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As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

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    Fridge Brilliance 
  • The credits show the Special Guest as the player themself. This is a cue that ultimately, you are responsible for everything that happens in the game.
  • The game deconstructs the modern military shooter genre quite heavily in almost every aspect... except for the fact that it's in third person and is a cover-based shooter like Gears of War. The writers may not have intended it, but this could be interpreted as a subtle way to highlight the disconnect a player may feel between themselves and the protagonist (in this case, Walker). While Walker is busy committing more and more heinous acts out of misguided heroism, the player is always controlling him externally, giving them a broader view of everything and therefore giving the false sense that they're not at fault, when they've always been causing those atrocities via Walker, the game just fools them into thinking otherwise.
  • The menu screen depicts an American flag upside down. Flying the American flag upside down is an officially recognized signal of distress.
  • The way Walker's sleeves are ripped perfectly to show off his arms after the truck crash. It's impossible he could've done it himself since we never leave his POV and his sleeves are just gone when he regains consciousness. Actually, he probably did do it himself and doesn't remember it, thinking it's normal Clothing Damage. It's an overused look for the typical action hero, and Walker is trying to be a hero, is doing a good job of convincing himself he's a hero, and is in reality, of course, anything but.
  • Right before Captain Walker finds the two men Konrad claims over the radio that he is trying to execute, a couple of vultures fly away from the catwalk they hang from. The two men turn out to actually be corpses, so the carrion-seeking vultures make a subtle hint to that. You can also see vultures circling above them when you first enter the area.
  • Konrad's Location:
    • What is the answer given by the imaginary remnants of the 33rd to Walker about Konrad's location? "Where he's always been sir. Upstairs, waiting for you." At first glance, you'll likely take this to mean that Konrad has simply been upstairs on the top floor, waiting for Walker to finish his mission and arrive there to meet him. It takes on an entirely different meaning when you realize that Konrad is just a figment of Walker's imagination due to dissociative disorder and that the real Colonel Konrad has been dead for two weeks. Konrad has been figuratively "upstairs", namely in Walker's brain the entire time, not the type of "upstairs" Walker was expecting.
    • Somewhat related to the above point, when asked by Konrad if Walker thinks he is insane, Walker responds that he wishes that to be the truth. Konrad says that it would have made everything simpler, but he is "just as sane as you (Walker) are." When you take into consideration that Konrad is a figment of Walker's own imagination, then Konrad literally is as sane as Walker is, as this "Konrad" is an extension of Walker's personality and thoughts.
    • Amusingly, if you take the story as a deconstruction of most shooters that have been out on the market, you know the type that encourage mindless violence and don't showcase the consequences that such violence would have in real life, then Konrad is addressing not only Walker but the player as well. His brutality is just as "sane" as our mindset is, showcasing such mindless brutality makes us no better than Konrad is. It reminds the player a great deal of what Colonel Kurtz said to Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now, "I have seen the horrors, horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me, but you don't have a right to judge me." How can you judge a man that you are the same as? It would be like judging yourself.
  • This one crosses over with Genius Bonus. At the end of the game, in Konrad's penthouse, there are two intel collectibles, one of which is a letter by Konrad to his son. In both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, Kurtz's final testament to his son is immensely important to both stories, being, among other things, a justification for his actions, an explanation of how he became what he was, a sort of missionary tract to be disseminated to the rest of the world, and a burden for Marlowe/Willard to carry and deal with as they see fit. In Spec Ops: The Line, Konrad's letter to his son is a simple apology, one that takes about twenty words. It is a massive departure from the game's roots...but it is appropriate, because it is the first clue that The Line is not the story of Konrad's fall, but of Walker's.
