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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
The Stanley Parable
Stanley didn't turn off the mind control, he turned it on.
Think about it. You lose control of Stanley at this point, and the narrator seems to need to reaffirm that he is "making his own choices" a suspicious amount of times. Sounds like Suspiciously Specific Denial to me. And the path to there is all about following orders blindly.
  • Would that imply that the ending where he "turns on" the mind control is actually the narrator throwing a fit over the fact that it's been well and truly disabled?
    • Yes, yes it would.

Alternatively, you the player, has been using the mind control to control Stanley, and the reason you lose control is that Stanley has been released from your control.

1/3 - The Golden Ending is actually a good ending.
Because the narrator only acts as such. He's not Stanley's boss. He's the narrator. His aren't orders, they're more like hints. The story he wants to tell is that of Stanley's escape. Of course, Stanley has to cooperate, and the five bad endings are the result of Stan not doing so. The narrator is more like "trust me, only I know the way out" rather than "obey and you'll be free". Of course, the Fridge Horror of "without anyone to tell him how to feel, he was happy" remains (the sentence implies Stanley suffered for his entire life, faking his supposed happiness), but still, he has an opportunity to make his own, new life. Even if his past existence makes him unable to relate with other human beings at first, as soon as somebody notices it, he or she will help Stan with his issues eventually, and maybe his boss will get what he deserves.
And this leads us to the next WMG...

2/3 - The bad endings aren't canon because...
... those were actually the fate suffered by everyone else in the building. The only one who escaped that fate was the one who deserved it the least: Stanley's boss.
Therefore, the narrator is...

3/3 - The narrator is Stanley's own mind.
Freeman's Mind jokes aside, well, yeah, it is. Because all the past years of Stan monitoring the other employees, their mistakes (see the previous "2/3" WMG) developed in Stan a strong common sense, eventually evolving into a voice in his head - the narrator. Said narrator told Stanley what to do in order to avoid the same mistakes made by the others, which is why the narrator calls Stan out on disobeying his instructions. Of course, playthroughs in which players go Off the Rails may be either be interpreted as a Violation of Common Sense or as Stanley simply forgetting what he learned by watching his former colleagues. Similarly, the narrator getting more and more upset (as well as the "room without textures", and everything that ensues) is a metaphor for Stanley going crazy due to his escape not going as planned.

Stanley proceeded to head home to his computer.
At which point, finding it impossible to entirely kick his habit of pressing buttons, he proceeded to dawdle on the internet rather than doing something useful with his time. Eventually, he ended up reading about himself, and, finally, decided to read theories regarding his experiences, ignoring that he clearly hadn't learned his lesson.

And Stanley was happy.

The HD Remix is actually a sequel.
The narrator mentions that he's going to "correct" the story in the trailers for it.

The whole game is about bullying and/or other forms of abuse.
Hey, Stanley was happy at his job that others would find "soul-ripping." The Narrator takes it upon himself to "help" Stanley, because he believes Stanley is being brainwashed and enslaved. If you disobey everything the Narrator says, a second narrator intervenes and calls the first one out, telling you that quitting the game entirely is the only way to beat the Narrator. She's right. However, disobeying the Narrator at any point will piss him off and trigger a HannibalLecture. The Narrator is supposed to be a godlike being who can warp reality for you, but in reality he's just a dick who is, in fact, brainwashing you. The "Golden Ending" is the result of your bending to his brainwashing and gaslighting, but you never find out just why your co-workers and boss are gone and what the machine is for. Stanley is only happy because the Narrator says he is, and the Narrator just bails on the story there. That's a blatant example of abuse and manipulation.

The rooms in HD Remix will be mainly dev textures.
thisisthestoryofofof's videos feature rooms that have those textures. It could be possible that these are some sort of plot point and not... you know... dev things.

The new version of the Stanley Parable will, when begun, have a random chance of being a completely different yet oddly familiar game. The Narrator will completely flip out and beg the player to exit and try again.
The chances of this happening will be exactly one in EIGHT.

