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daventry
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I just finished the game tonight - I am having trouble piecing together the ending.  I watched many of the cutscenes again and re-played the sequence in Angela's room to get a better understanding.  I would like to share some of my thoughts and questions with you all.  Maybe you can help me figure things out?

1) As far as I understand it, the strange events around Oxford were all caused by Angela's powers.  But Angela fell asleep during the experiments, which indicates that her powers could manifest in her dreams in addition to her waking hours.  It also seems as though she didn't have full control over her abilities.  So I assume the Oxford events were unintentional: her dreams, influenced by what Dr. Styles was describing right before she fell asleep, tapped into her powers, thereby causing the strange events.  Does this rationale sound correct?

2) The strange events around Dread Hill House were due to a combination of Laura's spirit (e.g. the "Imposter" warning on the rolodex, the messages/clues David received during his visualization exercises) AND Angela.  But were all of the physical sightings of Laura actually Angela (like when Sam saw someone walking up the stairs)?  What about when David felt someone in bed or saw someone while taking a shower?  I'm not sure which were Laura's spriit and which were Angela.  (Angela was definitely the one spying on David in the tower, right?)  Also, isn't it weird that David mistakes Angela for his wife when he's kissing her in the end (he should be able to differentiate another lady from his wife, right)?  Or does Angela physically change form to look like Laura?  

3) I think Angela was mad at David for brushing her off at his office hours, and her rage [either intentionally or unintentionally?] caused the car accident.  This same rage/uncontrolled power may have started the fire that killed her own father (perhaps Angela was mad at her father for something)?  But why was Angela obsessed with (and spying on) David?  And when did this obsession start (before or after Laura's death)?  

4) Besides the end, was it ever suggested or mentioned that Angela's father was a famous magician ("Enigma")?  That seemed to come out of nowhere.  He had real powers (not just tricks), which Angela obviously inherited, right?

5) Still more about Angela: I don't quite understand how Sam suddently realizes that Angela is the culprit.  The whole time she's suspecting Helena, then Mephistopheles.  He shows her that tape of Enigma and suggests that he had real powers, not just tricks.  But how does she link all of that to Angela?  I guess this goes back to whether we were supposed to know from before that Engima = Angela's father?  But all I knew about her father was that he owned a restaurant and was killed in a fire.  

6) Regarding the creepy picture of David and Laura: is that supposed to be Angela in the background?  Was the picture (and the car crash) due to her obsession with David (and perhaps jealousy of Laura?) OR because she was mad at him from the way he treated her at school?

7) In the intro: does the assistant get scared off by thinking of the rumors of David Styles (and the creepy Dread Hill House), or is this also Angela at work?

8) What's with Angela's obsession with fairies?  Does she think she is a fairy (perhaps she makes herself feel better by relating her freaky powers to that of fairies)?


Sorry for the fragemented thoughts and poorly written post.  It's late and I'm quite tired... just wanted to get my thoughts down while they were still fresh in my mind.  

Thank you for reading!  I would appreciate any insights you may be able to share. :smile:

(Edited by daventry at 1:58 pm on Dec. 7, 2010)

Total Posts: 74 | Joined Dec. 2009 | Posted on: 5:03 am on Dec. 4, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



Congrats on finishing. :smile: I can answer your points the way I see it, or the way it seems to be the general consensus.

1) Yes, all of that sounds correct.

2) I think all physical sightings of Laura were Angela. Within the logic of the game, it would be pretty damn hard for ghosts to be corporeal. If a ghost can barely move a letter on a rolodex per day, she can't manifest. So yes, walking upstairs, in bed, in the shower, kissing David, in the mirror (in the tower), moving stuff around the house - that was all Angela.
There is another theory about the letters on the rolodex and the dream messages to David being products of his own subconscious and telekinesis, so then there would be no ghost at all, just David remembering things he was repressing before, and realizing that Angela is playing tricks on him and she was the one in his bed.
Kind of weird, I agree, that David couldn't tell it was Angela when he was kissing her, but it was dark, and he wanted her to be Laura.

3) and 6) Angela's rage (manifested in his office) clung to David as the "blue tiles" monster and was still around in the car (as a fire elemental or something) when it caused the accident by fusing the pedal of the other car to the floor, then bursting their car into flames. Angela realized this somehow (I don't know how, maybe from how the accident was described in the papers, or she felt the rage cling to David) and felt very guilty of killing Laura, which she turned into an obsession to give her back to David.
I think Angela was obsessed with Styles even before, because she had that well-worn tabloid with their wedding on the cover, and she also knew he was a neuroscientist who could understand her.

