he dies.
When the game resumes on disc 2 Squall finds himself in prison, rather than a hospital and his wound is miraculously healed with nobody mentioning the incident again. The female protagonist, Rinoa, who has been until now happy in a relationship with Squall’s rival, Seifer, suddenly finds a new interest in Squall and the two become involved. Likewise Squall becomes far more heroic than he had been in the introductory disc, seeing him being elevated to the commander of the Garden he has so recently graduated from and earning the respect and attention of his superiors.
During the ending sequence however, Squall seems to be lost in a timeless state where his life flashes before his eyes after this rather intriguing dialogue from the final boss;
“Reflect on your… Childhood…”
“Your sensation… Your words… Your emotions…”
“Time… It will not wait…”
“No matter… …how hard you hold on. It escapes you…“
From here Squall starts to lose touch of his own memories and he cannot adequately recall the faces of the people important to him, especially Rinoa. Interestingly the sequence draws very heavily on scenes from disc one even though he has had far more interactions with her since then. It seems that this sequence draws to a close with Squall giving in to his death while the remaining sequence shows some sort of heavenly afterlife where everything is positively resolved.
You can read about this theory in greater detail here.
#1 You’ve been Abducted
Animal Crossing is a colourful sandbox game. There are no set quests to follow or a plot line to explore, instead you just sort of exist in a happy village populated by talking animals performing tasks; pretty standard children’s game.
Some fans, however, have found the set up somewhat sinister. For a start, you wake up in a rather darkened room resembling an abduction scene (see creepy cat above). You take up residence in an extremely small house, with little amenities, that has been set aside for you while you are immediately put to work to pay off the debt you apparently accrued for living in a house you had no choice in occupying. You cannot leave the town – all the doors are locked and all the roads barred to you. The animal villagers repeatedly remind you that they are always watching you, not creepy at all and if you do manage to pay off your debt your house will simply be upgraded and you have to pay the difference. You can ask them not to upgrade the house; they will anyway.
You can freak out more about this here.