Stanley's been playing the "8 Game"
Among other things, since the game does involve pushing a button after all.

Stanley is Chilled Chaos
The Let's Play trailer zooms out to show that the monitor showing his gameplay is the same monitor as Employee 427.

The Narrator is the real Stanley, living in a fantasy world and descending into madness.
During the phone ending of the HD remix, we are shown the possibility that the entirety of the Stanley Parable and all paths (the fourt-wall-breaking ones included) are a figment of Stanley's imagination to escape his dead-end job and the prison of his unfree life by, for the first time, giving him choice. Therefore, it is entirely possible for the narrator to be Stanley telling this story to himself in his head, occasionally taunting his true self.

The Narrator is God and the Stanley Parable is a Real Parable
I'm surprised no one has thought of this: The Narrator is God, who has the power to manipulate the world and the people in it. Stanley is one of Gods "Playthings", and he wants to make a new Legendary Hero with Stanley. However, God, while he can be cruel sometimes, actually cares about the things he created, and gave Humans free will. In most of the bad endings, God doesn't realize that he's not necessary, and takes vengeance upon Stanley for doing the wrong thing. Sometimes another divine being intervenes and temporarily prevents God from hurting Stanley, though it is only temporary and Stanley ends up dying anyways. (Also, there are even beings more powerful then God if we take into account the "Confusion" ending in the HD Remake). But in the "True Good" ending, after showing Stanley a different world, and then Stanley escaping Gods clutches, God realizes that indeed he is not needed to intrude in everyone's life, and that he is willing to let Stanley live his life and be happy with the choices he has made, until God is needed again.

Thus, the moral of the story is: Humans have free will, and if they don't, they will try their hardest to get it, even if it's simply a false sense of freedom. Not only is that the moral, but it has another moral: That God, while he might be cruel, vengeful and (Sometimes downright) wrong, he still cares about you, and that while you might stray from his path, he doesn't hate you for it, and, in fact, encourages you to stray from his path. Thus, the Stanley Parable is a Parable.
  • It seems fairly clear to me that he DOES hate you. The constant mockery and generally bad result of straying off the path makes it obvious that showing free will is wrong in his eyes and that he's petty, manipulative and cruel. The "True Good" ending has you falling into another version of the world you start in after the narrator gets sick of you, a pretty apt metaphor for hell.
  • I think this theory has some real legs. The default response among apologists for the Christian god as to why evil exists in the world, if God is supposedly omnipotent and omnibenevolent, is that God granted us free will, including the freedom to do evil. This leads to problems, however, if most denominations of Christianity also hold that God will send a person to Hell if they do not a) accept Him as their saviour and b) act in keeping with his teachings. So we have free will, but it's really a Morton's Fork. This is rather in keeping with Stanley's relationship with the Narrator: he has "free will", but only insofar as he accepts that the Narrator is a benevolent force and does what he is told - whenever he veers off the path, the Narrator generally turns into the vengeful God of the Old Testament and punishes him. So the game could certainly be read as a critique of some of the more problematic aspects of Christian dogma.

The Female Narrator is the Narrator's Narrator.
Her opening line describes what the Narrator says, so it's a reasonable conclusion.
  • What if she's the one who wrote the "Confusion" ending?

The real reason Stanley's coworkers are gone is...
  • They never existed in the first place.
  • The mind control malfunctioned. They were all still there, but he couldn't see them.
  • It was Saturday.
  • The mind control worked perfectly: Employee 427 was the only employee. Well, "employee" might not be the correct word, maybe lab rat...
Please note that the Countdown ending in HD Remix has this rather interesting quote:
What's that? You'd like to know where your co-workers are? A moment of solace before you're obliterated? Alright. I'm in a good mood, and you're going to die anyway. I'll tell you exactly what happened to them: I erased them. I turned off the machine; I set you free.

