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Video Game / SOMA

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"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

SOMA is a 2015 Science Fiction Survival Horror game for the PC and the Playstation 4 by Frictional Games, in the vein of their Penumbra series and their most famous title Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

The game utilizes the third version of Frictional's HPL Engine. The dev team set out to bring deeper themes to the forefront, telling a tale ripe with Existential Horror, in order to create a much more disturbing experience.

Players assume the role of Simon Jarett, an ordinary Canadian nerd seeking treatment for a traumatic brain injury. While undergoing an experimental "brain scan," he is transported to a destroyed, futuristic underwater laboratory, and is forced to find out what's going on and how he ended up there.

Similar to Assassin's Creed Origins, a "safe mode" is available, allowing players to explore the world and solve puzzles without being attacked by monsters. Unlike previous mods, the behavior of monsters has also been modified.

A 12-minute gameplay trailer is available here.

Has nothing to do with Shokugeki no Soma, Soma Bringer, or Soma Cruz.

The game provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: You are making your way across a series of abandoned underwater laboratories.
  • Accidental Murder: The real Catherine ended up dying after her colleagues attempted to stop her from launching the ARK for fear that it wouldn't make it through the atmosphere.
  • After the End: The game takes place during 2104, one year after a cometary impact destroys the surface of the Earth, leaving a bunch of scientists stranded in an underwater research facility.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The WAU has noble aims and abominable methods. Its goal is to keep what remains of humanity alive, and by god, it's going to do that, even if it means mutating them into hideous forms with structure gel or uploading their minds into robots. The survivors being in horrible pain and unable to die, or going insane, is irrelevant as long as there's a pulse and a working brain.
  • Airvent Passageway: You have to crawl through some of them to get past obstacles.
  • Allergic to Evil: Simply being in the proximity of certain monsters distorts Simon's vision and can kill him. He can't even look at those monsters without being nearly blinded. This is because their localized EMP damages Simon's circuitry.
  • Already Done for You: Before Simon arrives on the scene, Raleigh Herber had already encoded a batch of structure gel to be poisonous to the WAU before it killed her. He just has to retrieve it.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Simon can potentially lose his hand if he chooses to poison the WAU.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The final fate of both of the Pathos-II Simons (though the second A.I. Simon has the option of mercy-killing the first A.I. Simon about halfway through the game). While their 3rd A.I. copy gets sent to paradise in the ARK, the two Simons you actually played as are left aboard the ruined remains of Pathos-II, alone for all eternity at the bottom of the ocean.
    • Also, the fate of those humans who are being artificially kept alive in spite of their horrific injuries. Simon passes by dozens of them, most of them completely immobilized in withered bodies, unable to do anything but wheeze pitifully.
    • The robots with downloaded personalities have all gone insane and will presumably spend eternity confused and upset.
  • Angst Nuke: The A.I. minds seem to overload and shut down if they experience excessive stress or negative emotions. Brandon is forced to reboot every time you freak him out, and Catherine shuts down permanently when she finally becomes sufficiently angry at you. Then again, Carl and Simon both can become extremely distressed and continue to function, so it may be a question as to the quality of the hardware the A.I. mind is hooked up to.
  • Antepiece: Two cases of the trope occur early in the game, and one more occurs in the midgame.
    • The first few sections of Upsilon are designed to adjust the player to the run-and-hide gameplay. The first several encounters with the Construct only look threatening, as there is no way to actually draw its attention to you, and the one time it can be contended with early, it merely knocks Simon out if he takes the Schmuck Bait and opens a sealed door for it. The game still takes the time to let the simulated gameplay act as tutorials for peering, sneaking, and hiding. Once Simon does contend with the Construct in the generator room, the game ups the ante by making it possible for the Construct to harm Simon, but most of the danger is still simulated because its ponderous gait and poor senses mean the Construct has trouble cornering Simon in the massive room they meet in. This all serves to set Simon up for the encounter with the Construct on the factory floor (provided Simon reroutes all the power), which is full of tight hallways that give the Construct the advantage in boxing Simon in.
    • The first Jiangshi encountered directly in Lambda isn't much of a threat. Though much of Lambda is congested and makes it difficult to run from the Jiangshi, it's full of blind corners that actually help Simon, since much of the Jiangshi's threat comes from looking at it, giving Simon plenty of ways to hide. The Jiangshi will also eventually leave Lambda entirely after the first two encounters. The one encountered on the CURIE is far more aggressive, and many of the rooms in the CURIE are dead ends or have heavy doors that slow Simon down, making it more likely the Jiangshi can teleport into Simon's visual range. Overall, Lambda serves to introduce the player to the fact monsters after the Construct will often have gimmicks that need to be considered, and will frequently be more difficult to shake off than the clunky Construct.
    • Not only is the player given all of Delta to learn about the potential of the Proxies, the game will even have Catherine spell out their gimmick for Simon if he enters Theta's server rooms early so they don't miss any of the lore that explains how the Proxies work. The first Proxy Simon encounters is a step up in difficulty from the initial encounters with the Construct and Jiangshi, but mostly as a result of the timing gimmick needed to reboot the servers and complete the section. The server rooms are full of areas to dash around in to simply leave the Proxy behind, and more cautious players have a ton of detritus on the floor to toss around to abuse the Proxy's inability to see. The battle with Akers is much more daunting - Akers is far more diligent than the first Proxy about hunting Simon down and harder to fool with loud noises, and though the research wing of Theta has wide hallways, it's actually to Simon's detriment, since it makes it more difficult to hide from Akers and means there's less stuff to toss around to distract him. Akers is also directly faster than Simon, making this the first foe Simon cannot flee from without some sort of plan. Even after the Akers encounter, the first encounter with the Proxy serves to set up the showdown with several at once in Theta's depths, where the incredibly congested hallways make running impossible and forces the player to effectively play hide-and-seek with the monsters.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The player is rendered immune to all damage once they've activated something context-sensitive, such as operating an elevator, pulling themselves into a service duct, or climbing a ladder. Because the player is locked into the initiating action, they can't break off to run and hide for several seconds, so this prevents monsters from blindsiding the player when they think they've completed a section of gameplay.
    • Catherine has extra contextual dialogue if the player enters the transit to Theta's server rooms before learning about the capabilities and limitations of the Proxies, where she informs the player the Theta crew made note of the fact Proxies are fast and have good hearing but are held back by being blind. This means the player won't accidentally stumble into an encounter with the first Proxy without knowing their gimmick.
