As I awaited Dusk: Episode Three to come out I saw Peter Glagowski's review and realized I needed to get on that shit. You probably recall that I wrote a piece trying to decipher the hidden story behind DUSK's episodes one and two. The blog was a revolutionary hit. It changed the way Destructoid saw writing. I cried and people threw flowers at me. It was all quite beautiful. Well it is time to finish this beast. More screenshots! More hyperbole! More speculation!
Let it be known there are HEAVY SPOILERS in the text you are about to read. Dumbledore dies. I don't know how much the spoilers weigh, but what I mean is they are hard hitting. No, I don't know how strong the spoilers are. What I mean is that if you care about DUSK Spoilers you should not continue reading and just check out Glagowski's review as linked above. Glagowski. Glagowski. That's a last name that will get stuck in your head like Babaganoush. Roll the tape!
First-person shooters are hell or are they?! DUSK was designed by one tricky gopher. It uses our views on rural America and religion as a way to pave the road to Assumptionville. Either by design or chance, certain enemies have a Doom-like feel to them, such as cyborg monsters with guns for hands, which plays into our beliefs that we're dealing with demons. Some of the map designs even made me think of Hellraiser and Event Horizon. If you got the time, take a look at the imagery in my previous blog, there is a sign that straight up reads "666". But we're not dealing with demons?
I will get to that later, instead I want to fill in the cracks by talking about other things that were revealed now that DUSK is completely out. Before I talked about how it seemed that Ian (The name I have given to the player's character) was being guided so that he could become some kind of super soldier. Turns out that was correct. One of the few voices you hear in-game comes from the guy leading you on. I forgot his name ... oh, Jakob. Maybe a refrence to that Jacob.
This is what the fight looks like (above), but he (maybe) has a portrait which is down below (on the bottom right). I think this is a better picture of him. I think. The left image was found in a lab area, if I recall correctly, and now that I went back and looked, these two guys seem to have certain features that look similar to me. Maybe our main baddie was a scientist of some sort?
Anyway, Jakob was building you up to break you down, to prove himself to a greater power. The devil? Nope. We're are not there yet. I don't think we are given the full details of how all this happened to Ian, but there seems to be hints in a section of the game where you "go back home." In one of the houses we see a portrait of a bearded man (probably Ian) standing with a woman, and in another room we see a picture of them WITH a child. I think Ian had lost his family in or before this journey. Was he fueled by vengeance or power? Maybe both?
Another thing I want to look at is "Hell". I pictured people being tortured, fornicating demons and hellfire up the wazoo. I guess you can say we got some of that. But I wasn't expecting some of these other details. Like floating islands and blood tornadoes. And this place.
It's snowing in hell?! Granted you're only one layer of crust away from molten earth, but still. Hath hell frozen over? Do dead walk the Earth? I remember something about the Ninth Layer of hell being cold as -heck-, but that was going down, this is above ground and I don't see no stink'n Lucifer.
My point is all this religious symbolism starts changing somewhere in the second episode. You'd think that the name The Nameless City would have been a pretty big hint that this story was going somewhere different. There were other hints that gave this game away that we were facing something more Lovecraftian than Judeo-Christian in nature.
"The Shadow Sunk Our City." Very interesting choice of words, don't you think? Where have we heard about sunken cities?
There's also portals, chaos emeralds, green lightning powering machines of industrial carnage. Cults and structures built before man walked the Earth. And lastly, I present to you, the big boss of DUSK. The final nail in the coffin when it comes to the true mythology of this game.
"I had never heard the name NYARLATHOTEP before, but seemed to understand the allusion. Nyarlathotep was a kind of itinerant showman or lecturer who held forth in public halls and aroused widespread fear and discussion with his exhibitions. These exhibitions consisted of two parts—first, a horrible—possibly prophetic—cinema reel; and later some extraordinary experiments with scientific and electrical apparatus. As I received the letter, I seemed to recall that Nyarlathotep was already in Providence.... I seemed to remember that persons had whispered to me in awe of his horrors, and warned me not to go near him. But Loveman's dream letter decided me.... As I left the house I saw throngs of men plodding through the night, all whispering affrightedly and bound in one direction. I fell in with them, afraid yet eager to see and hear the great, the obscure, the unutterable Nyarlathotep." - From the Wiki.
I don't know if I just didn't get the memo or what, but we'll say this blog is just my perception of what I played. Video games are art, afterall. Speaking of interpretations, interpret this: Nothing is more unsettling than the bigger picture DUSK hints at. Look closely at these images. First the top one, then scroll down. Your life will never be the same.