  • There are several instances where Walker's actions and reactions are closely related to those of the player, tying in with the deconstruction of modern war games:
    • Walker's reaction to his gradual awareness that his presence in Dubai is actively making the situation worse is to deny reality and embrace fantasy, shift the blame for his wrongdoing onto somebody else and push forward because he wants to be a hero, all the while growing increasingly frustrated that he cannot be the hero he wants to be. Similarly, the archetypal player will ignore the horrific consequences of their actions and insist that "it's only a video game, it's just entertainment", blame the developers for railroading them into committing horrific acts (especially the white phosphorus incident) and keep playing the game to the end, growing increasingly frustrated when the game denies them the escapist fantasy they wanted from it.
    • In one of the endings, Walker massacres a squad sent to rescue him, having finally snapped. By now, the game has very resolutely shown that there is no glory in war, and senseless violence is wrong. If, after all that, the player still wants to have whiz-bang shooty fun, they are "rewarded" with the bleakest in a set of already bleak endings, as the player is as insane as Walker.
    • Some players may complain about the railroading at the white phosphorus incident, saying they only did it because the game made them. But then, the game didn't make them do anything. A player could have simply turned off the game, like how Walker could have turned around at that point, saying it's not worth it. But both the player and Walker did it because they were so dedicated to their goal that they had to rationalize the horrible things they did. Konrad even calls you out on this in the ending, saying Walker's/the player's insistence on continuing only made things worse, and he/you should have just turned around and left. "None of this would have happened if you'd just stopped."
    • There's another layer to the brilliance: The "Heroic" moments this scene rips at usually give you just as much choice. If you can't take the blame for this, how can you take credit for doing the same thing in Call of Duty?
    • The development team were aiming for one of three player reactions to the white phosphorus incident, above. The third of these most closely mirrors Walker's own reaction to the event. In this case, the player realizes that it was a But Thou Must! scenario and becomes just as angry about it as the characters are, and desperately seeks to shift the blame onto the developers. Lead writer Walt Williams, as quoted on the main page:
      Walt: "Could I have done something different?" And the answer is no. It was your only real option. To which you might say, "That's not fair." And I'd say, "You're right." That's a real emotional response and I can guarantee it's exactly what Walker is feeling in that moment.
  • What significance does Walker shooting the mirror with the imaginary representation of Konrad looking back at him have for Walker's situation? The mirror represents Konrad being a reflection of his inner chaos that he has to overcome or be destroyed by it, "We can't live this lie forever." and by shooting it he defeats his inner demons, the illusion of Konrad is shattered in a manner similar to Fight Club.
    • One retrospective compared The Line with a similar plot in Homefront. The latter has someone else using the white phosphorous, and it was stolen from the North Koreans, making it "they were going to use it against us anyway". The Line gives no out to the player. They used it, and they didn't need to.
  • Why can Walker shoot the American troops coming to rescue him at the end? Well, he's shot at people like them for the entire game. Also notice that Walker is wearing Konrad's clothes in the epilogue. This symbolizes Walker's realization that HE is the villain he thought Konrad was. The kind of villain who would murder American soldiers in a fit of insanity.
  • Walker hits his head pretty badly when he falls out of the skyscraper early in the game. A concussion like that would probably not be good for his mental well-being. All the subsequent injuries probably don't help. Not to mention that Delta appear to be in Dubai for a full two days and aren't depicted getting any sleep in that time. Fatigue certainly wouldn't help their mental state.
  • The music that is played in some of the combat scenes isn't just flavor, it is there in-universe and being played into your headset by Radioman. It stops happening once he dies.
  • One of Adam's lines to Walker towards the end of the game foreshadows the primary conflict in the ending: "Lugo's blood is on your hands, not mine." Seems like Walker's not the only member of his team who is desperately trying to push the blame onto someone else. Bonus points: after Adams blames Walker for everything, Adams mimes shooting Walker. The ending where Walker still blames Konrad has him following his accusations by pointing a gun at him and shooting him.
