MatoroTBS

Supernatural in Wintermute

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Just played through the Redux. I'm very intrigued by the more... well, unexplainable parts of the story, and I'd like to write a bit about supernatural in The Long Dark. 

Currently there's very interesting balance of realism and fantasy. Nearly everything could be explained without supernatural elements, but in other hand there's a lot of hints that there's a lot of supernatural in the Quiet Apocalypse.

1. The Aurora

There have been a lot of very well thought theories about the nature of the Aurora, and many details could be explained with our current knowledge of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. While I remember reading some theories about the Aurora's effect on animals, those usually rely on very theoretical concepts or very long-winded explanations. Many things just don't make sense, which makes me more prone to think the Aurora as a supernatural phenomena. 

For example, the fact that only carnivores seem to be affected by the Aurora. Characters in the story do notice how behavior of wolves and bears has changed, but there's barely any mention of deer behavior being different. It's also only carnivores who glow in the dark during the Aurora. 

The First Flare - the one which wiped out the electronics - is very plausible. However questions like "why do the following auroras bring the electronics back" and "why does the flashlight battery charge during an aurora" do complicate things.

2. Metusaleh

There's something wrong with this guy. I think everyone agrees on that. He is in places he has no reason to be. He knows stuff about Will's journeys he shouldn't have any reason to know. He seems to know much more about the situation than anyone else, but he is cryptic and vague. One of the most damning evidence about his weirdness is in Episode 1 where you can first meet him at the Gas Station and quickly after that down the cliff. How did that one old man get down the cliff, set up a camp and start a campfire in a time that it takes for Will to go from the gas station to the rope and climb down? It doesn't add up, and I feel like it's intentional.

So there's usually three possible explanations for Metusaleh: either he is a supernatural being, a figment of Will's imagination or a badly written plot-hole ridden character. Now there's again the very, well, non-supernatural explanation of Metusaleh being just something Mackenzie imagines in his loneliness. Every time we meet Metusaleh, Will is alone, and no other character interacts with Metusaleh or acknowledges his presence. This would explain how he know so much about Will - because he is literally the same person. Of course this would raise some questions about Will's mental health. Another way of explaining this - the one which does not make Mackenzie insane - is to treat him as a supernatural being, some sort of "manifestation" of nature and the Aurora or some weird hermit mystic with a Biblical name.

3. Jeremiah, Old Bear and the spear

Jeremiah doesn't believe in supernatural or the Spence's story about demon bear. However we as the players have a lot reason to doubt this view. Firstly, the Old Bear seems extremely intelligent. For example, he knocks down Will''s train car but leaves soon after, and his tracking skills seem to be very... convenient. He is immune to arrows, gunshots and flares, which ordinary bears are not. Of course you could explain this as gameplay, but even Jeremiah says it in the story: the Old Bear is bullet-proof. Just like the demon bear of the Spence legend. Only thing that brings him down is the legendary bear spear - the same one that brought the original demon bear down. Jeremiah explains that maybe ten inches of cold steel will do what bullets can't, but to be honest that doesn't seem very believable. Bullets are pretty good at killing stuff. Even if Jeremiah says he doesn't believe in supernatural, he still seems to believe in the spear. I find it very possible he does actually believe to the magic of the spear, but doesn't say that to Mackenzie, because that would make him look... well, not very believable. 

As conclusion: all of this could be explained without supernatural, but I feel like the narrative strongly encourages you to doubt that. There's just so many elements that feel just a little bit wrong and are so much easier to explain through some sort of supernatural phenomena. This is especially interesting, since everything in the Redux is there very deliberately. Hinterlands had a chance to cut off stuff and really focus on the stuff they think is important, and there's a lot of this weird mysticism going on. This is why I believe many things that could be explained as plot holes - like Metusaleh's quick climb - are very well thought out. They had a chance to fix stuff that wasn't intended - and these are things they didn't change them. 

