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Headscratchers: Spec Ops: The Line
Rules of Engagement: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD, PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

AGAIN, PROCEED WITH CAUTION

  • How do the snipers from when you "have" to choose to kill either the soldier or the civilian (or shoot the ropes) manage to injure your teammates if they're imaginary? I could understand it if it happened to Walker (since it's his delusion), but Adams got incapacitated by them when I shot the ropes, so yeah.
    • Just kill the snipers, and suddenly your teammates are fine.
      • To elaborate: if Adams or Lugo is downed in the fight, which is pretty likely, they will recover instantly after you finish the snipers off. Nowhere else in the game does this occur. If they're injured in any other fight and it finishes, you'll have to revive them.
      • Not so. They picked themselves up after my first encounter with the 33rd.
    • The ending shows that Walker was standing there for a great deal of time when he came up to the bodies and Lugo and Adams were asking him to snap out of his day dream. Walker's delusions are very powerful, any inconsistency with his team mates can be chalked up to him imagining bad things happening to them. Either that or Adams is just lucky.
    • Or consider this, the snipers were part of the "friendly" half of the 33rd(the ones who hang their flags upside down) and they took the shooting as hostile because they would assume that you are firing at them as who would shoot at a corpse?

  • OK so the ending reveals that the real Colonel Konrad was dead before Walker ever even arrived in Dubai. Who was commanding the 33rd Battalion then? Walker encounters soldiers that talk about the man as if he were still alive and still in command and Adams and Lugo interact with these men so they can't have been imaginary. Surely someone realized that their commander was dead and stumbled across his corpse?
    • While it does stretch credibility that they kept going this long, one of the intel items reveals that Konrad left standing orders to maintain peace at all cost. Presumably he ordered the 33rd to keep doing whatever they were doing and defending his tower in the hopes that his distress signal would be picked up before the 33rd realized he was dead. Unfortunately, he didn't count on Walker and Delta screwing things up.
      • At one point fairly early on, after one of the first short stealth segments, you come upon a Major giving orders to his underlings, and he says something along the lines of "forgive them Lord, they know not what they do" in reference to the rogue 33rd troopers, immediately after which you blow him away and then fight another group of 33rd soldiers. There was very little emphasis placed on this, but in hindsight that Major you killed was almost certainly the acting commander of the survivors.
      • So? If you're a CO and you die, you don't get to leave your unit a bunch orders that they're now obligated to follow until the end of time. The second Konrad died, the 33rd was only obligated to follow the orders from either the chain of command or from the new highest ranking officer in the unit.
      • My problem with this point is that Konrad wasn't your typical CO. Whether he wanted to or not, it's obvious a cult of personality developed around him. I don't think it's implausible at all that the men under his command would either follow his orders despite his death OR willfully ignore his death and press on like he was still there.
      • How about this order "Defend your positions and maintain order by any means necessary until relieved, or ordered otherwise." Even platoon leaders rarely get to see, let alone receive direct order from battalion commander. And company commanders may have just... Not known what to do. On the outside, military may seem as well oiled machine, with strict rules and clear chain of command, but in reality, it mostly a giant clusterfuck. Spoken, from actual experience.
    • Also, all the dialogue of 33rd soldiers regarding Konrad is very ambiguous; at no point do they refer to him in the present tense or talk directly about him still being actively in command. It's entirely possible they all know he's dead, but are carrying on with his final orders (remember, the troops you face throughout the game are the 1/2th of the 33rd that were most loyal and devoted to Konrad). Noteably, a 33rd soldier the group interrogates gets knocked out by Walker before he can react to Walker's statements indicating that he believes Konrad is still alive.
      • To answer the original question of who was commanding the 33rd after Konrad's death. the most likely answer is…no one. At least, no one person. The Radioman seems to be the closest thing the batallion has to a central authority, and he's not shown to be terribly effective. The various smaller units of the 33rd are probably working semi-independently of each other depending on how much they're separated geographically, though they clearly keep in communication.
  • Why is Walker the only one who suffers from delusions, why not Lugo or Adams? How often and how likely is it that someone is realistically going to suffer from dissociative personality disorder, and especially of such a sort that produces such vivid hallucinations?
    • Walker was probably already traumatized by the Kabul incident and the white phosphorous incident was the last straw that pushed him off the deep end. The latter question can be answered by the MST3K Mantra.
    • Or, more pointedly, who says they didn't?
    • "If Lugo was alive, he'd have PTSD. So, really, he's the lucky one."
    • Walker was the commanding officer - almost every bad thing that happens in the game is the direct result of his instructions, whereas Lugo and Adams can presumably explain away their complicity in his crimes by claiming that they were Just Following Orders. In particular, Lugo tries to persuade Walker not to launch the white phosphorous immediately before he does so: in his view, the incident is entirely Walker's fault, not his. This might also help to explain why Adams and Lugo keep following Walker's orders even as it becomes increasingly clear he's mentally unstable - a major theme of the game is people being unwilling to accept the consequences of their actions and instead rationalizing their actions as being someone else's fault. Just as Walker blames every bad thing he does on Konrad because he was "forced" to (indeed, just as the player might hypothetically blame every bad thing they do on the developers), Adams and Lugo can blame every bad thing they do on Walker ordering them to, but only so long as they remain under his command. If they abandon Walker and elect to leave Dubai on their own, everything they do after that is on their heads, a possibility they're not willing to consider.
      • One of the pieces of intel you pick up, the Konrad Psyche Profile, hints at this. Everything it says about Konrad's mental state can be seen happening to Walker as the story progresses.
    • Also, this is hinted at as early as the White Phosphorus Scene, when Walker is the only one not to freak out and start shouting, which would be the normal, natural thing to do. This proves that, unlike Lugo and Adams, he likes to suppress these emotions, and this adds a lot to his own psychosis as the ending rolls around.
  • Why did Riggs say that if the Middle East declared war on the United States that we would lose? I seriously doubt that they could defeat the American Military. Maybe if Russia or China got involved we would probably lose, but what interest would they have in Dubai? It seems rather absurd to me that a war would want to be started over a rouge Colonel's actions. First of all Colonel Konrad was trying to help the people of Dubai and his failure to save certain people was an accident, he had good intentions at heart. Secondly any nefarious deeds that Riggs felt were necessary to cover up could easily be counted out in the international community as the actions of a Colonel who went AWOL. The whole war business seems improbable both in the sense that we would lose and that there would even be justification for war in the first place.
    • My guess is that Riggs and the CIA believed that China and/or Russia would get involved in such a conflict, hence the belief that the US would lose. As for what would provoke it, the only explanation I can think of would be that because of the Colonel's apparent war crimes, anti-American beliefs could be "justified" as correct and blown out of proportions by Middle Eastern regimes such as Iran, which would lead to regional outrage and conflict.
    • Maybe that's the point, original poster. One of the major themes of the game is how people can take on altruistic projects but not understand their own motives for doing so, and how this lack of understanding can lead to the degeneration of the original project into folly and tragedy. John Konrad ostensibly led the 33rd into Dubai to organize the evacuation, but some ingame intel suggests his underlying motive was to bolster his reputation after his failures in Afghanistan. Walker had at least three different goals (find and save the 33rd, save the surviving civilians of Dubai, kill Konrad), but the game makes it crystal clear that all these goals were chosen by Walker's need to prove himself a hero. In both cases their desires led both Konrad and Walker to embark on projects they were in no way prepared to successfully carry out, resulting in stopgap measures, overreactions, and death. I view Riggs, Gould, and the rest of the CIA team through a similar lens. They claim their actions were necessary to prevent a general war in the Middle East, but their fundamental goal was to prevent America from looking bad on the world stage. They might have been able to achieve that if they had simply broadcast to the world what happened in Dubai and arranged a relief effort, but they overreacted, assumed the worst at every turn, never conferred with anyone but themselves, and decided the best course of action was to incite the 33rd and the remaining civilians to destroy each other. When that failed, they killed the city. Riggs was far more lucid that either Walker or Konrad, but he was just as delusional about his motives.
    • Imagine what would happen if "the truth got out". US would stand without allies, even UK and Canada would abandon it, and probably would have civil unrest of their own, with people protesting against actions of their government. Some of the more... Radical organizations would probably launch terror attacks on US, all leading to chaos, in which fighting any war would be next to impossible. Especially since after Dubai all of US actions would be looked upon very carefully be international community, and the slightest hint of not playing exactly by the rules (no war is ever played by the rules, mostly just "close enough") would bring even more trouble.
