Author Topic: Theories on Neil  (Read 13476 times)

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Lunaramon

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Theories on Neil
« on: December 18, 2017, 12:43:53 PM »
This is my first time making one of these so I apologize if this theory sounds a bit off the rail.

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR BOTH FINDING PARADISE AND TO THE MOON!!!

At the end of Finding Paradise, we learn that Neil has actually saved Fay's data (this happened when she was temporarily frozen thanks to the sedatives Eva injected into Colin) and he's concluded that she's some kind of solution. We also know the two doctors decided to give Fay, the one who was manifested from Colin himself, the power to grant him his wish. Compared to the first game, we see that Fay left almost all of his memories the same but even then he was still satisfied with his life.

Note: as far as we know, this is the first instance the patient was given the power to grant their own wish. I know it technically wasn't Colin consciously doing it himself but Fay is basically a part of his mind...it's a bit confusing but I hope this sort of makes sense.

What if Neil was working on a more sophisticated way of granting wishes? Even when doctors dive into their patient's mind and "relive" their entire life they may not truly understand what's best for the patient. Yes, they experience the patient's entire life through memories but not even they can delve into their client's deepest thoughts. So what if he was looking for a way to tap into the patient's unconscious mind and utilize it to give the patient what they really want instead of erasing and rewriting their entire life just to fit a desire that the doctors concluded from their observations?

We know Neil has been secretly tampering with the Sigmund machine, as shown in both Finding Paradise and the second minisode special. We also know he sees much more potential in the company's machine yet he never specifies what that potential is. Perhaps he was secretly trying to use his own memories as an experiment to see if he could tap into that unconscious desire. That may also explain why he needs painkillers.

Maybe Neil isn't dying from an illness, as many theories suggest, but maybe he's experiencing the negative side effects of his secret experiments. The machine can only be used on dying subjects because it can lead to confusion and conflict in their everyday life, but perhaps there are other side effects that can occur when used on someone who isn't on their deathbed. Though this may still be a bit of a stretch.

Additionally, it seemed Neil wasn't all too surprised at the strange occurrences in Colin's memory. While Eva was rightfully disturbed at some parts of the memory (like the trees growing out of lockers) Neil seemed oddly quiet and calm. Perhaps his experiments were a success or maybe he simply wanted to test his hypothesis out on Colin, thus making Fay sentient.

This next part is when things start to get a bit...odd. At this point, I'm just throwing blindly in the dark but I thought it'd be nice to share my thoughts.

If the above is true then this may explain the ending to the second minisode special. I have two theories:

1. Perhaps Neil is confused on whether or not he's in the real world or in the machine. This could explain why he recorded the Christmas party as a means to confirm if what he's experiencing is real or not. This theory is highly unlikely as the very last scene to this minisode seems to suggest we are in Eva's memories. This point segways into the second theory.

2. Neil may have been uploading his own memories into the machine so he can safely alter it without damaging his perception of reality. If he could save Fay's data into the machine is it really a stretch to say he can't upload and save his own memories? If we're to assume the entire Christmas party was fake, then what really happened that Christmas night?

 I agree with previous theories, that Eva came back and saw Neil successfully using the machine on himself. I highly doubt she'd report him to a higher up, especially since she's apparently saved his ass from being fired before, though. Perhaps she managed to steal the machine or copy its data down (this seems most likely as it may not require her to unplug/disturb Neil, though it may still be a bit of a stretch since we aren't sure how capable she is at handling the machine) to see what he was doing. This may have prompted her to alter his/her memory of that night. I can't explain why she'd do it, maybe it's out of guilt for leaving him alone or fear that he'd continue to use it illegally and get in trouble. That'd explain why we can switch between the two doctors and why the memory isn't broken. There are essentially two memories working together.

Finally, if we assume Neil's experiment was a success in this scenario, we can still explain why he was trying to record the party. He may have been somewhat sentient, obviously not to the point Fay is but enough to question if he's in the real world or in the machine. This may be a result of his successful experimentation.

I want to replay that minisode and Finding Paradise again to get more clues. Then again, I could just be overthinking. Thanks for reading regardless! :)

Dragon Mage

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2017, 11:57:22 PM »
Well your theories aren't that far fetched since we see a copy of Eva and Neil (the one who shut down the power first) in the second minisode. Though we can't tell for sure of we was talking about Faye at the end of FP or someone else (perhaps Eva)?