4) and 5) The connection Sam makes between Enigma and the weird events is that the model of the magician's tie is the same as the pattern that appears on the track, the shape of the knot of his tie is the same as the shape the discuses had in the gym, and the purple color of his tie is the same as the one in the pool. There is a picture of Enigma in Angela's bedroom (as her father), wearing the tie. Mephistopheles shows Enigma's performance, says he had real powers, and tells Sam it must have been a real magician in Oxford, with real powers, to have done the weird events. Sam pieces it from all this that it was Angela, obsessing of her father, from whom she inherited the power.

7) The assistant is terrified of the rumors of Styles, and then she gets scared of something flying around and sticking to her face (it's a plastic bag, actually), so she decides she really doesn't want to do it. It's like the other students in Oxford running away at the mention of Styles' name.
I like to think that bag was thrown by Angela, but apparently it was just fate, that's how it was scripted in the game.
Another theory is that the assistant was Angela, but her voice is very different and I don't think Angela would have run away; after all, she was a pretty accomplished stalker of Dread Hill House by then: she had been seen in the mirror, she had laid out Laura's dress on the bed, and whatnot.

8) Yes, I think she makes herself feel better by relating and blaming her freakish power on being a fairy, which is a beautiful creature.

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 5:25 pm on Dec. 4, 2010 | Link to this post
daventry
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Thank you for taking the time to write back, Krss!  I think I understand the story a bit better now.  Of course there's still some unanswered questions/things that can be speculated on, but perhaps Jane wanted it that way?  I plan to replay the game in the near future to get a second perspective.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and I'm quite sad that it's over (seven years of waiting... just seven days to finish the game).  My only major complaint is that it felt rushed at the end (from Sam confronting Mephistopheles to Angela's death).  And I really wish Engima had been mentioned before, at least as a famous magician if nothing else.  Also, I wish there were more hotspots and more to interact with (the limited number of hotspots made it feel more like an FMV game ala GK2 and Phantasmagoria than a classic animated adventure).

In any case, I do hope the game is sucessful enough for Jane to write another one (either a GM sequel or a completely new game...).

If anyone else has any thoughts to the questions I posed, please feel free to share.

(Edited by daventry at 6:43 pm on Dec. 4, 2010)

Total Posts: 74 | Joined Dec. 2009 | Posted on: 6:39 pm on Dec. 4, 2010 | Link to this post
Simo Sakari Aaltonen
midbrain



The letters on the rolodex could also have been generated by Angela, without her conscious intention. She would have been aware on some level that she was an imposter. David described on his whiteboard an incident where Laura's hairbrush moved in the air in front of his eyes, so Angela would have had some telekinetic power as well as pyrokinesis.

I personally feel Angela was not physically present in David's bathroom or in his bed. She would simply not have had enough time to get away in those instances. I think those were projected manifestations of her power and her wanting to be with David. Probably she was sitting in the tower watching David's room at the time of all these incidents.

When Mrs Dalton saw a woman in David's bedroom mirror, I believe she was simply seeing Angela in the tower window because that window is actually visible in the close-up view of the mirror. I loved this bit of misdirection - David had just felt a presence in his bed, so when Mrs Dalton reveals she saw someone in the bedroom mirror, one automatically assumes she meant someone or something in the bedroom itself. But she never actually specifies that.

About Sam figuring out the identity of the imposter, an important additional clue was the singed ballots after the vote in the St Edmund Hall quad. Angela was the one who picked the deciding ballot from the hat, so it was her power again getting out of control.

By the way, it is not a plastic bag in the opening cut-scene, but rather a sheet of black plastic, like something you would see on a construction site.

-----
The Adventure Companion

Total Posts: 359 | Joined Sep. 2008 | Posted on: 1:26 am on Dec. 5, 2010 | Link to this post
daventry
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Hmm, that's a very interesting take on the story Simo!  So are you of the opinion that Laura's spirit wasn't present at all?  What about the messages David received after his visualization sessions (the warning about the photograph and the warning about the student)?  Do you think those were manifestations of Angela's power too?

I also don't think it could have been Angela herself in David's bed.  At first I thought that maybe it was Laura's essence, then I started to think it was Angela's powers like you said.  I'm still not sure though.  So many possibilities!

Btw, I had totally forgotten about the signed ballots!  Thanks for remind me. :smile:  I'm actually really looking forward to playing the game again, especially to see if I can pick out any clues I may have missed the first time around.