      • Half-n-Half, really, but a good idea of what the CIA team thought they were facing. For one, it's again worth noting that until the CIA cell came up with their "brilliant" plan and arguably well afterwards, none of it could be *directly* tied as the responsibility of the US government, as opposed to the actions of A: a deranged Colonel and his unit, B: a group of militant and unruly "civilians", and C: a CIA team waaaaaayy off it's rocker and out of its' mission boundary, (and for that matter, D: a Delta Force squad commander who went insane) all of whom had been isolated in that hell without contact to the outside world for quite some time. It would trigger an unholy hell and the US would at best come off as looking inept and at worst come off looking as nightmarish stupid, but crucially not actually *guilty* if you look at the truth and the whole truth. Certainly, it's safe to say the Middle East would erupt fairly horribly even if the governments of the Sunni Gulf Sheikhdoms try to brush everything under the rug, but longstanding Western allies like the UK and Canada (and even France and Germany) would not be hamstrung by having as quite a volatile population as the ME does. Distancing and condemnations would be inevitable, but the US, French, and British all have done worse. That said, it'd still be deeply cold comfort because having a Middle East united against you if only by the consensus that you need to die would not be an enviable position.
      • I could definitely see the CIA running with a less than stellar plan that hinges on preserving American sovereignty at all costs, as well as overlooking small, insignificant details like what's actually true in order to accomplish same. Operation Ajax, anyone?
      • I'm not someone who is very fond of the CIA and I have a very low opinion of a lot of their competence and humane track record, but Operation Ajax is one of the most epically misunderstood and misrepresented things on the organization's "track record" and not a good example. I could also see the CIA proper authorizing plenty of inhumane, bone stupid, and generally bad ideas (sending in Fox team easily qualifying as one of them); it's just that Everyone Has Standards and even the Stoopid command would probably take issue with the idea Fox Team came up with.
    • Futhermore, in the context of a US vs Middle East war "lose" doesn't necessarily mean the latter invades and occupies the former. Inflicting severe casualties on the US military, making it a living hell for the US mainland via oil embargo and terror attacks, and/or forcing the United States to a humiliating peace deal could all easily constitute as a loss and would be within the capability of a united Middle East. War is expensive, but if the chaos in Dubai really did stir the requisite amount of hatred amongst the rest of the region then they would be willing to pay that price... and the US wouldn't. And that is even before adding the already mentioned possibility of intervention from third-parties like China and/or Russia.
      • The chances of a Middle East actually uniting like we would say NATO or even the Western Allies are is difficult given the massive Iran-Gulf Cold War, so there'd likely be no actual Grand Alliance going after the West or even the US alone so much as a literal horde of individual countries and parties going after each other as much as against themselves. The result would be nightmarish and lead to an embargo and terrorist attacks up the wazoo, but the chance of an actual surrender are minimal particularly if the evidence Walker has on him detailing the murderously callous disregard by the UAE and probably the other Gulf States by extension might be enough to prevent the Saudi bloc from breaking with the US and the West for threat of exposure.
    • Even if the possibility of various nations in the Middle East uniting against the US and the former defeating the latter in a military context is a remote one, I don't believe that that means the CIA nevertheless taking preventative measures to avoid that happening is that implausible. It's by no means the first time in US history that the nation has used the threat of some decidedly unlikely possible negative outcome of events in order to justify some rather morally questionable actions in foreign nations. Think about it: is "we have to kill the survivors of the Dubai sandstorm or else several Middle Eastern nations will band together and declare war on us" that much more ridiculous a proposition than "we have to intervene in Vietnam, because if one country falls to communism, then the surrounding countries will do likewise in a kind of domino effect"? What's more, the US military killed far more civilians in Vietnam than the CIA was intending to in Dubai according to various estimates. All things considered, it doesn't strike the troper as that far-fetched a clandestine operation.
      • I agree with your overall point, but the Vietnam War/Indochinese Wars aren't the right place to mention that, or at least ye olde domino theory. The reason we thought not intervening in Vietnam would lead to the domino effect was *because* the Communist factions had already begun expanding throughout the Japanese occupation onward, had already created extensive infrastructures in theoretically neutral countries (Cough Cambodia Cough). And when Vietnam was withdrawn from, that is more or less exactly what happened with South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia following in quick succession. And technically, regarding the killing of civilians in Vietnam, this was *usually* far different than what happened in Dubai. Most of the civilian casualties in Vietnam by the Allies were- to put it bluntly- "the price of doing business." Which is why while they were massively controversial nobody got arraigned on war crimes except those that actually went beyond collateral damage. Dubai is plotting to massacre an entire greater urban population center and the population of refugees within, which is an entire order of magnitude worse because it shows malice afterthought. I agree with the overall points, but just nitpicking a bit.
    • Maybe Riggs (and/or his superiors) just convinced themselves of it so they would have a mission and by accomplishing it be something they were not: heroes.
      • The CIA operatives are just as misguided and insane as every other faction in Dubai. They've convinced themselves of this story, and they convince Walker too, but that doesn't mean it makes sense. The "murder everyone" plan is just the last step on their long Walk (get it?) away from their original orders, which were probably something along the lines of "figure out what happened and get our people out of there." Writing their own history where they save America from some unlikely super-alliance ties right into the main themes of the game.
      • Furthermore, Intel found in-game says that Daniels (one of the CIA operatives) was sent to tell the CIA HQ at Langley what was going on. The same intel says he hasn't reported back. Daniels is ALSO the CIA operative who was captured and tortured by the 33rd. And to top the cake, you know who else thought Riggs was insane? Gould, his own team mate. Riggs was not seen as a sane man even by his own operations group, but in the same way that Lugo and Adams followed Walker even as his mental state obviously began to slip, Gould and Castavain stuck with him until the bitter end, determined to complete a mission who's point they had forgotten long ago.
      • Wiping out the entire population of Dubai was almost certainly not the CIA's original mission. Daniels confessed, under interrogation, that they were sent there to look for survivors, and the interrogator believed that he was telling the truth. Riggs took matters into his own hands, just like Walker.
      • It's worth considering that Riggs had possibly been alone for a considerable amount of time. Castavain and Gould could have been captured and tortured by the 33rd long before Walker and his team arrived, thus giving Riggs a little time alone with the sand and the heat. I could see him formulating a massive scheme of revenge against the city at large as his team got picked off, mentioned to Gould at some point but possibly only committed to after the last of his colleagues were killed.
      • So, to sum up: Riggs was the the "hero" of another story in Dubai in the same vein as Walker, eh?'
      • Almost certainly. In paralleling the other cases of this, like with Konrad, the "Civilians", and the native government in general. Making sandstorm-ridden Dubai qualify as the universe's karmic heat sink...

  • Is it really realistic that Dubai wasn't successfully evacuated since the sand storm destroyed the city? America has had a long history of coming to the aid of other countries, we helped rebuild Europe and Japan after World War II for example, and that example is followed by the presence of U.S soldiers like Walker in Dubai. That isn't even talking about other countries: The Arab countries don't care about Dubai? Europe doesn't care? Asia? Even without the help of those other countries what prevented men like Colonel Konrad from successfully getting those people out of there?
    • Good question, but regarding the Emirati government, there's at least an explanation for possible resistance to the idea that would have helped cause the evacuation plan to fail. Namely: they are fanatically determined to make Dubai pay off however they can, and the sandstorm coupled with the evacuation would in essence force them to write off the entire project as the failure most people already make of it. Naturally, this would not have gone down well, and even if they did eventually come around the sheer inertia getting there would have caused problems.... and by extension nicely tying into the themes of "Projects going overboad in creative and horrible ways" and "taking Altruistic projects without knowing the motives one has for taking it in the first place." Consider their extreme reaction to the game just for showing a ruined Dubai about just how irrationally protective they are the city.
    • Also, America *did* try to help evacuate the populace. That's what the 33rd's original mission was. They failed, however, and Konrad decided to stay and create a kind of "police state" to "keep the peace" instead of leaving as ordered.

  • Why would destroying the tanker trucks doom the survivors to die of dehydration? The largest tanker trucks only carry 35,000 liters, and there are 5,000 survivors. Even if they only drink a liter per day (probably not enough to survive in Dubaï), there was only enough water in the trucks for two weeks. Seems to me the survivors were doomed either way.
    • It buys time until they can find another water source or help arrives. No matter how futile it may seem people are desperate when it comes to holding onto their lives, I would imagine they would prefer to fight as hard as they can to survive rather than just roll over and die.
    • It could be that the trucks were used to distribute the water, and their destruction is what screwed the populace.
  • Walker finds Konrad in the tallest building in Dubai with a massive water fountain that is still operational right outside its front doorstep. Did no one find this water source and think to use it to survive? Even if the water in the fountain isn't drinkable there have to be pipes leading to a water source.
    • If you look carefully after you decide whether or not to shoot "Konrad" (this is especially noticeable in the ending where you let him shoot you), you'll see that the tower is actually in an advanced state of disrepair (the pool is filled with sand, the glass is opaque and cracked, etc.). Presumably that entire sequence was an hallucination and all the water is long gone.
      • By some interpretations, the entire game is a hallucination, so any obvious "outs" are almost certainly wrong. Walker expects the psuedo-Burj to be luxurious, so that's what he sees.

  • This is probably only a minor issue but why does the fake Konrad use the term "we" and why does Walker say "you" when referring to one another? Walker is technically talking to himself as the fake Konrad is an extension of his own personality, there is no we (the both of them) or you (Konrad as an individual). Is his mind so damaged that the line between reality and his own personal fiction began to blur, or did he just think it would be weird to say, "You're wrong me! I'm a totally stable individual, zombie Konrad over there is only taking a nap! When he wakes up you and me can confront him."
