So how did Eike come to know about everything he did in the EX endings (like how he already knows who Humonculus is)?
I understood it as this: The events of the game were looping over and over, slightly different each time (just like when you time travel) with each time you play the game being one loop—remember that you need to play all six regular endings to get the EX endings. By the time you get to the EX endings, Eike has been through this enough times that he has become aware of it. It's all one big fourth-wall-breaking meta thing.
Why didn't Dr. Wagner recognise Eike as the younger version of himself? Surely he didn't forget what he looked like when he was young. Also when Eike goes to the lab basement after the explosion, he sees Homunculus, but he doesn't recognise Eike! If Homunculus had just changed Wagner into Eike, then Homunculus should have recognised Eike.
From what I remember Wagner did comment on Eike's youth specifically when he made his wish. So it's possible he might have recognized Eike on a subconscious level but he either didn't put two and two together or he shrugged off any similarities between himself and Eike as a coincedence. As for the second question Homunculus may have just lied in order to maintain his cover.
To me, that sounds like it could be a translation problem. It's quite plausible that the original Japanese version had some kind of noncommittal "what?" or "oh" that got translated to Homunculus asking who Eike is, since it would look like a good creative translation to someone who saw the scene and didn't think of it in the context of the whole game.
Confirmedly NOT a translation problem: the Japanese release of this game is identical in content (if not title) to the US and Europe releases, but with Japanese subtitles. All voice acting is the same in every version. (This Troper owns and has played all three. I know, I know. Obsessive nerd is obsessive.)
This can be better explained by looking at the timeline itself. Homunculus was only just released from the stone by Dr. Wagner; he doesn't know Eike yet, but Eike (being from later in the timeline subjective to Homunculus) already knows the little djinn.
Which confuses things further, since in timeline D, while Homunculus would've already seen that Eike is a younger version of Dr. Wagner, Homunculus would be inside the stone, and not free to climb out of the ruins of the lab. Though... if it were ending E, it's plausible. All he was shown to do in the flashback in E was make the alchemist disappear. Maybe seeing Eike there was what gave him the idea to make the old guy young again, and set him up to play Eike's role later on?
Does anyone else think the Homunculus was lying about what happened to Wagner in the E ending? I mean, it's entirely possible that what we're seeing isn't so much a proper flashback as a dramatization of what he's telling Eike (at the end of the scene we see Homunculus saying "... so it was something like that," and all), and I wouldn't trust Homunculus as far as I could throw him.
So who is Eike exactly? Is he actually a younger Dr. Wagner?
Yep. Well, he's Dr. Wagner de-aged by Homonculus with his memory erased.
If that's true then why doesn't Eike remember anything since the accident occurred? After all he had over 400 years to live through, surely he remembered would have remembered something?
The human mind might not be capable of handling more than a few hundred years of memories, then again, homunculus' de-aging gave him immediate amnesia, it may just be recurring every X years. Though he does remember the museum owner as a friend, so he does have at least some long term memomory of recent years. Then again, there's endings where the good doctor dies, so his past may be as in flux as his future. In the end, it's a case of Selective Memory.
It's also possible that Eike can only remember as many years of memory as he's old, since he doesn't age he can only remember the past 25 or so years of his existence. So for every more day gained one day in his past is forgotten.
Eike is only Dr. Wagner in the D/E timeline. In endings A, B, and C, he's Dr. Wagner's descendant. The ABC and DE timelines are mutually exclusive. (This is the point of the decision in chapter 5, since You Know Who is eavesdropping and it affects his later plans. Depending on what you say in that conversation, you establish Eike as either a Wagner family descendant, or Dr. Wagner himself.)
Unless confirmed by Word Of God, there's nothing to say certain timelines are exclusive to each other. Sure, it would help simplify things, but as it stands, each ending is a possible outcome playing out in seperate timelines. For one, how would saying "You're my descendent" affect things that largely? It couldn't. Odds are, Homunculus has been manipulating time to ensure that Wagner wouldn't wise up enough and try to stop him. But somehow this causes the timeline in which the EX ending occurs, this Eike is a Wagner who managed to regain his memories somehow or at least become aware of the Homunculus' deceit and decides to end it all. This would explain why a man who would have to have existed in some previous form to be erased from time when killed the evil God like Djin.
I wondered how could have Wagner and Eike been the same person if Homonculus could have called up Wagner's spirit. Of course it's explained that the "spirit" Homonculus called up was a fake.
Also worth noting is that the game's premise, that Eike can be reinserted into his body before dying near endlessly, is because Homunculus drew Eike's soul to his Place Beyond Time in the opening (notice the white tunnel in the beginning is unlike the black time travel ones) and simply puts it back into his body with all the memories of how he'll die. Which is of course best explained by Homunculus owning Eike/Wagners' soul.
I second this. Homunculus explicitly stated that he did not call up Dr. Wagner, in ending A. He said that it was only a puppet of sorts that he'd made. His given reason was that he couldn't call up Dr. Wagner due to him not being dead yet. Which hints that Eike is really Dr. Wagner (Homunculus cannot summon the ghost of a living person?) except that in the ABC timeline, Dr. Wagner is only his ancestor, or else the baby-swap would make no sense. (see below) Of course, Homunculus is a liar, so any reason he states as to why he didn't call up the real Dr. Wagner's ghost is probably entirely suspect.
If Homonculus knew that Eike was really Wagner then what was the point of switching babies if he knew it didn't matter to Eike? By watching Ending A and E we know that neither Dana nor Margarete is Eike's ancestress since Eike doesn't disappear. Homunculus did say the effort was almost too much for him, so why go to the trouble?
