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User Info: brainfriiz

6 years ago#1
Surprised I haven't seen a topic on this yet. Still marking spoilers because there is no other story discussion and I won't ruin the game for wandering eyes.

I really got into the hybrid digital/biomechanical themes and unless I've missed a note, I am sad there wasn't more on the 'code' nature of the world outside of a note Axiom 1. I was kinda surprised that the Final Boss wasn't Elsenova. I know all things told you it would be an Athetos, but I was hoping on Trace meeting Athetos that some big twist would be revealed, and Elsenova gaining full function just prior to it made me think it was even more likely.

Anyone know if there are notes hidden in the glitch worlds? I've found three glitch worlds in my file and evidence seems to suggest there are five.

I have a bunch of thoughts and questions on the notes but I don't have access to my PS4 to cross check them at the moment.

User Info: VioletZer0

6 years ago#2
I was so hoping that would NOT be the case.

Because if it was I would have seen it coming from a mile away. I am so tired of the "You plugged in the overlord!" thing that happens in a lot of games *coughsystemshockcough*

User Info: MrBeens

6 years ago#3
Trace is a scientist working in a lab when a frozen pressure valve causes an explosion. Trace is severely injured in the explosion and left blind in a wheelchair.

While in this state, his mind starts thinking, and he has an 'Epiphany that changes what we know about the laws of physics'. He starts publishing these theories, and that doesn't sit well with all the regular physicists, since it goes against what they preach. They blacklist him and start calling him 'Athetos' which means 'without place'.

Presumably using these new understandings of physics, Trace is able to cross 'The Breach' which is a barrier between worlds. Crossing the breach, he finds the world of Sudra. Sudra is a gateway world of sorts, it's purpose to regulate travel between worlds. However, it's civilization has collapsed, and it's inhabitants now no longer remember that purpose. They have become an incredibly xenophobic society and shun all outsiders and do not permit travel between worlds. They see the breach as a barrier to shut them off from all the outside universe.

Trace arrives at Sudra and discovers incredible technology, and uses a 'Re-Birth' chamber to completely heal himself. These chambers are the egg save points in the game. Using this chamber to heal himself leaves behind an imprint of himself. Remember that part, it's important.

At this point the story becomes fuzzy, but Trace returns to Earth after this and some long time later returns to Sudra as Athetos. Upon is return, or maybe the reason for his return, he discovers the world beyond Sudra, that the people of Surda are keeping him from. This world is full of technological wonders that will end all war, strife, sickness, etc on Earth. Athetos decides that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and that the only way to bring this technology back to Earth means destroying the Sudrans. He creates a pathogen which wipes out the Sudrans.

The only thing stopping him now are the Russalki. Giant war machines that guard Sudra. Initially when he started his plan, one of them, Kraskinki[sp] was aiding him. However, the other three, Elsenova, Ophielia and Veruska destroyed her, and were able to foil his plan for the time being. However he turned off their power source, and they were left near dormant, degrading.

Since they cannot stop him in this state, Ophelia comes up with a plan. She will create a copy of Trace, from the leftover imprint when he first healed himself (the part I said was important before).

This copy of the younger Trace is the player throughout the game, and is able to stop Athetos. Once that is done, Elsenova sends this copy back through time to the point of the lab accident aftermath.

There he cannot stop thinking about Sudra, and devotes his life to returning. At the end, he is near to his goal of returning, and we see a brief glint in his eye, indicating that he is on the path of becoming Athetos again.

User Info: MrBeens

6 years ago#4
I'd now like to post an addendum to my synopsis.

In the post credit scene, old Athetos shows up and tells Trace it's "Time to wake up."

I now no longer think Elsenova sent Trace back through time to the point of the accident. I believe instead that she pulled "A Matrix" and put Trace into some kind of suspended animation where he believed he was back on Earth.

In fact there is nothing in the game that suggests Elsenova would have the ability to send someone through time, or back to Earth. The game actually says that the Russkia cannot travel through the breach. However we do actually see Elsenova kill/turn off Trace at will, so she definitely has the ability to put him into statis.

This is further supported by the background of the credit scroll where we see it pan down a large Sudran chamber with Trace's body lying dormant at the bottom.

Addendum Addendum:

I'm now wondering how much of the story actually takes place on Earth. Trace's 'Epiphany that changes physics' sounds A LOT like Neo's ability to 'Bend or break rules, rules like gravity' in the Matrix. Also crossing the breach from Earth to Sudran sounds a lot like 'Taking the red pill and waking up from the matrix to the real world'.

It could be that only the opening scene of the lab accident is actually on Earth and the accident did in fact send him to Sudra, and the rest of the 'Earth' story is while Trace is in statis in the egg chamber.

