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Video Game / Phoenix Point

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"Therefore still their eyeballs shrink tormented. Back into their brains, because on their sense. Sunlight seems a bloodsmear; night comes blood-black; Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh. Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous. Awful falseness of set-smiling corpses. Thus their hands are plucking at each other; Picking at the rope-knouts of their scourging; Snatching after us who smote them, brother, Pawing us who dealt them war and madness. "
Mental Cases, Second lieutenant Wilfred Owen, British Soldier and Poet

Phoenix Point is a Turn-Based Tactics game developed by Snapshot games. Several team members worked on the original XCOM title, including franchise creator Julian Gollop himself. The game was released on December 3, 2019 for the PC.

Taking heavy inspiration from X-COM: Terror from the Deep, the works of H. P. Lovecraft and the Sci-Fi Horror films of John Carpenter, Phoenix Point is set in a bleak world. In 2022, the climate change-induced melting of the permafrost layer has awakened a mysterious virus dormant inside the ice. The so-called Pandoravirus infects all it touches, whether it be plant, animal, or human, and twists it into something alien. The sea was the first to be consumed, as a strange mist fell over it, which soon spread to land. Nameless abominations began pouring from the murky depths of the ocean, and civilization soon collapses against a mixture of monsters and World War III. By the year 2047, humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction, now only existing in small, guarded communities, isolated havens, and secretive para-military organisations.

That's where the Phoenix Project comes in, an organisation composed of numerous cells, each with radically different ideologies. It's up to the scientists, engineers, and soldiers that compose the groups, to figure out a way to eradicate the alien menace, and save the human race from complete assimilation.

The player leads one of these cells, and engages in diplomacy, and conflict with the other remnants of humanity, all the while fighting a desperate, all-out war against the abominations spawned by the Pandoravirus, and other, darker, more ancient monstrosities.

Combat is in many ways similar to the modern XCOM games, but also in many ways different, and in fact draws a lot of inspiration from the original XCOM games. While it is still a grid-based Turn-Based Strategy, actions are still regulated by Action Points, and the player and enemie units take turns as a team, the intricacies of combat are more involved and complex than the modern games; rather than attacks being single shot affairs with a dice roll to hit, weapons fire consists of appropriate volleys of shots, with different accuracy, ROF, and damage ratings, and aiming can be done freeform from a first-person perspective to land precision shots. Pairing with this is a Subsystem Damage system, allowing shots to, for example, cripple legs or destroy enemy weapons. Armor is also tied to this system, meaning strategy often depends on breaking, penetrating, or just outright bypassing armor to deal effective damage. Logistics in battle are not quite so easy here - no Bottomless Magazines, for one - and items are much more individualized and consumable, meaning more thought is needed to effectively kit out units. Overall, Phoenix Point is a bit less newbie-friendly, but offers a deeper, more tactical experience that allows for a much greater freedom of approach.

There are also a number of short stories on the official site, released before the game itself.

The game provides examples of the following:

  • After the End: Human civilization as we know it is almost entirely destroyed, with scattered remnants of governments and cults fighting it out for survival and dominance over the ruins of civilization.
  • All There in the Manual: Several background and lore elements are explained in detail in the many short stories posted on the official site, which deal on the background, as well as current factions.
  • Alien Invasion: A more subtle example than usual, at first anyway. The Pandoravirus introduced itself to the planet in a relatively quiet fashion, melting from the ice (where it was dormant for who knows how long) and entering the ocean without humanity paying it much mind. At the time, humanity was preoccupied with a brutal war, and while the war continued, the Pandoravirus busied itself mutating marine life, preparing for an invasion of the surface. By the time Earth's governments knew something weird was happening with the oceans, hundreds of thousands of abominable mutants were storming the surface. Thus we have an unusual example of this trope, as the origin of the virus is extraterrestrial, but the actual invasion came from the sea rather than directly from space.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Subverted. There's evidence of the Phoenix Project originating in the 15th century, and rumors stretching all the way back to Ancient Egypt. But these are merely successor organizations following the same central ideal, not direct continuations.
    General Sumrall: So keep in mind that there's no secret plan, no arcane knowledge, and no guarantee that we'll succeed. We're just ordinary people following in the footsteps of others, trying to do the right thing for humanity, even when humanity thinks we're the bad guys.