  • Apocalypse How: Planetary Species Extinction. The comet Telos destroys most, if not all life on Earth's surface, but the oceans are still teeming with life. Some of it was mutated by the WAU, though.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Through various logs and notes scattered all over the place, you slowly find out how things went to pot on Pathos-II after Telos hit Earth and then the WAU interpreting its programming in a rather skewed way.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: "Structure Gel", the black goo that's found all over the base and creates the game's Organic Technology aesthetic. It's described as a "cross-linked gel with aligned graphene in a polyunsaturated matrix" AKA "Programmable Matter" - a fantastically powerful electrical conductor that makes electronics more efficient and even allows for interface between electronic and organic systems, also doubling as sealant to prevent leaks. It's also the method by which the WAU is able to control both robots and human bodies and implement its Assimilation Plot.
  • The Ark: Earth is totally destroyed and, with the habitat falling apart, the last vestiges of mankind are inevitably doomed. Catherine's final hope is "the ARK project", in which digital copies of human minds are uploaded into a virtual reality computer aboard a satellite and launched into space so that at least something of humanity's culture will live on.
  • Artificial Afterlife: The ARK, a computer designed by Catherine to preserve the minds of the last humans in a virtual paradise.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Simon and Catherine launch the ARK, but only copies of them manage to make it off to paradise. The game ends with the Catherine left on earth shorting herself out in a fit of rage at Simon's ignorance and as a result leaving him alone, thousands of meters under the surface, with no hope of rescue. We don't see what happens to him, but it doesn't look good... though, as mentioned before, some form of Simon and Catherine managed to make it out, and as a final "Ray of Hope" Ending stinger, you play as that Simon as he reunites with Catherine on the ARK.
  • Beauty to Beast: Anyone who ends up in a robot body mutated by structure gel or as a corpse barely kept alive by WAU. The Omicron cyborg girl has a shapely figure and looks as if she might have once been beautiful, but in her current state she's a reanimated, rotting corpse crudely held together by structure gel and bits of machinery. She is very aware of her situation.
  • Body Horror:
    • The gameplay demo establishes this well. The player plugs a mechanical brain into a corpse, causing the body to tense and thrash as a nearby machine starts up. The machine then breaks and starts overflowing blood.
    • For the game proper, suffice to say that H. R. Giger would be proud - one of the more horrifying sights is when leaving the first station, when you see a woman being absorbed by the WAU, who's now living thanks to a set of external, artificial lungs nearby.
    • All the monsters. Yes, even the robot found in Upsilon, which is covered with strange tumorous growths that have also formed into a set of legs. Mutated humans are even worse; ranging from a naked man with a mass of tumors and robotic eyes in place of a head, to things that cannot be recognized as formerly human, being little more than walking masses of tumors with the human face frozen into a permanent scream.
  • Book Dumb: Simon isn't stupid per se, but he is not a scientist like everyone he interacts with, given that he was originally a volunteer for the brain copying program. His lack of scientific knowledge ends up being rather tragic as he never fully grasps how the mind "transfer" works. More specifically, that it isn't a transfer but a "copying and pasting" of his mind. After "transferring" his mind from one body to another, he hears his first body being confused about why the transfer hadn't gone through before going into a hibernation mode, which heavily confuses him. Catherine is able to gloss over his confusion, and this leads to him being in the exact same situation again at the end of the game, thinking he will be "transferring" his consciousness to the ARK when in reality he is simply sending a copy of his consciousness there, while his "current" consciousness remains stuck in a robot underneath the ocean with no hope of rescue.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: The Haimatsu Power Suits used for extreme depth operations are keyed to the biometrics of the user they are assigned to. If an unassigned suit cannot be found, then unorthodox methods would be needed to activate one. In Simon's case, this is borrowing an entire body, sans head, that is already wearing a suit and copy himself over to that.
  • Brain in a Jar: Literally so in the early trailers (though not so in the final game,) opaque jars of dark metal with a single glowing red light that cover brains wired up to technology. Sometimes set up the animate a Meat Puppet, other times to seemingly serve as a Wetware CPU.
  • Brain Uploading: A lot of it. Apparently, without the consent or even the knowledge of the brains. And even those on board with the idea soon learn that it actually creates a copy of the original mind instead of transferring the mind from one vessel to another.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the beginning of the game you can find a news clipping about your accident. The news title on the other side reads: GAME... ends with a surprise!
  • Brown Note: What some enemies are capable of inflicting upon you if you look at them for too long. It's actually a form of localized EMP.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The plot has Simon trying to survive in a series of underwater laboratories after Earth was struck by a comet and everyone on the surface died. A chunk of the plot centers on the scientists having to deal with being the last humans on Earth.
  • Came Back Wrong: Many of the WAU's attempts to keep people alive produce beings that we would not call human.
  • Canada, Eh?: Simon is Torontonian and the prologue is set there as well.
  • Central Theme: Humanity. Specifically, the question of what exactly defines humanity. Do digital copies of human beings qualify as human beings themselves? If a human being does not physically exist, but instead exists as code, do they still qualify as a human being? At what point does an artifical intelligence truly become human?
  • China Takes Over the World: Like Japan Takes Over the World below, this is done in a more subtle manner throughout the game. Almost all of the signage in Pathos-II is in both English and in standard Chinese characters, suggesting that Chinese is on equal footing with English as of the time Pathos-II was constructed.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Most of the weirdness aboard Pathos-II can be explained by 1) The Applied Phlebotinum "structure gel" which allows for interface between organic and electronic systems and which allows the WAU to mutate and take control of human and animal bodies, and 2) the digital minds created by Dr. Catherine Chun's Brain Uploading experiments. Johan Ross, on the other hand, is a whole other level of weird, behaving like a straight-up ghost and performing such acts as phasing in and out of reality, surviving at the bottom of the sea without a pressure suit, and even speaking directly into Simon's mind.
  • Clone Angst: The research being conducted by Catherine actually involves brain copying, rather than straightforward brain uploading (as foreshadowed by the trailer in which a scientist is severely disturbed when he engages in a conversation with a robot that is revealed to have his personality/identity). The copied mind believes they are the original and that their consciousness has been transferred, but the original is still around and their consciousness hasn't actually been transferred into the new body. This is because, as Catherine explains, all transfering is simply copying and then deleting the original. In terms of computers, data is always copied, and cannot be "moved" in the way we understand it.