  • At the end of Chapter 7, the player is forced to choice between saving Gould or saving some civilians. Lugo advocates saving Gould, pushing the mission over saving lives, and gets lynched by the very civilians he disregarded in Chapter 13. Adams advocates saving the civilians, pushing saving lives over the mission, and dies helping Walker finish the mission he disregarded in Chapter 14.
  • At first, the game just quietly hints at something horrific happening in Kabul, but after the White Phosphorus incident, Walker switches from not bringing it up, to actively cutting people off from talking about it. You'd almost think he was in denial...
  • At first glance a game like The Line may just seem like a generic third person cover based shooter like Gears of War, with all the typical tropes and gameplay mechanics you would expect, but when looking at the game from the perspective that Walker is hallucinating then a lot of that may be intentional. Walker's hero fantasy might be making him imagine himself to be a video game super soldier and he and his perception of the world react accordingly.
  • Why would Walker have the option to shoot his reflection in the mirror rather than Konrad? Because it isn't a challenge of Walker shooting the imaginary Konrad's reflection before he can hurt him but rather deciding which one of them is responsible for Dubai's hardships. The act of shooting yourself is symbolic of Walker realizing that all of this has been his downfall rather than Konrad's. Pay attention to Walker's reflection in the event that you let Konrad pull the trigger; notice anything? Walker's reflection shows the gun point up at his own head if you let Konrad "shoot you", meaning that the whole exchange is about deciding who is responsible and who deserves judgment.
  • On the trope page for You Bastard!, they mention the potential hypocrisy in deploying this trope, in that the player/viewer/reader might well think, "Why are you criticizing me? Nobody forced you, the creator, to make the movie/develop the game/write the book etc. You're just as guilty of what you accuse me of as I am." Not only does this game pull the You Bastard! card, but the developers have already anticipated that the players would have that reaction to them doing so. It's one thing for a game to attack the player for carrying out all kinds of horrible, violent actions; it's quite another for a game to do so and anticipate that the player would react by insisting it wasn't their fault, that they were forced to do so, and incorporate this reaction into the plot.
  • If Walker is a stand-in for the player, then the real Konrad is a stand-in for the creators, as both of them essentially created the hellscape that is Dubai.
  • Captain Walker's name counts as a Meaningful Name alluding to what he does in the story. His last name Walker is derived from an old Scottish/English tradition where military officers that were given the job of inspecting the land of their lords/kings would take on the last name of Walker, because they did this by walking through said land. Martin is derived from Mars the Roman God of War. Martin Walker basically translates into, "Inspector of War." Captain Walker is a Delta Force operator, an elite soldier, and his job is to inspect the ruined Dubai for survivors.
  • Walker talking for Konrad:
    • In the ending where Walker is confronted with the Shadow Konrad pay attention to Walker's lips. During this scene Walker has comparison shots, one of the imaginary Konrad standing in front of him and another shot of the reality of no one actually being there. As Konrad says, "It takes a strong man to deny what's right in front of him.", you can see that Walker's lips are moving, as if he were speaking but no words are coming out. Walker is speaking on Konrad's behalf! Walker is talking to himself as if he were Konrad and then the hallucination compensates by making his voice sound like Konrad, this allows Walker to deny the truth that's standing right in front of him. We don't see Walker's mouth moving while the Shadow Konrad can be seen because that is taking place inside Walker's head, Walker's mind is the last refuge where he can deny the reality of everything going on around him, thus making Konrad's confrontation a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
    • There's a similar thing going on slightly earlier in the game. At the cutscene at the very end of "Adams", Walker starts talking to Konrad and informing him of his plans to kill him and the remainder of the 33rd, but his lips are clearly not moving. At first glance, a player might assume that Walker's speech is a voiceover that takes place slightly after this cutscene - but of course, what's really happening is that Walker thinks he's talking to Konrad, when in fact he's only thinking in his head.
