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Old 07-26-2010, 03:27 PM   #1
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The interpretation of Limbo ending.

**SPOILERS WARNING. ENDING GIVEN AWAY BELOW**

The boy shattering through the glass at the end of the game respresented a car accident, not necessarily concluding his time in limbo but justifying his death. His sister descended the ropes thereafter to check on him and succombed to either hunger or the elements of the forest since the rope tore with no way to get back up, as indicated by the flies buzzing around the two spaces where their bodies were in the final moments of the game. Powerful stuff!! Great game too.
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
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Maybe the glass breaking was symbolic of him exiting limbo, it is after all just a waiting place on the way to heaven or hell, and his sister joined him so they could pass on together to their final eternal resting plane
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:08 PM   #3
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I love Gary's interpretation of the game, it gives me chills, haha. Regardless of what the true meaning of the end of the game is though, I want a LIMBO 2!
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:27 PM   #4
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I don't think the glass at the end symbolizes a car crash. He goes feet first through the glass, and there is more evidence pointing towards drowning and suicide. Putting all three together maybe he killed himself by driving a car into a lake.. Who knows though.
In my opinion, I think he was just a boy who killed himself to get into limbo to find his sister and that was it. We played his way through limbo to get to his sister. We don't know the before, or after. They could have been older, and in limbo they revert into children for whatever reason. What made me think of that is the tree house the girl is at is run down and old.

But, there are countless theories that one can think of, which all make sense, but we will never know. There are no facts given to the players. There may be some symbolic scenes, but everyone will interpret it differently, and it is fun to talk about.
Personally, I'm kind of sick with the whole "interpret it for yourself" thing.
Can't the game creators tell us a story?
I thought this game would do that, or at least I hoped so much I believed they would have put it in there somewhere. I'm all for finding crazy hidden things in games, but give us something for it! A completion score on a leader board is kind of silly! Give us more of the game instead.
I guess for myself, I have to realize it's a video game and not a Hemingway novel.
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:31 PM   #5
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There are lots of meaning in this game but whatever happened its still a sad game about a boy fighting death in limbo from start to finish.
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:33 PM   #6
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I think the glass shattering is the shattering of the idea of this world where he and his sister exist. It's the shattering of the boy's innocence, the moment at which he accepts death. It is in death where he finds his already deceased sister, sitting, playing, perhaps content with her fate. He stops, his search done. He can finally rest.
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:03 PM   #7
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Also, one last point for the car theory is that the closer you get to the end of the game, the more industrialized the world becomes, thus the inner-working of an automobile. The world itself flips and turns right before the breaking glass, as if in a bad car accident.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:47 PM   #8
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Where is everyone getting the idea that their dead? Is their something I missed?
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:15 PM   #9
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Where is everyone getting the idea that their dead? Is their something I missed?
Well, the game is called Limbo, which is the first circle of hell in Dante's Inferno and, colloquially, is regarded as the waiting room of the afterlife (i.e. "stuck in limbo").

Further, and this has been discussed in many places so I hope no one will take this as a spoiler, the positions at which the boy and his sister end the game are where two swarms of flies congregate after the credits conclude and at the game's title menu screen. This implies that they've died and have rotted to the point of drawing flies.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:52 PM   #10
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Ah, ok, I never believed in or read about the levels of hell, so I guess that makes sense. I don't know about the flies, but that would make sense.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:41 PM   #11
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I see it as the boy going through the window of a hotel, a suicide or something, and getting put in limbo. This would incorporate the constant hotel references, the glass, and why the majority of the gravity tricks are after the hotel part. (reference to falling)
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:50 PM   #12
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To me it seemed like more of a nightmare or a coma, and the smashing of the glass was him breaking free. It seems to me as afterwards he goes back to the same position as at the beginning, and wakes up again; however, this time he finds his sister waiting for him. Hence, he is back to his "normal" world.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:56 PM   #13
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To me it seemed like more of a nightmare or a coma, and the smashing of the glass was him breaking free. It seems to me as afterwards he goes back to the same position as at the beginning, and wakes up again; however, this time he finds his sister waiting for him. Hence, he is back to his "normal" world.
This is what I thought it was.
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:21 AM   #14
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Here's my input...maybe the flies are in those positions because they fell out of their tree house and that's how they died. I see the rest as just symbols of the decay of life. It begins with something simple, something natural this gives way to the basic human which relies on tribal instinct. This in turn gives way to sophistication and then machines. Each moment in the process decays in order to make way for the next but the cycle can be broken. This is how I see the breaking of the glass; the breaking of the cycle of decay. Those you cherish matter and that can overcome all the vileness surrounding.

