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Tearjerker / The Outer Worlds

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UNMARKED SPOILERS BELOW


Alex Hawthorne

  • 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.

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.
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    • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
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Edgewater

  • 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'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 shut 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.

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.

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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