We don't expect many people to play the Ruthless Route, but a number of people seem to want to know what happens in it. For that reason we're setting up this thread for people to discuss and exchange notes about.
Imagine how drab and/or depressing that would be.
Imagine actually writing that! It seems that people erroneously expected that out of the route. Sometimes I wanted to drop more hints but we decided not to show our cards.
Also, just think how much fun we had writing all the Argos content before the Ruthless Route with all the reveals and twists in mind.
ughh, I'm so curious about who the narrator is, but I can bear myself to hurt Asterion for it...
It CAN be hinted in the nice route but it takes quite the hoop jumping. The identity of the narrator I mean.
It's better a reply than an edit. I unlocked all 4 endings, now I can't stop searching for Argos' true identity in the main route in other backgrounds. He is a good snakeman, and I loved how he develops himself in both main and ruthless routes. The hardest ending to find, for me, was Asterion's ending
Try tricking him all the times it's possible — the more you do it, the more he'll appreciate and reveal himself to you.
If you play your cards right you can even get him to confess it all before Chapter 18!
Hey Luke, sorry you had to sit through that. There are four endings, and six ways to get there. This is determined by two factors: your choice at the end of act 1 (agree with Argos' plan, deceive him, or make no promises), and whether you act abusive towards Argos and Asterion throughout the ruthless route's content. If you act abusive enough, you'll always end up on Dust and Silence, just through three different means. If you don't, you'll get the other three endings depending on your choice at the end of act 1.
*edit: don't feel compelled to keep going for the sake of an achievement. If this is content that distresses you, it's completely optional.
Thank you!!! Also don't get me wrong, I very much enjoy the Ruthless Route so far - makes me love Dominikos a lot more! And I'm not just doing this for achievments! Heck, I almost never care about those, I mostly just use them as guide to what content I can experience (thus hidden achievements are the bane of my existence "orz). It's just those specific gruesome stuff that make me quessy.
What ending did you get? All of them have their downsides
I dunno how I got locked into this bad ending where I have to be shoved into a death pit or my character goes crazy and shoves one of the other guys into it.
Chances are you'll go down this route the more you send Asterion out to the valley. Try starting from the beginning and don't send him to the valley under any circumstance.
It depends. There's a couple ways to end up in the ruthless route. If you want the most painless way: Lie. Tell Asterion you won't ever send him to the valley and then send him during Chapter 11. He will call you out in the most meek and quiet way, but as much of a gut punch as it is, it is nothing compared to what you get sending him out when Argos asks you to command him to come out. It's awful, and because it's something you can eventually make amends for, you still have to send him out again to confirm this is the path you want to go down.
That scene after sending him out with Argos immediately is worth seeing if you want to see Luke in a more nuanced and mature light. He's a "trooper".
ETA re: character - He's justified things to himself. There's one way you can "redeem" yourself in the ruthless route, but it's not an erasure of harm. However, the biggest takeaway without giving too much is that it's not about you. None of Minotaur Hotel has been about you. You are a catalyst/vessel and play a major part of this story, but this is not your story. It's always been about looking outside of yourself to see the humanity in others and that stays true in the ruthless route, as well.
crying atm ;-; I can totally see that. From how raw the game is and for it to unveil the darkness in every character. I fully believe the ruthless route is what you would do to get a better glimpse at that. I would think this route is not about breaking the chain but being come the chain and following the cycle. In which is humorous in sorts that the game constantly mentions a roundabout in everything and everyone.
I feel like the ruthless route is what would happen if this were real 95% of the time, since I'd argue a chain is destroyed, but instead of being broken in a natural and harmonious way, it's instead severed by the scraps of what was available. It works, but it's messy. I still found a couple of the endings in ruthless satisfying, but they're absolutely raw. Some are certainly cruel. At least 2 have funny moments depending. The speedrunner loop route having one of my favorite lines. Just absolutely petty in the, "really??? Still?" sense. So I'm glad ruthless exists to really add weight to doing right by Asterion and the hotel.
Honestly, i expected worse. The MC was merely drunk in power, arrogant and disregarding of others, in one word selfish. It helped putting a layer of separation and not thinking of him as a self insert. Plus, the actual protagonist of the route is Argos, if anything you get to appreciate him more, after going through this route. You do have to watch Asterion despair, and those are the hardest parts to read.