With all the dramatization of global warming I can easily see a developer using a game to convey this kind of idea on others. They're definitely both dead but I wish I knew exactly what the designer was thinking in terms of how and why and the exact meaning of...well everything. I like games with open interpretation its why this and Braid are by far two of the best games on the 360 (including retail games) but a little more info would be nice.
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Old 07-27-2010, 03:24 AM   #15
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My interpretation is this. Both die in a car wreck (Dude there's a crashed car with a hole in the windshield right in the right hand corner of the main menu!/ the glass that the boy fly's through represents a windshield) even though a suicide case could be likely. I think that you are not playing a boy but a full grown man reliving his life as a child.

Evidence:
The game starts easy with child like feelings. Mainly the spider with is large this could relate to the fact that the boy had a fear of spiders. Likely a Large one. Continuing that topic the people in the game that try to kill the boy most likely represent people who picked on the boy when he was growing up. Finally the games background in the beginning are a bunch of tree houses representing both the boy and the girls youth.

I also think that the reason why the boy couldn't move on to the afterlife is because he was alone. He needed his sister to move on. Like that whole two halves of a whole. However his sister didn't know she was dead until you appeared behind her.

Evidence she didn't know she died:
The sisters eyes, like the the people who try to kill you are not glowing like the boys are. So this leads me to think that the boy is aware that he is dead and the sister and the other people are not. Also though she is burring the boys body when you find her. She looks up and goes oh damn it I died...

However what I think is this... The story is essentially this the boy was alone his whole life (did you see anybody be friendly towards you?) The boy needed his sister to be whole... So maybe he isn't looking for a sister but maybe half of himself? The good happy innocent part of himself that died when he grew up? Who knows! A wonderful story which could beat out even "Braids".
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:54 PM   #16
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I think this is exactly what PLAYDEAD wanted when making this game. I dont think there is a right or wrong way to interpret the ending, wich is what makes this such a beautiful game. I think the developers wanted people to experience the game in their own unique way,

but anyway some of you had some pretty interesting ideas and you guys should keep em coming
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:58 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Lunndonbridge View Post
Here's my input...maybe the flies are in those positions because they fell out of their tree house and that's how they died. I see the rest as just symbols of the decay of life. It begins with something simple, something natural this gives way to the basic human which relies on tribal instinct. This in turn gives way to sophistication and then machines. Each moment in the process decays in order to make way for the next but the cycle can be broken. This is how I see the breaking of the glass; the breaking of the cycle of decay. Those you cherish matter and that can overcome all the vileness surrounding.

With all the dramatization of global warming I can easily see a developer using a game to convey this kind of idea on others. They're definitely both dead but I wish I knew exactly what the designer was thinking in terms of how and why and the exact meaning of...well everything. I like games with open interpretation its why this and Braid are by far two of the best games on the 360 (including retail games) but a little more info would be nice.
I like your interpretation a lot. Never thought of it as the cycles of man, but it totally makes sense. You wake up surrounded by nothing (but an egg on your left), and as you progress you meet the tribals with spears and traps and dart guns. Gradually, and I don't know how the developers managed to do this, the game gets darker as you enter the industrialized sector.

The way I interpreted the ending was thus: The boy drowned and died. As he wakes up in Limbo he overcomes the workings of his vivid imagination. He seeks out his sister who still lives in the material world. He's looking for comfort, or some semblance of warmth.

There's a scene where you get wormed in the head and you are forced to run to the right only to see your sister for a few seconds as the light makes you run the other way, and when you finally get back to that spot your sister is gone. It's the exact same scene you witness at the end of the game.

As you finally make it to the "end" of your journey, you smash through the glass/water and end up where your journey began. Waking up, and seeing your sister who finally took her own life at the bottom of the tree house only to join you in limbo.
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:42 AM   #18
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some good theories here... i guess i'm the only one who thought this:

i guess it's kind of creepy, but i noticed how suddenly his sister became alert at the end as he *seemingly* crept up behind her... like an animal's survival instinct detecting a predator nearby... i wondered immediately if he was somehow responsible for her death
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:57 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by ofay View Post
Maybe the glass breaking was symbolic of him exiting limbo, it is after all just a waiting place on the way to heaven or hell, and his sister joined him so they could pass on together to their final eternal resting plane
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omega Hunter 9 View Post
I see it as the boy going through the window of a hotel, a suicide or something, and getting put in limbo. This would incorporate the constant hotel references, the glass, and why the majority of the gravity tricks are after the hotel part. (reference to falling)
Quote:
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i noticed how suddenly his sister became alert at the end as he *seemingly* crept up behind her i wondered immediately if he was somehow responsible for her death
I think its those three mixed together, thats sounds like it would be spot on IMO.

