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Headscratchers / Harvester

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  • WHAT THE FUCK IS THE POINT OF THE HARVESTERS? Are they a religious cult? Are they assassins? How the fuck can they afford advanced VR simulators? And how come there's a guild of serial killers when pretty much every serial killer ever is too unhinged and anti-social to properly function in a group? Wouldn't they turn on each other in the first week? How do they make sure that the guys they turn into serial killers aren't going to kill them, AKA the guys they have a really good reason to want dead?
    • First of all, you're looking at Harvester way too literally. The game is supposed to be taken from a much more meta and philosophical viewpoint. Word of God, Gilbert P. Austin, states that the entire game is an examination of controversial video games and whether the player reacts to the violence of the game the same way Steve does and how they adapt and grow to the violence. The Harvesters are simply a metaphor for developers of violent games. This is a game where you sort of read between the lines and take in the deeper meanings the developers are trying to show you about violent video games. But to answer your question: its never specifically stated that the Harvesters THEMSELVES are serial killers, just that they create serial killers. They're more like mad scientists, wanting to try to find the best way to create serial killers. Why? As I said, they're a metaphor for the idea that popular media are creating killers and are an exaggeration of that idea. We don't know their inner workings or motivations, as they're ultimately not important to meta-commentary the game is creating. To answer your last question though: The whole point of the game is that they have desensitized the participant into viewing the world like they do in Harvest, where everyone is a weird crazy. The user now actively enjoys the act of killing and will now follow the Harvesters' orders. And say that the subject DOES resist the urge to turn evil, what's to say there's not armed guards aiming at Steve off camera if he tries anything, as we only see close up shots of two Harvesters and Steve when Steve is reawakened.
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    • According to the script, though, the Harvesters may have killed a person who was protecting Steve in order to kidnap him, so it's safe to assume they are themselves willing to murder. And probably are backed by someone really big.
  • Alright, so about that spinal cord... I guess it's useless to ask whose it was since everything is just a simulation, and of course, it wasn't Stephanie's. However, that still doesn't explain why Steve asks the Sergeant at Arms if Stephanie is dead or inside the Lodge and keeps asking everyone inside the Lodge about her, as well - despite the fact that he had to show her spinal cord to the Sergeant to get into the Lodge! Can it have any relation to the optional subplot about Karin disappearing? If you don't manage to save her in time, when Steve dugs her grave open he sees that Karin is missing a spinal cord... despite the fact that, if you do manage to save her, you'll discover she's been buried alive, with the clear intention that the girl would suffocate. So, the person who buries Karin is probably not the same person who removes her spinal cord. However, Steve will keep asking everyone if Stephanie is alive (after it had been made quite obvious that she isn't), regardless of whether he had found Karin's remains, saved her in time, or just didn't do anything about it. Could it have been that the developers wanted to connect those two subplots but didn't?
  • The final decision between staying in Harvest with Stephanie, or killing her to join the Harvesters in the real world. It's presented as Steve being shaped to develop a taste for killing, and killing Stephanie, the only other real person in the simulation, as the final test. However, Harvest is a place full of creepy and abhorrent people with a job as an unhygienic butcher the only career Steve has to look forward to. The final decision can just as well be whether you're willing to kill a person in order to avoid being stuck in a terrible place for the rest of your life.
    • The real headscratcher is whether those are actually two different things. Is being willing to kill an innocent solely to save yourself even possible if one doesn't already have a drive to kill or a desensitization to it?

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