  • This quote:
    Throughout the game, the main character, hellbent on completing what is obviously a flawed objective, causing nothing but death and destruction, continually repeats that he "Didn't have a choice." The game makes you do some pretty horrible things in order to progress, and I saw a lot of people online complaining that the game forced you to do these things, they didn't have a choice, and then getting angry and blaming the developers. It was eerie how much it mirrored the main character, and his pushing the blame onto Konrad, the antagonist of the game. Spec Ops postulates that you do have a choice... to turn the game off. It's a game that actively doesn't want you to play it. If you think what the game is making you do is so horrible, lay your weapon down, and turn off the console. (Source)
  • If one accepts the interpretation that Walker died in the prologue's helicopter crash, and that the entire game was his Dying Dream, some of the dialogue in the endings takes on a whole new meaning, such as when he's asked "How'd you survive all this?" Walker's response, before he closes his eyes and the screen fades to black, indicating a "real" event? "Who said I did?"
  • Lugo is justifiably distraught at the use of white phosphorus accidentally killing 47 innocents, screaming "He turned us into fucking killers!" But wait…what did he refer to himself as when they first arrived in Dubai? "A hardened killing machine". Hmm…
  • The Radioman's line "To infinity and beyond! Or to the storm wall. Same thing." seems like just a Toy Story reference till you see the lanyard for his press pass in the intel database. Printed on it is: "SF - Marathon 2005 To Infinity and Beyond"
  • During the 14th mission, immediately after you encounter the Lugo Heavy, you will find a sign that says, "No guns allowed in this room - Violators will be shot." At first it may seem like a bit of hypocritical humor, but pay attention to the fact that the 33rd and Walker are both carrying guns in that room — shooting at each other. Walker and the 33rd have degenerated far past the point where they can give any iota of respect towards the rules, they've already broken so many rules of engagement at this point that carrying guns in a gun free zone is mundane by comparison.
  • The White Phosphorus is growing to be a bit divisive: Either it was a case of gloriously and vividly deconstructing what so many FPS's go through easily or the incident was a nasty case of Cruelty Is the Only Option. But if the above fridges are taken seriously, the latter criticism could be irrelevant; Even if Konrad was right about the majority of the story's events being in Walker's head, the player still had to go through with them anyways. The game wasn't forcing us to do anything, it was Walker's mind telling himself I Did What I Had to Do!
  • In a similar vein, many have criticized how the game forces you to use the white phosphorus by continuously spawning enemies if you try to engage the camp directly. But if you accept the idea that Walker died in the chopper crash in the prologue, and the game is him in a nightmare afterlife, and that everything up to the helicopter crash is an exaggerated recollection of what really happened, it makes perfect sense. In the "real" version of game's events, Walker uses the phosphorus without bothering to engage the enemy first. When Walker comes to the same point in his nightmare world, he knows what's gonna happen and wants to avoid it, but the forces in control of his nightmare deny him the chance by forcing him to fight infinite soldiers until he uses the mortar. In other words, the endless wave of soldiers is Walker's nightmare's way of telling him "You had no choice," because he kept telling himself that when he was alive.
  • In the end Walker was a hero, but not in the way he wanted, which was to save everyone. Had he walked away from it all and sent the men in, at best they would be traumatized for life while he became a Karma Houdini, at least until some evidence was found linking the atrocities to him. At worst, they would join the Damned 33rd and continue a vicious cycle in Dubai for God knows how long, and Walker is treated as the harbinger of doom by his country. By going in he had arguably prevented everyone else from suffering the same fate as he did, and ended the suffering of those within it, but he couldn't kill them without causing extreme pain and lasting trauma to fellow Americans and the helpless civilian population.
  • During Walker's opening monologue, a wall decorated with Konrad's various medals and framed newspaper clippings related to his deeds is shown, while the voiceover claims, "But the facts don't lie. The man's a fuckin' hero." To Walker, and the casual observer, the medals and clippings do indeed serve as evidence of Konrad's heroism. But to Konrad, who in hindsight is probably on the verge of suicide at that very moment, they're only reminders of the mistakes he's made, the lives he's taken, and the pain he's caused.