Multiuniverse

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 04:10:20 AM »
Well your theories aren't that far fetched since we see a copy of Eva and Neil (the one who shut down the power first) in the second minisode. Though we can't tell for sure of we was talking about Faye at the end of FP or someone else (perhaps Eva)?

There’s a screen near the machine in the ending scene with a female figure who looks like Faye more than Eva.

So I’d assume it’s Faye.
“My story is done, but it keeps on starting over. In the end it will hover like an invisible note, embedded in the wind that ceaselessly blows from the sea. It will exist in the raindrops falling on the parched earth, and in the end it will exist in the air we breath” - Henning Mankell (Chronicler of The Winds)

Multiuniverse

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 08:43:34 AM »
If you alter your own memory then you’d wake up from it at the machine and there’d be a paradox because you’d then realize you altered your own memory.

Also in the minisodes no one was static so for your theory to stand the characters have to have superb memory to remember everyone
“My story is done, but it keeps on starting over. In the end it will hover like an invisible note, embedded in the wind that ceaselessly blows from the sea. It will exist in the raindrops falling on the parched earth, and in the end it will exist in the air we breath” - Henning Mankell (Chronicler of The Winds)

Lunaramon

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 12:36:04 PM »
True, but the setting for the episode takes place within the company building so the characters would be familiar with the people in it.

Lunaramon

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 12:38:39 PM »
Well your theories aren't that far fetched since we see a copy of Eva and Neil (the one who shut down the power first) in the second minisode. Though we can't tell for sure of we was talking about Faye at the end of FP or someone else (perhaps Eva)?

Ooh I didn't even consider the possibility of Eva. I don't know, it seems more likely it'd be about Faye (just realized I butchered her name LOL) because we have evidence of Neil saving her data.

Dragon Mage

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2017, 06:26:37 PM »
Well your theories aren't that far fetched since we see a copy of Eva and Neil (the one who shut down the power first) in the second minisode. Though we can't tell for sure of we was talking about Faye at the end of FP or someone else (perhaps Eva)?

There’s a screen near the machine in the ending scene with a female figure who looks like Faye more than Eva.

So I’d assume it’s Faye.
Idk, I'll have to play it again. Just doesn't make sense since they didn't know Faye until FP... unless he needed a model for some AI.

Noammac

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2017, 09:09:18 AM »
a. I believe the changes Neil did to the machine included the Public Domain Stabilizers, which (if I understood this correctly) stabilize memories using data from the public domain so they would be as realistic as possible. This would explain the lockers merging with the trees and the weird shape of the hallway as Colin has a very creative imagination and he lets it merge in his memories (as can be seen in A Bird Story). I personally believe Neil removed those so he can use the machine on himself, as we can see in Minisode 2. If Neil wanted to change his memories with as little conflict as possible, he would probably make sure the machine doesn't interfere with how he sees the world, but that's just my guess.
b. I believe Neil showed Faye to Roxanne and Rob. If you manage to defeat Faye in the RPG (throw a shoe after Rudog attack to add them to the party, then attack with them. DON'T QUESTION RUDOG) it is shown that Neil copies her after Eva leaves the memory. I do agree with Lunaramon about using Faye for subconscious-considerate wish fulfilment, but perhaps there is something else he thinks he can use her for. Since we still don't exactly know what Neil is trying to do with the machine (we don't have enough clues), we can only guess what he wants to do with Faye.
c. I would like to bring up a question about Faye's consciousness. How exactly did she gain her consciousness? I get that she's considered a subroutine to Colin's mind, but the machine doesn't fill in blanks just like that. Would she still be a conscious entity if the stabilizers were still in place? If her existence depends on Colin's memories and experience (to create and progress her), what happened when Neil saved her? And what exactly did he save?

At the moment I am unable to answer these questions or even think of a fitting line of logic to address them, but I may think of some in the future and update this thread (via replies).