To sum it up, I think he was somehow responsible for her death and he couldn't live with the guilt so he committed suicide(out of a hotel window) so he could be at peace and apologize to his sister. Try get her forgiveness. The breaking of the glass at the end was IMO both jumping out the window and leaving limbo.

Also I just came up with another theory, not sure if its been said but maybe it was about him trying to save his sister, cause of the random people in the game escaping from him and the guys with the arrows and what-not. Maybe he was after the killers and then he does the suicide to meet up with his sister.

All in all I have no freakin idea they all sound so plausible. I wonder if there will be DLC for back story or anything of the sort.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:59 PM   #20
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unless the makers say otherwise, all interpretations are valid and i think most of the responses her are pretty clever. i love this about some video games/movies. its what ever makes sense in you head. sometimes its best to not give the viewer all the details and let their mind run wild. less is more. tho i know some people cannot stand when a story or an ending isnt set in stone for them, i welcome it. it only breeds more creativity.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:09 PM   #21
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Personally, I'm kind of sick with the whole "interpret it for yourself" thing.
Can't the game creators tell us a story?
This. More and more these days, developers (of all types of media) want to build these open ended stories that the consumer builds his/her own adaptation of. I can't help but think some are just being lazy. "Well, should the game end like this, or like that? Fuck it, we'll let the community decide."

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy hypothesizing my own outcomes, but as Dan said, sometimes I just want to be told a story.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:48 PM   #22
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some good theories here... i guess i'm the only one who thought this:

i guess it's kind of creepy, but i noticed how suddenly his sister became alert at the end as he *seemingly* crept up behind her... like an animal's survival instinct detecting a predator nearby... i wondered immediately if he was somehow responsible for her death
I got the feeling he was in some way responsible for his sisters death as well. Though in what way or even how this idea came to me I couldn't tell you.

Though the points brought up that the game takes you through "phases" that continually get more industrial and in a way more "adult" and the decrepit tree house in the menu (that looks intact in the endings).

Maybe this is a story of a boy who felt responsible for the death of his sister, and lived with the guilt his entire life until he died. The game is him reliving a twisted version of his own life. Until he is finally brought back to that moment with his sister, to ask forgiveness. Possibly determining if he goes to hell or heaven.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:54 PM   #23
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still not quite sure where the eggs fit in.....
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:06 PM   #24
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still not quite sure where the eggs fit in.....
Maybe they ate alot of eggs =)
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:58 PM   #25
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Maybe they ate alot of eggs =)
I also dont quite buy in the the whole car accident through the windshield thing. if it were true why and how on earth would he get ejected through the windshield FEET first?
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:49 AM   #26
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I also dont quite buy in the the whole car accident through the windshield thing. if it were true why and how on earth would he get ejected through the windshield FEET first?
Well feet first is symbolic of death so maybe they chose to do that instead of head first (birth) or maybe it has nothing to do with a car accident.
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Old 07-30-2010, 07:11 AM   #27
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I honestly hadn't even given the story a whole lot of thought until reading this. I guess there really could be quite a lot more going on, I'm going to pay more attention going back through. Thanks for all your interesting theories.
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Old 07-30-2010, 11:15 AM   #28
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Maybe the glass breaking was symbolic of him exiting limbo, it is after all just a waiting place on the way to heaven or hell, and his sister joined him so they could pass on together to their final eternal resting plane
That sounds about right to me
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Old 07-30-2010, 01:30 PM   #29
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I just started reading this thread today, having beaten the game last night. Some interesting theories here, makes me want to play through the game again to notice some of the details mentioned (not to mention to get the other eggs).

Also, I think this sort of answers the "are video games art" debate, doesn't it?
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:38 PM   #30
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I don't have the exact phrasing in front of me at the moment, but when downloading the game, its description says "Unsure of his sister's fate, a boy must enter Limbo to find her or discover the truth." Something to that effect. Leads me to believe that something happened to his sister (kidnapped or something of the like) After a period of time in not finding her, he does one of two things. 1.) Puts himself in a coma to enter some sort of Limbo state where he has to try and find her in said Limbo. Or 2.) He kills himself to enter Limbo to find her.

My interpretation of the glass shattering is him leaving Limbo having discovered that his sister was not in Limbo - although we got a glimpse of her kneeling in the same area but were forced to turn around with the head creature after which point she is no longer there. Perhaps that is the moment she left Limbo and went on to the next world. He now realizes his sister's fate, she has died, so he must now find a way to break free of Limbo to join her. The glass breaking is the moment he dies and is accepted into the afterlife. His sister, kneeling, obviously missing her brother, feels a chill as he approaches her at which point they have reunited and can be happy again. I also believe they were possibly twins, which would explain the bond between the two.
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