I love that the MC is something you can don't have to be relatable. Having choice is what brings this game its uniqueness. My curiosity is sated for now, but i bet it was painful to read. After getting his best route i say it would be gut spilling if it wasn't for how well made it all sounds.
I remember I once sent Asterion with Argos and never sent him to the valley again, but in the next metting with Argos I answered with "I'm a sadist" and automatically I went to ruthless route, even if I haven't sent Asterion to the valley. In speedrunner background I sent him by accident in the chapter 12, and I went to ruthless again, but this I haven't saved my progress. Fortunately I found all endings, so I started again. I don't want to feel the same experience.
the idea of accidentally picking a bad choice makes me shudder. I save at almost every choice to read what reaction it may be and go to the more desired choice. Yeah it may be tedious, but I want to pick the best route if I can. But the pain you went for knowledge I give praise.
were any of those sockpuppets or shitposts by you guys as the devs or anyone else in the know?
Nope! The only exception is probably the writer for Nerus, Roddorod, he's a friend of ours who knew what was going on. With that exception, no one knew about what was up with Argos. Some people just really liked him, and you can be sure we were laughing when those posts rolled in.
To be fair, I think there was a trend here. If you tricked Argos twice (with the contract and with the challenge of making a sacrifice) he becomes a lot more friendly and open. I think that a good deal of the posts you saw were coming from people who caught the implication that there could be a way to make him more decent.
Are there any parts you guys as the Devs (Nanoff and MinoAnon, since I haven't seen Awoo, Kangarube, or Nemo around, unless all of y'all sharing the main account in which case hi) would prefer to not be spelled out in such a summary because you'd like it to be a surprise later in the game for anyone who doesn't go down this route?
Not really. When the game released we put an embargo of sorts in the Mino Hotel Wiki for a week or two, which has already been lifted. As far as we are concerned people can talk about all of the Ruthless route with no restrictions. This includes the more revealing things about the narrator, if you want. In fact I think this will be a good thing, I'd like to see how people who played the Ruthless route discuss it with those who didn't.
Just please put a spoiler warning, as a matter of courtesy.
The only really expunged spoiler from the summary is some of the information about what appears on the roof to Luke and Kota. However, we are not given a clear answer or description of what it is. I have 2 guesses, but first I'm going to exactly quote what the game says. For context, Kota has just called out "If there's anyone there, then show yourself...!"
It can be seen, prowling like a starved beast just out of sight. It can be heard, thrumming in the air like the fading voice of a lyre's plucked string. It can be felt, smelled, tasted. Like the chill of ice and the warmth of fire sinking into one's bones in turn. Like the sour stench of rot masked by floral perfume - crocus and asphodel. Like the coppery sting of blood mixed with the burning sweetness of wine. The Labyrinth leaves its mark on everything.
I have two guesses: either this is similar to whatever smell the Master gets in the finale of Chapter 18 when P and 'Jean' are acting crazy (thus may be the influence of another God) and thus what landed on the roof is the agent of that God that also caused Chapter 18 (I have to make a different spoiler thread about birds, we've had a few come up in the story that didn't immediately attack Asterion (normal birds should) and I think this is thus a bird since it landed on the roof and all) OR it could possibly be the Narrator, Nemesis showing herself to those two. Mostly the asphodel smell makes me think it may not be as evil as my first theory, since they're so tied to Hades, but why we don't get to see more about this creature if it were Nemesis, I don't know.
Uh, there are a lot of these, since as I said, this chapter has some of the most meat on its bones. I'll try to list them in order, and we can split into further threads to discuss more if needed.
The Narrator is revealed to be Nemesis, one of the triad goddesses of justice. Argos prayed to each of the twelve, plus Hestia and Hades, before praying to the Eyrenies, 'those winged spirits of vengeance'; then finally this triad of goddesses: Dike, Themis, and Nemesis. She is called the Tilter of Scales and is a goddess focused more on vengeance and retribution, especially to those who suffer from hubris and arrogance before the gods. Thus her very brutal plan for Argos makes a lot of sense: in his own way, Argos and the whole Argoi role is its own form of hubris, and Argos must prove himself in trials to redeem himself and be worthy of her help. Vengeance is also a very brutal form of justice, and can easily spiral into cycles of its own, which definitely fits the themes of Minotaur Hotel.
Also, she often (only?) refers to Argos/Nikos as Orestes, in case you see that name thrown around.
