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Frogacuda

Tim, can you answer a few questions about the ending? *SPOILERS*

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Okay, but still that feels like a minor plot hole, easily patched - it's not really established that she can or can't communicate her problem. It's at least plausible that one of the others could have heard her, conceivably, she's not that far away from the machine. But I still feel like we're lacking a decent, plausible explanation beyond 'intuition, or something' for SOME of the puzzles in Broken Age.

The first wiring puzzle works, because it seems that Shay at least had exposure to that wiring technology as a kid, so it makes sense you as a player would find that info on the ship. But some of the others don't fly as well, at least for me. Again, the way I try to gauge the severity of a potential plot hole is 'how easily could I write around this in a plausible way if I was writing it in a book?' Laverne in a tree = Laverne yells "MY UNDERWEAR IS ON THE BRANCH" etc through the chron-o-john. Vella knowing the nav chart pattern = I would have to write a much stronger connection between Shay and Vella into the whole story for it to make sense even in principle.

Anyway, it's a fairly minor criticism.

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Hey, everybody! Thanks for waiting. I'm back from my travels and have some answers or near-answers for you. Hope you like them!

-Tim

From Frogacuda:

Q: What exactly is it that the Thrush need and why do they need Shay to select it?

A: The Thrush are an elite subculture in Loruna who have selectively bred and inbred themselves to favor certain traits like intelligence, which helped them political dominance. Too much inbreeding has led to negative traits emerging--transparent skin, fragility, and general creepiness. They are seeking out "fresh blood" in the badlands (where Vella is from) to restore some hybid vigor to their genepool. Though as the Thrushmaster states, it's not just about mere DNA, but something more holistic they can't synthesize. Not only can they not synthesize it, they can't even identify the exact component they're mising. But they believe that the instincts of a young boy, coming of age, are sacred and will lead them to the right choice. They also fetishize tall forehead implants, but that's just because they're creeps.

Q: It’s said that only a boy like Shay, isolated for 14 years can make this selection, and yet it seems like he has nothing to do with how maidens are selected. The villages select the maidens. This seems reinforced by the reveal at the end that Vella’s grandmother is a member of the Thrush (a reveal which begs quite a few questions as well). Shay is just grabbing as many as he can and doesn’t seem to have much insight.

A: The villages select who they believe to be the best of their town, and then Shay and boys in his position make their selections from those maidens. At Sugar Bunting/Talon Nebula, shay selected all the maidens, but at Meriloft/Danger System 5, Shay picked the other maidens over Twyla.

As Reid correctly pointed out, Levina is NOT Vella's Grandmother. You're not alone in thinking this, though. Most people assume she is. We added a line to Levinas dialog in an attempt to clarify this ("Your grandpa is just stuck in the ways of old. Your Grandma was the same way, bless her soul.") but not everyone hears this line.

Q: Why does everyone stop trying to kill them when the ships melt?

A: Everyone in Loruna is totally shocked by the Mogs melting and is basically sitting at the controls with their jaws on the floor, not sure what to do. And who knows, maybe right after we cut away from Shay and Vella on the bridge, they started firing again. I also liked teallite's answer here. :)

Q: Did all those maidens just die in the Mog and why doesn’t anyone care or acknowledge this? If they survive, then how?

A: The maidens are shown (briefly) running out of the ship in the final cutscene, led by Safety Hexipals. That's their jobs.

Clarifying something from Reid's post:

The Thrush did not all die in the explosion. In fact no one did. Hope mentions that the Red Hangar was fully automated.

Mirko:

Q: One thing I do not get about the ending is why Vella and Shay think it may be a good idea to have a meltdown of both ships.

A: Vella states her intention to melt both mogs "before they breed" so she's just still trying to finish the job she set out to do: Kill Mogs. It's true that Shay isn't given a good reason to do this, except for the believe he shares with Alex that he's sure Vella has some reason to do what she's doing. And his desire to use the hugging arms to bring the ships together so he can jump between them. I liked Taekon's answer here too. :)

Q: Another question (not about the ending in this case): I was a bit shocked that Vella just went into the room with the fusion orb, while in Act 1 Shay had to wear a protective suit. Was that also a fake danger?