  • And I Must Scream: Research includes vivisection (live autopsy) of paralyzed Pandorans. They are probably still conscious during the process. In fairness, by the time you're prepared to research live Pandorans, you'll have gone through dozens of missions with these monsters trying to kill your team, so you won't feel particularly guilty about this.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Justified, as a majority of the Pandoravirus's soldiers are mutated marine life fused with Organic Technology. Ranging from the simple crabmen, to hulking and horrifying Sharkbrutes.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted.
    • Armor absorbs some damage from bullets and explosions, although melee attacks and anything else with the Armor-Piercing trait bypass this. Some types of Pandorians from the very beginning have large sections of heavy carapace that are very resistant to damage, although they typically also have squishier bits that can be specifically targeted.
    • Weapons with the Poison or Viral quality have to actually hurt their target to cause their special effect. If the enemy (or your soldiers) have enough armor, they can ignore special weapon effects.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Weapons with the "Armor-Piercing" trait ignore any armor a character/creature has, examples so far being sniper rifles and melee attacks. Hitting armor will also damage it, and Explosives and the Heavy's weapons are specifically very effective at shredding armor, similar to XCOM 2.
  • Armor Points: Armor protects for an ammount of damage up to its value. As it takes damage, it breaks away. Armor has to be gnawed through with normal damage before you can harm an enemy. Shred causes bonus damage to armor and if a weapon has the Piercing quality, it outright ignores a certain ammount of armor.
  • Artificial Limbs: With the Blood and Titanium DLC installed you get access to these. They come in three flavours: Heads, Torsos and Legs and confer such benefits as mind control imunity, extra carrying capacity or a limited rocket jump. All Bionic Augmentations are immune to Bleeding, as well as being highly resistant to Viral, Poison, and Paralysis, but at the cost of being vulnerable to Acid Damage and not being fixed by standard med kits, requiring you to either keep a Technician about or carry or a special item to repair them.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: With the last DLC, it's more like "Attack of the 500-Mile Monstrosity". The game brings a "Behemoth", a truly gigantic creature similar to the Eldrazi or SCP-169 in size that tramples entire cities and looks bigger than several countries in real life. Worse, it hosts a festering aura of atmosphere around itself that corrupts nearby havens, and hosts an endless supply of flying Pandorans much like a beehive or an aircraft carrier. Killing it will take a long, long chain of quests, blood and tears.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Downplayed. Some enemies have small areas that have less armor and are very helpful when destroyed - a Siren's head or an Arthron's arms, for example - but it's not required to kill them, and shredding or piercing weapons can make it unnecessary.
    • Played straight with the final boss: Destroying the eyes removes a large amount of its maximum health, which makes the fight go by much faster.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Vehicles can be very powerful, but they're also extremely unreliable due to a number of factors. For one, their weapons have strictly limited ammo that can't be reloaded, and they run out after just a few burstsnote . The Synedrion Aspida has infinite ammo, but that's counterbalanced by its weapon being melee-range only. Then there's their sheer size that, while occasionally useful as mobile cover, is just as likely to block your soldiers' movement or sight lines, especially on lair attack missions with their tight corridors. Entering or exiting a vehicle costs action points that are usually better spent shooting, making their APC trait less useful than it sounds in theory. Vehicles on the move demolish any piece of cover they hit on the way, leaving your infantry more exposed to enemy fire. Their only really outstanding feature is their unlimited cargo space that can be neat on scavenging missions, but transfering items into the vehicle's inventory requires entering and leaving it, creating the same problem as just mentioned above. Long story short, as cool as the game's vehicles might be, you're almost always better off with the three extra soldiers you can take with you in their stead.
  • Badass Army: The remnants of humanity are filled with veteran fighters, hardened from the constant battle with the monsters of the Pandoravirus. Anyone still around and fighting is pretty damn tough by this point.
  • Badass Normal: All humans in general really. While the other factions specialize in advanced tech and genetic modification, New Jericho gets by with nothing more than elite soldiers, heavy armour, and lots of Cool Guns
  • Benevolent Precursors: The pre-human hominid civilization in the fiction, who performed a species-wide Heroic Sacrifice to put the pandoravirus in its can, and their ruins led to the foundation of the Phoenix Project. It's heavily implied to be the Elder Things.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All of the endings except one, see Multiple Endings below. Two of the most bitter of the bittersweet being the "no alliance" ending and "Disciples of Anu" ending.