  • The nature of Walker wearing Konrad's uniform has been assumed to be him evoking Konrad's villain status onto himself, that Walker now equates himself as the villain he assumed Konrad was. However there may be something far more noble than that in mind. Pay attention to the loading screen for the epilogue, Walker is standing out in the middle of the rain having the blood on his skin washed off, thereby symbolically cleansing him of his sins in what is akin to a baptism in the rain. Walker is symbolically adding Konrad's sins and persona onto himself so he can redeem Konrad's image and legacy, as well as his own. That baptism in the rain was just as much for Walker himself, as it was for Konrad's sake; Konrad is having his redemption as well through Walker.
  • Captain Walker, First Lieutenant Adams, and Sergeant Lugo make up your squad. It's been pointed out that a captain would not be leading this team, nor would a sergeant be present. However, on November 16, 2005, BBC News reported that an article had been published in the March–April 2005 issue of Field Artillery (a U.S. Army magazine), written by a captain, a first lieutenant, and a sergeant. The subject of this article? The use of white phosphorus in Iraqi battles for screening breeches and as a potent psychological weapon. (Source)
  • You never hear any dialogue in Arabic-the only non-English language that shows up is Farsi. The reason? All of the native Arab upper-class was evacuated before the storm, leaving behind migrant workers who speak Farsi along with other languages.
  • As Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw says here, "I think what says it all about Spec Ops is that your final choice in the game is whether or not to shoot yourself in the head. And that you really, really have to think about it." The Final Boss is Walker AKA yourself, the player. And having spent the game observing his atrocities and his reasons for committing them, you have to decide what his punishment for those crimes will be; death, madness, or to be hauled into court for trial.
  • The US military deploys to a Middle Eastern country, over the protests of its government, to rescue the population. When given the impetus to leave, the American security forces instead choose to stay, resulting in a quagmire in which the local population is subject to a foreign military dictatorship ostensibly in place to ensure order, but which commits many atrocities. From these atrocities, the disgruntled people become insurgents and fight back, with civilians caught in the crossfire. Now, does that describe Spec Ops the Line...or the Iraq War?
  • At the beginning of the twelfth chapter, Rooftops, if the player stands around for a few moments, Walker will say, "It's Kabul all over again." which may indicate that Walker's hallucination are, in part, PTSD-induced flashbacks triggered by current events closely mirroring his traumatic memories (and then further building upon them given Dubai's own horrors).
  • Some more excellent foreshadowing: In two levels, Walker will occasionally start with a Desert Eagle, seemingly as his new sidearm, with no explanation where he got it from. Lugo and Adam also produce a Deagle from nowhere in certain chapters. However, Walker continues wielding a Beretta M9 as his sidearm in some cutscenes, in the same holster where the Deagle was supposed to be. Lugo and Adam also still have suppressed M9s as their sidearms. And to top it all off, as cool as it is, the Deagle is a very impractical choice of sidearm for any situation outside hunting. Now, consider Konrad's rant that Walker thinks he's a fantasy action hero, and the Deagle is the gun of choice for action heroes. Yep, that's right-he's deluding himself into thinking that he's a 1980s/1990s action movie protagonist and doing the same with his comrades. A good sign that he's not the disciplined soldier he used to be.
  • It's implied that Adams took out all of the 33rd's remaining soldiers before being killed. While this seems ridiculous, the last thing you hear as you run away is what sounds like a helicopter going out of control, followed by an explosion, implying that Adams was somehow able to bring down the helicopter, and since it was loaded with fuel and ordnance, the resulting explosion killed both him and the 33rd soldiers.