1/2 The Stanley Parable takes place in-
  • the Aperture Science complex but in a different set of test chambers, probably testing mind control and breakage of the fourth wall.
  • Leading us to the conclusion that...

2/2 The narrator is actually-
  • GLaDOS using a program which changes her voice. The Stanley Parable probably took place before she flooded the entire complex with neurotoxin, when test subjects other than Chell were actively testing (they were either killed or in stasis in the events of Portal).

The Confusion ending is caused by the Narrator misplacing the papers with his written story on it, combined with interference with a nearby hoodlum.
  • After going down the maintenance elevator, the Narrator desperately attempts to point Stanley back in the right direction, but as he does so, he rummages through the papers with the written story on it, as we can hear him rustling through the papers. As a result, after he restarts the story from the beginning, he discovers that two doors room now has many doors leading into a winding labyrinth, possibly because he misplaced the story papers while rummaging through them. With each restart, he tries to put the papers back in the correct order again during the loading screens, but ends up to no success, possibly due to a hoodlum interfering and slipping pages of his own into the story, such as the run down building, The Stanley Parable Adventure Line™, and the schedule board, until the Narrator discovers such schedule board and the hoodlum makes a break for in, finally returning the story to normal.

The Narrator is the Stanley from the Phone ending.
When you try to leave the ending, he stops you in your tracks with the following line: "Sorry, but you're in my story now."

The Escape-Pod ending is a Hope Spot; the Narrator is toying with Stanley
Could this be why the ending "glitched out" then sent Stanley back in his office?

taking a look at the game files reveals a warning sign that says essentially "NARRATOR AND PLAYER MUST BE PRESENT TOGETHER FOR ESCAPE POD TO WORK". So the Game itself is toying with you.

The Narrator manages to beat the Confusion ending.
When you arrive at the screen for the Confusion ending, the Narrator realizes that he's as much of a pawn as Stanley. He sees that there's supposed to be more after the next reset of the game, which culminates in his disappearance and Stanley's death. He doesn't want that to happen, and determines to stop it. The game resets, and the Narrator forgets the previous events, but the game does not proceed according to the Confusion ending.

The Narrator is a Umineko Sorcerer.
And the world/story is his game board. He's taken to tormenting/trolling pieces directly, and then restarting the story each time the piece-character reaches an 'end'. Stanley is the piece of his 'opponent' in the metaworld, namely the player. The unseen 'supernarrator' who controls the narrator is a Creator Witch like Featherine who is basically the author to the narrator, who already knows all the possible ways for things to happen in the story because she 'wrote' the narrator 'narrating' the story to the Stanly-piece.

Heck, there's even a recurring theme about how much the narrator and 'Stanley' need one another, how the need to trust one another. After all, without love it cannot be seen.

The Real Person Ending is the true ending
Aside from the fact that this is the only ending where the credits roll, this is the only ending in which it can be considered that you defeated the Narrator. The player disobeys him to the point where the game breaks completely, leaving Stanley as a lifeless husk, thus depriving the Narrator of a story to narrate.

It is possible to stop the Countdown bomb from going off.
The Countdown ending isn't entirely unwinnable. True to the Narrator's word, none of the buttons in the room can stop the bomb, and escape is not possible. The true way to prevent the bomb from exploding? You have to press the OFF button instead of the ON button at the mind control machine.
  • Either that, or you just quit the game. Or even better, don't even start playing the game in the first place.

Stanley works for Aperture Science.
First off, who else but Aperture would have Stanley do the job he does? While they do work alongside rather advanced AI, is it really too difficult to imagine them having a human doing a job where all he has to do is push seemingly random buttons on a keyboard for reasons that remain unexplained?

Second, the signs on the wall, such as the "gravity is in effect" or the "do not lie" ones, seem (to me at least) like they would fit in perfectly with what goes on in Aperture Science. Things like the No OSHA Compliance going on with the cargo lift also fit in.