    • Disassociation. The shadow of Konrad is making it gradually more and more clear to Walker that he is part of his mind as the fiction that he built collapses, but Walker is still resisting the revelation. So the latter, basically. "I am so sane! You're the crazy one, mental construct of Konrad - you made me do all the bad things! ...Despite you actually being dead for six months. Oh, shit."

  • I know that Walker was psychologically damaged and that he needed to project his guilt onto someone; but why Konrad? I thought that Konrad had been his commander and his friend once? Also didn't Konrad save Walker's life in Afghanistan? Why choose a guy you liked to become your own personal villain? Why not choose some random evil person from a fictional story or even some bad guy from real life?
    • Because, to Walker, Konrad is the greatest hero he knows. And for Walker to be an even better hero, Konrad has to fall. Specifically he has to be dragged down to the levels of insanity and violence that Walker is at instead of Walker working up to the heroism of Konrad.
      • One of Walker's hallucinations supports this; when Walker talks about how much respect he has for Konrad for saving his life, fake radio Konrad says that alone isn't nearly enough to warrant respect, because he's saved others (I took this as blurring the line between what we usually chalk up to heroics and what a soldier is simply "supposed" to do, in this case, "leave no man behind,") and has killed more than he's ever saved by simple virtue of his job. Walker is bringing Konrad down to his level from very early on.
    • As a man Walker respects, Konrad is the perfect choice for him to demonize to fill his need for a villain. Betrayal hurts. Konrad turning out to be (in Walker's head, at least) a phony who is unworthy of respect and is capable of immense evil hits Walker very close to home, far more than some random bad guy, real or imagined, would. Thus, Walker is free to respond with such severity without ever questioning how justified it is.
    • Walker is still reeling from the white phosphorous attack when the team comes across the bodies of Konrad's executed commanders. Since his psyche really needs to unload the guilt ASAP, he probably went "oh wait the dude offed his own men! He must be more evil! Yes, he's the villain, not me!"
  • So Walker's need to be the "hero"; is that a conscious thing or a subconscious thing? At any point in his life did Walker really think to himself, "I wanna be a great hero, and maybe I should role play that scenario one day." If it really is a subconscious thing then why does Walker's mind think that it is healthy for him to be hallucinating all these elaborate scenarios? I'm no psychology expert but it just seems strange that a mind would do something like that as a defense mechanism to protect yourself from all the guilt and trauma. What happened to good old fashioned PTSD?
    • It's probably not quite that Walker wants to be a "hero", so much as he wants to believe what he's done can be morally justified, or that it was not his fault - he was driven to it by the extreme circumstances. Think "hero" in the sense of a good, sane person who does good things whenever possible and tries to make the best of even the worst situation, in contrast to a "villain" (or a madman). Villains and madmen launch WP mortar rounds at civilians, massacre US soldiers, lead their subordinates to their deaths and condemn a city of desperate innocents to die slowly of thirst. If heroes do those things, it's because they were forced or tricked by villains - definitely never because they made bad calls and ill-informed mistakes! As for what a healthy mind does to defend itself, I don't think Walker's mind was healthy even at the beginning of the game. What's clear, though, is that at the moment Walker realized what his order had led to, his defenses kicked into overdrive, pushed all the fault onto Konrad and continued to do that until they became exhausted and collapsed. From the moment those defenses became necessary, however, Walker's mind was no longer healthy. Functional, semi-logical, running on a rigid temporary framework, but warping more and more under the strain until it was unrecognizable, no longer functional.
    • He's not really talking to Walker at that point, he's talking to you, the player. It's less a condemnation of Walker as a character and more one of Walker as a puppet, and you by extension.
    • One could examine the broader implications of Walker wanting to be a hero by way of reference to the game's brutal deconstruction of America Saves the Day. All his life, Walker has believed in an idealistic vision of the US as the world's protector - when people in foreign nations are in trouble, America steps in to rescue them. Notably, he was previously deployed in Afghanistan: his combat experience prior to Dubai was as part of a military operation ostensibly meant to overthrow a corrupt, oppressive regime. The events in Dubai force him to revise his position and consider the possibility that American military intervention isn't always a good thing, and that the Americans aren't always the heroes.
    • I took Walker as not so much wanting to be a hero, but rather feeling indebted to Konrad after he saved his life in Afghanistan and wanting to return the favor. Walker elevates Konrad to a higher status then Konrad himself believes he deserves and that's really what sets things in motion. Konrad was the main reason he went into Dubai in the first place, so it makes sense for Walker to blame Konrad for his own actions and try to justify them due to having good intentions for coming to Dubai.
  • How long does the game take place? I just got through playing it again and it didn't seem like night came around until the very end of the game. It seems very strange that so much could happen in a single day.
    • It's possible that Walker's perception of time isn't totally reliable (since his perception of reality sure isn't). He does get knocked out at least twice and there are cuts that suggest time passing.
    • There are several points where its implied a long time has passed (whenever Walker gets knocked out, when they bunker down in that tube during a sandstorm, and when Lugo dies), really the ending being at night seems to be more stylistic than anything else.
    • Delta Force steals the water in the middle of the night. After the trucks crash the next mission is the following morning. I would estimate 3-4 days in total.
    • It's hard to say, but there seem to be two days and two nights at a minimum. Since we lose some time due to cuts, it could be longer.

  • Those bars that measure your proficiency with different kinds of weapons. Does anything interesting happen when they fill up?
    • You get an XBox/PS3/Steam Achievement?
      • You are super proficient! Heroes are super proficient! Don't you feel like a hero now?

  • How is Walker supposed to explain what happened in Dubai to the authorities when he gets home to America (should you have chosen that ending)? Is he gonna say, "I went crazy and my conscience personified itself in the shape of, the now dead, Colonel Konrad and manipulated me in such a way that I hallucinated him to be a villain that I needed to stop. My mind tried to cope with the evils that occurred in Dubai by fashioning myself as the hero." How is he supposed to explain any of it in a way that won't get him thrown in the looney bin? My mind enjoys overly elaborate symbolism isn't a very good defense in a court room.
    • I Did What I Had to Do.
    • I'm pretty sure he's going to get institutionalized regardless - probably declared unfit to be tried. Look at the guy. Such situations aren't unprecedented.
    • The dude has "unfit for trial" written all over him when he is found, he is clearly in the very least heavily disturbed by the events in Dubai and he clearly has severe PTSD ("Who says I did!" indeed) He'll probably spend years in various mental health establishments.
      • I'm not saying that he won't be put into some sort of mental help institution but he clearly has enough of a grasp on reality that he can say what happened in Dubai. "I would like the Court to know that Colonel Konrad, under his own direction, decided to keep the Battalion in his command in Dubai and attempted an evacuation. When that failed anarchy occurred in Dubai and the CIA tried to cover the affair up." The court may think he's crazy for imagining Colonel Konrad to still be alive but the evidence of everything that happened there will corroborate with Walker's story.
      • Criminal culpability in the United States, at least in the area of mental health, is determined by the question of whether the defendant (Walker in this case) had the capability to reasonably decide that their actions were right or wrong. I would say that Walker's advocate would be able to make the case that Walker A) Operated under the assumption that he was following mission parameters, as well as taking reasonable measures under the circumstances, B) Wasn't presented with evidence to the contrary until it was already to late to stop the conflict that was brewing, and C) Was so traumatized, demoralized and fatigued that survival for himself and his men was the only concern he could rationally address. Sure, he would likely be institutionalized for at least some time, and would (at the absolute best case scenario) be dishonorably discharged and left to wander through life carrying the burden of his crimes, but I find it pretty unlikely that he wind up in a cell in Leavenworth.
      • The government'l probably be happy he seems crazy then, no way for the true story of what happened to come out (and be believed), they really wont want it to be revealed that the CIA is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of refugees. They also already knew what was going on in Dubai (in the very least they knew enough to send in the CIA in the first place).
      • He won't because he can't. Among other interesting things, the writer stated that any time there's a flash of white/fade to white (dying while fighting Lugo Heavy, seeing the burning and fractured statues while walking up the escalator to the mall, etc.), Walker is deluding himself/hallucinating. That happens when you pick that ending. He never goes home.
      • Delusions and hallucinations aren't the same thing, though, and while Walker's meeting with the rescue squad ends in white, the conversation he has with the other soldier while in the jeep fades to black. Perhaps the "delusion" at that point was something to do with him being dressed in Konrad's clothes. The coloured scene breaks really aren't specific enough to pinpoint anything.
      • Walt Williams has said it's meant to be understood that Walker is hallucinating going home. Fades to white indicate that Walker is "hallucinating or lying to himself." Note that that doesn't mean the rescue squad Falcon One isn't real (since they can end up killing Walker or being killed by him in other fade-to-black endings), just that Walker is lying to himself about going home. He will likely spend the rest of his life institutionalized (as has been pointed out) or, even if he avoids that, the concept of "home," after all he's experienced, has effectively been destroyed. He's lying to himself if he thinks he'll ever be able to truly come to terms with what happened in Dubai (hence his line "Who says I did?" when asked how he survived). I think it's particularly significant that the fade to white happens directly after Walker says, "It's over. Time to go home."