I do think there's a supernatural elements in Long Dark, and that the very core of the story will focus around these fantasy elements. However, it's just my feeling about these things. I'm interested in hearing your theories and speculation about these things. 

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19 hours ago, MatoroTBS said:

Only thing that brings him down is the legendary bear spear - the same one that brought the original demon bear down.

Actually, I believe if you go back and listen closely to what Jeremiah says, they never found the dead demon bear. They only found Spence, who died shortly after being found.

Old Spence did make a comment before he died about how he got the soul of the bear, hence his wife getting better, but there never was mention of him actually killing it. Only the illusion of it, in the comment about the spirit of it.

Here's an image of 3 bits of dialogue about this, in chronological order.

bear.jpg.647ed41bffb3bf7d88911fcddd615ab9.jpg

With the other 'seemingly' supernatural aspects of the story, it could lead one to believe the old demon bear never was killed by Spence. It could be construed that Spence did stab the bear with his spear, and that in and of itself is what released the 'spirit' of the bear from his wife, without actually killing it.

This all could lead to the possibility that the demon bear that Jeremiah and Will are fighting is the same bear that got Spence 150 years ago.

The story of the bear and the periodic appearances of Methuselah does give the whole story a somewhat supernatural aura.

You mentioned Methuselah getting down into the valley before Will hung the climbing rope. What about the prisoner Will found on the riverjust east of Mystery Lake? How long had he been there? Did he get to Mystery Lake after Will hung the rope, or did he get there 'another' way?

These, and other mysteries may be explained in future episodes.

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I've enjoyed reading this and it inspired me. I've already crafted the new spear blade but I don't remember if I saved the game, probably not because my kids weren't there and they love watching me play. So here's what I'll do: I'll load a previous save if needed and I'll harvest the mighty "metal shard" for scrap metal, and then use it for the spear. It's been soaked in Will's blood and it has killed a fair amount of wolves, enough for some good old pagan ritual. Too bad Astrid's knife can't be retrieved from Hobbs' guts, it would perfectly fit in.

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And here's a truly disappointing moment: the metal shard CAN'T be harvested. Maybe it can once it's totally degraded by use, and yes, I thought about overusing it by destroying every cardboard box in the shed, but then it wouldn't be a proper sacrifice, just throwing some junk into it. There goes my plan of adding a significant and bloodthirsty symbol of fury to the spear.

Edited by Doc Feral

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On 15/01/2019 at 12:48 PM, MatoroTBS said:

2. Metusaleh

There's something wrong with this guy. I think everyone agrees on that. He is in places he has no reason to be. He knows stuff about Will's journeys he shouldn't have any reason to know. He seems to know much more about the situation than anyone else, but he is cryptic and vague. One of the most damning evidence about his weirdness is in Episode 1 where you can first meet him at the Gas Station and quickly after that down the cliff. How did that one old man get down the cliff, set up a camp and start a campfire in a time that it takes for Will to go from the gas station to the rope and climb down? It doesn't add up, and I feel like it's intentional.

So there's usually three possible explanations for Metusaleh: either he is a supernatural being, a figment of Will's imagination or a badly written plot-hole ridden character. Now there's again the very, well, non-supernatural explanation of Metusaleh being just something Mackenzie imagines in his loneliness. Every time we meet Metusaleh, Will is alone, and no other character interacts with Metusaleh or acknowledges his presence. This would explain how he know so much about Will - because he is literally the same person. Of course this would raise some questions about Will's mental health. Another way of explaining this - the one which does not make Mackenzie insane - is to treat him as a supernatural being, some sort of "manifestation" of nature and the Aurora or some weird hermit mystic with a Biblical name

I totally agree about Methuselah. Although I will add a caveat: the notes on the hotfix after Christmas (I think) said that his appearance in the gas station was unintentional during the final mission in Milton when you escape using the rope - so the thing about him hot-shoeing it over the cliffs before you get there was actually a mistake and doesn't happen anymore if you start a fresh game since that update. 

But even so, I still think the character of Methuselah is probably either a hallucination of Will's or else supernatural in some way. 