StarwindD6

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2017, 11:42:09 AM »
a. I believe the changes Neil did to the machine included the Public Domain Stabilizers, which (if I understood this correctly) stabilize memories using data from the public domain so they would be as realistic as possible. This would explain the lockers merging with the trees and the weird shape of the hallway as Colin has a very creative imagination and he lets it merge in his memories (as can be seen in A Bird Story). I personally believe Neil removed those so he can use the machine on himself, as we can see in Minisode 2. If Neil wanted to change his memories with as little conflict as possible, he would probably make sure the machine doesn't interfere with how he sees the world, but that's just my guess.
b. I believe Neil showed Faye to Roxanne and Rob. If you manage to defeat Faye in the RPG (throw a shoe after Rudog attack to add them to the party, then attack with them. DON'T QUESTION RUDOG) it is shown that Neil copies her after Eva leaves the memory. I do agree with Lunaramon about using Faye for subconscious-considerate wish fulfilment, but perhaps there is something else he thinks he can use her for. Since we still don't exactly know what Neil is trying to do with the machine (we don't have enough clues), we can only guess what he wants to do with Faye.
c. I would like to bring up a question about Faye's consciousness. How exactly did she gain her consciousness? I get that she's considered a subroutine to Colin's mind, but the machine doesn't fill in blanks just like that. Would she still be a conscious entity if the stabilizers were still in place? If her existence depends on Colin's memories and experience (to create and progress her), what happened when Neil saved her? And what exactly did he save?

At the moment I am unable to answer these questions or even think of a fitting line of logic to address them, but I may think of some in the future and update this thread (via replies).


I believe Faye gaining a mind of her own is a result of Colin's mind breaching the "single-threaded" firewall which was the result of Neil's tampering in the first place. The doctors have a hard time even realising who she is, because it's never happened before, and should never happen with a normal Sigmund machine. It also explains why she has so much power over even Neil who has "administrator" privileges.

It's likely that Neil did the tampering so as to produce a conscious, self-thinking Faye so he could copy her for whatever he is going to do, but that would involve him knowing about Colin's case and the fact that there's an imaginary friend who possibly could be used for his plans in his memories, which as far as we know, he doesn't.

EatingToastYay

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2017, 01:44:40 PM »
This isn't as related, but I wonder if the features missing from the machine, like the public domain stabilizers and the correction of spatial inconsistencies, are not gone because they've been removed, but because no one put them there in the first place? Roxie does say that the official machine given to Eva and Neil is in Neil's office, instead of where it should be (y'know, traveling with them). We did see him struggling to make his self-made machine work in the second minisode, and it seems to be the same as the one in FP, with the helmet that looks weird and all. Is it possible that, while he was creating it, he wasn't able to implement everything that the original had?

Also, while played for laughs, the "character customization" feature Neil made does set up a precedent for the ability to change the appearances of users inside memories. So, even though in the second minisode Eva thought she saw herself, maybe it was Neil or someone else..
...or not, that is a bit too complicated.

Merlandese

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2017, 02:06:52 PM »
Since we still don't exactly know what Neil is trying to do with the machine (we don't have enough clues)...

I'm pretty sure he's using it to make ketchup

bobbybrickson

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2017, 03:29:52 PM »
Hi, lurker here. Here's something I wouldn't have noticed has I not gone through the posts on here and on Steam...

There's a scene in Sigmund Minisode Episode 2, where Eva plays the sound of ambient waves for Neil, shown here: https://youtu.be/NuoIrhYnESM?t=105

I was watching my friend play through the end of Finding Paradise a few hours ago, and I noticed something. At the end of the scene in "the vortex" , the sound of waves begin, and they last until Neil hands the lighter to Sophia. It's not exaggerating either, the sound is easily recognizable and even loud. You can see the sound begin around here: https://youtu.be/iGB9PALbqEo?t=15758, but it's most easily heard later on, during the talk with Faye and inside of Colin's room with his family. I personally don't think it's just a coincidence - it's very specifically the sound of waves, and more than that, it's part of multiple scenes where the sound effect doesn't totally make sense in context.

Here's a theory, which probably doesn't have too much weight considering, but is interesting to consider nonetheless. Could it be implying that that particular memory sequence is altered? Without Faye's intervention, and likely because of Neil's tampering, Neil and Eva would have known, without room for doubt, that they failed to grant Colin's wish. Perhaps the talk with Faye and the showing Sophia the messages Colin left in lemon juice are both altered memories, designed to "fix" the regret Neil (or even Eva) feels?
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 03:31:37 PM by bobbybrickson »

StarwindD6

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2017, 04:17:22 PM »
Hi, lurker here. Here's something I wouldn't have noticed has I not gone through the posts on here and on Steam...