  • What exactly are the heavy troopers? I understand the Acceptable Breaks from Reality to a point, but the game otherwise seems fairly realistic about it's depictions of armor and weaponry to suddenly have semi-invincible behemoths marching around. Did the 33rd start throwing together 7 foot tall suits of power armor?
    • The Heavy Troopers may not even really exist, its notable that most of the times they show up its in the middle of hallucinations and other times where Walker is mentally not there.
      • I'll answer this by posing a question: How many shooters can you think of that have "heavy" enemies in them? Virtually all of them. If we look at the story from the perspective of Walker having a psychotic breakdown and him hallucinating the world from the perspective of him being the "hero" of the story, then Walker may very well be subconsciously thinking of himself as a video game action hero. An action hero from a game like Uncharted or Gears of War would eventually run into a heavy enemy that can tank rounds that would kill other enemies outright; the fantasy wouldn't be complete without the heavy!
      • As supporting evidence I provide the scene in the mall when Walker is separated from his squad and has to duck into a shop to flank an enemy turret. The screen takes on a blue tone, the lights start flashing on and off, and a Heavy Trooper appears. Whenever you get a few shots on him he vanishes and teleports around the room, his original location replaced by a mannequin. Is he really just a normal soldier with an armoured suit and teleportation powers? Why is the screen so nightmarish during this scene, and why does it return to normal as soon as he dies?
    • If we accept that heavy troopers actually exist within the game and not merely in Walker's head, the first time the player encounters them (at least on normal difficulty) is in chapter 7, "The Battle", when the 33rd deploys white phosphorous: the first heavy trooper walks through the phosphorous smoke and appears entirely unharmed by it. Perhaps the heavy's armour is a kind of hazmat suit meant for soldiers handling or using chemical weapons or other dangerous materials (like a bomb disposal suit, but for combat situations). Makes a lot of sense since the 33rd were originally deployed in Afghanistan, and probably had to deal with IEDs on a regular basis (and even possibly dispose of them while being fired upon). Compare real military bomb disposal suits with the heavy troopers' armour.
    • They are not wearing 7 foot tall suits of power armor. If you google search any images of the heavies, you can see that they are just wearing extra layers of armor on top of the regular armor they have. You can even see that some armor is duct taped into place for that added protection. It is likely that they adopted some IED disposal protection in an effort stop these three maniacs that keep killing all their comrades. They certainly walk like they have more weight on them. They also realize that they are big target since they tend to call for cover fire and flanking while they are being a damage sponge.
    • My explanation for the heavies is psychological. Have y'all ever heard of what happens when a normal person with a gun is confronted with a threat? They don't usually just pump a few rounds into the bad guy and call it a day. They empty the clip, or whatever kind of ammunition they have, entirely into the threat. And usually keep pulling the trigger a few times, until they realize the gun's not doing anything anymore. So here's a question: What's the tactic you used most often against the heavies? If you were anything like me, you blindly fired as many bullets as you could to their faces and kept it up until they finally keeled over. My thought is that Walker is trained enough to take out your standard insurgents, and possibly even American troops in . . . ceramic body armor, I guess? Anyway, a heavy like that might trigger the same sort of fear reaction in Walker, and what we're seeing might be his representation of madly firing dozens of rounds at the heavies. To his addled brain, their protection might make it look like they're just not going down.
  • What was it with the radioman and how does he fits into the story? In one of the Intels is said he did it for the art, because even though Dubai was a hell hole people still made art, but what did he do? Just play music? And why did Lugo killed him?
    • The Radioman is partly a reference to the Photojournalist from Apocalypse Now, but he serves other purposes. He delivers source music because source music is awesome, acts as a mouthpiece for the devs (and Konrad when Konrad can't because he's dead), and in general serves as the Greek Chorus of Dubai - the man telling everyone present what's going on and how to feel about it all, but detached from events. He adds to the surrealist atmosphere of the game because he's out of place; a jocular and loudmouthed American in a city of deadly serious soldiers and terrified Middle-Eastern civilians. His motives originally were to keep hope alive when there are no supplies and no rescue coming, by keeping up the pretence of a sane world. Music doesn't keep humans alive, but it reminds them that they're human, and he probably thought that would help the civilians and the 33rd avoid giving in to savagery or despair. As for Lugo killing him, Lugo explains it right there - the Radioman would probably have called in the 33rd as soon as the Delta Squad turned their backs. But it also illustrates that Lugo, too, is losing his grip on what's right and wrong.

  • It isn't uncommon to see hallucinations in fiction, but are they really that vivid in real life? I mean let us say I was the one that was hallucinating Konrad, would it really look, sound, and feel as if the man was actually standing right in front of me?
    • Basically, how long is a piece of string? It depends upon the person, the circumstances, whatever outside influence they have, the nature of their psychosis, where the hallucination originates and what its purpose is. Yes, they can be that vivid. Probably not that coherent, exactly. They don't always manifest as a figure with consistent logic or motivation, as Konrad does (i.e. Walker picks up radio = hearing Konrad's voice through radio = finding Konrad in person in the tower as Walker's self-loathing and guilt); that's a fiction thing, but part of it is being in a mental state that makes you more likely to accept such illogical things. It's difficult to quantify hallucinations because by definition, only a single person will ever perceive a specific one and their description of it might not be reliable. Once a person recovers from the hallucinatory episode, they might not even be able to remember or coherently describe what they perceived just because they're no longer in that state of mind. If you want more information (although you're unlikely to find a definitive answer because the human brain is the weirdest organ), research - especially PTSD and flashbacks. It's interesting, sad stuff.
    • Hallucinations are often described as not particularly vivid. Dreams are more vivid due to having a contained environment. The issue with both is an altered state of mind. A strong hallucination won't really mesh with a dynamic environment(i.e. not sleeping or dreaming). A series of vivid images, appearing in flashes, might be what a hallucinater actually sees. But in that altered state of mind, the individual will fixate on those images, tune out real life, and fill in the blanks of those images to get a semi-coherent event/series of events. Essentially, they'll just have a "go with a flow" mindset and be convinced that something is happening even if the hallucinations don't provide that much evidence. It's like hypnosis. So Walker shouldn't actually see Konrad moving and interacting, but he'll understand those actions to be happening more than what's actually happening around him.
      • The above is correct - atrophine-like "true" hallucinations are far more "feelings", not at all like watching a movie, and when they are visual/audio its more your brain grasping at straws recognizing patterns. In short, hallucinating a voice from radio static is realistic, hallucinating a opulent penthouse from ruins is pure fiction.
    • Either way, it's important to remember these kinds of realistic hallucinations are difficult to portray in a fictional medium. In reality, hallucinations and delusions are incredibly subjective and personal. They would seem real to you, but if another person actually got to look at what you were seeing through your eyes, you wouldn't understand why it was all so affective. The Shadow Konrad is a fictional shortcut (or trope, if you will) that helps us understand what Walker's experiencing in a way that's easier to process as an objective viewer.
  • How does Walker have the strength to break those mannequins (human shaped dolls) with just a single whack of his gun? I'm sure that even a man of Walker's background as a Delta Force operator couldn't possibly have the strength required to break thick plastic like that in one strike, especially since the force required to do that would almost certainly harm his gun. Is Walker imagining this or is he really that strong?
    • Eroded by the sandstorms, maybe?
    • Considering they move in strobe lighting and only appear where Lugo and Adams can't see Walker, it's probably just foreshadowing/subtext to his insanity.
  • Should you let Konrad shoot you then Walker is seen slumped over dead in front of Konrad's corpse. If you choose to shoot Konrad then the still-alive Walker is standing behind Konrad's corpse. You mean to tell me that Walker in a trance went through the effort of walking over to Konrad's corpse and then shot himself? Couldn't he have shot himself behind Konrad if that is where the hallucination began?
    • You're over thinking the minor details considering the ending has an Unreliable Narrator, it partly takes place in Walker's head, and neither ending can be considered accurate; the "Walker Dies" ending shows the penthouse is in severe disrepair and Konrad's corpse is still looking out over destroyed-Dubai (despite Walker turning his chair around when he takes his gun), but the "Walker Lives" endings show the Penthouse to be fine, but Konrad's corpse disappears. By comparing the two endings, taking into account how messed up the protagonist is, and how Walker's corpse looks dramatic against a burning Dubai, it really doesn't matter where he stood.
      • In any case we see Walker approach the chair from behind, pick up the gun, and then take a few steps forward as the final mirror scene takes place. Then, when he dies, he drops backwards to the left of the screen. Maybe he wouldn't come to rest exactly where he did, but rather close.