  • The Computer Is Your Friend: The WAU was designed as a Master Computer for the entire Pathos-II installation, with a directive to protect humanity and the capability of growing its own programming with the network, allowing it to control more drones and habitats across any expansion Pathos-II might have to undergo. It proved very good at this too, even employing structural gel as a filler to repair any cracks or other irregularities that might threaten its human inhabitants. It got smarter the more of this gel got deployed, and the more systems it took into itself. Then when the comet hit, it started to get ideas about what lengths it might have to go to in order to preserve the few specimens of humanity that were left...
  • Continuity Nod: The live-action teasers for the game actually have significant impacts on the plot. The Vivarium machine, which created a virtual Imogen Reed within itself, proves to be the basis of the ARK's technology, as Catherine reverse-engineered the concept from the dissected Vivarium. Furthermore, the Mockingbird robots are not robots trying to be human, but robots with the brain scans of people uploaded to themselves unknowingly, with the robots actually thinking they are the real person, and refusing to believe that they are not.
  • The Corruption: The WAU is slowly engulfing the entire base in techno-organic tendrils. Use of the structure gel on animals causes them to become much more aggressive. An old experiment with the corpse of a mouse allowed it to become reanimated, but eventually murdering its living partner. This is due to the WAU having encoded the structure gel with its own programming, which is pretty damn aggressive. This is foreshadowing, as it's revealed in the same log that talks of the experiment that many of the deep sea creatures around the base have also been contaminated by the structure gel.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Cruelly subverted. Many of the Pathos-II personnel tried to make the most of their predicament following the comet impact, even if only to keep themselves from going insane. But thanks to multiple factors, including the WAU, it all goes downhill from there.
  • Creepy Basement: The dark, monster-infested vault at Theta where the mainframe router is located.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Used to horrifying effectiveness multiple times, as you have to shut down power providing life to Mockingbirds, robots that have brain scans of people uploaded into them, and a couple unfortunate humans that require power to survive due to injuries, but are still "alive" thanks to the WAU creating new organs for them.
  • Darkness Equals Death: In the Abyss, the deepest part of Pathos-II at the bottom of a trench, the currents are dangerously strong, absolutely no light from the surface reaches it, and thanks to The Corruption, the wildlife is mutated and very, very aggressive. Fortunately, they dislike light, and will stay away from lit areas. Unfortunately, between major buildings the only lighting is a trail of lamps left as markers, and they are difficult to see in the depth and some of them are disabled...
  • Dead All Along: Technically, the "real" Simon died long before 2104 from his brain injury. The Simon who wakes up in Pathos-II is the copy made during his successful brain scan back in 2015.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Simon is mysteriously able to hear the last moments of a dead person's life by touching them... or a dead robot's. This isn't magic; he's datamining their blackboxes.
  • Destructive Teleportation: The brain scans make a digital version of your brain without affecting the original. Once some of the crew members figured this out, they decided that killing themselves right after the scan will mean their "real" mind is in the machine, not just a copy.
  • Detachable Doorknob: Variant combining Broken Lever of Doom; during a visit to Upsilon's comm centre, Simon carefully shuts the door behind him so his radio conference with Catherine won't be interrupted by the monsters infesting the area — though given that this story predominantly takes place in an Underwater Base, the door is a giant hatchway operated by a lever next to the stairs. Unfortunately, the conversion ends with the roof of the comm centre beginning to give way. Players who react quickly enough will naturally try to reopen the hatch, only for the lever to snap off in Simon's hand. Seconds later, the roof caves in and Simon has just enough time to mutter a Precision F-Strike before the Atlantic Ocean crashes down on top of him. However, he survives — a sudden Robotic Reveal demonstrating that he no longer needs to worry about drowning.
  • Developer's Foresight: At points, the dialogue can vary if you skip certain events.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: Some of the events in the backstory take place on and around the date recorded as "2103-12-25." There is no mention of this being Christmas. Peter Strasky, however, does send a Christmas greeting to Terry Akers on the appropriate day, which gets no response.
  • Dream Intro: The beginning of the game is Simon explaining to his friend, Ashley, about his brain injury, during the very car crash that caused that injury. Then he wakes up.
  • Driven to Suicide: As mentioned elsewhere on this page from promotional materials, a number of people in the underwater base were killing themselves. However, what isn't mentioned is the reason: it was based on the logic that, by killing your physical body just prior or immediately after being scanned, it would mean that the scan would now be the "real" you, instead of just a copy.
  • Dwindling Party:
    • From a crew of 50 or so scientists, engineers and staff, Pathos-II's human population is reduced to a slowly dying Sarah Lindwall by the time Simon gets into the picture. Granted, there are a few victims of the Proxies who are technically alive, but it doesn't seem a 'life' worth living.
    • Additionally, you meet a still living (thanks to WAU's life support) Amy Azzaro within the tram tunnels of Upsilon, and it's up to you whether she lives or dies.
  • Eldritch Ocean Abyss: The Abyss, 4000 meters below the Plateau where most of Pathos-II is built. The only way to get around is via a path of faint lights used as markers, and WAU-mutated sea creatures will rip you apart if you go off the path.
  • Elevator Failure: You survive an elevator crash and have to escape through a hatch.
  • Environmental Narrative Game: If you play in Safe Mode, which turns the monsters from a constant threat to an occasional nuisance, then the game is all about exploring Pathos-II and finding out what happened there.
  • Enter Solution Here:
    • At Munshi's office, you have to search for a door code which you find on a sticker nearby.
    • Late in the game, Johann Ross sends you the code needed to cancel the lockdown of Omicron - more specifically, a document consisting of nothing but the code repeated over and over again..
  • Epic Failinvoked: Catherine, when given access to an escape pod in a completely submerged sunken ship, finds she can't get it to launch because somehow the safety locks didn't disengage. "Safety locks? Are you KIDDING me? How much more of an emergency could this ship be in? It's on the bottom of the sea!" Subverted shortly after when it's revealed that the WAU is keeping the ship stable and preventing the emergency from being recognized.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: While the first monsters you face are the WAU-controlled robots, most of the enemies in the game are reanimated corpses mutated and controlled by the WAU by forcefully injecting humans with large quantities of structure gel, which is encoded with the WAU's programming. The mutation is so severe that many of them are little more than a mass of glowing tumors walking around on two legs.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave:
    Simon: There's no one alive at Omicron. (...) I've been all over. The power plant at Upsilon, the ruins of Lambda, abandoned Delta. Theta.
