Finished Eternal after it's latest update

For topics about the story, help in a certain level, game discussion, or finding/discussing content.
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Joined: Sep 12th '10, 23:30

Since watching Rampancy play the newest updated version of Eternal, I just ran through it myself

I wanted to say, great job Phorrest, the final chapter is actually fun now, which is a far cry from how it used to be.

I wanted to ask though, the final terminal where you talk to Durandal talks about how the Jjaro and their tyranny ends up becoming the same as or as bad as the Wrckcacnter, but I didn't really understand it, can you explain?
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As one of the devs (and the one who had the most to do with the chapter five gameplay balance) I think I speak for all of us in saying thanks!

As to your question, it’s been discussed a few times before, but to some extent, it’s the old Nietzsche quote, “Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster,” come to life. Eternal, at the time of its original release in 2004, was intended as something of a parable about then-current events. The W’rkncacnter were essentially the scenario’s analogue of terrorists, and the Jjaro were the scenario’s analogue of the U.S. government. The Jjaro responded to the attacks from the W’rkncacnter by essentially giving up any semblance of civil liberties or democracy. So, essentially, you’ve got Chaotic Evil (the W’rkncacnter) versus what winds up as Lawful Evil (the Jjaro), which wind up as two different flavours of completely suicidal authoritarianism. (It is presumably not coincidental that the W’rkncacnter in Eternal’s setting are insane Jjaro, just to drive the point home further.)

Obviously, the War on Terror isn’t as topical now as it was when the first version of the game was released in 2004, but the story is actually timelier in some respects now than it was when it was written due to the increasing authoritarianism of modern society, not to mention the story’s employment of what Professor Tolkien referred to as applicability. Pfhorrest smartly didn’t make the Jjaro or W’rkncacnter into 1:1 analogues of their most immediate inspirations; it’s not as if the U.S. ca. 2001 was the first society to give up its civil liberties in response to a terrorist attack, and unfortunately, we can be reasonably certain that we won’t be the last. At any place where two different flavours of authoritarianism are at war and begin to mirror each other, odds are fairly high that Eternal will maintain at least some relevance.

The other crucial matter is that the Jjaro have become outright obsessive about making certain that not one detail of history gets changed, and in their insistence upon this point, they have turned themselves into outright reactionaries. This results in the stagnation and, as we see at the end of the scenario, ultimate destruction of not just their society but, to my understanding, the entire galaxy in the failed timeline at the end of the game, and if I’ve unravelled the game’s complicated time travel plot correctly, then Durandal is essentially saying that it is up to the player to stop this from occurring after we return to Lh’owon at the end of the game. Any potential applicability to the state of our natural environment is probably not a coincidence, though unfortunately, unlike Marcus and Durandal, we won’t get a do-over.

Pfhorrest has discussed this a few times before, including at least once on the Pfhorums; the relevant exchange begins here, about 2/3 of the way into the lengthy spoiler-tagged segment in my text. We discussed some of this in the last few minutes of the Rampancy stream, as well; in case you missed it (it was after the ending screen, so you might’ve already shut it off) or somehow already forgot, the relevant segment begins here. (Apologies for the crappy audio – I didn’t know how much background noise there was until after the stream started, at which point it was a bit late to fix it.) There’s also a bit of discussion of the scenario’s themes on the Marathon TV Tropes page. (Not going to link, though, because TV Tropes will ruin your life.)
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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