Everything Is Scary

Be responsible, contemplate the void.

Trauma and Medication in LONE SURVIVOR

It's difficult to talk about Lone Survivor without spoiling the surprises and turns it weaves through on its way to a poetic, spectacular finish.

Suffice it to say the plot, as presented, is an elaborate deception.  Your character is the titular lone survivor of a mysterious apocalyptic event, the nature of which is murky and the effects of which are even murkier.  It seems as though the better part of humanity has been infected with some kind of strange virus, mutating them into into mindless monsters that feast on rotting meat and wobble about like the nightmare demons in Jacob's Ladder.  Taking refuge from these beasts, your character has holed himself up in his apartment and wears a surgical mask to keep their sickness off of him.

This isn't the only effect of the apocalypse, however.  Many parts of the apartment building have been destroyed.  Walls are exploded inwards and outwards, as if from a series of explosions.  Other parts are covered in Ridley Scott Alien-esque goo and slime.  Most of the background details you see show signs of advanced decay:  rotted mattresses, rusty beams, crumbling structures.

To survive this situation, you proceed through the apartment complex, gathering food and other supplies, trying to find others, and avoiding or confronting the monsters.  You are contacted periodically by someone via radio who calls themselves "the Director," a cryptic figure who speaks in riddles and somehow drops supplies for you.  In between forays into the eternal darkness of the apartment building, your character's fragile mental state is sustained by sleeping in your own bed.  The twist is that you are often given a choice of medication to use before hitting the hay:  the blue pills, or the green pills (there are also red pills which keep you awake longer).

In this medically-induced sleep, your choice of pill also defines your choice of dream.  Without giving too much away, these dreams will gradually determine the direction of your character's ultimate fate.

The ever-present medication, coupled with the clues of your surgical mask and the state of the world around you, should provide ample clues that not all is what it appears.  That said, it is never explicitly stated just what Lone Survivor is really about, so it is completely open to interpretation.

There is, however, one more glaring clue:  the title itself.

The words "Lone Survivor" seem, at first, quite literal.  Your character is the lone survivor of the plague.  What if, however, we were to take these terms in a more medical fashion?

Survivor Guilt is defined, bluntly, in the Dictionary as:  "feelings of guilt for having survived a catastrophe in which others died."  As an extension of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this mental state of being is marked by severe depression, potentially suicidal thoughts, and in some cases by the sufferer blaming themselves for the occurrence that caused the deaths of those around them.

In Lone Survivor, you are positioned as being, quite possibly, the last human being in existence.  Whether this should be taken literally or not is in the eye of the player.  What is certain is that your character is struggling with a terrible feeling of fear and despair that only people who have been through deep, fatality-involved trauma will understand:  the fear of being left alive.

How you come to terms with that fear and pain within the game is in your hands.

Will you take the blue pill, or the green pill?  Stay awake, or sleep?  Shoot the monsters, or duck around them?

Come to terms with your fear, or let it consume you?

Darkness follows.