    Sarah: And I'm the only living person you've met? You mean I'm the last living human on the planet?
    Simon: I'm sorry.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The broken face in the title screen fuses together once the game is complete.
  • Existential Horror: The story plays especially on the more horrible philosophical implications of Brain Uploading. Especially with how the "copies" have no idea that they are copies. It also explores the idea of a future where humanity is all but extinct. It begs the question, what purpose does anything really have, now that everything is reduced to ash? Is there really a point to the ARK when no human being will ever find the device again?
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Sarah. She spends her last moments in calm acceptance and reminisces about her life.
    • Catherine tries to do this, saying that she's proud of what she accomplished, but winds up getting Killed Mid-Sentence as she's screaming at a belligerent Simon.
    • It's implied that Pathos-II's liasons and overseers in Carthage Industries also faced the impending impact with somber resolve. Not only that, but it's revealed the crew's contacts in Lisbon, Portugal and Cadiz, Spain continued operating to the very end, their last transmissions to Pathos-II either urging them to brace themselves or wishing them luck while they "enjoy the view" of the apocalypse.
  • Fallout Shelter Fail: Following the apocalyptic Impact Event, the underwater PATHOS-II station managed to escape the collision relatively unharmed and was repurposed as a shelter for the company employees. Apart from the depression of being the last people alive on Earth, the base personnel coped decently enough... and then the station's Warden Unit decided to take drastic steps to preserve the human race, resulting in the complex being quickly overwhelmed by insane robots and mutant monsters intent on incorporating the survivors into the WAU's Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The Omicron cyborg, a young woman dressed rather skimpily in a tank top and shorts. She also has corpse-pale skin, cybernetic implants replacing various parts of her body (a robotic eye, claws for an arm, and her head is actually severed from her neck and kept in place with cybernetics and structure gel). She also cries and speaks, occasionally telling Simon to get away from her, implying she is aware of her situation.
    • The Fleshers are fully nude... and also have a mass of glowing tumours in place of a head.
  • Fatal Forced March: The backstory features an underwater version of this trope. After barely escaping from the monster-infested Theta, a small group of personnel in diving suits flee across the sea-bed in an attempt to reach Omicron. However, though there's no monsters along the way, it's soon found that Omicron has been sealed off and none of the base personnel remain alive to cancel the lockdown. With all the alternates being either out of reach or sealed as well, the survivors slowly begin to run out of oxygen, until the last two can only sit down on the edge of the continental shelf and wait to die.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Simon, a Toronto bookstore employee from the modern day, suddenly finds himself aboard an underwater base in the year 2104, after the end of the world and with all sorts of weirdness going on around him.
  • Fission Mailed: When exploring the lower levels of Theta, one of the monsters will run towards you and seemingly kill you. Instead of the game over screen, you will get a brief cutscene before waking up and escaping the fleshy substance the monster encased you in.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Right before Catherine's fatal overload at the end of the game, the monitor next to hers fizzles out and her voice becomes muted and distorted as though she's experiencing an audio failure.
  • Flies Equals Evil: We hear the sound of flies whenever you find a human corpse, e.g. Carl Semken. Kind of unexpected in an Underwater Base.
  • For Science!: One can't help but get this vibe. For example, the ARK project was initially just a side experiment before becoming what it is in the story proper.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • If one pays close attention to the corrupted text on the console next to the chair in the first room of the game proper you can decipher the words "SIMON", "DEAD", "RESTORE", "CONCEPT", "SOUL", "DAVID", "REED", "SCAN" and some more, but those pretty much give away one of early twists.
    • Also in the very beginning of the game, at Simon's apartment, there's a horror novel titled Hooked and the plot summary at it's back tells about people been mysteriously dragged to under the ocean.
    • Simon can get called a "talking diving suit" long before it's officially revealed that's exactly what he is now.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Fleshers are completely naked, although it's difficult to make out due to the Interface Screw (and the fact that you'll be too busy running from them).
  • Game Mod: Like with Amnesia: The Dark Descent, this game easily allows modders to create their own custom stories and scenarios, either with the in-game assets or their own.
  • Gender Bender: Not much is made of it, considering the circumstances, but except for the very beginning and the very end of the game, Simon spends the entire story inhabiting female bodies.
  • Giant Spiders: When exploring the abyssal plains, Simon finds a cave swarmed with sea spiders. However, they're an inert part of the scenery instead of any sort of threat, so the trope is largely averted....except for the accompanying music.
  • Gratuitous Latin:
    • The tagline, "I THINK THEREFORE I AM", flashes up in Latin too.
    • Variations of the phrase "Carthago delenda est"note  also fit into the plot. As not only is it a play on Carthage Industries, but also highlights Ross' view that the WAU must be destroyed.
  • Headache of Doom: Late in the game, a visit to site Omicron reveals that the base personnel have all been killed, either being decapitated or simply having colossal holes punched in their skulls. Audio recordings reveal that this started out as electromagnetic radiation interfering with their black box brain implants, causing tinnitus and headaches that eventually escalated to nosebleeds and even bloody tears. However, this was just side-effects of the WAU attempting to bring Johann Ross back to life. It didn't turn fatal until Ross helped Raleigh Herber figure out a means of killing the WAU, whereupon the panicking AI triggered a fatal overload of the black boxes.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • The gameplay teaser soon leads to the player following a rhythmic, mechanical noise not unlike a heartbeat.
    • The sounds the Robots make, especially if they see the player.
    • The WAU being a mechanical abomination, makes most of its appearances with a loud mechanical roar.
    • The hideous guttural sounds of Terry Akers, especially if he’s chasing after Simon. Considering that Terry was once a human, the fact he makes such inhuman noises is quite disturbing.
  • Human Resources: Why have machines when you can have people machines?
  • Hypocritical Humor: At the beginning of the game, before Simon is to go in to have a brain scan done, he remarks that his coworker Jesse has the memory of a gold fish. This is coming from a man who was in a car accident and suffered immense brain damage.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Sarah asks you to turn off her life support. Plays on Rule of Drama since there is no explanation given why she couldn't do it herself.