There's a scene in Sigmund Minisode Episode 2, where Eva plays the sound of ambient waves for Neil, shown here: https://youtu.be/NuoIrhYnESM?t=105

I was watching my friend play through the end of Finding Paradise a few hours ago, and I noticed something. At the end of the scene in "the vortex" , the sound of waves begin, and they last until Neil hands the lighter to Sophia. It's not exaggerating either, the sound is easily recognizable and even loud. You can see the sound begin around here: https://youtu.be/iGB9PALbqEo?t=15758, but it's most easily heard later on, during the talk with Faye and inside of Colin's room with his family. I personally don't think it's just a coincidence - it's very specifically the sound of waves, and more than that, it's part of multiple scenes where the sound effect doesn't totally make sense in context.

Here's a theory, which probably doesn't have too much weight considering, but is interesting to consider nonetheless. Could it be implying that that particular memory sequence is altered? Without Faye's intervention, and likely because of Neil's tampering, Neil and Eva would have known, without room for doubt, that they failed to grant Colin's wish. Perhaps the talk with Faye and the showing Sophia the messages Colin left in lemon juice are both altered memories, designed to "fix" the regret Neil (or even Eva) feels?

Immensely interesting! I just want to add that not only is it the background of the scenes in the Wyles family's house in TtM it's also right at the end of the last soundtrack (where the heart monitor beep stops). With your theory this also makes the end of TtM another "changed" memory.

Dragon Mage

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2017, 01:24:14 AM »
Or Kan just used the exact same waves sound effect for the appropriate scenes :P

Adahn

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Re: Theories on Neil
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2017, 12:15:59 PM »
I'm still entirely bamboozled by what's going on with Neil, though as I've argued elsewhere, I definitely do not think he was trying to use Faye to create some sort of AI. I like Lunaramon's theory, though I am not fully convinced by it, and am still developing a theory I've been nursing for a while. What I do like about Lunaramon's theory, though, is that it neatly explains why Neil would bring his new (and as it would seem, hitherto-un-field-tested) machine into the field and use it on a patient, of all people! I agree with StarwindD6 that if Neil had been planning to bag himself an AI, he would have had to know things about Colin and Faye he didn't seem to know throughout the course of early Finding Paradise, and so explaining his work on his machine as attempting to pioneer some sort of improvement in this technology, for the benefit of his patients evades this difficulty. (We do know Neil has a tendency to get emotionally involved, too.) In addition, it explains why Rob would be so quick to jump on board, given how he's presented in Minisode 2 as the guy who takes their work extremely seriously. I doubt he would countenance Neil spending his time developing things with company equipment that simply doesn't benefit their patients, much less doing it behind everyone's back.

I think what we do need though is some idea of what the change is. Minisode 1!Neil and Minisode!2Neil appear to be much different, and the shift continues into FP. Minisode!2 Neil is increasingly secretive, and focused on...well, whatever his project is. But what motivated this?

That being said, I think one strike against the corollary-theory that Neil recorded the Christmas party in order to determine whether it really happened or not is that it makes very little sense.

Consider:

A. Neil thinks he is in a simulation, and furthermore, suspects he is either a memory-state, or that he has his memories continuously tampered with. Only in this situation (of memories being tampered) does it make sense for Neil to want to record things, as a preventive measure, so that once recordings are taken, he can compare them with his memories down the road to see if there are any discrepancies. But if so, why only the Christmas party? Why not take more frequent recordings?

B. Neil thinks he is in a simulation, and is not sure whether what is happening is really happening. Hence, he records the Christmas party in order to determine if it is really happening. This to me makes no sense: first, Neil should have no reason to doubt if an event that is presently happening is actually happening--as far as we know, the issue with the technology is about the past, rather than the present. Furthermore, if Neil is in a simulation, why wouldn't a simulated recorder (after all, it is surely part of the simulation as well!) produce a simulated recording? (In other words: if you are in a simulation, and there is no reason to think what you are doing might break the simulation, then how would you be able to tell whether you are in a simulation or not?)

It seems to me like the only way to make sense of this kind of approach would be to claim that Neil was taking precautions against future alterations of his memory (why this memory? Why not others?) So no; I think the idea that Neil actually enjoyed the party, despite all that fuss, and took a recording of what was essentially a great memory is more parsimonious.