He was likely hedging his bets on the off chance that playthrough's ending killed Dr. Wagner, in which case having an ancestor for Eike would be insurance against Paradox. And considering one of the EX endings has an Eike and Hugo clone descendants, it's not that implausible.
In the ABC timeline, Eike is not Dr. Wagner himself, only his descendant. Therefore, by switching the babies, Hugo could safely be allowed to leave the sister he grew up with (Margarete) in 2001, since that was the year she originally belonged in anyway, as the Brums' biological daughter. Meanwhile, Hugo's biological sister (Dana) had been brought back to the time she belonged in (by Eike, in chapter two, in fact) and made plans to settle down and have a family, thus ensuring Eike's existance. In the ABC timeline, Hugo's confused attempt to erase Eike by stranding Margarete was the result of his belief that Margarete was his biological sister and Eike's ancestress, thanks to his eavesdropping in chapter five. This is why the game makes such a big deal out of whether Eike tells Margarete what he thinks their relationship may be; it's a rather pivotal plot moment.
So what about EX endings, which as far as I know only work on the assumption that Eike is Wagner?
The incedent that led to Wagner becoming Eike also resulted in Homunculus getting sealed into the philosopher's stone again. In Homunculus's personal timeline, this has got to be before he started resurrecting Eike, or he wouldn't know what he knows in the game. (Probably.) So how the hell did he get out of the stone again? Did the spell just not stick or something?
The thing is, Homunculus is released in the past... half of the time. One ending has Eike suggest to Wagner a sealing circle will help (effectively re-trapping homunculus), another he doesn't. However, since the past is mutable in this (and other) details, Homunculus has to make certain Eike lives long enough to get Wagner to release him. If that particular playthrough has Homunculus never get released... well then, the Homunculus helping Eike must be from a parallel/alternate timeline! Then again, time travel means that as long as Homunculus is eventually released in the present he can go about retroactively helping that along (like juggler Eike in chapter one).
Actually, no. Ending D is paradoxial, in that if Homunculus were simply sealed up into the stone again, he would never have been free to do the things he did in 1980 and 2001, and the Stable Time Loopisn't one. (Note that Homunculus is not sealed again in ending E, however.)
To further this confusion, while D cannot be a Stable Time Loop resolution to the game because of Homunculus's lack of opportunity for involvement, neither can any other ending, for similar reasons: In the others, Hugo is prevented from completing the loop. As he is sixteen at the time of his attempts on Eike's life, and it is revealed that his much older self is the one that finally finished a time machine to follow Eike with, Hugo needed to stick to his goal and live to that older age, so that his older self would actually finish making that time machine to hand to him, to start(?) this whole mess in the first place.
- In ending A, Hugo was taken somewhere else by Homunculus, who was then removed from the equation before he could reintroduce Hugo to the timeline. Result: No old Hugo in the timeline.
- In the B endings, Hugo is either killed, or dissuaded by a good fatherly smackdown, courtesy of Eckart Brum. Result: In the ending where Hugo lives, he's no longer set on revenge, and therefore doesn't make his time machine. In the ending he dies, well, he obviously doesn't build his time machine.
- In the C ending, he never reads his dad's notes, and thus never decides to go after Eike. Result: No time machine.
- And in the EX endings, either Homunculus is taken out of the equation before he can get Eike to release him from the stone, and therefore the whole thing never happened, or
- Helena is cured, which means Dr. Wagner doesn't have a reason to become mournful and obsess on his studies, which would have turned to creating a life (Homunculus) and ultimately lead to his disappearance... and again, this means Hugo has no reason to hunt down poor Eike.
Which leads this Troper to believe that no matter what happens, none of the canon endings is a Stable Time Loop at all, and thus the "real" ending, and that the whole game is one giant Timey Wimey Ball after all. But it's an incredibly entertaining one...
I think what some people may be missing is that Homunculus is a Djin, a godlike creature. While it's never explicitly stated, I think Homunculus' existence is constant in every timeline/universe (much like how the Elder God in Legacy of Kain knows what's going on even when encountered centuries before he meets Raziel). So even if in the D timeline Wagner resealed him, Homunculus still exists in a freed state in another. It's probable that he was merely trying to prevent an abosolute termination of his existence. The EX ending has him either never being freed because Wagner used the stone and thus never sought to create human life with it, or is used by Eike to wipe him from existence via a paradox (which Homunculus explained totally removes the person in question from existence entirely). While this still raises some questions (how come Hugo's paradox in the one ending didn't just reset events to start, and so on), but it does at least give a possible reasoning for every ending to have some connection (but not be linked, as I stand by the idea that each is an independent result in seperate timelines). Two other theories I have had have been that when Wagner sealed Homunculus, the spell backfired and seperated the stone from Homunculus (which is why he's weakened and slightly confused when Eike stumbles upon him in the past). Or, he never did get resealed, he teleported, and the stone is always seperated him from (kind of like the gem that houses the Djin from Wishmaster, they're connected, but seperate at the same time).
Any and all talk of "ABC" and "DE" timelines on this page makes no sense to this particular troper, especially the thought that Eike is Dr. Wagner's descendant in the "ABC timeline". Two conflicting points exist on this supposed timeline, both stated by Homunculus. First, he switched Dana and Margarete in case Hugo tried to play the stranded-ancestor card; second, Dr. Wagner's spirit can't be summoned because he isn't dead yet... in 2001. Of course, it's entirely possible that both are true and Dr. Wagner is wandering the world still as Eike's identical ancestor, but that entirely eradicates the very plausible theory that Homunculus is able to bring Eike back to life in certain situations because Dr. Wagner traded his soul for youth (though it is just a theory). It's also possible that even Homunculus isn't sure if Eike is Dr. Wagner or a remarkably similar descendant, which would also make both statements make sense. Not to mention the EX Endings...