  • After Lugo kills the Radioman during "The Rooftops" Walker grabs the mic and broadcasts a message to all Dubai: "You are going to be evacuated, but the 33rd needs to pay for what they done". When Konrad starts speaking and telling him that "No one leaves Dubai", listen very, VERY, carefully, and an American soldier can be heard on the background talking to Walker! This means that Walker was hallucinating again and while he didn´t answer the American soldier, this made Command think that Dubai indeed had survivors! And that’s why Walker is found by Falcon-1 at the "The Road Back" ending.
  • During the first encounter with the refugees, after executing the last one, Walker says "I thought we were rescuing people". It's wrong on so many levels, because that wasn't their mission, their mission was to locate survivors and then LEAVE Dubai. It goes to show that Walker was deceiving himself from the very beginning.
  • When Walker happens upon the two condemned criminals he realizes that it is a test of character for him, which Konrad confirms. At the end we learn that both of the "criminals" were in fact two hanging corpses; long since dead before Walker got there and one wasn't even the same gender. However "Konrad" wasn't lying when he said it was a test. It was a Secret Test of Character that was suppose to see if Walker can realize the extent of his hallucinations and delusions.
  • Some of the 33rd soldiers use the AK-47 instead of the M4A1. This can be explained as expediency-since the 33rd obviously can't order new rifles to replace lost or broken ones-but it also illustrates that the 33rd are not so different from the insurgents, since both sides think they're doing what's best for Dubai.
    • It can also be seen as part of the game's criticism of American foreign policy. The AK-47 is usually associated with enemies of America. The fact that American soldiers are using it shows that they've fallen to the same level as the people they fight against.
    • The AK-47 would actually be a rare weapon in the UAE, where its security forces use 5.56x45mm rifles, and have a limited stockpile of AKs apparently captured from past enemies. At the time of release, the UAE security forces would use the M4A1, the standard service rifle then. So why the AK-47? The 33rd are supposed to be the bad guys in Walker's action hero fantasy, and as for the insurgents you meet at the start, it's simply part of their look in FPS, faceless enemies with their heads wrapped in keffiyehs and wielding AKs.
  • The Execute mechanic is a brilliant piece of Gameplay and Story Integration, at least on a thematic level. Downed enemies will eventually bleed out and die, but you can go up to them and Press X to execute them, giving you ammo for your currently equipped weapons. On later levels (especially on harder difficulties), you need the best weapons possible, no matter how saveage Walker's executes have become. Doing something horrific for the sake of "the mission", sound familiar?
  • Walker's final conversation with Konrad holds some parallels with the five stages of grief:
    • Denial: Walker holds his hand against his head in almost shaking it, replying to the accusations with "You're not real. This is all in my head." Konrad scoffs at this.
    • Anger: Walker pulls out his gun and points it at Konrad, once again blaming him for everything in an angered tone. Konrad then encourages Walker to shoot him.
    • Bargaining: Running out of excuses, Walker starts to break down and plead for mercy. "I didn't mean to hurt anybody."
    • Depression: After Konrad continues the countdown, Walker doesn't respond and stays quiet, as if the reality finally hit him. He doesn't even react as the countdown reaches its end.
    • Acceptance: Walker, in a moment of clarity, turns the gun on Konrad, pulling the trigger and ending the fantasy, with Konrad telling Walker "No matter what happens next, don't be too hard on yourself. Even now, after all you've done, you can still go home. Lucky you."
  • During the squad's egress from the hotel, they're required to shoot through a window, causing a cascade of sand to fall through the broken glass. What's directly below the window? A model of Dubai in golden miniatures, now prophetically smothered by Walker's violence.
  • After the lynch mob hangs Lugo, it seems easy to want to shoot them. But then you consider their take on Lugo and, by extention, Delta Squad; he was responsible for mowing down their protectors by the truckload. He was also complicit in numerous atrocities against them directly, namely the attack on the Nest, the white phosphorous incident, and the assault on the Aquarium, the last of which resulted dooming all of the survivors to a slow, agonizing death by thirst. The only people that still like Lugo are Walker and Adams; of course they’d hang him!
