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Tear Jerker / The Outer Worlds

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"I can only think of one way to end this. End. End. Forgive me, Delilah..."


Alex Hawthorne

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  • The discovery that his Undignified Death was the result of a recent head injury and ignoring ADA's advice (that she didn't press because she loved him).
    • ADA more or less revealing that she was in love with Alex, her sentience being the result of his modifications to her. Especially since you were indirectly the cause of his death. Revealing this to him makes her sad, which she doesn't know how to process it - but she also thanks you for admitting your culpability in it.

Companions

  • Many of the reactions to their Captain dying.
  • Parvati never got to meet her mother since she had her pregnancy illegally and was transferred to a better paying job. Parvati's dad had to raise her by himself.
    • Checking the terminal entries upstairs in Parvati's house...You better bring a tissue, or a couple hundred.
  • Parvati revealing that her father was literally worked to death by Spacer's Choice and kept a smile on his face the entire time.
  • You can tell Vicar Max that the Hope contains your still frozen family and friends, which adds a whole new level of motivation to your actions.
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  • Felix states that growing up an orphan on the Groundbreaker was horrific as he was called a "stowaway" and had to struggle for every meal until adulthood.
  • Felix's mentor Clyde refuses to own up to being a corporate stooge and tries to kill you when you confront him. Felix is devastated by the results.
    • Even worse when combined with the fact that he can experience something like this not once, but twice. Both Clyde and Graham let him down, and if you assure him that you'd never kill a town full of innocent people when the latter person is revealed to have done that, only to then turn around and destroy Edgewater for Akande after she orders you to...That'll be three times.
  • Try telling any of the crew members that you want them gone from the ship. All of them react with anger, shock, and or heartbreak in varying degrees. It's especially tough not to feel terrible when saying this to Parvati or Felix, who take it the most miserably.
  • With enough negative reinforcement, Max can come to never find what he was looking for during his vision quest - and even kill the hermit who tried to help him. His faith in the Grand Plan slowly falls apart anyway as he watches the chaos unfold around Halcyon. It's tough not to feel kind of bad despite the sometimes hilarious nature of his disbelieved lines.
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  • Nyoka's an alcoholic Boisterous Bruiser who regales you with tales of her adventures. She tells the story of she found her friends, is the only survivor, and she just wants to pay respects. When we enter her hideout to bury her friends, she just feel lost and listless.
    Nyoka: Do you know why we make jokes about the sulfur all the time? It's cause there's no escaping. It's life here and there ain't anything you can do about it.
  • There's something to be said about how Ellie's parents care so little for her that they used her death to turn a profit. It's one of the rarer times she shows any sort of vulnerability.

Edgewater

  • At the start of the game, you run into one of the Edgewater locals that's wounded. You can be a good samaritan and help the guy out by giving him some medical aid. Then you happen to come across his boss when you're out looking for Captain Hawthorne's ship and you tell her you healed the guy up. Normally, you'd expect her to be happy to hear some stranger helped out of one her men, right? Nope! She regrettably mentions that the poor sap you helped just lost his job, all because he decided to heal himself up with medical supplies that weren't made by Spacer's Choice. In other words, you just cost a guy his job by fixing him up without even meaning to. It also really helps sets in just how screwed up Halcyon is under its One Nation Under Copyright government.
  • Reed denying Adelaide's son medical care because he was a poor worker, leading to his death.
  • Reed discovering that the saltuna diet that he's advocated for years is actually the source of The Plague and that Adelaide has grown food that allows the colonists to live healthily. Accepting that he is responsible for all the deaths and not the leader they need, he heads out into the wilderness to die while leaving her in charge.
    • If you point out he won't last a day? He EXPLICITLY states that he thinks he can make it at least a week. And the epilogue says that he only survived two days.
  • If you decide to cut power to Edgewater, Reed is heartbroken to see his town die. For all his terrible mistakes he was never actively malicious and only wanted what was best for the people in his charge. What's more, there's nothing you can say to make him see your side of things; even if you frame it as liberating the town from slavery to Spacer's Choice, he bitterly tells you that he "never asked to be liberated".
  • If you've sided with the Board but set up Adelaide as mayor, Sophia Akande will order you to wipe out the entire town. Afterwards you'll have to go in to clear out the crazed mechanicals that did the job. The bodies of every single citizen you previously helped will be scattered around the town.

