This is a response to Patrick Klepek’s article detailing the message board hypotheses defending Soma’s “evil” AI —— EXPECT MAJOR SPOLIERS FOR SOMA. Soma is easily my GOTY 2015, and quite possibly the best game to come out so far this decade. I’m absolutely in love with this game, and I’ve got a lot to say about its implications.
Original article is here:
I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game between whether or not the ARK or WAU is superior, or whether either is good or evil - I just think MANKIND is dead; the planet, however, lives on. If you pay attention to a computer terminal outside Tau, you’ll see that marine animal populations dropped sharply after Doomsday, but that they rapidly recovered their numbers in the few years afterwards. You could attribute this to WAU creating mutant fish, but I don’t think this is the case; Pathos-II is a very small chunk of the sea floor, and even there, you’ll see hundreds of untainted animals living their lives. If WAU dies, the tainted animals will die as well... But the normal animals, they will be fine.
Humanity may die off, but it is not the end for Planet Earth. The first land-dwelling plants and animals came from the sea, and “tainted” the barren surface coating it in green flora and lively fauna. In that sense, life’s migration to the surface is not unlike WAU’s absorbtion of Pathos-II. Hell, from the perspective of a hypothetically-sentient planet, the creatures coming from the depths to inhabit the surface could very well resemble the cancerous growth of WAU.
You can argue that WAU may be a better solution, that life would be restored to the surface much faster... But life finds a way. The planet is not dead and gone, just the creatures that inhabited the surface; and even then, it’s highly unlikely that, for instance, cave-dwelling creatures, microbial life, and extremophiles of all shapes and sizes died from a simple space rock.
And is mankind really WORTH saving? Sarah, in her dying words, mentions that she’s from a city in Greenland - a city of 12 million people in Greenland. Humans have clearly reached a chronic point of overpopulation on the surface, and Pathos-II was likely conceived as a project to send more humans among the stars; spreading humans among the stars... Like a cancerous growth, humans have enveloped (and will continue to do so) everything they’ve known.
If you look at things from that perspective, the ARK may be the best possible fate for humanity; it, for a time, preserves the minds and “souls” of human, without bringing their worst elements to the cosmos. Of course... If you know anything about space technology, you’ll recognize that space equipment is impossible to sterilize. Microbial life can survive in outer space (although I’m not sure for how long). If the ARK did land on another body in space? Earth’s simple lifeforms could potentially find a new home.
So if you consider the way life works, the way life spreads... No, WAU is not evil. It is, for all intents and purposes, a new form of life. Like life on Earth, it will surely evolve; change and adapt. But is it ethical to allow it to do so at the expense of the lifeforms still thriving on Earth? I personally do not think so. And yeah, that’s weird to say, given that WAU is like a cousin to all life on Earth...
But yeah. SOMA is seriously a great game, and this is one of many topics of discussion that I could have about this game. I’ve been wracking my mind over some of this game’s subject matter, and... It’s been a long time since a game has made me think this much. I think Silent Hill 2 was the only other game with this sort of power over my mind. :P GO BUY IT.