A: Yes. If you use the bomb on Hope, Vella asks her if the orb is radioactive, to which Hope replies,"No! Well, we told Shay it was so he would stop playing with it. " But Shay believed it to be true, so he really wouldn't go in there without the suit.

Diduz76:

Q: Shay seems to have forgotten that his parents are human. Is this part of the SPLARGH treatment? Is this part of the whole Thrush “therapy”?

A: Deep down, Shay knows his parents are human. He just developed a way of relating to them that was cut off and distant, and this habit affected how he saw them. His parents contributed to this by being busy all the time, communicating to him only through the ship's intercom system, which made them look all fish-eyed and round. Also Shay's age made him vulnerable to this sort of distancing. Shay says on the beach "I mean, I guess I always knew my parents were people... It's just been a while since I thought of them that way." It's really just a literalization of something we all go through with our parents, I think. There's a point in our lives where we all realize our parents are just human beings.

Q: In act 2 you’re supposed to solve Shay’s puzzles using the clues accessible by Vella, and vice versa. Is there a real mental connection between them? This is not clear and many gamers/reviewers think it’s a just a cheap way to make the game harder. I’m sure there’s a narrative reason, because you’ve deliberately used this approach several times, especially in the final puzzle.

A: I always see the role of the player as the intuition of the character. The character is still who he or she is--Shay, Vella, Ben Throttle, Indiana Jones, etc. They are things they want, things they will or won't do ("I'm not putting my lips on that!") but the player is inside their head, giving them ideas. Pick up the hammer. Open the door. Then the character makes up their own justification--"Sure, why not. I could always use a hammer." So in this case, Shay and Vella have a sort of shared intuition. And you're right--it's not fully explained in the game. I didn't really think it had to be. We don't say for sure what the connection is between Shay and Vella ever--what does "shared intuition" mean? Why does shay seem so obsessed with "rescuing" the helpless creature that turns out to be Vella? Were they distantly related? Cosmically bound together? Not stated. Up to the player to decide. But the link is definitely indicated in the game when the two players talk about "going with their intuition." So, that's the most specific answer I can give you!

Also, as Diduz76 says, DOTT! :)

KestrelPi: In other words I could make a film or a book of DOTT and explain exactly how they solved all the problems on screen/paper so that the viewer understands. But right now I feel like I could do that with BA without making some very heavy assumption about the nature of the connection between Shay and Vella

A: If I were making a film or book of Broken Age, and I wanted to provide a more literal, less metaphysical explanation for the unattributed knowledge, I could easily make it clear that when Shay was young his mom wasn't so busy and Shay spent more time in her room. He saw the picture and the correct wiring patter there (or he saw it on the board in the picture when he was actually there) but he forgot it. Playing with the Hexipal wiring unearthed this forgotten memory, though he doesn't know where it came from. And Vella saw the scrap of paper with the musical star chart in a pile of papers in Alex's ship that we just couldn't see from the camera angle we had, and maybe Alex was idly humming the "return to previous destination" song as she walked around the pyramid. There is at least one "time passes" moment in their relationship, right before the Act 1 boss fight, where a lot of this stuff could have happened. True, it's not shown in the game, but this is my book and/or movie and I can do what I want! :)

Well, I hope that answers some questions at least!

Thanks for playing, everybody, and thanks for caring enough to ask these questions!

:)

Tim

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Awesome post, Tim! I've never really thought about the metaphysical role of the player as the characters' intuition in other games before, but you're right that it's more or less a convention in all adventure games. It just seems to have more of a presence in Broken Age because of the parallel plot and puzzle structure.

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That was awesome Tim!

I've read that you're against postmortems story wise but that could be likes, either way this was wonderful.

Still hoping those Google docs end up in the wild though.

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Thanks for the awesome post, Tim! Good to see most of the things I interpreted was either close or the same as the answers here. Although I'm still more inclined to see Shay's and Vella's success as persistence, I can definitely see how intuition could be a way to explain it.