  • Interface Screw: The protagonist's screen goes static when he's under stress and/or near the WAU. If Simon's body suffers damage, his vision will go slightly out of focus.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: None of the WAU-infected monsters can be fought; getting too close causes Simon to black out, forcing you to run or hide. It turns out this is because Simon is an Artificial Zombie, and the monsters are giving off so much electromagnetism that his mechanical components break down in close proximity. As it turns out, most of them were too strong to be stopped by the PATHOS-II personnel, who were usually forced to flee when confronted by them - or risk being violently incorporated into the WAU's Lotus-Eater Machine. At one point Simon gets access to a stun gun so he can disable a robot and take an important part from it, and the player might think that they're going to have a weapon they can use to fight back...but the stun gun shorts out immediately after use, and Simon discards it.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: In classic cyberpunk fashion, a good chunk of the equipment is shown to come from a powerful Japanese conglomerate called Haimatsu sometime before everything went to hell. The same company's also around in 2015, given some of the products in original!Simon's apartment.
  • Just a Machine: Simon has to deal with the fact that many of the "robots" he encounters are brain scans of real people forced into mechanical bodies. He's left wondering if he's any more human than them. Catherine, however, treats them all coldly as robots that don't feel any pain or suffering.
  • Just Friends: Some dialogue indicates that Simon and Ashley were close, but Simon wished they were closer before she died.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • Near the end of the game, after spending the entire game seeing nothing except dead corpses and broken simulacrums, Simon comes across an actual living human survivor, Sarah Lindwall, who he realizes is the last actual living human in existence. Having run out of food supplies, Sarah has hooked herself up to a life support machine and has withered away to an almost skeletal state, but still keeps guard over the ARK. After speaking with Simon, she gives him the ARK and asks him to cut her life-support, knowing there's nothing left that can be done for her.
    • Inverted for Simon, as his brain scan from 2015 is revealed to be the basis from which artificial intelligence and eventually, Brain Uploading emerged later on. To the point that his personality serves as a standard template.
  • Late to the Tragedy: By the time Simon shows up on the scene, Pathos-II is thoroughly trashed and almost all the humans aboard the base have long been killed off by the WAU.
  • Lava Pit: Downplayed to a realistic example: site Upsilon has a deep borehole used as a source of geothermal power. A glow can be seen from deep below, the catwalks in the turbine room are all railed.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Plays over the end credits for poor Simon who is doomed to live out the rest of his life alone back at Pathos-II.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Upon being captured by the WAU, Simon is forced into a dream in which he is back into is old life, happy and healthy, with his girlfriend. He wakes himself up and breaks free, but it's open to interpretation if the alternative was much better.
  • Mad Scientist: The scientists at Pathos-II were quite stable (no one gets assigned there who profiles as not) but that was before the catastrophe. Afterward, well, stress, isolation, and a lack of hope have their way of eroding even the greatest minds...
  • Magnetic Weapons: A civil application: the space gun is a kilometers-long coilgun designed to accelerate large projectiles to near-escape velocity. Its primary purpose is a means of launching satellites, probes, and other payload that can withstand the acceleration forces into orbit in a manner that is more cost-effective than any rockets ever could be. Its very length and super-sonic concussive effects are why it has to be built mostly underwater, in order to get a long enough barrel at the proper angle without collapsing under its own weight and without disastrous effects on the surrounding environment.
  • Meaningful Echo: "You know, Indians thought cameras would steal their souls."
  • Meaningful Name: Several.
    • Soma in Hinduism is a drink that causes immortality. Seeing as the machines believe they are the humans whose brains have been copied thereto, the title is frighteningly apt. Also, in Ancient Greek, Soma can mean either the body of an individual as separate from the mind, or one's life in the physical world. This also fits in with the game's theme of copying a consciousness across multiple bodies.
    • The research complex the game takes place in is called Pathos-II. Pathos is defined as "a quality that evokes pity or sadness".
    • The comet which killed all life on the surface is named Telos, according to a log. Fittingly, telos comes from a Greek word for "end".
  • Meat Moss: Deep in Theta, the structure gel and the WAU's three Proxies are worse than anywhere else.
  • MegaCorp: There's Carthage Industries, a multinational corporation that supplied Pathos-II with miscellaneous resources such as office supplies and had stakes in Pathos-II's operation, along with the Japanese conglomerate Haimatsu Technologies (commonly known as just Haimatsu) who manufactured a lot of the technology on Pathos-II and also had stakes in its operation; Haimatsu frequently utilized the Omega Space Gun for numerous projects according to the OSG launch log. A couple of other large companies who supplied or worked with Pathos-II, and/or were clients using Pathos-II's services are also mentioned.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • On multiple occasions throughout the game, you're given the choice of whether to mercy-kill the station's broken inhabitants, or leave them to what passes for "life". As wracked with pain as they are, many of them actually don't want to die, Sarah being the main exception.
    • If Simon poisons the WAU, Ross himself tries to kill him out of the belief that he's easing Simon's suffering as well as ending the last traces of the WAU. Ross gets eaten however before he manages to do so.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Metaphorically, but a piece of concept art shows the Construct, a jumbled mess of machinery and structure gel, staring into a mirror and seeing the reflection of the young woman its brain scan was taken from. Played straight in the game proper when Simon can take a chance to look at himself in the bathroom mirror, finding Imogen Reed's body staring back at him.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Brain scans and all the machinery that revolves around them. During the game we are never given a chance to understand if there are any important differences between the behaviour of a "brain scan" individual and an actual human being. Quite the opposite; everything seems to suggest that not only are the brain scans 100% accurate when it comes to copying the personality of the human they came from, but even that all the equipment that allows them to live is able to perfectly replicate the function of a real human brain. Given that, it would be possible to keep humanity "alive" by creating more brain scan individuals, and then find a way to improve their survivability on post-apocalypse earth, instead of locking them with no way of escape into the Ark, which could still technically malfunction and "kill" them all in one fell swoop.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Simon and Ashley are mistaken for being a couple by the WAU, of all things. This seems to be one of the things that tips Simon off that he's under its control and isn't actually back in Toronto. The AI probably saw a woman in his past that he cared deeply about and assumed she was his partner, when they had never dated.
  • Monster Delay: The creatures chasing you are very hard to see directly; all you can see is something dark covered in bright lights stomping towards you, and your vision blurs as it gets closer.
  • Multinational Team: The Pathos-II crew is comprised of a diverse mix of ethnicities from all over the planet. Makes sense as they are all employees of a multinational mega-corporation operating in international waters. Though for some reason most of them speak American-accented English.