  • Black Comedy: Since this is in the middle of Apocalypse How, the humor tends towards this vein. As an example, a random Exploration can result in you finding eight soldiers with their heads on pikes. One of the options is - "Hey, free helmets!"
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Whilst the humans are unscrupulous in their methods, they are all ultimately well intentioned, generally just trying to stop the species from dying out. You cannot say the same thing about the Pandoravirus, which wants to entirely devour all life on the planet, although, it's more of a case of Grey and Blue-and-Orange Morality than downright evil.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: In contrast to many games where attacking the head is the best way to defeat enemies, it is often advised to target the weapon arms first when engaging opponents - particularly human enemies - to reduce their ability to shoot back. Once they're disarmed you can finish them off at your leisure. However, this is less viable when the enemy has multiple different weapon arms.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Actually averted with Arthrons, as they can run out of ammo and given how their guns rigged into them, they cannot reload. Played straight with both Danchev's and Ancient weapons, they require no magazine and never need to be reloaded.
  • Boring, but Practical: You can actually manufacture food. While having food handy is a necessity to keep your operatives from starving, food can also be traded with different factions for other materials. This is extremely important, as food is the only major resource in the game that you can produce on your own.
    • The Assault class is this personified. The can't use flashy heavy weapons, or become invisible, or use psychic powers, but literally every single other class can be improved by combining it with Assault due to how ubiquitously useful their abilities are. They can dash for extra movement, fire back at anyone that fires at them, rearrange items on the ground or in their inventory without using action points and gift other classes extra action points. They also make use of the game's most versatile weapon classes: assault rifles and shotguns. The former is a Jack of All Stats that never fails to perform under any circumstances; the latter is a bit more situational but can deal devastating amounts of damage if used right. Both also tend to be very ammo-efficient and thus perfectly suited for long missions.
  • Brown Note: Virus-type weapons and status ailments damage the unit's willpower, and sufficient reduction in willpower will disable enemy abilities or straight-up make them waste a turn panicking. The Disciples of Anu specialize in virus weaponry which can be used to subvert enemies and set them up for more damaging conventional attacks.
  • Competitive Balance: The basic assault rifle is middle-of-the-road, firing six bullets out of a 30-round magazine that deals 30 HP worth of damage per bullet, and shreds 1 point of armor. Synedron's laser assault rifle is the exact same in every way, except for the fact that it has twice the ammo capacity and looks cooler. New Jericho's gauss rifle has higher damage values, doing 40 damage per bullet and shredding 15 points of armor, but firing 4 bullets per shot.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Concealment prevents auto-targeting, and like similar games even light cover will generally stop at least a bullet or two. That said even solid cover like concrete tends to get torn to pieces very quickly when someone starts blasting it on full auto, so light cover is generally only good for the first volley, and even solid cover isn't going to hold up to sustained fire.
  • Crapsack World: Even before the Pandoravirus hit, it's implied Earth was heavily factionalized and human governments cared more about ideological purity and the status quo than survival of the species. World War III began because China and the US couldn't be bothered to forgive the other trespassing on their territory while studying the Pandoravirus mist, India nearly nuked Pakistan into oblivion because some bright spark decided that Pakistan must have been behind the outbreak (stopped by the Phoenix Project flipping a lead technician on the nuclear systems to disable them), and Hollow Earth cranks were given equal time to actual scientists on news programs discussing the Pandoravirus. It was already bad, it just went to hell when the millions of horrors poured from the oceans.
  • Counter-Attack: One of the abilities is Return Fire, which allows the user to retaliate against enemy fire. It's quite common for enemies to have.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Synedrion's aesthetic, which seems to be about building the prettiest cities around, if not the most strictly functional. It can also be seen as the Good Counterpart to ADVENT.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: For players coming off new XCOM, it can be jarring to experience some of this game's differences. To whit:
    • In XCOM, outside of explosives, Friendly Fireproof is in full effect. Not so here. Take a shot at an enemy, and one of your buddies happens to be standing in the way? He'll happily eat those bullets to the face. This means positioning and angle-of-fire is much more important than in Xcom (where friendlies would simply duck non-explosive shots in their direction.)
