per @etirabys’s request, here’s a paste of a whole lot of highly spoilery words about my favorite Horizon: Forbidden West NPC, who makes so many bad decisions

Keep reading

{{below the cut:}}

alright, so- the game in question is Horizon Forbidden West, a big AAA action game about hunting robot dinosaurs. the interesting stuff is almost entirely unrelated to the robot dinosaurs.

the backstory of this game is- a while back, evil military company made a big military AI that went out of control and took over a bunch of military robots and started wiping out humanity. standard stuff. principal characters are a couple of scientists who were part of the last-ditch effort to try to prevent this from happening before the machines wiped out humanity.

one of them, Elisabet, is spearheading this thing called Project Zero Dawn, whose plan for saving humanity is “build an AI terraforming engine equipped with a bunch of human embryos, hide, and wait for the apocalypse to finish and then re-terraform the dead world”. the other one, Tilda, works for a company called Far Zenith whose plan is “let’s just build a spaceship and GTFO”.

Elisabet is a big deal- genius scientist, multidisciplinary, very famous. Tilda is less of a big deal- she’s like a PR person for the space company, but is head over heels in hero worship for Elisabet.

this relationship is fairly loosely sketched out, since it’s only conveyed via backstory and a few audio logs. Tilda asks her out, and Elisabet is- she’s the kind of person who’s totally consumed by duty and doesn’t know what having fun is, and while she’s interested on a physical level, she proves incapable of sustaining a relationship. they break up after a few months- and then their companies start competing for the dwindling resources left as the apocalypse progresses. things turn sour.

Tilda believes- correctly- that Elisabet’s going to die if she stays behind to do her project, and she’s still in love, so she tries to invite her to abandon her world-saving project and join her in space. this doesn’t work, and in their final conversation Elisabet blames Tilda for being complicit in the shortsighted military-industrial fuckery that’s going to imminently destroy the world. this is the last they ever see of each other.

but that’s not where this ends.

Tilda goes off into space with the rest of her company, and they develop advanced biotechnology and she becomes immortal. meanwhile on Earth, that Zero Dawn thing Elisabet was working on… it has problems. doesn’t work quite right. the details are like, the whole plot of the game (two games, actually, forbidden west is a sequel) and involves a whole lot of fighting robot dinosaurs.

but the main thing is- the AI terraforming thing, in an effort to fix itself, decants a clone of its creator, Elisabet Sobeck, to try and create someone with the gene-print authority necessary to fix itself. this clone is the protagonist of the game.

this is, like, a thousand years after the initial apocalypse. a whole bunch of Video Game occurs in which this Elisabet clone, Aloy, saves the world and stuff. and then… Tilda shows up on Earth.

Far Zenith apparently had a problem with their space colony and it got destroyed, and now her and the last few survivors- insanely technologically advanced- have fled back to earth in hopes that Zero Dawn succeeded and the terraforming project would be there intact. they want to take control of the terraforming project and re-terraform the planet to their specifications, wiping out the native life, blah blah blah they’re the villains of this game.

Tilda has an important role in this plan. They’re aware that the terraforming project requires a clone of Elisabet Sobeck to operate, so they made their own. And Tilda, for totally non-ulterior motives, volunteered to raise this clone.

The clone, Beta- her role is just to open doors for the badguys, and her education is spartan and abusive and all-around horrible, designed to turn her into a tool. Tilda does not like this. She feels bad for the clone, and creates a secret VR replica of her house which she covertly invites the clone to, to teach her about art and music and poetry in between the horrible drills. And attempts to woo the teenaged clone of the ex who rejected her and then died.

Beta’s life is this woman running this bizarre abusive hurt/comfort homeschooling experience, and she regards Tilda as both the source of her suffering and the source of her relief and has a bunch of complicated feelings. Beta, like Elisabet, is also terminally duty-poisoned and submits to all this semi-willingly because she’s told it’ll save humanity.

this whole scenario would be enough for me to want to tell you about on its own- but it gets even more fraught.

the other bosses start to catch wind of what she’s doing, and she eventually shuts down the VR house and cuts off contact with Beta to protect her from reprisal, which Beta interprets as abandonment and adds a whole other layer to this nightmare smoothie.

this- and also witnessing the various evil villain stuff they start doing on earth- causes Beta to defect and be rescued by Aloy, her badass videogame protagonist dinosaur-hunting clone. she dumps all this Tilda-related trauma on Aloy and starts plotting to bring her down. Tilda, meanwhile, is despondent, because Elisabet Sobeck broke up with her again and she blames herself for it again.

but then she discovers- oh. hey. hold on. there’s another Elisabet. this one is a sexy twenty-something dinosaur-exploding badass who’s sticking it to her awful coworkers and saving the world.
she has another chance!

so she bides her time, and- during a climactic cutscene where the other baddies all show up to re-kidnap Beta- allows them to kill Aloy’s friends so that she’ll be defenseless and alone, and then picks that moment to jump in, betray her bosses, and rescue Aloy at the last minute.

Aloy wakes up in the basement of Tilda’s actual house, which contains a vault full of classical paintings and various art, and Tilda tries to do the same high-culture seduction act as Aloy’s selfless savior.

this Elisabet Sobeck is also duty-poisoned, and has a hundred questions, and her attempt at playing the wise benevolent savior falls flat. she has like. a fancy dinner prepared on a balcony at sunset, to make it as romantic as possible- but oh, fuck, this Elisabet Sobeck is also duty-poisoned and can’t think about anything but world-saving, she’s about to fuck it up again.

so she frantically tries to rewrite the script and concedes a bunch of stuff and Aloy very forcefully tells her her plan to betray the others is stupid and won’t work and here’s her much better plan, which is of course a dance she’s danced before. but she refuses to give up on making it work with this woman who’s into her but has rejected her three times.

ultimately Tilda is the final boss of the game, after her various attempts to get in good with Aloy by helping her betray the main villains don’t work as intended. she tries to get Aloy and Beta to run away into space with her (there’s another twist final act threat to the earth, not really relevant), and when they reject her again she summons a big robot to try and kidnap them. the final boss is not difficult as a fight as much as it is difficult to listen to this woman completely lose her mind throwing everything she can think of at the wall to try to get Elisabet Sobeck to give her another chance.

it’s way more fucked-up and poignant than i was expecting from the big AAA robot dinosaur fights game. this woman tries every awful move in the book to make her ex love her again and just keeps taking it too far and self-sabotaging.

anyway that’s it. the main thought i had walking away from that was “oh man, i know exactly who would eat this up, and also there’s zero chance she plays like 200 hours of videogame to find out about it”


#anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #(the incredible secondhand fuckor in those DMs) #Horizon: Forbidden West #reactionblogging #abuse cw #apocalypse cw #this post was queued because my to-reblog list is too long and I didn’t want to dump it on you all at once

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