His Biblical namesake is an Old Testament prophet, Noah's grandfather, who foresaw the coming of the great food - a comparable apocalyptic event to TLD's aurora. So that could be a clue. He also talks about having "walked these paths many times", and he's not necessarily referring to hiking the physical trails of Great Bear Island - it's possible that he actually means he's witnessed the passing of civilizations before. I am now analysing every sentence he utters for clues in this regard but Will doesn't seem to have picked up on it yet (even though, in my game, Methuselah spent several days and nights straight, sitting by his fire outside the Carter Dam in all weathers while I waited for an aurora to let me access the lifts!)

There's one other thing, though, that might point to a different explanation of how presence: outside the burned-out schoolhouse I found a big patch of blood, and next to it a discarded pair of spectacles that looked very similar to Methuselah's. Was he perhaps a victim of the fire whose ghost is now appearing to Will? The blood could well be Hobbs's, and the glasses could be... Astrid's? But they might have been Methuselah's. He could have been an unfortunate resident or traveller who got caught up in the violence of the convicts' escape. 

Either way, I think his presence in the story as 'not of this world' is a much more satisfying explanation than that he just some old guy who is stalking Will and offering cryptic advice along the way. I'll be very disappointed if that turns out to be the case. 

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On 1/15/2019 at 1:48 PM, MatoroTBS said:

 

2. Metusaleh

There's something wrong with this guy. I think everyone agrees on that. He is in places he has no reason to be. He knows stuff about Will's journeys he shouldn't have any reason to know. He seems to know much more about the situation than anyone else, but he is cryptic and vague. One of the most damning evidence about his weirdness is in Episode 1 where you can first meet him at the Gas Station and quickly after that down the cliff. How did that one old man get down the cliff, set up a camp and start a campfire in a time that it takes for Will to go from the gas station to the rope and climb down? It doesn't add up, and I feel like it's intentional.

So there's usually three possible explanations for Metusaleh: either he is a supernatural being, a figment of Will's imagination or a badly written plot-hole ridden character. Now there's again the very, well, non-supernatural explanation of Metusaleh being just something Mackenzie imagines in his loneliness. Every time we meet Metusaleh, Will is alone, and no other character interacts with Metusaleh or acknowledges his presence. This would explain how he know so much about Will - because he is literally the same person. Of course this would raise some questions about Will's mental health.

 

Very interesting theories, one thing that you didn't mention that I would like to bring up is that Will does say that he recognizes Methusaleh so that could support the theroy that he is a figment of Will imagination. I guess we just have to wait until episode 3 when we play as Astrid to get a more concrete answer to that however. 

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On 1/15/2019 at 12:48 PM, MatoroTBS said:

One of the most damning evidence about his weirdness is in Episode 1 where you can first meet him at the Gas Station and quickly after that down the cliff.

I'm thinking this was a glitch due to the recent patchnotes saying that they fixed this. But he's still omniscient.

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I don't think there's actually anything supernatural going on. But I do think it's made to look that way. 

The aurora is pure science fiction. It's based on real science but since it's a science fiction game, you can take liberties with what you can do with such a plot element. Also the kickstarter explains this pretty well.

Methuselah is very strange. And it's intentional for sure. But this doesn't mean he's some "apocalypse god" as I like to say. The most unbelievable part about him is how he gets down the cliff. However him being in the gas station before Will climbs down is actually a bug I believe. 

The old bear isn't exactly mystical either. Bears irl are more resilient to bullets than you may think. Especially a .303. Only reason why he doesn't even flinch to bullets is likely for gameplay purposes. 

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4 hours ago, Fuarian said:

I don't think there's actually anything supernatural going on. But I do think it's made to look that way. 

The aurora is pure science fiction. It's based on real science but since it's a science fiction game, you can take liberties with what you can do with such a plot element. Also the kickstarter explains this pretty well.