  • Mythology Gag: During one conversation Sarah Lindwall asks Simon if he's ever been to Greenland. Greenland's the setting of Frictional's first game Penumbra.
  • Nanomachines: Structure Gel appears to be made of something like this; it's able to interface with machines and organic life and modify the properties of objects. The actual term "nanomachines" is never used, though.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Though the initial gameplay teaser video has a lot of aesthetic and thematic commonalities with the final release, none of the specific scenes or locations from it appear in the actual game. It also appears to star an entirely different voice actor.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Simon awakens onboard Pathos-II wearing the same clothes he was wearing when attending the brain scan session in Toronto. Later in the game he becomes trapped inside a room which springs a leak and begins flooding - only to suddenly find that he is in fact wearing a diving suit and does not need to breathe underwater. Later still, he is exploring a dark area, only to suddenly find that he has a flashlight on his person which he was hitherto unaware of. In reality, he was wearing the diving suit and carrying the flashlight from the moment he woke up, and does not need to breathe because he is a brain scan inside a robot. Catherine explains that his brain scan is selectively editing his perceptions and sensory data in order to find a compromise between the reality of his situation and Simon's expectations: were Simon to be consciously aware of the reality of his situation he might Go Mad from the Revelation.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The WAU creates Simon in the process of its experiments in creating new forms of human "life"; Simon then proceeds to save the last traces of human consciousness by launching the ARK into space, and (depending on player choice) destroys the WAU as well.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Three of the complexes of Pathos-II - Delta, Theta and Omicron - are placed right next to a 4,000 meter drop into the Abyss, where water pressure is astronomical and will very rapidly squish you into pulp. And there are no fences. For good measure, the backup entrance to Omicron requires you to walk along a catwalk directly over the Abyss... and thanks to lack of maintenance, the catwalk is falling to pieces.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Searching the personal quarters of Catherine and other female Theta personnel turns up a few boxes of menstrual pads, which are hidden away due to their likely scarcity After the End.
  • No Sympathy: Catherine does not respond all that well to Simon's freakout after they launch the ARK and Simon realizes he's stuck at the bottom of the sea forever. She's understandably frustrated that Simon is apparently incapable of understanding the dynamic she's explained to him multiple times, but she's not terribly interested in consoling him, and eventually gets so angry herself that she shorts out Simon's omnitool. That leaves him utterly alone in the crumbling remnants of PATHOS-II.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The first trailer released, "Vivarium," had very little happen for most of it. A woman walks into a room with a big machine full of wires, tinkers with the camera, goes out and comes back with a chair, tries to get the machine to do something, talks a little on a phone. She eventually gets the machine's screen to show some white static, so she continues fiddling with it, and she eventually turns the screen slightly towards the camera, but continues to try and fail to make whatever it's supposed to be doing happen, until the screen shuts off, and she complains it just died on her... only to have the screen start up again, showing the room she's in. And you can just make out someone on the screen, (possibly her) collapsing. And the woman panics after she sees what's happening.
      Woman: Hey, are you seeing... Oh shit! [scrambles out of chair] I can just - F***! [runs off screen] SHUT IT DOWN! Contain- [static]
    • There are parts of the game where you can hear the distant sounds of monsters, but there's no real danger yet...
    • The most intimidating area of the game is the crushing, turbulent, lightless depths of the Abyss deep beneath the ocean. You can hardly see anything and straying from the barely-lit path is certain death.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: The game expects you to pay attention:
    • There is no quest log, so you have to remember what your objectives are. A reminder is provided when you load from a save, but you won't see that very often if you're playing on Safe Mode, or are good at dodging monsters.
    • There is no map. Maps can be found on walls and computer terminals, but these cannot be loaded into inventory, and you have to remember what they show.
  • Our Doors Are Different: The elaborate, futuristic opening mechanism of the gate to Theta, the largest section of Pathos-II. Also the dangerously longwinded opening sequence of a floodgate at Tau.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Effectively the WAU itself is a separate issue from Telos, the comet that wiped out the earth. Though Telos did cause WAU to react dangerously in an effort to preserve humanity, the AI has nothing to do with Telos at all, and merely acts in response to it. In fact, it ultimately has nothing to do with Sarang's Continuity cult that halted the ARK project, nor did it stop the ARK from being launched. Going further, it's ultimately what kickstarted the ARK project, and woke Simon up in Upsilon. This does nothing to stop it from functioning as the Big Bad of the game; whether or not Simon, through the player, decides it has shown enough progress in trying to restore humanity through its own efforts to elicit being spared, it's still the hostile entity interfering with Simon's journey from start to finish.
  • Powered Armor: A rare non-military application. Pathos-II is stocked with several Haimatsu Power Suits (HPSs) which are tough, rigid-bodied affairs with strength enhancement to allow divers to perform Extra Vehicular Operation in extreme pressure underwater environments, such as at the base of the space gun. Simon eventually gets copied to one. The final conventional stealth sequence, against Jin Yoshida, also features the trope used against the player, as what's left of Jin is, through the machinations of the WAU, piloting a Haimatsu Power Suit that stalks Tau.
  • Psychological Horror: Some reviewers have said that while SOMA is a little less "scary" than Frictional's previous games, it is much more "haunting" due to its themes and use of atmosphere.
  • Ominous Obsidian Ooze: Structure Gel, a black, slimy chemical that can serve both as an electrical conductor and as Mutagenic Goo that forcibly melds flesh and metal together. By the time of the game, WAU has covered PATHOS-II with Structure Gel Meat Moss in its quest to assimilate the remnants of humanity into itself; as a result, you'll find the gel itself leaking from the ceiling at various points across the station. Simon's half-corpse half-machine body is actually held together with it, and late in the game, he has to acquire more Structure Gel in order to build a new body capable of entering the Abyss.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Proximity to hostile robots makes Simon's vision start to glitch, particularly when he's looking at them. It also happens when Ross is trying to talk to you and in the title screen after your death.
  • Organic Technology: Due to the structure gel, the architecture in places seems to have an Gigeresque "biomechanical" look to it, with winding circular tunnels made out of what are either rough metallic or ceramic tiles or organic scales, and plenty of creeping tubes that might be conduits or some kind of roots or veins.
  • Playable Epilogue: You can control Simon in The Stinger.