EDIT: I just looked at the conversation David has with Dr. Ramusskin.  Ramusskin mentions that the deceased could obsess over their deaths if the death was particularly violent, which was definitely the case for Laura.  He also says that the RNG message and the clue David receives after his tank exercise are classical communications from the dead, whereas the moved nightgown, the form under the sheets, and the incidents at Oxford are more unusual.  This leads me to believe that the RNG message and hints David receives from remembering Laura are actually from Laura, but the form under the bed is Angela (in my opinion Angela's powers rather than Angela's physical body).

(Edited by daventry at 4:13 am on Dec. 5, 2010)

Total Posts: 74 | Joined Dec. 2009 | Posted on: 3:50 am on Dec. 5, 2010 | Link to this post
Simo Sakari Aaltonen
midbrain



I think the messages from Laura could have been either Laura or David's own subconscious mind communicating forgotten or ignored memories to his conscious mind. The isolation tank sessions are essentially directed hallucinations, and hallucinations are always largely shaped by the person's own thoughts and memories.

But it seemed like Laura's doing to me when the apple fell on David's head right after he had said (or thought) to her that he was unable to get the flower from the little girl.

As for the woman Sam sees on the stairs, I think that was probably Angela herself rather than a projection. After all, this was when Laura's white dress had gone missing. Angela probably slipped into David's bedroom and hid in there until Sam left the upstairs hall.

But these are all just my current interpretations and they may change with time. I love the ambiguity, the way the story can be interpreted in many ways. :smile:

-----
The Adventure Companion

Total Posts: 359 | Joined Sep. 2008 | Posted on: 4:46 am on Dec. 5, 2010 | Link to this post
aurora
midbrain


Wait, but has the "Imposter" massage referred to Sam being one, or to Angela as being one?


-----
There's definitely definitely definitely no logic to humen behaviour.

Total Posts: 279 | Joined Aug. 2007 | Posted on: 8:43 am on Dec. 6, 2010 | Link to this post
Simo Sakari Aaltonen
midbrain



It could refer to both or either! Though the Angela connection is the primary one in terms of how the final revelation about her is about to occur as we see the rolodex turn to spell the word. But of course at that moment, David is lying down on his bed, probably thinking about Sam...

The beautiful thing about this is that Sam actually uses the word in connection with herself in Chapter 1: "I need to get out of here before they figure out I'm an imposter." It seems like a perfectly simple line, but in fact it serves as both a misdirection on Jane's part (identifying the concept of an imposter with Sam) and to plant the story element of there actually being another, longer-term imposter, as revealed by later events.

Practically everything in the story turns out to have a specific rationale for being, as with Jane's earlier stories. Comments that seem like throwaway lines, like that made by Sam about the fireplace in Dread Hill - "It doesn't look like anyone's used that fireplace in ages." - take on greater significance once one knows the whole story.

-----
The Adventure Companion

Total Posts: 359 | Joined Sep. 2008 | Posted on: 10:33 am on Dec. 6, 2010 | Link to this post
daventry
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Btw, how did you guys interpret the shower scene?  I wasn't sure - does David see markings on himself in the mirror?  Does that symbolize anything specific?

Total Posts: 74 | Joined Dec. 2009 | Posted on: 3:50 am on Dec. 7, 2010 | Link to this post
iamtheman
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I might chime in here, this discussion is getting really interesting.

Due to the extreme physiological trauma of the car accident, all David's feelings of helplessness and guilt over his inability to save Laura in the wreckage, changed how he perceived his scarring.  His emotional scarring manifested into physical scarring - in his brain.  

Us, as the audience, see what David has conjured - i.e. this perception of himself.  In reality, yes, his skin was still reddish and showed minor scarring, but he saw something much worse - and continued to make himself want to believe it.  Sam pitied him and let him hold onto this pain - for whatever reason, I don't know - even after she saw him unmasked.  

That glimpse of himself in the bathroom mirror was probably Laura bringing him back, however briefly, to reality.  That's why he was shocked to see his skin in good condition.  She tried communicating to him that he should abandon his guilt and forget these imagined complexes he's developed over his wounds.

BTW if you've been diligent with your observational skills, you'd have noticed the developers added a big clue about this very early on.  Check the title of the newspaper clipping stuck inside the telephone booth by Carfax Tower.  Though, you might need to magnify it to read.








(Edited by iamtheman at 8:46 am on Dec. 7, 2010)

Total Posts: 133 | Joined Nov. 2007 | Posted on: 8:26 am on Dec. 7, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



I think he wanted to believe he was very scarred to compensate for escaping unscathed while she died. Believing you are also a victim lessens the guilt towards someone you perceive as victimized by you.