The Groundbreaker

  • One quest sends you to Relay GB-23, a comms station that has mysteriously gone offline. Exploring the station, you find journal entries from a troubled young man named Frey who is being tormented by whispering voices in his head telling him to kill. In his third entry, he becomes convinced that the station is the source of the voices and shuts it down; satisfied that "the whispers are defeated", he makes plans to return home and reunite with his friends and family. However, in the control room, you find Frey dead and his final entry, where he despairs as the whispers return.
    Frey's Journal - Forgive Me
    I was so wrong, wrong, wrong! The whispers did not stop. Not! Not! They have returned. They howl, howl, howl at me, demanding I return home and bathe the streets in crimson. Bright crimson. Beautiful crimson.
    I can only think of one way to end this. End. End. Forgive me, Delilah...

Cascadia

  • The experiments done in the Rizzo's lab are part of the Board's secret plan to modify human genetics to get used to the harsh conditions of living in the Halcyon system, were pretty clearly in the very earliest stages of the development before the town was overrun. Towards the end of the lab, stashed in a corner, you find a single tube with a body floating in it, sealed for eternity. This is the head doctor on the project, who sacrificed himself in order for the project to make significant gains. Everywhere around it are a number of eulogies specifically addressed to the people who would find him years in the future just to let you know what kind of guy he was, with one scientist clearly taking it hard. It's a harrowing reminder that even in a Crapsack World built on dark comedy, all of the places in these games used to have people in them that care about the stuff they're doing and the people they work with.
    • Continuing to work with SubLight reveals that this is actually the second site of such experiments - the first one was aboard a heliospheric space station, with three more bodies aboard with one plaque to honor their sacrifice for each. Even if the Board couldn't give two shits about their researchers, those researchers very obviously cared about each other.
  • In the middle of the bridge across the canyon is a guardpost and an elevator, at the bottom of which is a small barracks, inside which you find Herbert, seemingly just a unique marauder equipped with the SugarOps armor and the Candy Cane, a scythe which deals N-Ray damage. If you read the console, it turns out Herbert was a very young child at the time of the evacuation. He and his parents were left behind in the ruins of Cascadia — where his father eventually died a lingering death, but not before teaching Herbert his letters and how to hunt and scavenge. Herbert has been there his whole life, his only company a chef automechanical (a surrogate father after his real father's death) and a woolly cow Herbert keeps as a sort of pet. You'll likely only find this out after killing them, as they're hostile by default.

Byzantium

  • A questline involving helping one Ms. Jolicoeur involves modeling several outfits for her, gathering materials and her making a one-of-a kind suit for you. She's friendly and is one of the few creatives left on Byzantium. At the end of the questline, she's killed by UDL Security Forces for "dissident" behavior. All for making a stylish suit.
  • Imagine that you are an old, tired, and poor resident of the Halycon system when you win the Lottery. You are given a lifetime of leisure and security in Byzantium along with other winners. Then you find out, seconds before, that it's all a slaughterhouse to Kill the Poor right before the robots exterminate you then clean you up like garbage.
  • Combined with Nightmare Fuel, you have to make a Morton's Fork choice. You can get the chemicals necessary to revive all the colonists but it will kill dozens of people hooked up to life support. A hundred thousand lives are at stake but if you do the Shoot the Dog choice then you have to watch the people suffocate horribly inside their tanks.

The Hope

  • The tale of the skeleton crew of the Hope definitely counts, as you find logs detailing how they fell out of "skip space" and then proceeded to starve to death. But just beforehand, one of them resorts to cannibalism to stave off hunger, while the captain's wife commits suicide after eating some long pork.
  • The revelation that, by the time the Huntes grow old, their frozen child will still only be six.
    Hunte, D: I feel as though time is being stolen from me.

Tartarus

  • If you wanted to save as many of the Hope's colonists as possible, you get to watch several test subjects die painful and agonizing deaths. Phineas knows the pain, and he remembers the pain he felt every time he attempted to revive them.
    Test Subject One-Twelve. Real name Harley Stanton. Age thirty-nine. Enjoyed singing. I'm sorry, Harley. I couldn't save you.
  • ADA wants to keep your Captain's ID, just in case you die.
  • If you've sided with the Board and have certain high stats, you can get some very painful insights into Phineas' mental state. Namely his feelings of inadequacy at being unable to make a difference, being utterly alone in his fight, and the crippling guilt of having killed colonists with his experiments. Possibly the saddest part is if you show compassion and try to talk him down, Phineas will drop his anger... only to commit suicide instead.
    • The fact that he asks your forgiveness before killing himself, and the sheer amount of apologies he makes.
    • With 55 Medical you can accuse him of letting his patients die. His reaction is particularly harrowing, and doubles as pure Nightmare Fuel.
    Phineas: It was only when the screaming started that they became people. It always starts with screaming. Followed by thrashing. Followed by cell death. The average human adult takes ninety-three seconds to completely liquefy.
    • 85 Medical and Persuade gets you the following heart-breaking exchange.
    The Unplanned Variable: You're obviously in a lot of pain. Let me help you.
    Phineas: The only thing I've ever wanted was your help.