  • Why was Walker's team sent into Dubai in the first place? Presumably the CIA knew about Delta's mission since Gould can fire off Walker's name, unit and "I know a lot of things, Captain". So why didn't they make the effort to try and stop them before the Delta's mission was even launched and the orders handed down? Their job was to save survivors, the CIA's was to stop the truth getting out, but the CIA knew why Delta was there before Walker even made contact with them which presumably means they were given the files on Walker's team as well as their mission objectives. Didn't somebody back in the States go "Err, yeah, don't send that team in. We're doing our own stuff here".
    • The United States Government probably thought it would be too suspicious not to send in a search team. Remember that the 33rd Battalion were not only highly trained soldiers but they had families too, you don't leave 1500 American soldiers and their Colonel in a hell hole for 6 months and not expect a massive backlash back home to bring them back. I'm surprised to be honest that the game doesn't take place weeks or at most a couple of months after the sandstorm, 6 months of waiting would be a PR disaster in real life. Sending in a search team would be an inevitability in order to appease this backlash. Presumably the CIA would be ordered to misdirect Walker and his team and then send them back home with themselves, thus being able to tell the American people, "Sorry, we tried, but the Colonel and his Battalion are dead."
      • Just because the CIA IN Dubai have decided their job is to murder everyone and keep it secret doesn't mean that was their original mission. Walker's team got sent through the wall to see if ANYONE was still alive in Dubai, and then they were supposed to leave and report back. You break your orders almost immediately at the start of the game, just like every other American in Dubai. Walker's team probably got sent in after the Grey Fox team didn't report back in time.
      • Doesn't Walker tell Adams and Lugo at the start they're in Dubai illegally and breaking the UAE's no man's land order?
    • Perhaps the CIA operatives were sent in to eliminate Konrad and stop the distress beacon to keep things hushed, not knowing that the majority of the 33rd survived and that they’d have a fight on their hands to cover things up. But, with the distress signal being public, an overt attempt at rescuing the 33rd would need to be made. If Walker’s team had just done their jobs, they would have confirmed contact with survivors and left. Days to weeks later, a rescue force would have shown up in Dubai and found everybody dead of dehydration or whatever other scheme the CIA operatives could have devised. So if Walker’s team done what they were supposed to, the cover-up might have actually worked.
  • Why didn't Walker order Adams to land the helicopter until the sand storm subsided? I know they were under enemy fire but their chances would have been better if they could have landed on solid ground and then tried flying out of there once the storm stopped.
    • Walker's on the cusp of a complete psychotic breakdown. He's not making logical decisions. Indeed, it's entirely possible that by this stage of the game he's so wracked with repressed guilt he's become a Death Seeker.
  • Just out of curiosity is the sandstorm that ruins Dubai in the story possible? I can imagine the Middle East being composed of very arid desserts has sand storms occasionally (perhaps even often, not a weather expert), but I don't think I've heard any notable stories of a heavily populated city like Dubai being wiped off the map by an apocalyptic sand storm.
    • I don't think they've ever reached the level depicted in The Line. At least not on Earth. Sandstorms really do block roads and flight paths as well as asphyxiate the unprepared, but what makes the in-game sandstorm so spectacular is the extremely high-speed winds and how long it's hung around (it's usually hours rather than days, let alone months), combined with several characteristics of Dubai itself that make it vulnerable if its supplies are cut. They also spread disease and dry air. On the other hand, populated places have been utterly flattened due to unprecedented freak conditions in the past - cyclones, fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions. Dubai as it is in The Line probably isn't any more likely than America suffering a full-scale invasion, but it makes a cool setting.
  • As a consequence of Walker's potential Dead All Along status (a possible interpretation according to one developer) shouldn't Konrad's fate be brought into question? If Walker is in a dying dream then how can his interpretation of the Colonel's suicide be viewed as accurate to reality? Hell even in the event that Walker isn't in a dying dream his mind is so screwed up that the entire ending might not even be true.
    • Given the In Medias Res helicopter crash is near the end of the game, it's reasonable to assume that events procceded bassically the same, but without the hallucinations and personality changes. If that was the case, then chances are Walker used white phosphourus at the Gate, but pushed the guilt it caused aside and carried on. He realised Konrad was dead, but still attempted to help Riggs because he thought they were going to help people. This led him and Delta against the 33rd. After Riggs backstabbed him, Walker tried to use the Radioman's tower to order an evacuation, being forced to fight past the 33rd, who wanted vengance. After using the radio set to order an evac, Delta attmepted to escape via helicopter. This leads to the opening crash. Most of the game is Walker's life flashing before his eyes, present as How We Got Here. All the hallucination parts in the before the crash are either a series of small dying dreams counjured by a brain at death's door, or they're part of whatever personal hell Walker's in. Everything after the crash is his mental scars rushing to the fore, manifesting as the end of the mission he died trying to complete.
  • So apparently Konrad was a founding member of the Delta Force or at least one of its earliest operators. If this is true then how is he still in the U.S Military? Assuming that he was in his 20s back in 1977 when the Delta Force Unit was founded, and that the setting of the story is contemporary with our world then Konrad has been with the military for at least over 30 years if not closer to 40, making him a little old to still be active duty. A man of that importance would have more realistically become a General by now or have been retired so that someone below him could take over his position as Colonel. Also what is a Colonel doing operating as a battlefield commander well into his middle age (Konrad appears to be in his late 50s, early 60s at most)? I thought higher tier officers were usually off the battlefield.
    • Other than Walker mentioning Konrad saving his life in Kabul, there's nothing in the game that says Konrad was ever on a battlefield. Walker himself looks to be in his late 20s or 30s, so if the game takes place in 2012, the Kabul incident could have happend at nearly any point of The War on Terror. Presuming Kabul happend near the start of that, Konrad may have still been in active service back then, and retired to non-field work a few years later. As for his rank, one of the games intel items is a pysch report of Konrad, stating that he has multiple mental health issues. Perhaps he was never promoted higher than Colonel because of those.
    • Actually, this is something that Konrad shares with Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now: In one of the intel items (I'm reasonably sure it's the same psych profile), it's mentioned that Konrad was responsible for some undetailed miscalculation at some point in the past. In the film, it's stated that Kurtz would have likely been a General by the Vietnam War, but his own professional mistakes had kept him at a lower rank. This is also almost certainly the same reason why Konrad is stated to be one of the founding members of Delta Force, even if it's not the most cogent part of the timeline: In the film, Kurtz was the founder of the Green Berets. I assume it all has to do with being an adaption.
    • In the US Army it typically takes 20 to 22 years to make it to Colonel, meaning Conrad was promoted in the 90s. That doesn't explain 20 years of being a Colonel, but the US is bound by law to have a limited number of General Officers in Peace Time. It's possible that Konrad was passed over, because of mental issues, or simply Generals weren't retiring at a rate to get him promoted faster. As for him being in the city, it's likely he set up a field HQ rather than actually did any fighting.
  • Why do you have to either save Gould or the civilians? Why not both? There are only 3 or 4 Damned 33rd soldiers guarding them, and Walker and Co. would have probably been able to kill them in less than a second considering that Delta was in hiding and would have taken them by surprise. Instead, Walker just waits until the 33rd men kill one of the civvies and lead the others off. They could have just shot them all while Gould and the civilians were still close together. Presumably the civilians would have hit the dirt in the ensuing firefight and Gould would have crawled behind some cover. When the fight would have gotten over, everyone would still be alive, (though Gould may have died from his injuries anyway)
    • It seemed to me that they were playing it up for drama. As the Navy Seals proved back during that hostage incident with that civilian Captain in 2009 elite Special Forces teams could put down multiple targets in quick succession with ease. If they wait in the cutscene then this forces you the player to have to make a "moral choice" meaning that you'll blame the circumstances of instead of Walker's indecision that could have put a swift stop to the situation. Drama for the sake of drama.
    • Um, they were also in completely opposite directions from each other. Shoot the guys surrounding Gould, the civilians get shot. Shot the guys surrounding the civilians, Gould gets shot.
      • Eh, it didn't look like that to me. In the cutscene you can clearly see both the civilians and Gould in the same shot, and I judge them to be maybe 30 feet apart. Also, when they're torturing the woman, all 3 of the 33rd in the area are occupied either watching or participating in the torture. They're also all close together. Delta could have killed them all in seconds with no risk to the civilians.
      • There's a group of civilians around the corner who are executed as well. Those in the immediate area are not the only ones at risk.
  • For the epilogue ending where Walker goes home what kind of crimes would he be potentially charged with by a Military Tribunal? I know at the very least he could be charged with insubordination since he went way out of the perimeters of his mission by choosing to stop Konrad when he was supposed to radio in an evacuation first and foremost. The act of shooting civilians who are hostile to you seems somewhat justifiable to me, and not all jurisdictions consider the use of fire bombs as a war crime as it is still used by the U.S Military. The only thing that really seems to be in a more morally grey area is shooting fellow American troops, though the Military Justice System does make an exception when you shoot at them in order to prevent them from performing a war crime or they are trying to kill you. Or given the presence of the CIA implies the U.S Government wanted Dubai doomed, and since Walker is a Delta Force operator, part of a secretive unit, are they going to let him go and act like the whole incident never even existed?