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 5:15 pm on Dec. 7, 2010 | Link to this post
daventry
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Thanks for the replies guys!

I took a look at the newspaper clipping you mentioned.  It reads "Psychological trauma causes man to believe himself disfigured."  I hadn't noticed that before!

Two questions:

1) So it wasn't just me who thought David's face looked fine at the end?  I was puzzled when Sam told him it looked pretty bad... I thought that maybe I just wasn't looking at the picture 'the right way.'

2) What exactly are we (David) supposed to see in the mirror during the shower scene?  I actually thought his face looked *worse* than the scene mentioned above... and I also observed markings on his body (reminded me of chalk writing on a blackboard)... but it seems like you guys interpreted the picture/scene differently?

daventry_3

(Edited by daventry at 3:33 am on Dec. 8, 2010)

Total Posts: 74 | Joined Dec. 2009 | Posted on: 3:32 am on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
iamtheman
BratPacker



1.) Jane Jensen wrote in her script, "Sam's eyes filled with pity" after realizing David believed himself horribly disfigured.  When he asked her, "it's bad, isn't it?" and she said, "yeah... pretty bad", it mentions further that, David, looked "oddly relieved" about this - like he'd conditioned his brain to compensate his guilt.

2.) Those "chalk markings" are water streaks because he jumped out of the shower in a hurry with no time to dry himself.  I suppose the cut scene artist didn't properly illustrate this clearly.  Those cut scenes were actually pretty clever, though, as all the preceding glimpses of David's exposed left side showed charred black - such as the couple of instances of him having a session in the isolation tank during an earlier chapter.  




(Edited by iamtheman at 6:04 am on Dec. 8, 2010)

Total Posts: 133 | Joined Nov. 2007 | Posted on: 5:55 am on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



It's too bad that the cutscenes don't make the script clear enough. We were lucky to have been able to read Jane's directions instead of having to guess what was going on from the artwork only. David does look disfigured here, only because his "terrified" look looks disfigured. =/

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 6:01 am on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
iamtheman
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I know what you mean about lack of clarity with some of the cut scenes.  I was surprised at how many people thought a "shadow monster" had swooped in and eaten the assistant during the opening cut scene.  A couple more shots to clearly demonstrate that it was only a piece of black PVC plastic, would have prevented that confusion.

Actually, there was at least one particular section of dialogue in Jane's script that was cut out of the game, that I was very disappointed for the developers taking creative license by not following her script completely.

It was one of the memory flashes of David's.  Specifically, the "wine memory".

In the game we don't get any dialogue - but it was supposed to be in there.  Consequently, the emotional impact is diluted somewhat and the audience misses out on a touching moment between David and Laura.  She basically told him she'll always love him and wished to have a hundred more birthdays together.  He promised her that they would.  After which he lost his composure by reliving the memory and cried.

Also, in the tank session, during his hallucination, David actually implores Laura to communicate with him by spelling out words on the RNG.

There are a couple more sections where the developers left out small, seemingly inconsequential, details like this out from Jane's original storyboards and script.

But hey, who's to say that is was actually the developers' choice in the matter?  Perhaps it was Jane who decided on these changes, considering that a script really ought not be set in stone until you actually go to action it and realize what does and doesn't work.



(Edited by iamtheman at 6:36 am on Dec. 8, 2010)

Total Posts: 133 | Joined Nov. 2007 | Posted on: 6:30 am on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
daventry
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Quote: from iamtheman on 5:55 am on Dec. 8, 2010
1.) Jane Jensen wrote in her script, "Sam's eyes filled with pity" after realizing David believed himself horribly disfigured.  When he asked her, "it's bad, isn't it?" and she said, "yeah... pretty bad", it mentions further that, David, looked "oddly relieved" about this - like he'd conditioned his brain to compensate his guilt.

2.) Those "chalk markings" are water streaks because he jumped out of the shower in a hurry with no time to dry himself.  I suppose the cut scene artist didn't properly illustrate this clearly.  Those cut scenes were actually pretty clever, though, as all the preceding glimpses of David's exposed left side showed charred black - such as the couple of instances of him having a session in the isolation tank during an earlier chapter.  