Methuselah is very strange. And it's intentional for sure. But this doesn't mean he's some "apocalypse god" as I like to say. The most unbelievable part about him is how he gets down the cliff. However him being in the gas station before Will climbs down is actually a bug I believe. 

The old bear isn't exactly mystical either. Bears irl are more resilient to bullets than you may think. Especially a .303. Only reason why he doesn't even flinch to bullets is likely for gameplay purposes. 

I kind of think there is a supernatural aspect, yes the Auroras can cause some things in RL, but it makes the animals in TLDs eyes green etc. 

Also I truly believe Methuselah could actually be Will, because the name Methuselah has dual meanings; man of the Spear, and when he dies it (destruction) shall be sent. 

and we know Will kills the Old Bear (Aurora) with the Spear. 

Yes sometimes it takes multiple bullets to bring down a Bear, but there's no way that a slew of arrows or bullets couldn't eventually cause a Bears ultimate demise. So the fact that - that bear never dies but with the Bear Spear in his heart (only after 3ish tries) tells me something is up. Any shot, arrow, or spear to the heart one good time would be enough to take down any animal. 

So these are just some of the reasons I think something is up, plus the fact that everyone was gathering up to leave tells me there's some sort of apocalypse like event occurring. 

At any rate, I do hope the game has supernatural aspects, I think it would make it all the more intriguing etc. 

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1 hour ago, kristaok said:

I kind of think there is a supernatural aspect, yes the Auroras can cause some things in RL, but it makes the animals in TLDs eyes green etc. 

Also I truly believe Methuselah could actually be Will, because the name Methuselah has dual meanings; man of the Spear, and when he dies it (destruction) shall be sent. 

and we know Will kills the Old Bear (Aurora) with the Spear. 

Yes sometimes it takes multiple bullets to bring down a Bear, but there's no way that a slew of arrows or bullets couldn't eventually cause a Bears ultimate demise. So the fact that - that bear never dies but with the Bear Spear in his heart (only after 3ish tries) tells me something is up. Any shot, arrow, or spear to the heart one good time would be enough to take down any animal. 

So these are just some of the reasons I think something is up, plus the fact that everyone was gathering up to leave tells me there's some sort of apocalypse like event occurring. 

At any rate, I do hope the game has supernatural aspects, I think it would make it all the more intriguing etc. 

Yes there's an apocalypse going on... that's a given. Regardless of whether you have anything supernatural. Only problem is that the devs have openly said there's nothing supernatural going on. 

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1 hour ago, Fuarian said:

Yes there's an apocalypse going on... that's a given. Regardless of whether you have anything supernatural. Only problem is that the devs have openly said there's nothing supernatural going on. 

I wonder how they're going to explain Methusaleh then, considering he's a Biblical character of sorts, and the fact that he can appear at these places faster than Will, and he's very mysterious like. 

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1 hour ago, kristaok said:

I wonder how they're going to explain Methusaleh then, considering he's a Biblical character of sorts, and the fact that he can appear at these places faster than Will, and he's very mysterious like. 

The biblical nature I believe is a double meaning. His appearance does seem odd, but only in Milton. Which like I said, is a bug/not intended. Also keep in mind that you can access Forlorn Muskeg from Mountain Town. So it's possible that he went that way into the muskeg and got to Broken Railroad that way. 

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47 minutes ago, Fuarian said:

The biblical nature I believe is a double meaning. His appearance does seem odd, but only in Milton. Which like I said, is a bug/not intended. Also keep in mind that you can access Forlorn Muskeg from Mountain Town. So it's possible that he went that way into the muskeg and got to Broken Railroad that way. 

That's possible, makes sense.

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Posted (edited)

Im in the camp of not supernatural. 

The Aurora is, in fact, quite reasonably explainable. The only somewhat unnatural thing about it is that as a EMF event, it is unusually strong, that it can power up even electrical equipment with high voltage requirements. 

However, Solar flares and similar events can cause such events. TLD apocalypse have happened in the past, and is recorded as such, in real life. Search up more if interested, keyword - Carrington event.

