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History Analysis / TalesOfTheAbyss

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I've been thinking a little bit about why the ending to ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' is so open-ended. Sure, it's [[Franchise/TalesSeries Tales tradition]] to have endings that are, at the very least, [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet,]] but it's rare to have one that leaves [[GainaxEnding such an important question unanswered.]] Now from here on out there will be unmarked spoilers up until the post-credits scene, so consider this a warning, because spoiler tagging everything would make this terribly difficult to read.

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I've been thinking a little bit about why the ending to ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' is so open-ended. Sure, it's [[Franchise/TalesSeries [[VideoGame/TalesSeries Tales tradition]] to have endings that are, at the very least, [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet,]] but it's rare to have one that leaves [[GainaxEnding such an important question unanswered.]] Now from here on out there will be unmarked spoilers up until the post-credits scene, so consider this a warning, because spoiler tagging everything would make this terribly difficult to read.


The moment where things start to get fuzzy and open-ended is immediately after Luke sticks the Key of Lorelei in the ground and frees the spirit. That ''very scene'' is when the questions emerge. Does Lorelei have a hand in resurrecting either Luke or Asch? Does Asch's hand twitch signify that he is still alive, or that Luke's consciousness has somehow transferred into him and resurrected him? Does Luke DisappearIntoLight in the end, or is that just a visual effect?

to:

The moment where things start to get fuzzy and open-ended is immediately after Luke sticks the Key of Lorelei in the ground and frees the spirit. That ''very scene'' is when the questions emerge. Does Lorelei have a hand in resurrecting either Luke or Asch? Does Asch's hand twitch signify that he is still alive, or that Luke's consciousness has somehow transferred into him and resurrected him? Does Luke DisappearIntoLight [[DisappearsIntoLight Disappear Into Light]] in the end, or is that just a visual effect?


The moment where things start to get fuzzy and open-ended is immediately after Luke sticks the Key of Lorelei in the ground and frees the spirit. That ''very scene'' is when the questions emerge. Does Lorelei have a hand in resurrecting either Luke or Asch? Does Asch's hand twitch signify that he is still alive, or that Luke's consciousness has somehow transferred into him and resurrected him? Does Luke FadeIntoLight in the end, or is that just a visual effect?

to:

The moment where things start to get fuzzy and open-ended is immediately after Luke sticks the Key of Lorelei in the ground and frees the spirit. That ''very scene'' is when the questions emerge. Does Lorelei have a hand in resurrecting either Luke or Asch? Does Asch's hand twitch signify that he is still alive, or that Luke's consciousness has somehow transferred into him and resurrected him? Does Luke FadeIntoLight DisappearIntoLight in the end, or is that just a visual effect?

Added DiffLines:

!! MetaConcepts and [[ScrewDestiny Screwing Destiny.]]

I've been thinking a little bit about why the ending to ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' is so open-ended. Sure, it's [[Franchise/TalesSeries Tales tradition]] to have endings that are, at the very least, [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet,]] but it's rare to have one that leaves [[GainaxEnding such an important question unanswered.]] Now from here on out there will be unmarked spoilers up until the post-credits scene, so consider this a warning, because spoiler tagging everything would make this terribly difficult to read.

This is not a theory on who the mysterious red-headed ending man is. This is a theory on why we can't ever say who he is ''for sure.'' There are logical, thematic, emotional, even [[DieForOurShip ship-related]] reasons to name him as Asch, Luke, or some combination of the two (Lasch, if you will?) Since WordOfGod left the ending open every decision is valid. But ''why?'' Why leave it open-ended in the first place?

My current working theory, besides the producers not picking one to avoid a BrokenBase situation, is that it's a meta statement about one of the major themes of the game. There are two intertwined themes that are relevant here - one discusses the ability and right to [[ScrewDestiny make your own path,]] and the other concerns what, exactly, makes an identity. Here's where the meta statement comes in:

Throughout the game, you have been led ''by'' the game. No matter what happens, no matter what you, as a player, decide to do, the game will always play out in the same way - Luke will destroy Akzeriuth, kill ten thousand replicas, and sacrifice himself to free Lorelei, and Asch will [[{{Jerkass}} be a jerk,]] call you a [[MemeticMutation RRRREEPPLICAAAA and a dreck]], and ultimately pull his own HeroicSacrifice. In a sense, up until Lorelei is free, you, the player, are also following the Score.

The moment where things start to get fuzzy and open-ended is immediately after Luke sticks the Key of Lorelei in the ground and frees the spirit. That ''very scene'' is when the questions emerge. Does Lorelei have a hand in resurrecting either Luke or Asch? Does Asch's hand twitch signify that he is still alive, or that Luke's consciousness has somehow transferred into him and resurrected him? Does Luke FadeIntoLight in the end, or is that just a visual effect?

Now think about it - as soon as Lorelei is free, mankind averts its destruction, and escapes the power of the Score - ''and so do you.'' Now you have the power to decide what the future of ''Tales Of The Abyss'' is. By the power of your free will you resurrect Luke, Asch, or create Lasch - you decide what is important to you as a player, cementing your own identity and morality in the process. The game allows you to do what the characters have done; escape the convention of a linear storyline, assert your own opinion, and make an independent decision about the future.

Have I mentioned this game is ''brilliant??''

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