    • XCOM 2 lets the player give a move order to a soldier and then switch to the next soldier while the first one is still running, saving a helluva lot of time across a campaign. Phoenix Point doesn't have this option. Many TAB keys were pointlessly abused by frustrated players watching their soldiers run across the map one after the other, turn after turn.
  • Doomsday Clock:
    • (Removed in Cthulhu patch) The Oneiric Delirium Index (ODI), which represents the intensity of Pandoran psychic influence on humanity. It increases throughout the game and can be reduced by destroying Pandoran structures. As it increases, gradually causes nightmares, hallucinations, eventually shifting to periods of somnambulistic mind control, and finally even seizures and death. If it reaches 100%, Pandoravirus takes control of humanity and the game is lost.
    • Survival of humanity: After finishing the corresponding research, the game shows the percentage of remaining human population on Earth. If it drops below 5/10/15/20% (difficulty dependent), there will be too few humans left to repopulate Earth even if the Pandoran threat is eliminated. Game over.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: The ending where Phoenix Point did not ally with the other groups as stealing research and raiding their equipment is more riskier and costlier than simply allying with a faction enough for them to entrust their tech to you, see Multiple Endings below.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The ending where Phoenix Point ally with Synedrion is considered this as their equipment is considerably less powerful than the other two factions due to being a Technical Pacifist faction.
  • Easy Logistics: Not quite. Ammo is finite, and managing it is important, less a squaddie run dry at the worst possible time.
  • Energy Weapon: Synedrion's weapons tend towards laser weapons. Instead of New Jericho's raw damage, they tend to have armor-piercing attacks or additional effects like inflicting paralyze damage on enemies. They also have big magazines (the Laser Assault Rifle has a whopping 60 rounds to its name), which means less reloading.
  • Exploding Barrels: Large red canister explode if damaged enough, or if an explosion goes off around their general vicinity.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Dante is available to the Heavy later on. It only requires 2 Action Points to fire unless most heavy weapons which require 3. It also sets the ground on fire that will burn Mindfraggers and Worms that tries to cross. Given how burn damage works, it is a death sentence to Tritons as their extra limbs can be easily burned off and cause severe bleeding.
  • Friendly Target: Unlike some similar games, if an ally is close to your line of fire, they WILL be hit by any stray shots, and it's surprisingly easy to accidentally order one of your soldiers to empty their rifle into another's back. The Mindfragger also intentionally sets you up to do this by latching onto friendly soldiers, although they can be safely knocked off with melee.
  • Gatling Good: The LGM class of weapon is an enormous Gatling Gun, one which can fire off a hail of armour piercing bullets, that burns through health faster then any other weapon.
  • Great Offscreen War: World War III is this, as while we don't know what the exact events were, the aftermath of it is shown in-game and side-stories, with the United States divided into two, and Athens, Greece barring damaged buildings from the war. It is also one of the reasons why the world was unprepared for the Pandoravirus onslaught.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: All three of the factions have their own flaws and appeals, along with being at odds with each other; even the Phoenix Project are hardly saints as one way or another they have to raid and fight other humans.
    • The Disciples of Anu are considered as a friendly and neutral faction who wish to adapt to the new world created by the Pandoravirus. Their philosophy is that humanity's spirit is already pure, so we just need to adapt our bodies to the new world. The nature of the various beneficial mutations they pursue creep out other, more "traditional" factions who don't want tendrils growing out of their arms or insectoid carapaces on their backs.
    • New Jericho wish to reclaim the Earth from Pandoravirus through military means, but their militarism tends to put at odds with more scientific-minded communities along with any friction between themselves. The fact that they are all sworn to a specific autocrat, their one leader, justifies concerns about a possible fascist dictatorship.
    • Synedrion are generally portrayed as A Lighter Shade of Grey as their ideas tend to put a compromise between the Disciples' belief in adapting to the new world and New Jericho's goals of human survival. Whether their beliefs are altruistic or naivete is yet to be seen, but it is certain that their decentralized structure meant that the execution of their ideas would be too slow to react to Pandoravirus. Even their leader complains that they waste too much energy bickering due to their absolute democracy. It is also notable that Synedrion is the only faction that is guaranteed to survive in all three factions' endings, as New Jericho and Anu will destroy each other in their respective endings.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: The Framing Device of The Hatch is the Committee on Governmental Efficiency in Supplementary Projects interviewing an unnamed man who was Director of Operations for the Phoenix Project in 1973.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In The Hatch, the astronauts who are infested by what is implied to be the Pandoravirus open the hatch of their spacecraft and let themselves die than risk bringing it back to Earth, since the virus has already shrugged off decontamination.