User Info: Inzoum

6 years ago#5
When you re-activate the maintenance drones and return later to the Rusalka in Zi (forgot her name, it's the one that tells you about the Password tool behind her), Elsenova presents her as a special kind of Rusalka, a dreamer, whose purpose is to create "mind-worlds".

It's quite possible this Rusalka is building a simulation world where Trace's consciousness (the Rebirth Chamber imprint) is placed at the end of the story. A simulated Earth he "is returned to" after his good deeds.

Trace's own theory describes in axiom 1 that any algorithm giving rise to cognitive entities will be perceived as reality by the entities described. Essentially, virtual Trace embedded in the Rusalka's mind-world would be perfectly fooled into believing this mind-world is reality.

As you mentioned, as the credits roll, the background scrolls down what looks like Rusalki tentacles, and ends on Trace's lifeless body resting at the bottom. Considering the Rusalki's ability to retrieve and store Trace's consciousness for use in the Rebirth Chamber, It is very plausible that Elsenova simply disposes of Trace's body at that point, and implants his consciousness in a simulated reality dreamed up by that other Rusalka mentioned earlier.

Comparisons with The Matrix at this point seem entirely justified.
(message deleted)

User Info: Mr Einds

Mr Einds
6 years ago#7
Thank you MrBeens and Inzoum! I've been trying to piece together a summary of the story myself, but I think you guys both nailed it.
PSN ID: CaffeineGenius

User Info: mentil

6 years ago#8
I just finished the game, was puzzled by the story, and read this thread. I'm pretty sure what's been said here only scratches the surface of what's really going on. There are many unanswered questions yet.

After defeating Athetos, Elsenova says you will be returned home, and you suddenly feel sleepy, and collapse, waking up on Earth in the hospital bed, unhurt. Trace realizes that he doesn't know the truth of what happened, and is determined to return to Sudra one day and figure it out. During the conversation with Athetos, he offers you a chance to join him to fight the Rusalki, and you decline. I had a feeling that there's some way to accept, and fight against Elsenova. However, given they can communicate telepathically and kill you instantly by disabling your nanogates, a straight fight against them wouldn't work, and Athetos probably should've known that.
Before the fight, Athetos tells Trace that if he tells you too much then your captors will kill you. This suggests that he doesn't want that to happen because you really were sent back in time, and history would change if you weren't, or that he wants you alive so you can help him (or that he just empathizes with you)... and it ALSO suggests that your captors are the Rusalki. Up till that point, I had the feeling that Trace was volunteering to help the Rusalki, not that he was being held captive by them; they made it sound like Trace was being held on Sudra due to the Breach Attractor. Of course, both can be true.

Most of the backstory is told through the Notes. I don't have them all but I think I can piece together much of it. They're split into 3 languages -- English, Sudran, and Vykhya. English is in the pink-on-black letters, and the Faded Note, as well as a note written by the Rusalki indicating they can now understand English. Sudran is in the notes written by Sudrans (stone tablets), as well as a couple Rusalki notes addressed to Sudrans. Vykhya (green squares) is written by the Rusalki.

The clues:
The Sudrans apparently called the Breach Attractor the 'storm talisman'. It's stated by Athetos that the modern Sudrans treated their old technology with religious reverence, thus the name. The Rusalki aren't native to Sudra, but were called the Kuliltu by Sudrans, and were revered for resembling the 'Old Machines' which are probably some of the old tech laying around Sudra. The kuliltu were fighting in space, and the breach attractor was used to make them crash onto Sudra. The note 'official letter' says that the Sudrans are 'normally hesitant to recommend any course of action that the kuliltu may have suggested' suggesting they didn't trust the Rusalki, and 'the kuliltu' suggests they feared the Rusalki's vengeance for being held there. The note 'plan B' suggests that the Rusalki intended to use the control of Trace's nanogates (and being able to kill him at will) in order to manipulate him. The note 'athetos' suggests that the Rusalki were expecting Athetos to show up, the incarnation that released the plague, suggesting they talked to a different incarnation earlier who told them about the older Athetos. 'The outsider' suggests that Drushka was in love with Katrahaska, who was an outsider to the other Rusalki and was regularly scheming things. The 'faded note' is signed 'Trace' and looks different from the other English notes, so it's probably the first incarnation of 'athetos' who found his way to Sudra hundreds of years ago. The pink English notes seem to be written by Athetos, the one you fight. Some notes mention names like A3, A7 and A9, with the writer apparently being A9. I suspect that the A stands for 'athetos', and these are different clones of athetos, or incarnations from different universes. 'Transcription' is particularly enlightening, as it suggests that A3 is Telal AND Athetos, and that A9 is also Athetos. The Athetos you fight apparently trained the other mutated ones to kill anyone who looks like Athetos that they come across, calling them a 'demon'.

