Outlast 2's story has been confounding players since its April release. Many people were upset that the ending was unsatisfyingly vague, or without explanation entirely, but, as we went over in our review, it just takes a bit of elbow grease to determine what is likely the outcome, hitting a sweet spot of uncertainty much like Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
But, in case you are still without a clue, Red Barrels, developer for the Outlast series, just Tweeted a likely confirmation of a popular theory regarding the fate of the characters in Outlast 2.
[***THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR OUTLAST 2***]
There's Nothing There
Jumping right into the ending sequence of Outlast 2. Blake has rescued his wife, Lynn, from the mines and is heading toward the only shelter in sight: the church. After evading Marta, Blake and Lynn successfully arrive in the pews of Papa Knoth's house of worship, where the now-infamous birth scene occurs.
After giving birth, Lynn turns her head toward Blake, who is now holding their child, and says cryptically "There's nothing there," as she dies. One interpretation of this is that, as she is dying, she realizes that there is not paradise or anything waiting for her after death: there's nothing there.
However, another popular theory emerged for what she could be talking about: the baby. Rather than just turning her head as a dying lament, Lynn was likely looking at what Blake was holding, to which she said "There's nothing there," meaning Blake wasn't holding a baby. There wasn't any baby. This seems to be indeed the case after Red Barrels Tweeted a fan-art picture of Blake carrying the baby, but added themselves "There's nothing there. But you can check out more of ma98me's work here." With this image, the phrase "there's nothing there," can only be referring to the baby.
The theory is that Lynn's pregnancy was psychosomatic, a real-life phenomenon where a woman thinks she is or wants to be pregnant so bad that the show signs of pregnancy, even down to the expanded abdomen. This condition is much more often found in animals, but whatever, we're dealing with fiction here.
This theory didn't come out of nowhere, either. In Outlast: Whistleblower, you will come accross a document called Miscarried Profits. In it, a Murkoff staffer sends an email to pre-crazy Dr. Richard Trager telling him "Apparently we had issues with female employees experiencing psychosomatic pregancies, something to do with how the Morphogenic Engine interacts with the immune system?"
He then goes on to say "Why aren't we performing experiments on women. God knows mental illness is an equal opportunity affliction. Seems unethical to pass up on such a potential windfall."
The Morphogenic Engine is the device in the original Outlast that lets people take control of the Walrider, so it's very possible that the Murkoff Corporation used it to experiment on women just like this person suggested. With Red Barrels' Tweet, this seems to be confirmed.
What does it mean for the end?
Even if her pregnancy is psychosomatic, what does that mean for the story and ending of Outlast 2? Didn't the sun still explode bringing about the apocalypse? What does any of this pregnancy stuff matter? Let's explore:
First off, this fully explains why Papa Knoth wasn't able to kill the baby. He says no matter what he tried, he wasn't able to kill him and instructs Blake to crush his head beneath his boot if he has the chance and ability. If this is a fake baby, of course Papa Knoth wouldn't be able to kill it. Now, is it likely that both Blake and Papa Knoth are hallucinating the same baby? Probably not, but they both could be hallucinating a baby.
During the course of Outlast 2, you'll often experience a loud noise that sounds like a boat horn accompanied by a flash of bright light. When this first occurs, it has no effect on Blake, but everyone around him becomes almost petrified and is overcome with visions of their past. As the game goes on, you'll notice that these noises being to preclude the famous Catholic School scenes, where Blake imagines himself back at Catholic School with his deceased friend Jessica.
An important part that people often miss in Outlast 2 is the existence of a set of towers or some other building. You can spot this across the lake and take a video record of it. But what is it? Well, as you cross the lake, another loud noise/bright light incident happens, but it's clear that both of these are coming from the area where you saw the mysterious towers.
One person even writes to Papa Knoth about going near these towers, saying "I was overcome with waking dreams as of a power I had never before experienced. I saw things I cannot describe. There were flames and insects and what may have been mouths and what may have been sex organs. I must have walked from inside my dream state because I found myself on waking a great distance away and have not been able to race my steps back to those humming towers."
Putting the pieces together, it's likely that the Murkoff Corporation was using this weird village of doomsdayers as test subjects for the effects of the Morphogenic Engine, or possibly some updated version of it that was present in these towers. This caused Lynn to experience a false pregnancy. But, if the baby isn't real, it's likely that the exploding sun wasn't real either. Perhaps there was some explosion – some have theorized a man-made explosion to cover up the Murkoff experiments – but rest assured the world still exists. That baby, on the other hand, wasn't there.