Making Sense of Remnant’s Ending: A Deeper Look
Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person shooter game developed by Gunfire Games and published by Perfect World Entertainment in 2019. The game combines elements of action, role-playing, and survival to create a challenging and immersive experience in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by otherworldly creatures. One of the most memorable aspects of Remnant is its ending, which has sparked many debates and speculations among players. In this article, we will take a closer look at Remnant’s ending and try to unravel its mysteries.
Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for Remnant’s story, including its different possible endings.
Before we dive into the ending itself, let’s recap some important plot points that lead up to it. In Remnant, you play as an unnamed survivor who traverses various realms connected by the Root, a mysterious entity that has corrupted much of humanity and nature. Along with two other allies (either controlled by AI or real people), you explore these realms to find clues about how to stop the Root from consuming everything.
One such realm is Yaesha, which houses one of the “World Stones” that can affect the balance between light and dark energies that permeate reality. However, upon arriving there, you discover that another group called the Iskal seeks to use this World Stone for their own purposes. You can choose whether to side with them or fight against them.
If you side with them (as I did in my playthrough), you learn that the Iskal are actually not evil but misunderstood beings who want to rebuild their dying race through symbiosis with humans (or elves). They offer you a chance to become their “Vargr,” or compatible host for an Iskal parasite that empowers your abilities but also transforms your appearance slightly.
If you decline their offer (as some players did), you fight them and their queen and destroy the World Stone, triggering a “bad” ending where the Root consumes everything. If you accept their offer (as others did), you become the Vargr and gain access to a secret room where an Iskal Elder tells you about their plan to uplift humanity by merging it with the Iskal race as part of a grand scheme to save all life from extinction.
So far, none of this may sound particularly strange or confusing. However, here comes the twist: when you exit that room and return to your base on Ward 13, where other human survivors reside and help you upgrade your equipment, one of them greets you in shock as if they have never seen someone like you before. Upon speaking to them further, they reveal that there is no such thing as Iskal or Vargr or even Yaesha in their reality. Instead, they claim that Ward 13 is actually a research facility called “Project Reseed,” overseen by Dr. Rho (whose voice messages and notes scattered throughout Remnant hint at his ambitions) and funded by some unknown entity.
According to this theory (which is supported by various clues such as different dialogue options available depending on your choices), everything that happened in Remnant’s story was actually just an elaborate simulation created by Project Reseed for some purpose yet unrevealed. You were not really fighting against mutants or aliens but rather virtual constructs meant to test your skills for something else.
If we take this interpretation of Remnant’s ending seriously (as I do), then it raises many questions about what kind of world-ending catastrophe had befallen humanity before Project Reseed came along; who its backers are; how much control they have over reality; why they would bother creating such complex simulations instead of just studying real-life phenomena; etc.
It also invites us to re-evaluate our own experiences as players and how “real” they are. If we accepted the Iskal’s offer and became the Vargr, did we really undergo a radical transformation or just a visual one? If we fought against them, did we really fight for freedom or just a scripted outcome?
Moreover, it challenges us to think about what the purpose of games (and stories in general) is. Are they merely distractions from our mundane lives or ways to explore deeper truths about ourselves and the world? Can games be meaningful even if they turn out to be illusions?
Remnant: From the Ashes may not have been a huge commercial success (yet), but it certainly deserves recognition for its ambitious narrative design and clever use of metafictional elements that subvert our expectations and challenge us to think beyond binary choices. Its ending may not satisfy everyone, but it will surely leave many lingering questions that will spark further discussions among players who seek more than just simple shoot-and-loot gameplay.
So next time you finish Remnant (or any other game) and wonder what it all means, don’t settle for easy answers. Dig deeper. Explore new theories. Share your thoughts with others. That’s how we make sense of stories that refuse to be fully understood at first glance.
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