    • Not fire-bombs. White phosphorous. It burns through things and causes incredibly painful death and agonising wounds on top of being poisonous. Use of it as a weapon is more or less a war-crime, though classification of it as a chemical weapon is going through some foofaraw. (Camouflage by producing smoke with it is legal, but you'd have to be blind to claim that's what Delta and the 33rd were doing.) There is debate, but the civilians that Walker hit were not hostile, and it doesn't matter what kind of bomb it was - civilians casualties were caused that could have been avoided, as a direct result of Walker disobeying his orders. Similarly, orders or no, the destruction of the water trucks - not as a means of cutting off the supplies of the 33rd, but deliberately to kill every single living person left within Dubai - is not excusable, especially since it's not clear where Riggs got his orders. But that's beside the point. Everything that happens in the game is morally dubious or just plain immoral. Legally is where it gets muddy. Don't confuse regulations and laws with ethics. And Walker is definitely unfit for trial anyway; whether or not he's "free", he'll be locked up as a danger to himself.
  • Why don't Walker's squad call him out on talking to a radio that never responds? He's clearly giving responses to Konrad on that walkie-talkie he finds, but Adams and Lugo obviously can't hear who he's responding to because Konrad is dead and Walker is hallucinating. Yet they never ask him who he's talking to, and never tell him that they can't hear the other end of the conversation. Why not?
    • Actually, they do; Walker just can't/won't hear them. And they grow more distrustful of Walker as the game continues, what with him muttering to himself, staring off into space and exclaiming at things that aren't there. Mostly Konrad speaks and Walker doesn't reply unless he's alone. Or, perhaps, Konrad speaks and Walker only thinks he replies aloud.
      • The very first time it happens can be forgiven, Lugo and Adams might have just assumed the radio was beaten up and that only Walker could hear it by straining his ears to listen carefully. Every other time we don't see Lugo or Adams' responses to Konrad because either — as the ending reveals — Walker was hallucinating and was unresponsive to what they were saying, or because Walker doesn't inquire about what the Shadow Konrad told him. No one assumed Konrad was dead, everyone from the CIA to the 33rd, and possibly even the Radio Man talked about the Colonel as if he were still alive. Walker, Lugo, and Adams had no reason to believe the man was dead and logically would not have jumped to the most drastic conclusion: Walker is out of his mind and Konrad isn't real.
      • Also, pay close attention to the final cutscene of chapter 13 (shortly after Lugo has been killed): Walker is promising Konrad that he's coming to kill him, but his lips are clearly not moving. It is reasonable to conclude from this that for many of the occasions in the game in which Walker is Konrad is apparently talking to Konrad, he is not actually speaking out loud but rather only thinking.
    • Think about it this way: Lugo and Adams notice that Walker's talking to himself. Well . . . what do you do about it? Walker's still their fire team leader, and they can't exactly afford the risk of losing him. Even if they were able to figure out / decide that Walker has lost his marbles and is talking to someone that isn't there, is it really worth confronting him over it? I mean, maybe he's crazy and attacks you. Or maybe he loses his mind and is rendered ineffective. They probably made a calculated decision to ignore Walker's 'episodes' and proceed ahead, since it seemed like the only way to go anyway. And, like all calculated decisions anyone makes in this game, it ended up backfiring. Big time.
    • Also note that Lugo and Adams, although not affected by the white phosphorous scene to the same degree as Walker, didn't make it out unscathed. Lugo screams that Walker turned them into killers and, later on, Adams will pin Lugo's death squarely on Walker. Rightly or wrongly, they're (in their own way) doing the same thing to Walker that he's doing to Konrad — scapegoating their own failings onto his leadership even as it becomes increasingly clear that he's not fit to command. If they challenged him, they'd have to take control and that means taking responsibility as well, something which they don't seem to be psychologically capable of doing.
  • Word of God says white transitions are hallucinatory, right? But...the white phosphorous shelling is preceded by a white-out. Does that mean that the main impetus of the game never happened? What's going on!?
    • Hallucinations or delusions - whenever Walker is lying to himself somehow, when something about what you're seeing is distorted because it's being seen through Walker's eyes. Goodness knows what in that scene fit that criteria. There are loads of possible candidates. It doesn't mean necessarily that it didn't happen; just that it didn't happen exactly as Walker believes it did.
      • For example Walker did beat that 33rd soldier who he though was Adams to death, it just so happens he saw it differently than how it actually happened. Any number of things from the White Phosphorus incident could also be different from how they actually happened while it still happened mostly the same way. A primary candidate for that would probably be the corpse of the Woman clutching her child which shows up symbolically later in the game during something that was far more of a hallucination.
    • If I remember correctly, Word of God says that white-outs are scenes where Walker is hallucinating or otherwise ignoring the reality of the situation in favour of something not real. The white-out in this case could refer to Walker's insistence that Delta have no choice but to deploy the phosphorous rounds, when in reality they do have a choice - in-story (but not in-game) there was nothing stopping them from turning around and going home. Walker convincing himself that he has no choice but to use the white phosphorous is what ultimately leads to his downfall.
  • How did Walker know where to find Konrad's body?
    • He didn't. The hallucination of Konrad implied it knew but it never said what it was until Walker actually sees that it's Konrads corpse. It's just as likely he saw the body sitting in his chair and his delusions inspired him to investigate.
      • The Shadow Konrad is an extension of Walker's personality. He literally knows everything that Walker knows. Walker subconsciously knows that he has not been able to find Konrad's residence for the entire game so the tower in front of him is literally the only place left that Konrad could possibly be found, and the Shadow Konrad knowing this speaks to Walker to compel him forward in his desire to confront Konrad "the villain". The Shadow Konrad talking cryptically about who deserves judgment for the fate that has befallen Dubai and his cryptic demeanor being, "No game, I assure you.", are the subconscious parts of Walker's mind that realize something is off-key speaking its piece. Walker didn't know all along that Konrad was dead but it was a possibility he subconsciously considered, it was a reality he didn't want to acknowledge until the truth was staring him directly in the face.
      • His logic at the beginning of chapter 10 (that Konrad would likely have made his base of operations in the Burj Khalifa, as it affords him a panoramic view of the entire city) is sound. The fact that Konrad happens to be dead is irrelevant.
  • Also, if Riggs really planned to destroy all of Dubai's water supplies, why did he go out of his way to pump all the water on countless trucks and maneouver them through the city in a teeth-grinding firefight? Couldn't he just have simply poisoned or polluted the pools? Petrol, sand or corpses would have done the trick.
    • Perhaps when Riggs and Delta made it inside the Coliseum Riggs was concerned that if they waited too long they'd be surrounded by the 33rd and be trapped. Perhaps by driving the trucks out of the Coliseum he was hoping also to escape the city. Just a thought, not a very good one.
    • Riggs got Delta to join him by claiming he would steal the water to break the 33rd's power base. Destroying the water would surely turn Delta against him, so he needed to trick them, putting the water into trucks and crashing these was a lengthy but comparably safe option.
    • I’ve thought about this, and it could be that the trucks were the target. Maybe they have plenty of water, but they needed the truck to be able to transport it around the city. But, convince Walker and company, Riggs couldn’t just C4 the truck. He had to make a show of getting the water for the people, but crashes the trucks to hide his plan.
    • I assumed Riggs wanted the water as a bargaining chip. With the threat of death by dehydration hanging over the civilians and the 33rd, he could eecute a far more effective cover-up than otherwise. Nothing would have stopped him from cutting the water supply and killing everyone off after he has gotten whatever concessions he wants out of them. Destroying the trucks was a plan B, which came up when the 33rd resisted far more effectively than anticipated.
  • So if Konrad's been dead since the game started, then what sense does it make for the radioman to say things like "Sorry, but I answer to a higher power than you, Captain Walker," and "I remember you. And I'm not the only one." It doesn't make sense!
    • What? Both of those lines are ambiguous. "Higher power" could mean his moral obligation to continue broadcasting to the 33rd or Konrad's last order or something. And surely Konrad and the Radioman weren't the only two people Walker met in Afghanistan - there may well be other soldiers who said something like "I remember that guy. Walker. Don't know that he got all the way out of Kabul, you know what I'm saying?" Walker himself says he knew other members of the 33rd than Konrad (like the ranking officers who were executed). It makes perfect sense that Walker would interpret them as referring to Konrad - he's psychotically obsessed.
    • It's a deliberate Red Herring designed to give the impression that Konrad is still alive.
  • In the last chapter at the hotel, we see that Walker hallucinated the remaining 33rd surrendering to him. So then, unless Adams managed to kill all of the rest of the 33rd in his Last Stand, then why didn't the rest of them come after Walker and finish him off?
    • Walker got pushed over a balcony and then crawled away while a massive firefight occurred behind him. Then he entered the hotel and stayed there until he punched his own ticket or the rescue squad arrived. Either way, he ceases being an active threat just as what remains of the 33rd is falling into disarray. If they're even aware he's alive as he wanders away into the dark, he's not a priority anymore.
