Part 10: Appendix II - "Of Everything That Stands"Appendix II - Of Everything That Stands
And so, at last, we come to the end of this merry journey. This is my final update for this thread, and it's just going to tie up a few loose ends. This time, we're dealing with outstanding questions from the thread
So how much of the game was real?
Good question. If you take the stance that the entire thing is Walker's self-repeating ironic hell, then, strictly speaking, none of it was, or at least nothing past the opening helicopter sequence. Past that, however, is entirely up to debate. Personally, I think we can accept the intel as fact: they generally cover conversations and events outside of Walker's knowledge. The first few missions are also probably safe, at least up until chapter 5, and Walker goes careening off the side of a building. Walker's first major freak-out moment doesn't really come until the initial WP strike in chapter 7. After that, shit goes off the rails, and it's hard to pin down. The devs have explicitly stated that any time there's a scene transition to white, that's Walker hallucinating, but doesn't really tell us when his hallucinations stop. And there's a white transition immediately before Walker orders the WP strike on the 33rd and the civilians.
Make of that what you will.
What's the basic timeline leading up to the game?
This is a rough chronology of the immediate storyline, not including stuff like when Konrad originally saved Walker or when the Radioman initially hooked up with the 33rd. If I'm missing or wrong about anything, let me know and I'll edit it in.
- Immediately before the storm hits, the rich and famous of Dubai flee the city, suppressing all knowledge of the gigantic storm on the way. Robert Darden, a reporter, enters the city trying to get information in an attempt to blow the lid off the story. He is told, in no uncertain terms, to go fuck himself.
- Soon after the storm, the US army is sent in to try and evacuate as many people as they can and offer aid and relief. Konrad, back from deployment in Afghanistan, volunteers his unit to help with the evacuation. Darden finds himself embedded with the 33rd, having a previous working relationship with John Konrad.
- The army is eventually ordered out the city, but Konrad, believing he can still do more, bucks orders and keeps the 33rd behind. The storms eventually become so severe, the entire area is cut off for some six months. The Damned 33rd are labelled traitors and the unit is deemed to have gone rogue.
- Inside Dubai, the situation deteriorates, but the 33rd is able to maintain some degree of stability. Darden eventually gains the trust and friendship of Konrad and is essentially made his de facto right hand man. However, some of the 33rd are unhappy with Konrad's actions in Dubai and a small civil war breaks out. The dissenters are eventually put down.
- Some time after, a CIA team, codenamed Grey Fox manages to infiltrate the area covertly. Their aim is to make sure that the truth of what happened in Dubai never makes it out and get to work undermining the 33rd's control, stirring up and arming the local populace and starting an organized resistance with varying degrees of success. By this point, Darden has assumed control of the airwaves, jury-rigging transmitters and speakers across the city. He broadcasts news and music in an attempt to lift people's spirits. How much control he actually has within the 33rd is uncertain, but he seems to have enough to be able to order troops around, at least due to his association with Konrad.
- Konrad attempts to lead an evacuation of 1300 men, women and children. The attempt ends in complete disaster. In despair, he orders his men to maintain order in the city at all costs, sends out a final message and commits suicide, unable to deal with the loss.
- CIA Agent Daniels tries to make it outside the storm wall to radio a message back to base, but is captured, tortured and eventually killed.
- Two weeks before the game begins, the message is received. A three-man team of Delta operators are sent into the city to ascertain the situation. The team consists of Captain Martin Walker, 1st Lieutenant Alphanso Adams and Staff Sergeant John Lugo, with orders to scout out the area and report back with any findings.
During the scene where Delta finally busts in on the Radioman, why didn't Walker (or somebody) give more clear evacuation instructions?
Probably due to a mix of Walker's single-mindedness in reaching Konrad, and a lack of time. The team doesn't have much of a long-term plan throughout the game, and whenever they do, it's either someone else's caper (Riggs, Gould) or it's literally minute-to-minute. Lugo executed the Radioman over the air, and by Walker broadcasting his message immediately after, they announced exactly where they were to the 33rd, so time, obviously, was of the essence. Walker likely assumed they'd have time to organise a proper evacuation after they reached Konrad, but he's so caught up in his bloodlust upon reaching the evac chopper, he winds up destroying the transmission tower under the auspices of sending Konrad a 'message'. Why Adams and Lugo didn't attempt to stop him is a good question, but given the situation, likely they were terrified of him by this point.
Why did members of the 33rd split off and form their own rogue faction?
Probably because they were sick of fighting and just wanted to go home. The intro states that Konrad volunteered them immediately after a tour of Afghanistan. Fatigue, stress and the feeling of fighting another uphill battle would've been bad enough, but Konrad's order to remain while everyone else left is a hell of a final straw, and that's before you consider any penalties for ignoring orders or being branded a traitor. Factor all that in, and it's not hard to see why anyone would do that.
Do you think it was significant that all the major actors within Dubai were American?
Very much so, yes. The game starts off facing you with the generic insurgents we've seen a hundred times before, in games and on the news. You're used to it, so it serves to draw you into a false sense of security. Next thing you know, the scary brown people babbling in a funny language have been replaced with recognisable faces speaking perfect English and it suddenly feels very wrong. The same goes for the fact that we wind up wrapped up in a CIA plot. Too often the CIA are portrayed as moustache-twirlin' bad guys in an incredibly bland and generic way. They're sneaky and dishonest and want to kill everyone who opposes them because they are the Secret Hand That Turns The World or some bollocks like that. Some of you out there probably had them pegged the second Castavin showed up, right? Being involved in a plan that dooms everyone in Dubai to a slow, agonizing death - the kind of thing the CIA would likely do in real life - ironically subverts your expectations and turns Gould from a Sneaky Company Spook to Evil Personified. I'll be honest, as a Scotsman living a world away from the US, I get the feeling it had less impact on me, compared to your average American. I'd personally love to see how a jingoistic Fox News-watching, SUPPORT ARE TROOPS patriot would react when faced with this game.
And that's about it. Thank you all for indulging me spergin' like a maniac over this game. I honestly believe it's one of the most important games to come out in recent years, for having the guts to come out and critique an entire genre from within. I have little doubt that someday, it'll be spoken of in the same breath as games like Bioshock and Silent Hill 2, games that dared to challenge the player's expectations and beliefs and screw with them in ways they never expected.
Hopefully I'll get the chance to do something like this with another game someday. And on that day, we can all gather together again, we can sit, discuss and argue all day and night. And you bastards can all get my name wrong repeatedly.
Seriously, it's Dragoon! Dragoon! Two Os, not one, two!