    • The New Jericho Commanding Officer in the PC Gamer Demo makes it clear to the squad sent into the fallen Haven that the mission is a one way trip for them to buy time for civilians. They charge in anyway.
  • Just the First Citizen: The "leader" of Synedrion, or at least, the de facto one who speaks to you most often, has no title other than "Citizen," matching with the factions absolute democracy.
  • Lensman Arms Race: As the game progresses, the Pandoravirus creatures will develop new adaptations to fight humanity based on what proves most effective in the field. Mutations on creatures that are killed easily will be discarded in favor of mutations that allow them to fight longer and prove more effective, forcing you to adapt in turn to their changes.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The alien Pandoravirus has spread on Earth, corrupting every living being in its path and transforming them into otherworldly monstrosities, decimating humanity and forcing survivors to retreat into fortresses named "Havens." The survivors are suffering from some sort of mental attack, either due to the stress or because of insidious psychic influences. However humanity is still shown to be willing and fully capable of fighting back, showing there is still hope for man. And with the Phoenix Project, humanity has the potential to defeat the alien menace.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Combat Shield is added in Polaris, allowing you to do what Arthrons do. It is able to stop poisonous spit as well.
  • Magnetic Weapons: Jericho has Gauss weapons, like their Cyclops SR7 sniper rifle. These are known to be among the heaviest-hitting guns in the game, in fitting with their militaristic focus.
  • Marathon Level: The final mission requires you to fight through a huge horde of Pandorans, including two Scyllas, before you reach the final boss. Bring extra ammo.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • If the Phoenix Project fails to ally with the other factions or dismisses their plans as unworkable, they deploy a new version of the Antediluvian virophage, which succeeds in eradicating the Pandoravirus at the expense of destroying much of what's left of humanity and all three factions are destroyed as a result, with the Phoenix Project leading what little survivors remain in rebuilding humanity.
    • If the Phoenix Project allies with New Jericho, they use humanity's remaining nuclear arsenal to destroy the Pandoran Palace, killing the Yuggothian Entity's receptacle and severing its connection to the Pandorans on Earth, allowing New Jericho and the Phoenix Project to systematically eradicate the now in disarray Pandorans, the Disciples of Anu are reduced to a shell of their former selves but continue to resist New Jericho while Synedrion, while disapproving of the eradication still works to ensure victory. In the end under Tobias West mankind unifies into a new age of freedom and prosperity.
    • If the player allies with the Disciples of Anu, the Exalted takes control of the Pandoravirus from the Yuggothian Entity and uses it to shepherd humanity into an age of biological transhumanism as a benevolent goddess with Synedrion's support while New Jericho is destroyed for refusing to accept the new status quo.
    • If the player allies with Synedrion and its Terraformers subfaction, they are able to develop a retrovirus that severs the Yuggothian Entity's control over the receptacle and the Pandoravirus and then use it to terraform the Earth into a ecological utopia, bring back extinct species and even genetically engineering new ones, the Disciples of Anu are dissolved as the Exalted agrees to let humanity to continue as it is and disappearing, while New Jericho is destroyed due to their refusal to accept the new state of affairs.
    • Alternatively, if the player allies with Synedrion's Polyphonic Tendency subfaction, the retrovirus is used to simply sever the connection of the Yuggothian entity to Pandoravirus, rendering it inert and liberating Pandorans from their servitude to Yuggoth, giving Synedrion and Phoenix Project a chance to achieve peace with the new ecosystem. Disciples of Anu are dissolved, while New Jericho falls apart..
    • In all four endings the Phoenix Project still works to prepare humanity against the next attack from the Yuggothian Entity either on their own or with the support of whatever faction they chose to ally with.
    • The Pandorans win if Phoenix Point either loses all of its bases, fails the final mission or lets the human population drop below certain percentage (5-20%, based on difficulty) of the original amount.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The President in the opening cutscene's face is obscured but he has former Vice President Mike Pence's distinctive hairstyle.