Shay's forgetting and then remembering that his parents are human definitely resonated with me, as I've been though that sudden realization relatively recently as well. Probably why I didn't question that part of the story too much. Although, to literally treat his parents like computers, Shay must have been quite a teenager :P (considering his upbringing, I wouldn't doubt or blame him, honestly)

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Thanks a lot for the explanations!

I find the intuition idea absolutely perfectly and the game was a great joy and experience! I loved every second playing it and the documentary was a great experience, too. Thanks a lot for creating this game!

The only thing I'd like to know more about is why exactly Hope was always in her room and both parents never showed themself to Shay and accepted this situation. Also what was the surprise she prepared?

But if there is just not more behind this, that's okay, too.

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Q: Why does everyone stop trying to kill them when the ships melt?

A: Everyone in Loruna is totally shocked by the Mogs melting and is basically sitting at the controls with their jaws on the floor, not sure what to do. And who knows, maybe right after we cut away from Shay and Vella on the bridge, they started firing again. I also liked teallite's answer here. :)

I never had any problem with them seizing fire. They defended themselves against an attack, and when both ships were downed, where they supposed to keep firing missiles at a small group of people? That really wouldn't have made any sense in the context of the games world, and I struggle to find any game/movie/series/book where it would have been.

As I understood it, they never fired against a group of people, but at the threat that were the ships.

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I thought there were two plausible reasons why the shooting wouldn't have continued.

1. The only motivation the Thrush have to shoot at the protagonists would be to keep them silent in order to protect their abduction conspiracy. And it's ONLY the Thrush trying to do this, and they are a subculture in Loruna, whereas the rest of Loruna is presumably rather normal (like Shay's parents), so all of Loruna probably witnessed the mogs go down---notably like spaceships instead of like organic creatures. The thrush's goal isn't to destroy Shay and Vella. Their goal is to keep their operation secret and keep it going. But once the secret is out, the only thing that would keep them shooting is sheer vindictiveness. BUT they may not have that vindictiveness in them, because they don't seem to have the same fire inside them as someone like Vella. That's kinda why they want someone like her, you know? The thrush are white collar criminals. They're 99% calculating and 1% wrathful. They'd like to be a little bit more old west in their demeanor (hence abducting people with that capacity in them) but they're ultimately just blue-blooded, pencil-necked, huge-foreheaded, trust fund wimps.

2. If the Red Hangar is fully automated, the defenses could have also been automated. Maybe the defenses track large vessels but aren't capable of tracking tiny human targets. Once the vessels (mogs) go down, the automated defenses perceive that their work here is done.

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Thanks for the post, Tim. I wish I could forget the game so I could play it for the first time once more. :)

EDIT: I am thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to make that Q&A public, and not just leave it here on the backer forums.

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thanks for the explanation tim!

I really like that stuff about realizing that your parents are human beings. until now I was thinking of it more in terms of just being estranged and distant from your parents as a part of being/becoming a teenager...but what youre talking about is a different and bigger/better angle =) man I REALLY dig how you combine these themes with the fantastical setting. extremely nice and unique.

that said, I still feel like it maybe wouldnt have hurt with some more fictional reasons for the long time they were locked away/ fiddling with the ship somewhere...either a thrush thing (shay being quarantined as part of the ritual, maybe the parents were convinced they had some sort of disease that they didnt want to pass on to shay) or that shay himself played more of a part in isolating himself, with the parents actually trying to make physical contact from time to time.

by the way... I had never heard the word thrush before and had to look it up (and probably this has been discussed before): so does that refer to the singing bird or the vagina thing? I assume that word has more connotations than whats in the dictionary?

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What would have happened if all had gone to plan for Marek?

I'm assuming it would be something like - Shay and his favourite maiden would somehow end up in a ship of their own? But then...what was supposed to happen to all the other captured maidens? (at the end of Act 1 I was concerned their brains would be recycled as yarnpals/hexipals D: ) And, what if they didn't have a son to capture his own maidens, and...I don't understand!

Edit: Oh, I missed the conversation with the boss thrush that explained a bunch of it.

But still, what would have happened to the other maidens? Get put in the blender too?

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