    • Walker and company have killed literally hundreds of soldiers on their trek to find Konrad. It should not surprise us that Walker could defend a bank of elevators from the remnants of the 33rd. In fact, having to defend himself from the 33rd in the expy Burj Khalifa may account for his shell shocked nature and possible hostility when the rescue team comes in.
      • Having to kill off the remainder of the 33rd also explains how he got (and why he's carrying) a shotgun with explosive shells that usually kills in one hit (on the lowest difficulty).
      • It seems likely that at this point either Adams really does kill the entire rest of the 33rd, or more likely that they don't find Walker in time before the rescue teams arrive. There's at least room for the more optimistic interpretation - and if nothing else the expy of the Burj Khalifa is a huge building and will take forever to search.
  • Does Delta not coordinate with the CIA? Why, oh why, did Command let Walker and his guys walk into Dubai blind to the fact that the CIA were already in there? And even weirder, Gray Fox (Gould in particular) seems to know Team Walker, but not the other way around. If there was better communication, it seems like a lot of trouble could've been avoided.
    • Right hand versus left hand. The CIA isn't part of the military and what they were doing in Dubai definitely wasn't widely known. It's entirely possible someone just plain screwed up and forgot to veto Delta investigating the 33rd's disappearance.
    • US agencies have a sad history of not communicating well with one another; this could be an instance of that. Also, Gould knowing of Team Walker is not suspect at all. Walker had served and had personal contact with Konrad in Kabul. Walker most likely would have at least been mentioned in a briefing about Konrad.
  • In the event that Walker shoots the shadow of Konrad, rather than himself, how in the heck is he able to radio in for backup at that point? The only radio in the city that was established as being able to reach the storm wall at that distance was the Radioman's…and Walker destroyed the tower. You could argue that he didn't radio in earlier because he didn't want to, but that explanation is only given early in the game when they're close to the storm wall anyway; after that, Walker's excuse is that they're in too deep and won't be able to reach anyone (and, presumably, no one will be able to reach them). If he could have radioed in at any time, what was the point of slogging to the Trans-Emirates Building, other than the Radioman being annoying?
    • Its not clear at all how much of that ending really happened. It could just be they sent in another group when the CIA stopped reporting in, Delta never reported back and signs show the 33rd has been wiped out. The broadcast could have been his own internal monologue, kind of like the beginning of the game and the memories of Konrad and him talking in Kabul.
    • Additionally, the reason Walker heads to the Trans-Emirates building rather than radio in for help is because he personally wants to be the hero who evacuates Dubai and saves the survivors: for him, doing this himself is the only way he can overcome his guilt over the white phosphorous incident.
      • I think I may have found the answer to my question in the epilogue itself; the building Walker emerges from to meet the rescue team appears to have a broadcast system on top of it.
  • What's the deal with the 417? When you get a headshot in normal view, the enemy's head remains mostly intact, but when you use the scope their head bursts like an overcooked burrito. How do you explain the difference?
    • I just assumed that every instance of head exploding was another hallucination.

  • Why is the white phosphorus mortar even there in the first place? If the 33rd is being deployed on a mercy mission to evacuate Dubai having such a decidedly anti-humanitarian piece of artillery makes little sense. Even if they just happened to have it with them from whatever they were doing in Afghanistan it's still not a tactically practical weapon. Dubai's weather is prone to violent shifts in weather and wind in the game. Even if it's accuracy wouldn't be compromised (let's assume the targeting computer they show Walker using can correct for that) WP gives off tons of smoke. Small amounts of WP are often used in obscuring weapons like smoke grenades. Setting it up in defense of a static, open air location like The Gate full of unequipped civilians (all herded into a trench) is foolish. Even if things have gotten so terrible that the 33rd faction guarding the place doesn't care about using such a weapon against their former comrades, the CIA, or any insurgents with the unpredictable conditions it could suffocate them if the wind takes an unlucky shift. The game hinges on the horror of the civilians being not just killed, but killed in such horrific fashion by THIS PARTICULAR WEAPON. All of the horrible things that Walker does in the aftermath all find some justification in how this one event caused him to start unraveling. Any confusion or OOC bits can all be viewed as the result of the narrator losing his grip on reality. It's literally the last time in the course of the plot that anything really needs to make sense and that one crucial bit just doesn't make much to me.
    • Well, to play Devil's Advocate: assuming the Heavy Troopers actually exist outside Walker's addled brain, we see them shrug off WP like nothing. Which indicates that they serve as an effective way to neutralize WP and exploit it when others can't, and means that a crew of them could safely operate it (for a given definition of safely) regardless of climate problems. As for why they actually brought it with them, just because it was meant to be a humanitarian mission doesn't mean they couldn't prepare for combat. We know from material in-game that the mission ran into trouble with the Emirati government diplomatically, and given the recent troubles in the UAE it's possible they had reason to fear insurgents long before they started giving good reasons for insurgents to take up arms. Finally, it might be a subtle hint that even the original Konrad and his crew were already not entirely on the up and up even before Dubai went to hell. Finally, as for setting it up where it was, it seems to me more like it was a fallback/last stand position so that even if the unit in question was trapped it could still deal out death until it fell. Given that the 33rd were not thinking with all their screws by this point, I'm not even sure they had a terribly good or rational reason.
    • It's possible the Gate has served more than one function under the 33rd and they'd only decided to use it to safeguard the civilians after receiving intel that the CIA were moving into the city. Before that it might have served an alternate strategic purpose which would necessitate using chemical weapons to protect it, and in their haste to protect as many civilians as possible they hadn't had time to relocate all of their equipment (which is what they seem to be in the process of doing when Delta arrive on the scene; after all, there is a guard watching over the equipment). Also note that Konrad's command team were executed with white phosphorous in the Gate itself: it's entirely possible that, while they originally intended to use it purely for smoke cover, since arriving in Dubai they've resorted to using it as the harshest punishment for 33rd soldiers who dare to mutiny, and the Gate is where they chose to carry out these executions prior to the CIA's arrival.
      • WP rounds are standard issue in mortars and arty batteries. They're used to create smoke cover and deny terrain. They're totally legit right up until you drop them on human target. There are at least a few occasions during OIF and OEF when ground troops accidentally called in the wrong grid when calling for smoke. Regardless, they would be there. The question is where did that kick ass remote camera come from?
  • Walt Williams stated the game is a critique of gamers buying and playing shooter games. So he doesn't want us buying and playing games? Except his?
    • It's a critique on the mentality, not the action of playing games itself.
    • Yup. Genre conventions =/= medium =/= people.
  • There is no way a unit of the United States Army the size of the 33rd would be abandoned to an ambiguous fate with no contact in a half-destroyed city for six months before any sort of investigation was sent. Never happen. This might just be a sign that something's wrong, though.
    • The game tries to justify it by saying that the 33rd went rogue and refused to follow the United States' Army's orders. Though you are right, the 33rd is a battalion sized unit which can consist anywhere from 1000 to 1500 people, there is no way in hell that there wouldn't be a massive controversy back home in America about the Army abandoning over a thousand of their troops in some hell hole. The only explanation I can think of is that the CIA did something to get in the way of the investigation, Riggs seems to think it is of the utmost importance to keep the whole affair covered up.
    • Also, there is no evidence that Walker's team was the first to investigate And lots of evidence to suggest his won't be the last. Combine that with active sandstorms in the area and the usual feeling of "A million is a statistic", and it is quite reasonable that people would accept periodic attempts.
    • It's also worth mentioning that Dubai is apparently in the center of an apocalyptic sandstorm. A seemingly endless apocalyptic sandstorm. You can raise as much controversy as you want back on American soil, but the simple fact of the matter is Konrad went in against orders, and is currently being held hostage by a literal natural disaster. In so many words; they could complain all they wanted, but the sandstorms weren't going to end any faster.
    • It's Dubai. Unless the Iranians somehow managed to figure out a way to stop the US Navy in the Strait of Hormuz, the US Army could roll one Expeditionary Strike Group and land 3,000 Marines on the beaches within a few weeks, plus various carrier groups and other amphibious forces. And once the US Navy and Army and Marines get going they could put millions of troops into anywhere in the world. A big ass sandstorm won't stop that.
      • Doubtless, it would stop that. This sandstorm has buried 30+ story tall buildings on some levels. Imagine explaining to the American public why you lost another 3,000 soldiers to a sandstorm that has buried 1,500 soldiers and most of a city already, when you could have just sent a small reconnoiter team to assess whether or not there were any survivors to save worth risking lives, millions of dollars, and political careers.
    • Walker, Lugo and Adams literally walk into Dubai. You mean to tell me the U.S Army can't send in an armored convoy through the storm? An armored convoy should be a hundred times more capable of getting through a thick sand storm than 3 men on foot. The United States is clearly apathetic about helping Dubai, realistically they should be more than capable of getting through the storm whether by land or sea (as noted above).