Third, you can get placed in the first chamber of Portal. If that happens, the only way to progress is by falling down into the elevator shaft, after which you land near the HL2 mod version of Stanley's office. The reason i consider this proof is because in-universe, it is the actual Aperture Science you get sent to, not just a copy of the map.

Lastly, the game is based on the Portal 2 build of the Source engine. This allows the game to automatically place portals to convey the non-euclidean spaces and other kinds of things, which it does. Whether it's the Narrator actually placing portals or the building is just an Eldritch Location, i have no idea, but those are actually portals.

The canon sequence of events is the Confusion ending, followed by the Madness ending.
Because that is the only sequence that explains everything you see happening. Stanley's frustrating, repetitive job causes him to descend into madness, so he first starts hallucinating that everybody has disappeared, then he starts hearing a voice in his head. At first he tries to prove that he is still in control, by disobeying the voice he hears (when in reality, he is just wandering aimlessly through the office building), then his nervous breakdown get worse. He starts getting deja-vus, where he hallucinates to find himself in increasingly distorted versions of his office and its surroundings, and at one point he even hears music in his head, as he hallucinates a pervasive yellow line painted on floors, ceilings and walls. Then, in a moment of semi-lucidity, he realizes that what he is perceiving is not reality. At first, he believes that he is experiencing a lucid dream, so he attempts to control his perceptions by conjuring up a starry expanse. He understands that he is not dreaming when he realizes that he is still feeling the walls and floor around himself. That is when he understands the truth: he has gone completely insane. At that moment he starts screaming, apparently running around an endless sequence of rooms. However, those are just a hallucination: he actually left the office building and is now running around in the street outside. Oblivious to his real surroundings and still believing to be inside an Eldritch Location that vaguely reminds him of his workplace, he is run over by a car and killed. One of his colleagues, Mariella, notices his body, but she does not stop because her work commitments are more important to her. The end.

The Narrator is Wheatley, and the Female Narrator is GLaDOS.
The Narrator obviously wants Stanley to follow his predetermined path, but seems to be incredibly incompetent at forcing him to do so — just as incompetent as Wheatley is at railroading Chell in Portal 2. It takes a while for him to even realize Stanley can make choices that go Off the Rails, and at some points, forgets his own script by messing up the papers, messes up level geometry, conjures up nonsense pseudo-philosophy in an attempt to look profound, and so on. In the Games ending, he tries to entertain Stanley with a "game" just as inept as his ridiculously easy test chamber in Portal 2, then accidentally drops him into Chell's test track. The Museum ending is the point when GLaDOS regains control of Aperture Science and decides she had enough, interrupting Stanley's test. (It also explains why the Female Narrator panics after Stanley gets back on the moving platform: she doesn't want to lose the only other human test subject she has besides Chell.)

Stanley cannot move on his own when (and because) the mind control machine is in effect.
The mind control machine compels Stanley to do one of two things: press the buttons, or sit and wait for instructions when there are no buttons to press. The player, who takes over Stanley's body at the beginning of the game, is the only reason he can move and act at all — which is what allows him to defy and disable the mind control machine as long as the player, controlling Stanley, follows the Narrator's instructions to the letter. The Freedom ending is thus the good ending, where Stanley regains free will and breaks out of everyone's control, including the player's. The Real Person ending is thus the ultimate bad ending, where the player loses control of Stanley but he doesn't regain free will, resulting in him being stuck forever in front of the two doors.

The Stanley Parable is a book.
The game is named for the novel it takes place in. The Narrator is the author, and you, the player, are not Stanley, but rather a being who controls him. The Narrator plans to have Stanley venture about the complex before switching off mind control and finding freedom; a happy ending. Your going Off the Rails is an editor or other party changing the story to better suit what they believe to be 'correct'. Should you irritate the Narrator enough, he outright murders Stanley, much how Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes. Alternatively, he can give up trying to control the main character and leave him entirely to your control, relinquishing his original vision.


S.T.A.L.K.E.R.WMG/Video GamesStar Citizen

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