  • As the game progresses, you often start from a higher place and end up descending, symbolizing your descent into villainy. It isn't until the end when you're given the chance to do the right thing that you ascend.
  • All the actions of Walker during the first chapter are justified. The rebels shot first so he has to order advance to protect himself and his squad. He receives a distress call so he goes to rescue some members of the 33rd. It's only in chapter 2, and after Adams questions him that the first descend triggers.
  • Ironically, despite being called out for his actions by everyone else, Walker is the only one, potentially speaking, who can actually take responsibility for what he's done and live with the consequences, should he choose to stand down and go home with the rescue squad. This becomes even more apparent when you realize Walker isn't the only one who denies fault.
    • Riggs condemns Dubai's entire population to a slow, agonizing death out of a delusion he's preventing a war between the US and the Middle East and he shows no regret for anything he's done, even as he's dying.
    • The Radioman spends his time endlessly criticizing Delta for making things worse - yet he does little, if anything, to actually improve the situation and shows no sympathy for the insurgents or those taken from the Nest by the 33rd; he even calls out Delta for accidentally killing civilians with White Phosphorus despite the fact the 33rd were using it on the insurgents to deliberately cow potential rebels.
    • Even Adams and Lugo, as much as they call out Walker, ignore their roles in the White Phosphorous incident and chose to blame Walker instead, despite the fact it was Adams who suggested using it. They both also never disobey Walker's increasingly questionable orders, despite their discomfort.
    • Konrad is perhaps the only one who took responsibility for his actions. Sadly, the guilt and trauma became too much for him to bear after his evacuation attempt failed and he ended up taking his own life - a fate that Walker himself may choose.
  • Why does Walker hallucinate the 33rd remnants welcoming him at Konrad's hideout? Because the building is completely unguarded. Walker subconsciously realizes that the commanding officer's abode wouldn't be left unguarded, so he imagines the welcoming committee there to reconcile it. The building isn't unguarded; all the guards there just flip to his side and stay out of the way!
  • Many of the 33rd wear their boonie hats like cowboy hats. The cowboy is one of the most iconic symbols of the United States, deconstructing another US symbol - and to show that the 33rd have become 'cowboys' in going rogue.

     Fridge Horror 
  • Shortly after Delta encounters the first insurgents and engages in combat with them, the Radioman informs everyone that the cease-fire with the insurgents is over and that hostilities between them and the 33rd have resumed. While it's made clear that the CIA were planning to break the peace later on anyway, Delta moved that timetable up considerably and indirectly caused the fighting to resume. From the very beginning Delta's presence in Dubai complicated things.
  • The Heavy Troopers may actually be the more honorable among 33rd soldiers sent to retrieve supplies or secure power sources, considering their protection gear.
  • Walker is dead:
    • The typical shooter game-isms of regenerating health, endless hordes of enemies, and slow-motion murder can all be explained by Captain Walker being trapped in Hell or Purgatory after dying in the copter crash. Presumably, events proceeded a little differently at first.
    • If that's not enough, consider this: the Multiple Endings may be Walker being forced to relive Dubai over and over again, for as long as it takes him to learn the lessons the "game" has to teach, presumably by reaching the least horrific ending. Ye gods, thoughts like that are enough to make a pacifist of anyone.
    • An alternative interpretation advanced by Extra Credits is that the more overtly video-gamey aspects of the game are a deliberate uncanny effect designed to represent Walker's mental state: the obvious spawn points and exploding heads are how Walker sees the world, all filtered through a lens of trying to convince himself that he's a bigger badass and hero than he really is. Those pornographic money shot-esque exploding heads when you score a headshot, coupled with erotic slow-motion? That's part of how Walker tries to convince himself that he's one of the good guys. And this, by extension, applies just as much to the player as Walker. If that's not creepy, I don't know what is.