  • Raster Vision: Pathos-II's flat-screen monitors all appear to have raster lines, which would be severely anachronistic for 2104.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Catherine tried the ARK project, which would result in Mad Scientist-type methodologies, but hates herself for the resultant Apocalypse Cult.
  • The Remnant: In addition to the Pathos-II survivors following the comet impact, a small group amongst the survivors continued following Carthage Industries' protocol and orders regarding the WAU.
  • Residual Self-Image: Up until he leaves Upsilon, Simon retains his self-image of himself as a human being; it's not until he finds himself miraculously surviving the collapse of the comm center roof and the subsequent flooding that his true robotic appearance flickers into view.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Subverted Trope. The "robots" are actually mechanical bodies housing human brains or rather, human minds. At least one of them actually tells the main character he is human.
  • Sadistic Choice: The game does throw a few of these your way.
    • In order to reach the Communications room at Upsilon, you must reroute power by throwing one of two switches. The near switch will let you enter the Communications room safely, but inflicts continuous torture on an innocent robot who's stuck in the situation; the far switch kills the power to the robot, granting instant death, but lets the Construct enemy into your current location, putting you in mortal danger instead. The choice boils down to whether or not you'd torture an innocent being for your own benefit and safety, and whether or not you would kill for mercy.
    • After Upsilon, you must use a shuttle to reach Lambda, but energy is off. There is a power room nearby, but WAU is using it to sustain the artificial lungs of Amy Azzaro, who fears that you are a rogue robot and asks you not to hurt her. She says that WAU won't allow her nor anybody to die. There are two big electric cables. You can unplug the first and reroute energy to the shuttle, but the system will be unstable and safety measures aren't guaranteed to work on the damaged shuttle. Besides, Amy will show high levels of suffering, nonetheless she is now very scared and says that she doesn't want to die. You can unplug the second cable to get the message that the power system of the shuttle is stable, but Amy will die. It's up to you if you want to continue her suffering or not, and if you want to risk your safety or not. In any case, you are forced to unplug at least one socket in order to proceed.
    • To operate the zeppelin at Delta, you need to commandeer a memory chip, which means you need to shock a nearby robot into submission and steal its chip, killing it in the process. Your two choices are a large robot with a human mind, who's unhelpful, somewhat irritating, and clearly stuck in a mental rut—or the smaller robot with the blowtorch, who's helpful and strangely endearing, but explicitly non-human and with an intelligence compared by Catherine to that of a dog. Basically, do you kill a fellow human who you (probably) don't care about, or a nonsapient "dog" who you (probably) have an emotional connection to?
    • After assembling your new body at Omicron and having your mind copied into it, you're left with a copy of yourself sitting in the nearby Pilot Seat. You're given the choice of either killing your old self or allowing him to wake up alone and trapped in the Dive Room with no way to leave.
    • You're given the choice of helping the last organic human in the world to commit suicide or leaving her alive and causing the final extinction of humanity in its current form.
    • Ross asks you to infect the WAU with poisonous structure gel to destroy it and everything connected to it. This would spare a good chunk of the assimilated base personnel from a possible fate worse than death, but also ensures the extinction of sapient life on Earth and prevents the WAU any opportunity to evolve into something better.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The body crammed into Simon's suit and forced to assume his ego is actually that of a woman.
  • Scenery Gorn / Scenery Porn: Pathos-II and inside the ARK, respectively.
  • Schmuck Bait: The first enemy you can encounter (when the game prompts you to start crouching to sneak around threats) is behind a door locked with a pneumatic seal, and is clearly trying to break it down to get into the room. It'll give up and leave after a while, clearing the path to the omnitool you need to progress, but there's nothing stopping you from unlocking the seal and opening the door early.
  • The Singularity: The WAU seems to have hit this, or something really CLOSE to it. It's already got the ability to modify itself and its structure gel is capable of way more than its designers originally intended. The technology to copy human minds and put them in robot bodies was reverse-engineered from what the WAU did rather than any human invention.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The passcode to David Munshi's lab is 2501.
    • Judging by the text output when the computer is booting up ("/dev/sda1 mounted", etc.), the ARK simulation program runs on some kind of a UNIX system.
    • The ARK's satellite bears the marking "P2OSG-L42". Presumably, this stands for "Pathos II Omega Space Gun — Launch 42". In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy, the number 42 is presented as the answer to the ultimate question of "life, the universe, and everything". For the inhabitants of the ARK, which contains their entire world and even their consciousnesses, that is exactly what the satellite is.
  • Shown Their Work: Frictional did a remarkable job of accurately recreating part of Toronto's subway system, right down to the dissonant door chime and including Osgoode Station.
  • Simulated Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic Reality:
    • The game is set in the aftermath of a comet striking the Earth in the year 2104 and wiping out the entire human race; the only survivors are the inhabitants of Pathos-II. Soon after, researcher Catherine Chun developed a means of copying the minds of the base personnel into a utopian virtual world known as the ARK - essentially an Artificial Afterlife designed for a satellite-mounted computer. It was meant to be a method of preserving the human race after its extinction, but a crisis has prevented it from being launched into space; as such, it's up to Simon and Catherine to find the ARK and complete the launch. The game ends with Simon successfully copying himself to the ARK and launching it... only to find too late that what was sent up was a copy, not a transfer: while the other Simon and Catherine get to enjoy eternity in a virtual paradise, our Simon is trapped alone at the bottom of the ocean for what little remains of his life.
    • Pathos-II's Warden Unit (AKA the WAU) has also created its own virtual world for similar reasons, but with a much more disturbingly organic twist. The WAU was designed to preserve humanity by any means available, and has gone into overdrive following the comet collision, using methods that human beings might not find desirable - either copying their minds into robot bodies or keeping their bodies in a horrific state of living death. At Delta, the WAU's proxies have been violently abducting human base personnel and forcibly incorporating them into life-support systems made of Meat Moss while their minds are lulled into a dream state where their desires come true. Simon himself briefly experiences this after being captured by Terry Akers, finding himself in a dream of being back in 2015 and in a committed relationship with Ashley.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: SOMA plays up and down the scale with this one:
    • The Zeppelin cargo transports would class as a Type 1, having only a very simple autopilot that can lock onto beacons and guide themselves into pre-defined platforms, but lack any autonomy beyond that. An omnitool with a cortex chip is needed to allow them a greater range of piloting decision-making.