  • Organic Technology: This is the Pandoravirus mutants tee, as many are depicted using gun mutations that mimic human weapons, such as riot shields, assault rifles, snipers, rockets, and artillery. As the game goes on, Mutants will mutate more powerful equipment to counter the Phoneix Project's growing power.
    • The Disciples of Anu also delve into benevolent mutation technology for their own side. The armor is better than pretty much anything that can be manufactured by conventional means.
    • You can actually mutate your own soldiers if you so wish. It requires a special resource to do but this cost is completely offset by the abilities they confer: Regeration, massive increases to secondary stats like Accuracy or the ability to inflict Paralyze damage to name a few.
    • One DLC adds experimental organic weaponry for your soldiers to equip.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Phoenix soldiers' assault rifles are essentially flat rectangles with a fist-length fire suppressor at one end and a shoulder grip at the other. The sniper rifles are longer and thinner, but are still pretty rectangular.
  • Pistol-Whipping: You can bash enemies with almost anything, but something with high weight value like guns are preferable.
  • Powered Armor: Phoenix Heavies wear fully enclosed armor suits reminiscent of the Halo series, or of the Doomslayer.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Or rather in Permafrost. After the Antediluvians defeated the previous strain of Pandoravirus, the Yuggothian Entity sent another, which landed in permafrost and became inert, until the permafrost melted as a result of Global Warming.
  • Shout-Out: The comet carrying the Pandoravirus originated from the planet Yuggoth from H. P. Lovecraft stories including "The Whisperer in Darkness", "The Horror In The Museum" and "The Haunter Of The Dark".
    • The fungal traits of the Pandoravirus are a subtle nod to the Fungi From Yuggoth, more commonly known as the Mi-Go.
  • Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic: Certain maps have white squares hidden in them that represent a strategically advantageous area by instantly refilling the Will Points of the first soldier to enter it.
  • Subsystem Damage: Each body part for soldiers and monsters has its own armor value and hit point track. Depleting a body part's HP causes bleeding damage over time, reduces the unit's maximum HP, and has other effects depending on which part it is (disabled arm means the unit can't attack with that arm, disabled leg reduces movement range, disabled head can cause confusion or panic, etc). Weapons and gear can similarly be damaged or destroyed.
  • Suicide by Sea: The Pandoravirus causes this compulsion in some infected. Many came back as crabmen or other mutants.
  • Super Spit: Poison Spit is one weapon that the crabmen can utilize against you.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Synedrion ending, see Multiple Endings above.
  • Take Cover!: It's very important to keep your troopers behind corners, chest-high walls, inside buildings, etc. and the enemies will seek to do the same. Due to how the aiming system works, anyone not behind some sort of cover can be hit quite easily (depending somewhat on the soldier in question and their weapon) so staying in cover is necessary to stay alive. However, a lot of cover is easily destructible, and the free aim system with simulated ballistics allows you to shoot whenever you want to destroy whatever you want.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Before the collapse, some governments allegedly did invasive studies on Pandoravirus survivors. And, of course, cutting up alien bodies (dead or otherwise) is one of the main research trees.
  • Too Dumb to Live: "The Legend of Fort Bacon" tells of a young New Jericho Lieutenant whose team decides to eat one of the mutants, and while it does taste like bacon, it also ends up infecting all of them.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Parts of the pre-human hominid civilization that first encountered the Pandoravirus willingly embraced the mutation as a means of gaining power over their peers.
  • Unreliable Narrator: This seems to be a running theme in the stories and the game, as all characters present their view of history, humanity, and themselves through their own lens. According to Word of God, this is intentional.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: Two! Synedrion, being an "absolute democracy," is riddled with about a thousand political sub-factions all struggling to figure out the best way to move forward in the strange new world. The Citizen complains on multiple occasions that all of the arguing makes it remarkably difficult to actually get anything done. The Disciples of Anu have a clear hierarchy (including a near absolute dictator at the top) which makes actually getting things done a bit easier, but it's still got several dozen confusingly-named stations of loyalty.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Both before and after the Pandoravirus has been discovered, many factions among the humans led to World War III erupting, and Pakistan nearly got nuked. In the game, politics play a role in appeasing three major factions with differing ideologies, who are still fighting each other despite the human race being a small fraction of its former size and very close to extinction.