So this article’s going to cover the four endings of Soma.
For anyone that hasn’t played through Soma yet, stop reading this and get back to scaring yourself so bad that you’ll need to sleep with a night light again for a week.
This has some major spoilers that will ruin the game’s ending, and most of the game for that matter, unless you’ve beaten it already.
Seriously, go play it already.
Soma doesn’t seem to have multiple endings at first glance. There’s only one real “ending” that happens: space gun fires the ARK into space, leaving a fuming and furious Simon on the bottom of the ocean floor and an ecstatic Simon in the ARK’s programming. If we consider, however, that the end of a game, or of almost every story for that matter, is the end of the protagonist’s journey, there could be a strong argument that there are four endings.
From pretty early on, Catherine tells you that the “you” that you’re perceiving the world from is a copy of the original Simon from Toronto. The brain scan was sent to the underwater research stations, and WAU put Simon’s scan into a robot/flesh combo. And from there on you make two more copies of Simon, leaving four total Simons in the worlds. This implies that Simon has four different endings and four different paths that he’s taken. So while the player has only gone through one ending, Simon has gone through four lives.
The Life of Choice
Simon’s first life is also the one that players know the least about. Past having a small apartment in Toronto and being in a car crash, Simon’s modern-day human form holds the most potential. Maybe he went on to pursue research into neuroscience and the brain after his traumatic injury. He could have created piles of research that would eventually be used in the creation of the ARK. He could have also lost his job and went homeless. Or he could have been hit by a bus just after the scan was done in the doctor’s office. We do know, however, that this Simon didn’t last too long. Found in some data on Theta, we learn that Simon died “not long after his scan.” But whether that means a few days, a few months, or a few years is still unknown. There’s a lot that Simon could’ve done in that timespan. The first life of Simon, from the player’s perspective, ends with the possibility of the unkown.
The Life of Confusion
Simon’s second life starts almost like a newborn child. He’s brought into a world that he’s completely unfamiliar with and has to learn how to survive quickly. He grows, learns, and adapts like a child, and remains relatively innocent of the world’s problems, only until the end of his life. Even when having to kill the conciousnesses inside the robots as he completes tasks, he does so with a child-like innocence that shields him from becoming damaged.
His life is the only one the players have a direct choice over. When switching into the powersuit, you are given the choice to essentially end your own life. Ending his life there would mean leaving him innocent to the woes of living a life alone inside Omicron, but would also mean killing an instance of your own life. Having him live would force him to face isolation and despair alone, most likely ending in his suicide. Without a mother figure like Catherine keeping him on track and ensuring he is okay, he will not survive long.
The Life of Burden
From there, a new Simon and his life are constantly bombarded with guilt and self-deprecating defeat. His first decision he has to make in this new life is whether to kill or leave his old life alive, and the decisions don’t become easier from there. Choosing whether or not to kill the last human alive or whether or not to kill WAU create a character that’s been asked to do too much in too little time.
A Dr. Who quote comes to mind with the third Simon. “Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.” His goal has now been trimmed down to delivering the ARK to its promise land: space. The third Simon is pushing away from everything he’s seen. He’s easy to snap back at Catherine, but also shows that he has grown in experience. His conversation with her going down into the abyss proves that he has learned from his past life and is using those lessons in some manner.
The experiences that follow, meeting the last human and WAU, weigh heavily on him, though, and with his final words to Catherine, he curses everything about his existence. She curses back, and the power turns off halfway through her screaming at him. What happens after the power turns off is unknown. He might be locked in the Pilot Seat forever, sitting next to the object that was supposed to launch him to the stars. Or he might be cursed to forever walk the depths of the abyss, haunting its floor like the creatures he hid from all this time. But his life ends at the lowest point of all, both literally and figuratively.
The Life of Hope
This is the life Simon-2 has been pushing towards. Since finding Catherine. Since being put in the oceanic hell that changed Simon completely, he now gets to live in the idyllic computer-simulated life with Catherine and the rest of the ARK team. This represents the time and space that Simon’s been looking for to understand what he’s done, the lives he’s lived, and to breathe. What he wants to do with his life is now up to him and him alone, with the ability to do anything the computer program can create.
While this life is still as unknown as Simon’s first life, this one is now living in a world with no concept of money, no concept of time, and no concept of limited material wealth. He’s got a lot of issues to think over, but he’s also got a lot of time to think about it. He’s accomplished his goal of sending the ARK off, and he’s earned some R and R. It’s the ending that feels the weakest due to the theme and atmosphere that Soma’s built up. Very few protagonists in horror movies feel a sense of joy and happiness at the end. It’s almost like a life after the past few live’s deaths; like his own personal heaven.