These solar storms will first hit the electronic equipment with a EMP. This destroys said equipment, rendering it useless in the future, even after the solar storm passes. However, the EMF is being generated during such storm, And Electro magnetic field can, in fact, power up electronics even without seemingly having them be connected into the powergrid. 
If you can produce sufficiently powerful EMF, you can power up a light bulb that is unscrewed from the light, and it will light up and flicker, much like the electrical equipment during aurora.

EMF radiation caused by solar flares around the polar circle does indeed result in Aurora borealis.

EMF radiation has been proven by association to cause hormonal changes in brain chemistry, notably in the dopamine centers, of human test subjects, and most likely animals as well. Moodiness and generally agression is therefore a quite realistic behaviour. This is indicated in what we learn during Story mode. Not only animals, but people as well have been turning a bit crazier and hostile. Each person is different, their brain chemistry is different and will be influenced by the EMF radiation differently. But studies suggest that people who rely on phones a lot for their jobs and daily rutines tend to be more stressed and depressed. This may be the effect of EMF radiation emitted by phones.

Methuselah is probably a figment of Will´s imagination. Then again, the convicts also escaped from Milton area and got as far as Mystery Lake, so my guess is that Grey Mother was just mistaken, and the climb was not the only way out of the Milton. I doubt Methuselah would climb a rope, since he seem to be crippled. Which further suggests to me that he is most likely Will´s imaginary narrator, since Grey Mother does not recognize him, yet Methuselah seems to be fairly well familiar with the island and the goings and comings of that world.

That being said, I do find the story mode to be quite eerie. 

As for the fight with Old bear... cant be the same one as Spence´s bear, but it could be one of its descendants. And Jeremiah has a point - what a bullet cant handle, 10 inch cold steel just may. Before guns, people still needed a way to hunt Bears. Spears are fairly simple in a way that they rely on Bear to charge you, so you ready your spear and pick it up just in time for the Bear to impale itself. I admit this part sounds a bit supernatural.

Edited by Mroz4k
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On 4/7/2019 at 12:51 PM, kristaok said:

Also I truly believe Methuselah could actually be Will, because the name Methuselah has dual meanings; man of the Spear, and when he dies it (destruction) shall be sent. 

and we know Will kills the Old Bear (Aurora) with the Spear. 

Very astute observation there!  I think that's a coincidence though.  The overall story is already fleshed out, and while specific details have changed with Redux, the overarching plot remained the same.  In Predux the Bear Spear didn't even exist, so Methuselah meaning "man of the spear" didn't have any significance.  (That's probably why I didn't draw the connection...there wasn't anything to connect originally.)  The decision to introduce the Bear Spear is, as near as I can tell, done entirely to make a more enjoyable story and gameplay experience.  In predux you had to stalk and shoot the bear over and over until it finally died from the gunshot wounds.  Compared to how much Jeremiah was talking this bear up to be a brutal relentless mankiller, the actual confrontation didn't live up to the hype.  Now, we have this folk legend involving demon bears and a mystic Bear Spear serving as the MacGuffin for Episode 2, a bear actively stalking you in scripted cutscenes, finally culminating in a full on boss fight in the bear's lair.   Excellent storytelling, no doubt.  But ultimately the method of the bear's death isn't relevant to The Long Dark as a whole.  The bear just has to die so Will can leave the region.  So yeah, pretty sure it's just a happy coincidence there!

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@ajb1978 Thanks! :D I can't help but to feel that - that Old Bear is Supernatural though... I don't know... I am still believing something is up, nobody can change my mind until I finish the whole story and find out other wise, I am also holding out on Methuselah having a connection with the apocalypse. :P 

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Here is a plot twist, something I am thinking about for a bit...

Even through you can select gender and you have to find items around, what if the main protagonist of the "hunted" challenge is actually Jeremiah? In one of the "tussles" with The Old bear long before the Will made an entrance. It would make sense, in a sense that you have to find the rifle in Jeremiah´s cabin, as in the character knew the rifle would be there.

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