    • Not just Walker, but Lugo and Adams as well, in the Room with the five burned soldiers where Walker pics up the Walkie-Talkie you can see lists of Casualties. Among them are Sgt. Lugo and Lt. Adams. That is another point showing that the Player just re"lives" the horror of Dubai, knowing exactly how it will end.
  • Near the end of the game, Konrad states that there were over five thousand people alive in Dubai the day before you arrived; at the time of the game's release, there were over two MILLION people alive in Dubai.
  • Lugo is incredibly efficient when it comes to killing the enemy soldiers, even referring to himself as a killing machine. How much damage did the helicopter crash do to him to make him terrified of a crowd of unarmed civilians?
    • He lost his weapons in the crash and was set upon by the lynch mob before he was able to recover them. You can find his unique assault rifle elsewhere in the refugee camp, near an ammo crate. Furthermore, his dialogue after the crash mentions that his arm is broken.
  • At several points in the game, the player has the opportunity to kill enemies by burying them in sand. It sounds pretty cool-until you realize you just condemned them to a slow death by asphyxiation.
  • The reason that the 33rd is so gung ho to kill you? By the time that you've exited the Nest, you've murdered dozens of them. Of course they're going to shoot at you on sight and try to throw everything they've got at you.
    • After the infamous White Phosphorous scene, you hear them shout things like "MURDERER!" and "Let's fuckin' BURN 'em!"
  • What if the poignant words Konrad shares with Walker aren't just about Walker, but you the player as well? The player gets to turn off the game and go home. Men like Walker don't get to turn off the trauma of war they have witnessed by flipping a switch, even after all you have forced Walker to do you get to go home perfectly intact, Walker will have to live with these choices for the rest of his life while you go home trauma free.
    Konrad: No matter what happens next, don't be too hard on yourself. Even now, after all you've done, you can still go home. Lucky you.
  • Replaying the game will cause the player to realize that Walker was going mad long before it was readily obvious. A specific instance mentioned by Walt Williams comes in chapter 9, when Delta have to fight their way through a sandstorm. If the player looks in a certain direction, one can see that the Burj Aurora appears to be on fire, owing to Walker's hallucinations, an image which reappears in the hallucination after the helicopter crash.
    • You can also see Konrad's face all over the city, though you may not recognize it at first. It's visible on the side of a truck in Chapter 1, and on a billboard as you approach The Road. An especially notable example is found in Chapter 5. When you first look out at the gorge, you may notice a building on the left that has a large banner with Konrad's face on it. Later in the chapter, you'll be across the gorge from the banner; look at it from there, and you'll see the same banner, but this time with a woman's face on it.
  • "Gentlemen, welcome to Dubai." Okay, so the Ironic Echo is there, so what—wait a minute, why is Walker walking back to Dubai? What about the remaining civilians? (Sudden realization)
  • In the epilogue, Walker grows a full-blown beard by the time Falcon-One shows up. Considering the lack of nourishment he’s had and the time it might take to grow a beard that thick, it might have taken a while. Then you remember that, because you crashed Dubai’s water supply, the ‘’entire city would be dead in a couple of days.’’ So either Walker died alongside the rest of the city or he drank the water in Konrad's suite. Either way, “one too many” survivors just took on a whole new meaning.
  • A piece of concept art shows a 33rd Battalion heavy wielding a flamethrower, intended to be introduced as a new enemy in an unreleased DLC. If this is referring to the unfinished Long Way Back DLC where you play as Adams disguised as a 33rd soldier, this could imply that the situation after Walker's actions deteriorated to the point that even the surviving 33rd infantry soldiers began turning on each other.
  • It's never commented on, but the Radioman's tower has a roof covered in pallets of food (which you use as cover) and big containers of fuel (which you blow up with the helicopter minigun), implying that it was being used to store all the 33rd's other supplies besides the water at the aquarium. With the destruction of all that food and fuel, another evacuation attempt may not even be possible.

    Fridge Logic 

On the headscratchers page.