User Info: mentil

6 years ago#9
One 'journal page' says that the mind exists eternally across all universes in which it appears, and suggests that death just causes your mind to jump into a body in another universe (more or less), and you might not even notice this happened. It also suggests that Uruku is an Athetos. The writer says "were I to die now, would I awaken, mercifully, as my former self" which is, I think, what actually happens at the end of the game: you die, and your mind jumps into another younger body in another universe.
The note 'plan B' says that the Rusalki have something called the GateBreaker which can deactivate nanogates, which is how I think they kill you permanently so that you mind-jump, without resurrecting at the rebirth chamber. However you seemed to resurrect just fine last time Ophelia did that, so I'm unsure.
Both 'Axiom 1' and a 'journal page' make mention of the mind being a form of algorithm which can only perceive the parent reality. Given the title of the game is 'axiom verge', and the one Rusalki (Drushka?) being able to create mind-worlds, I have a feeling that's critical to understanding what's really going on.
Another thing that must be very important to the story but is hardly explained, is what a patternmind is/can do, and why Athetos is one. The Rusalki lied about 'searching all worlds for another patternmind' and used you because they only had access to the rebirth chamber; for all we know, all humans are patternminds, or the Rusalki completely made up the concept. Supposedly it means they can alter reality, but this is never demonstrated by Athetos or Trace outside of abilities Trace picks up. I suppose the Axiom Disruptor might be so named because a patternmind can use it to disrupt Axiom 1, I believe the Rusalki said only a patternmind could use that gun. And the address disruptor and teleportation have glitching artifacts, like reality is being altered, not to mention the Passcode Tool (which Athetos apparently knows of, going by 'sudran translation'). I'm unsure if the 'parent reality' is supposed to be meta, like the game running on the ps4, but that'd explain the video game-like glitches; yes I know the justification was probably added in after the features were coded, but it might be internally-consistent regardless. 'Trace' is apparently a reference to debugging computer programs. If only Trace/Athetos can use the Axiom Disruptor, then that raises the question of why the Sudrans originally created it. Perhaps it was created (or recreated) by Athetos... but that'd raise the question of why it displays the Sudran script.
And what's up with those mindmachines? Do only patternminds have those? All machines seem to release them when destroyed. Given Sudrans could use the rebirth chambers, it suggests at least some had mindmachines as well; I wonder why they didn't use the chambers to survive the plague.

So what do I think is going on? There are a few possibilities that I can think of. One is that all of the gameplay takes place in Drushka's mindworld; this is generally considered poor writing (it was all a dream!), so I doubt it. If mindworlds are involved, it's probably for some of the cutscenes, although it's unknown exactly what these mindworlds are or can do.
More likely is that there is some time travel involved to explain the different Traces. The first Trace that came to Sudra ('faded note') called himself Trace, at least at first. He had been injured in the lab explosion, but was healed by the rebirth chamber on Sudra. It probably doesn't matter what happened to this one. Hundreds/thousands of years later, an old Athetos returned to Sudra, released the plague etc.

User Info: mentil

6 years ago#10
Some period later, a younger Trace was created by the Rusalki, apparently shortly after the plague was released, given that access to the rebirth chamber was granted to them by High Priestess Eshinimma before she died from the plague. They asked for access to the rebirth chamber because they already had a plan to resurrect Trace, I presume. This Trace helps the Rusalki and then is killed off. He mind-jumps to a younger Trace in another universe who wasn't injured in the lab explosion. He returns to Sudra, gets the answers he wants, and becomes Athetos.
Given the skeletons left around, and the fact that Athetos, a human, was affected by the same plague as the Sudrans, I'd say that the Sudrans are related to humans, if not identical. Creating a plague to kill off another species that also affects yourself would be pretty foolish. It's possible that Sudra is actually Earth in the far future, but that'd suggest that the Breach goes through time as well as universes, which is never implied. Given the earliest Trace had the memories of the one you play as, the lab explosion probably happened 1000 years before the plague was released, so you jump back 1000 years at the end. How does Athetos jump 1000 years in the future? It might just be a clone, and 'the breach' suggests that Athetos had scientific discussions with his clones, so they likely continued his research.

At the end credits, Trace is shown at the feet of some tentacles of a Rusalki, only then did I realize that the tentacle graphic around him looked very similar to the spider-like graphic in the background of the rooms just before the boss rooms in each map. I always got this feeling from the Rusalki that they were the real threat. That they're warriors and have a violent past reinforces this.
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