Dissecting Beyond: Two Souls – What Lies Beneath the Surface?
Just a warning: there’s a lot of topics here that pertain directly to the story so if you haven’t already played the game you may want to reconsider reading this article due to the general spoiler-y nature of it. You were warned!
One interesting thing about Beyond: Two Souls is its parallel to a Choose Your Own Adventure novel; that you’re so caught up in being a part of the universe and the characters you’re surrounded with and making choices in that you barely leave yourself enough room to question anything as your imagination tends to fill any gaps left open. This is exactly what happened when I played this game the first time around – my mind automatically filled in any plot holes or gaps in information that were left to interpretation – but after playing the game a few times my mind has made certain demands of the plot that the game just hasn’t answered.
If you remove the character drama that happens throughout the game, there are a lot of concepts that are presented rather than explored, assuming the player would simply accept the concepts as presented rather than want to explore them; due to the nature of this game, I don’t mind it much, but when I like something, I explore every bit of it that I can. I could speculate about several different concepts and characters for the longest time but there are three main things that I’ll be talking about today: the Infraworld, the Entities, and that ambiguous ending.
This is possibly the biggest concept this game brings forward and yet the most ambiguous of all; the Infraworld is the raison d’etre for the entire game. All that’s known about the Infraworld, for sure, is that it is a place that is linked to the human world of the living somehow and it plays host to the Entities and the souls of humans who have passed on; whether or not all souls that pass on reside in the Infraworld after death is not known but it is known that some, at least, go there. Other than the insistence of governments around the world that there are energy and military applications for access to the Infraworld. What those applications are isn’t really explained but one can only assume they have some kind of relation to the Entities.
It’s not a whole lot to go on in the way of facts but while the people of Beyond believe that the Infraworld actually plays host to what lies after death – the literal afterlife, possibly an allusion to heaven – but it might be a little bit deeper than that: I think the Infraworld is actually closer to Purgatory than the Afterlife. While Purgatory would, by definition, serve as part of the Afterlife, I think that there’s not quite the straight path to the metaphoric heaven as we’d think. A lot of how the Entities interact with humanity from beyond the veil and the connections between the passed on have a lot of parallels with how we’ve been trying to explain a great deal of paranormal phenomenon over the years.
I’m not an expert on the paranormal but my understanding of Purgatory is that there are souls that do not fully pass on after death, either residing in Purgatory or residing, in some ethereal form, on Earth; usually as a result of unresolved business left on Earth, an extremely connection to a person, place or thing, or unwillingness to die or jealousy of those who still live. Sometimes these desires and attachments twist these people. Once passed on the ability of these spirits have abilities unlike those in the living world. This is just my understanding but it would seem that the two are, at least, comparable. It’s even said that there is a direct link of sorts between Purgatory and the world of the living and those links can be exploited. I think that it’s only logical that one could manipulate this exploitation somehow and expand upon it with some kind of mechanical device if this could be proven scientifically.
How could this be harnessed in a way that would appeal a global superpower and its military? That’s even more vague but I believe that the militaristic application is pretty obvious, at least: open a portal on an unsuspecting populace, allow the Entities to do their thing, close the portal, leave, and no one knows the better. As far as the energy applications are concerned, I think that may be rooted to the energy that is released when a portal is forcefully closed could be harnessed, in some way. Create a containment field around a device that constantly forced open and close a portal. It sounds like an awesome alternative to fusion.
These black, swirling masses that can control their transparency under certain circumstances are also shrouded in a kind of mystery: some that pass on to reside in the Infraworld become Entities but there’s no real criteria on what makes a passed soul become an Entity. Given the theory I’d proposed about the Infraworld, I think this is actually a pretty simple concept, should it be true, though that, too, could be expanded upon: those that pass on but are chained to the mortal realm for whatever reason stay resided in Purgatory. Based on the theory I’d presented, a soul residing in Purgatory is eventually twisted by their time in Purgatory; what the exact criteria for this twisting is ambiguous but I would suppose that the strong desire to return to the world of the living, the strength of said desire, and the length of time spent wanting to return to the world of the living that does it; sometimes that desire and length has been extreme, which would cause the cases of extremely large and threatening Entities.
Unless a connection to something in the world of the living is established, the desire to return to the world of the living – be it to accomplish a certain goal or to obtain life once more – eventually wears away at the memories of the soul being twisted and soon the only desire that’s left is to rob the living of their life, believing that they would replace the lives taken; this, I believe, is the reason all Entities lash out at the living with reckless abandon.
In the case of Aidan, he was robbed of all but his connection to Jodie, with whom he shared a direct connection with that only got stronger with time. I think that since there can be connections made to Entities in similar ways that keep them from further twisting but there could be many variables.
It’s revealed, as part of the ending, that even though you destroyed the Codenser, the rift between the Infraworld and the living world was left open somehow. Left unchecked, this could mean that the rift was only shrunk by the destruction of the Condenser, meaning that Condensers simply exploited an already existing vulnerability rather than creating these rifts. While the rift operated as it normally should have, intermittently letting Entities through; through having been tampered with by the Condenser, it started opening in a way that I could only suggest would be like sagging, opening further and further until it reached some kind of critical mass.
How this happened, whether it’s a world issue, or anything else, is, like many things in this game, left wide open. My thoughts go towards the fact that the Entities slowly discovered a way to open it further themselves and have grown united in their goal to become living again or eliminating life: consume the living the world in a kind of “If I can’t have it, no one can” kind of mentality. It’s a stretch but that would lend itself strongly to DLC and a sequel where Jodie becomes a lone combatant against the Entities and finding a more direct way to close rifts, finally putting to result all the training and experience she’s had since she started participating in her experimentation.
Perhaps I look a little too much into things but I felt that these kinds of things needed explaining so I did my best!