(Edited by iamtheman at 6:04 am on Dec. 8, 2010)


I think I understand point one now, but I'm still having trouble visualizing point two: So we (David) are supposed to see that his face is *not* as bad as we were led to believe earlier?  But doesn't his face still look bad here compared to how Sam sees him at the end?  (He does look terrified in the mirror, but there is also some obvious scarring on the left side that I don't think is present in the Sam scene.)  Is this just an art inconsistency (scarring in mirror vs. minor redness in Sam's scene)?  Also, I thought David leaves his mask on when he enters the isolation tank (I couldn't find the charred black glimpses you mentioned)?
daventry_4

(Edited by daventry at 2:04 pm on Dec. 8, 2010)

Total Posts: 74 | Joined Dec. 2009 | Posted on: 1:58 pm on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
daventry
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P.S. Did beta-testers get a separate script along with the test-build?  Were story boards included?  That's pretty cool!

Total Posts: 74 | Joined Dec. 2009 | Posted on: 1:59 pm on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



So we (David) are supposed to see that his face is *not* as bad as we were led to believe earlier?  But doesn't his face still look bad here compared to how Sam sees him at the end?  (He does look terrified in the mirror, but there is also some obvious scarring on the left side that I don't think is present in the Sam scene.)


It does look bad in the mirror, but I guess it's just to muddle the waters so as not to reveal that his face is actually clean. All the lines that make him look disfigured in the mirror are from the water and some choice shading, and his bulging eyes increase the effect.
So I was wrong to" =/" about it.:tongue: It's pretty smartly done.

Beta testers got the script so they'd understand the game.

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 5:15 pm on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
daventry
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Quote: from Krss on 5:15 pm on Dec. 8, 2010
So we (David) are supposed to see that his face is *not* as bad as we were led to believe earlier?  But doesn't his face still look bad here compared to how Sam sees him at the end?  (He does look terrified in the mirror, but there is also some obvious scarring on the left side that I don't think is present in the Sam scene.)


It does look bad in the mirror, but I guess it's just to muddle the waters so as not to reveal that his face is actually clean. All the lines that make him look disfigured in the mirror are from the water and some choice shading, and his bulging eyes increase the effect.
So I was wrong to" =/" about it.:tongue: It's pretty smartly done.

Beta testers got the script so they'd understand the game.


I personally don't think the shower scene was done well enough.  I really can't see how his face is normal there, and I wouldn't have known that that's why he's shocked if you guys hadn't told me.  Ditto w/ the Sam scene at the end.

That's pretty cool that you got the script, but doesn't that alter the beta-testing experience?  It seems you guys were told how to interpret many of the scenes that people are having problems with (the black PVC plastic in the intro, the shower scene, the scene at the end)... wouldn't it have been better if the beta-testers were "blind" just like we normal players are?  I don't see the rationale behind handing out a script if you're trying to gauge audience reactions and see what works and what doesn't.

(Edited by daventry at 10:32 pm on Dec. 8, 2010)

Total Posts: 74 | Joined Dec. 2009 | Posted on: 8:32 pm on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
iamtheman
BratPacker



wouldn't it have been better if the beta-testers were "blind" just like we normal players are?  I don't see the rationale behind handing out a script if you're trying to gauge audience reactions and see what works and what doesn't.


I agree.  Normally I like to make my own mind up about things rather than have the answers fed to me.  Though, with the beta, (well, more like an early alpha version) we were grateful to be supplied with the cut scene voice-over cue logs, which included comments from the script, and several storyboards because a handful of these clips hadn't been implemented at that time nor had the voice overs.  It allowed us to follow the storyline.  So, we would have been "blind" in a sense, otherwise. :wink:

Also, I thought David leaves his mask on when he enters the isolation tank (I couldn't find the charred black glimpses you mentioned)?


One of the video logs, the anniversary of Laura's birthday, depicts him in the process of getting into the tank.  His whole left side is blackened - albeit in a Harvey Two-Face sort of way.

The simple answer?  Most probably artistic inconsistency.  The complicated answer?  Perhaps the whole situation was similar to a "mood ring" affect.  When David was on his own, and with us as the audience seeing through his mind's eye, and he focused on negative thoughts and guilt relating to his injuries, as in "concentrating" on them, his mind would manifest the scarring into a horrible deformity.  When he was in a meditative state or simply had his mind elsewhere, and took his focus off it, the visual repulsiveness of his scarring, from his perspective, would "diminish".

Keep in mind the above is completely my own interpretation of it and nothing of this was in Jane's script.  Maybe I'll just go for my simple answer instead, rather than try to over-analyze it    



(Edited by iamtheman at 12:06 am on Dec. 9, 2010)

Total Posts: 133 | Joined Nov. 2007 | Posted on: 11:59 pm on Dec. 8, 2010 | Link to this post
 

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