Peril on Gorgon

  • The entire plot of the DLC involves the Unplanned Variable discovering the origin of the Marauders. Exhaustion and overworked employees is a plague throughout the colony. Rather than reforming policies to create better work environments, the companies set off instead to produce a drug that would revitalize people and make them work more and rest less. Research, however, turned all test subjects violent and suicidal. Victims put into trash compacters and discarded with the rest of the garbage. Despite the researcher's protests, Spacer's Choice refused to acknowledge the human price, slashed their budgets and forced them to ship the drug anyway, fully aware of the impact it would cause. The marauders aren't people turned violent lunatics because they had no government. Their suffering is the result of the callousness and greed of corporations.
    You report eleven consecutive days of wakefulness, and SC sees eleven consecutive days of productivity. You report an inability to see violent hallucinations from reality, SC is going to try to push to turn those hallucinations into phantom images of company logos. You say the compound is habit forming and SC is going to see an increasing demand for our neverending supply of xenocyte waste.
    • The companions are all horrified by their abject cruelty as well.
    Parvati: The folks down here dedicated their lives to fixing Halcyon. They were supposed to be the company's best and brightest. How'd they lose their way?
    The Unplanned Variable: They were pushed to do the impossible by people who weren't accountable.
  • One of the volunteer's terminals notes they are slowly succumbing to the madness. The other note on his desk is a daily prayer.
    You are a hard worker. You are a valuable member of the Spacer's Choice Family. You are not your anger. You are not losing your mind.
  • Minnie's childhood wasn't particularly good. Her mother expected perfection from her and she could never live up to her unrealistic expectations. It's easy to understand why she wanted so hard to make her vision work.
  • The Audio Log "For Benji" records the last words of a miner slowly dying after being trapped under collapsed rubble. It gets particularly sad at the very end, when the miner realizes that he can't hear Benji breathing. The voice acting is what sells it.
    Miner: Benji...ca-can't hear you...you breathin'...Ben?...Ben?

Epilogues

  • Even in a good ending where he has all the resources and support he needs, Phineas never lives long enough to see the results of his hard work.
  • If you've wiped out Edgewater, the buildings will slowly decay and cause environmental damage to the surrounding valley. The only thing that continues to thrive are the sprats, which feast on the bodies of the townsfolk that had been left to rot.
  • If you completed Parvati's quest but side with the Board, her relationship with Junlei won't survive. While she still moves to the Groundbreaker, Parvati ends up plagued with nightmares about freezing to death, and rarely leaves their shared quarters. Meanwhile the added pressure of a strong Board leaves Junlei struggling to keep the Groundbreaker afloat. After they break up, Parvati moves into crew quarters and gets a job servicing water pumps. It's particularly heart-breaking when compared to the good version of this ending, where she not only remains with Junlei but ends up a much-valued and beloved core member of the Groundbreaker.
  • If Parvati does not end up with Junlei, it's mentioned that she never truly comes out of her shell and only socializes with ADA. It's hard not to feel some regret.
  • If you sided with the Board but helped Max find peace, he will attempt to preach his new ideals to the citizens of Byzantium. This goes about as well as you'd expect, and a disillusioned Max leaves the city to never be heard from again.
  • The Board Ending where you never complete Max's quest suffers from a case of bittersweet if you know what his life could have been like. Sure, it's "better" than the one where he has his hopes dashed, but he becomes a figurehead of the OSI by completely missing the point of his life and what he was looking for, still wishing his parents were there just so he could prove them wrong.
  • If you don't complete her quest, Nyoka never finds peace. She ends up returning to Monarch and living a lonely life of hunting and alcoholism.
  • If you complete Felix' quest but side with the board, he leaves you without a word. There is a way to make him stay, however, by passing a skill check. The ending tells you that Felix still becomes aimless, but does stay with you because of your words of encouragement, given that you're the only person with whom he ever belonged. Felix's spirit does not survive however, becoming bitter and jaded, but forever obedient.

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