    • Most of the Universal Helper line would rate a Type 2, being described as "like a dog" in intellect. They are capable of performing programmed tasks and accepting simple orders, and are generally used for routine things. Several models of them can be remotely piloted via a Brain/Computer Interface pilot chair to allow a human to perform telepresence tasks through them.
    • Most of the machines with cortex chips in them are capable of getting to Type 3 when the patterns of a human mind are uploaded into them. This puts them into Ridiculously Human Robots territory.
    • The WAU rates in the area of a Type 4, but it is difficult to pin down since its intelligence is very... different, from what humans would understand as intelligence. Unfortunately, it does not understand humanity any better than humans understand it...
  • Smash to Black: Action scenes will often end with a cut to a black screen for a few seconds before Simon wakes up again. Turns into a Black Screen of Death for fatal encounters.
  • Space-Filling Empire: The backstory mentions a "Sino-Indian Federation," suggesting that China and India united at some point before the comet hit.
  • Stock Video Game Puzzle: There is a "fuse puzzle" to restore power to some control terminal.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Since the player is Late to the Tragedy, he has to piece together events via log entries found all over the station.
  • Stealth Run: In the Theta Labs, if you walk straight to the security office, open the door to the room containing the chip you need for the elevator, go get it, walk back to the security office to reinitialize the chip, and then head to the exit of the level through the elevator, Akers will not spawn even once to oppose you (apart from running to you when you call the elevator, which is a scripted event). Arguably, Akers was programmed to start spawning only after you wandered for a while in the complex, or only if you make very loud noises (most notably if you enter the chip room by smashing a window rather than opening the door through the security room).
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: Sarah Lindwall's request of Simon if he decides to switch off her life support.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: A few years after the release, the devs implemented a safe mode in which the monsters will not attack you. This will give you room to explore and immerse yourself in the story without having to worry about getting killed.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, you play as the final copy of Simon reuniting with Catherine in the beautiful paradise of the ARK.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Munshi's experimental procedure, while helping to create Artificial Intelligence much later, couldn't save Simon's human life. It was just that: experimental, and so was not clear on if it would actually help without brain surgery in and of itself.
  • Survival Horror: It wouldn't be a Frictional game without it.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Strictly speaking, there are four player characters in this game, controlled in succession. The first is the original Simon in 2015. The second is the brain scan of Simon which was uploaded into Imogen Reed's corpse. The third is the copy of the brain scan which was copied from Reed's corpse into Raleigh Harber's corpse. The fourth is the copy of the brain scan which is uploaded into the ARK, and controlled during The Stinger. These four Simons have psychological continuity with one another (the second knows everything the first knows, the third knows everything the second knows etc.) and have the same personalities, but are physically distinct entities.
  • The Teaser: To set the tone, a series of teasers are being released: in order, this currently includes "Vivarium," "Mockingbird," "Upsilon," "Theta," and "Lambda."
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Simon can look into a mirror to discover his true nature: a human body (the woman Imogen Reed, to be precise) stuffed into a diving suit with a blackbox, camera-eyes where a head should be inside the helmet, and everything laced with structure gel to keep it all running.
  • TV Head Robot: Catherine is first revealed to inhabit a robot that uses a monitor to communicate.
  • Under the Sea / Underwater Base: The plot takes place inside and around Pathos-II, a huge science facility at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Unique Enemy: The BULL remote submersible that attacks you outside Lambda isn't a WAU creature like every other enemy that tries to kill you throughout the game; it's just a "regular" robot with a human mind inside it like the non-hostile ones you meet at several points... the human mind inside this one just happens to be an asshole.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: While safe mode prevents you from dying to monsters outright, it does not neuter them completely, and if you invade their personal space or throw shit at them they will smack you for it.
  • Voices Are Mental: Despite being downloaded into the body of a woman, Simon continues to speak with his normal voice. It's likely that his voice is actually coming from a speaker attached to his other components, which can be seen at Omicron.
    • It's explained that copied minds continue to perceive themselves as being in their original body. This also explains why Simon is wearing the same clothing he wore in the doctor's office when he wakes up in PATHOS-II.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The player character is in occasional contact with a scientist named Catherine Chun, via radio. However you only meet the long-dead original near the end of the game.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: After the brain scan, Simon wakes up in an unfamiliar location.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Catherine isn't strictly truthful in her Brain Uploading mission, but it's in the name of completing the ARK project and ensuring that something of humanity is saved.
    • The WAU is possibly the biggest one in the game as it will do pretty much anything to keep humanity alive, no matter how much pain and suffering it causes for its would-be benefactors.
    • Ross as well; how much you'd consider him an antagonist depends on your perspective (though he WILL kill you at some points if you don't run fast. Near the end of the game, he leads you to the mysterious Alpha site where the heart of the WAU is, exposits that your current body is full of poisoned structure gel that will kill the WAU and everything it runs, and expects you to inject it into the WAU. This would absolutely kill every monster in Pathos-II, but also every person living in it, even if the only ones living are crazed robots with the minds of humans and people hooked up to horrible life-support structure gel machines. It's another "painful life/Mercy Kill" choice, and if you go through with it, he turns on you, because to make sure the WAU dies, he needs to kill the only one immune to the poison gel.
  • Wetware CPU: The structure gel somehow allows living creatures to couple with technology.
  • Wham Line: Shortly before exiting Omicron station, Simon hears his prior incarnation still talking to Catherine.
    Simon: Catherine, why was he still talking?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Early in the game, you have the option to contact the Omicron station through radio. Do it, and someone will answer and give you the creepy advice to kill yourself. Later, when you end up in Omicron, you will find out that everyone there is dead due to head explosion, supposedly long before the events of the game started, and no trace or mention of the guy who answered you is ever found or given.
    • Spoiled if you have subtitles turn on as they label the voice being that of Ross.
  • Your Head Asplode: Everyone in Omicron Station mysteriously died of simultaneous head explosions. While at first it seems that Ross is responsible, he says it was the WAU itself killing everyone there to prevent them from using the poisoned structure gel.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: As the base's A.I. system, the WAU is programmed to keep the people on-board alive. Once the surface is destroyed by the comet impact, the WAU reinterprets its prime directive as to preserve humanity... unfortunately, its definitions of "humanity" and "being alive" do not account for quality of life.



It first appears that Simon is an ordinary human being... up until he survives a seemingly-fatal deluge, and his real diode-studded hands flicker into view...

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

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Main / RoboticReveal

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