      • It's possible that by the time Delta and Gray Fox arrived in Dubai, the sandstorms weren't as bad as they were at their peak; this may have even been the only thing that allowed them to pick up Konrad's transmission in the first place. So access wasn't necessarily the problem; the problem, as Walker pointed out, was that the area had been designated a No Man's Land. A few CIA agents and a Delta squad would be able to slip in without much fuss, but anything larger probably wouldn't.
      • The job of Delta, just as a reminder, was reconnaissance. Not rescue. They were supposed to go in, check the shape of things, then leave and let the boats/jeeps/helos/tanks/et al. turn up to do the rest of the job.
  • Something that confuses me specifically with this wiki, and the internet in general. One of the major elements of the guilt-trip said to be induced on the player is the fact that you are killing American soldiers. Well, what if the player isn't an American? Or isn't massively patriotic? Or doesn't support the US military, to the point where this doesn't feel like so much of a problem? Is this wiki so American-centric that this is assumed to almost unilaterally be the case for any player regardless of their nationality and opinions? Furthermore, we're apparently meant to feel bad for attacking them as they responded "in self defence". If I remember correctly, the first instance of a Delta-33rd confrontation occurs as a result of them attacking you because they think you're CIA. So it was Delta was acting in self defence! After that point, a mutual hatred developed and both groups had every right to attack/defend against eachother. Also, yes some of the soldiers are humanised. But as TV Tropes itself concedes, nobody in this game is innocent. The 33rd were guilty of war crimes too, even if Delta's use of WP was completely out of line. Let's not forget about the sandboarding, for example. They also didn't have the good sense to leave the doomed, FUBAR city after Konrad killed himself. So should we really feel quite so bad as the main pages suggest for killing not-so-innocent soldiers? The division were effectively rogue after some point, and they probably would have attacked even a larger force which didn't suffer from Walker's developing mental health problems/ jingoism.
    • Also, I'd like to add that the only non-named 33rd soldier/officer I felt bad for killing was the one wiped out by WP who croaks "why?". And even he would have been one of the guys firing on you if you try to bypass the enforced WP mortar! Yes, the rest are just doing their job with humanising background conversations but they fired on me first. When I'm just acting in self defence (even if other tropers interpret Delta's actions in other fashions) you can't really guilt trip me for wanting to put every enemy down and survive.
      • The 33rd wouldn't have had the chance to fire on Walker in the first place if he and Delta hadn't disobeyed orders and attempted to rescue McPherson on their own. What they should have done was pull back and call for reinforcements when they had the opportunity after Chapter 1. The point being made is that Walker and Delta are directly responsible for making the situation in Dubai worse because of the implicitly selfish choice they made to try and play the hero. The 33rd may be considered Asshole Victims, and it's possible they would've attacked a larger force, but there's no way to know for sure, and even if they did, at least then Walker couldn't be held accountable for it.
      • I consider it quite likely that they would attack whoever entered the city, as they had clearly made it their own territory. But ok, fine. What about the rest of my points? What if I don't care about shooting (virtual, obviously) US soldiers? Am I still meant to feel guilty because the game (and this wiki) thinks I should?
      • I'm with this dude; the game was just a game. I felt about as much 'guilt' or 'anger' playing this as I do making a sandwich, which is to say none. It's like the whole Areith death scene from Final Fantasy 7; it's a fucking game. The fact that the majority of people, it seems, got so emotionally invested in a game kinda shows that the developers have a huge point: gamers can't distinguish reality from fantasy on an emotional level.
      • Isn't the point of any form of fiction to evoke an emotional reaction, whether that be positive or negative? Are you seriously saying people are deluded for feeling anything while looking the burnt body of a small child in the arms of her mother, even if that child is fictional?
      • I get the feeling, though, that the game was intended more to make gamers step back and question why they play modern military shooters in the first place. Why do you play a game that requires you, as a protagonist, to kill thousands of people with nary a thought? Why do we, as a society, accept this as a definition of a hero when these characters (it could be argued) do more harm than good? Why are we okay with using real peoples/cultures and stripping them down to a binary good versus evil scheme? (In fairness, not all shooters do this, but a lot do.) I think the game is criticizing the mentality behind the *premise* of a lot of shooters. Even if one isn't American, I think the use of American soldiers helps to elucidate that no one who plays the role of the villain in a video game would ever think of themselves as such in real life.
  • During the confrontation with "Shadow" Konrad, is Walker looking into a mirror? Because his "reflection" is incorrect — the "other" Walker is not a mirror image at all (just look at the burns). Instead Konrad is mirroring Walker's pose. Am I missing something here?
  • Okay, so the developer said that the game is basically only winnable if you "don't play it". Should the people who bought it be demanding their money back since he basically tricked them into spending 80 bucks so he could piss in their mouths?
    • If you have kept the receipt, then you're okay with it anyway.
      • It just seems really two-faced to profit off exactly the type of media you claim to be "satirizing", its basically like every Quentin Tarantino movie ever, or that crappy Funny Games horror movie.
      • Once again it's the mindset behind the game he's criticizing - that the sort of thing people do in games like Call of Duty, etc, would make for a fucked up mental state and hero complex - not the act of playing games themselves. People are fixated are on that one line from one interview without taking the rest of his comments into account.
      • How else are you supposed to interpret it? You arent actually given a choice in how to behave in the game, you are just playing out the story someone else wrote.
      • ...you're supposed to interpret it as a criticism on the mindset behind war shooters that glorify and the actions of their protagonists, ignoring the sort of trauma and tropes they employ.
    • Why does a game have to be winnable? Spec Ops has an ending — it just doesn't have any happy or positive consequences. I don't really see why gamers are owed that.
      • Thats not really my point, its just that the game basically tries to make you feel like an asshole for doing things the game itself forces you to do. Its a GAME, what use is it if you arent supposed to play it? I agree with its message, dont get me wrong, a lot of the mindsets in popular games are complete bullshit, but the way its portrayed just goes against that. You arent given a choice in how the main character acts, all you do is progress in the story the creator made for you.
      • Once again, THE GAME IS NOT CRITICIZING YOU AS A PLAYER. It is asking you to stop and think about the actions a war shooter character indulges in, and what would motivate them and how it would take a toll on their psyche. It's deliberately using Americans as enemies and making you do vile things to highlight these are the same things which are glorified in other contexts. You are taking the writer's comments out of context, and taking them as a personal attack. The game goes to great lengths to point out the player's actions are not representative of their real life behaviour.
      • I'd like to point out that even the supposedly jingoistic post-WW2 Call of Duty games make a point of reminding the player that what they're doing is morally dubious. MW2 actually got criticized for heavy-handed quotes. In the end, it turned out that was the game foreshadowing the fact that the main villain is actually a nationalist American general. For all that this game is frequently compared to COD, it's really not even close. It's only close to common stereotypes of what COD is like.
      • Call of Duty is a difficult example, though, because many, many players don't even finish the campaign. One article from 2011 pointed out that less than 60% of people finished Modern Warfare 2's campaign. For World at War, this was under 32%. For Black Ops, this was under 19%. Also, Callof Duty often gets brought up because it's the most visible target, but Spec Ops is much more concerned with dissecting trends rather than individual games.
      • Okay, this needs to be pointed out. Walt Williams never said that turning off the game is the "right" choice. He said it is a VALID choice. He's saying that even though the violence in the game isn't real, is just simulated, it's OKAY to NOT be comfortable with it. Here's a quote, " Admitting to yourself that you’re not comfortable with that and that’s okay to be not comfortable with that. I don’t have to do this if I don’t want to. Totally valid, and it’s something that we need to begin accepting as valid." And then Williams goes on to compare it to how, as he's gotten older, he now prefers to stay in at night rather than go out with friends. He literally says that there's NOTHING WRONG with wanting purely entertainment driven games and that those games will always exist just that "we have such a broad spectrum of experiences that we have yet to explore as a medium." He's making a case for the creation of different types of games that are more self-reflective and that there is a place for them alongside games that just want to be a fun adventure.
  • In terms of the endings, if the player chooses to shoot Shadow Konrad, then Walker is confronted with an imaginary member of the 33rd who promptly disappears once Walker turns around. However, Konrad's body is also gone in this scene. Yet, if Walker chooses to shoot himself, we do see a body in the chair which would seem to suggest that Konrad's body is physically present. What, then, does Walker "erasing" the body (I'm presuming) mean in terms of the narrative? Is this an indication that he now thinks of himself as Konrad and that's why he took his uniform?
    • I think this depends on which ending of the epilogue you choose. If you choose to kill the soldiers, then it is indeed very likely that Walker now considers himself to be Konrad. If you agree to go home, though, then perhaps it symbolizes Walker officially wiping his hands of Konrad and the 33rd.
  • Did the CIA ever actually report their findings? Because if I recall correctly, Daniels was supposed to head out to radio Langley (CIA headquarters), but he's the one who is captured and tortured by the rogue members of the 33rd. When Walker and his team find the body, it looks like he's been dead for a long time. It would seem, then, to me, that Riggs just went ahead and expanded the scope of his mission (much like Walker did) to destroy a perceived threat rather than a real one without any authorization from the government or his command structure. Did anyone else get that impression?
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