Argos' Overseer, in case you didn't figure it out from Chapter 18, is Hermes. Which has really sad implications for Argos, since Hermes tries to get Argos killed in the favor of speeding up Hermes' plot(s) during the Chapter 18 climax. Protecc the Snek.
The godmade shrine that Nemesis directs Argos to is Poseidon's: It is a large body of water that was supposed to be saltwater, which would make it fall within Poseidon's powers of the Sea. However, the realm cannot generate salt in large quantities, so the shrine is incomplete and cannot grant the hidden Gift. This is where the artifact that Nemesis gave to Argos comes into play, though it isn't exactly clear yet what it is. Here's the text from the game:
He unwraps the artifact we gifted to him from the cloth that swaddles it, freeing that hunk of cursed rock from its hiding place. Dark as obsidian. Dark as the still waters stretching out within that underground cavern. Dark as the ichor which runs in the god's veins. It was no easy matter to steal it away form its origin deep within the bedrock of the realm. But by our contract with this usurper was that single shard granted.
With the conversation we had over in the spoiler thread about the importance of blood and Ichor in the game's mysteries (link here), I suspect it might be the actual drop of Poseidon's Ichor that was spilled to make the realm - thus it is one of a kind, as dark as Ichor (because it is Ichor), and it explains how it specifically allows the shrine to be completed.
While I didn't hide that much of it from the summary, I did gloss over a little bit of the ritual and Nemesis' explanation about it and Asterion's cairn shrine:
Perhaps [Asterion] thought one of the old goddesses of his Minoan ancestors would grant the mercy refused to him by the Olympians. Uncountable are the years since libations were made at this little makeshift altar. First the ancient Masters refused the bull his private worship, and then Joseph the Merciful made it forbidden - along with all other rites to the "pagan" gods. Now, whatever power once lingered within it has long flickered out like an untended flame. But the prisoner's faith remains to this day, and a belief so ancient and wholehearted is no trifling matter. If you stir these cold ashes with your unshakeable belief, Orestes, something may manifest within this forgotten husk. It will be just like ancient times, before humanity grew too great; a single worshipper praying in a time of exceptional need so a god may be born.
And indeed, the ritual creates a new god, as when the speak (in caps), they are called Nameless Goddess and do not have a textbox decorator pattern like other spoken roles. (Oh and by the way, Nemesis never has one either, can make it a little hard to tell when she's talking, just musing, or narrating)
The power that Nemesis channels through the Gift into Argos to magic timeskip the pit digging is her own. I don't know if that means she doesn't have a godmade shrine here to channel through or otherwise write rules for the realm in, or if Poseidon's Gift is just that good a conduit, but I left out that it's her direct power she's flowing through Argos in some way.
What's left.... I think just that it's a little blink-and-you'll-miss-it that Argos/Nikos and his family are some flavor of Catholic, since they specifically say grace before they eat. That comes into more detail/hints both later in one of the endings, and in Chapter 18 if the MC figures out that Argos is the same Dominikos that claimed to be a preacher and befriended Asterion via text. I assume we'll learn a bit more on how that all works later in the story if we hangout with Nikos as a staff member.
Surprise, there aren't any! I had to give this one its own post because of character limits in posts though, even though this part isn't very impactful besides giving the player a different (and meaner, ya big jerk) way to get on the Dust and Silence track.
Woof, if any of the endings are about continuing themes established in the rest of Minotaur Hotel, it's this one: The redeemer takes on the shackles of those they have freed. Pretty accurate way to say this one ended up.
As mentioned before, we're given the identity of the realm's godly Overseer, the only god allowed access to the realm: Hermes. The big information we learn from him in this ending is that he has definitely set up the role of Foreman to turn into what it has: he is 'too busy' to actually oversee the realm (so the realms can conveniently go against the god's (Athena's) wishes) but the humans were getting 'too soft'. Thus he is forced to set up the role of Argos, but picks these big, flamboyant schemers that learned to try and be the villain so the Master can learn to maybe not be a dick. He needs his plausible deniability though, and he is mentioned to be the god of plots and schemes, so setting up this convoluted mess with the express intent that it (eventually) benefits Asterion is very in character. And as I mentioned before, it makes it a little more fucked up what Hermes is pulling in the Chapter 18 climax, throwing away his pawn of Argos/Nikos like that.
I think there's room for debate that Asterion might have intentionally doomed Nikos to literally take his shackles and punishment when he lashes out in anger in this ending just before he takes the Gift's freedom. It's impossible to know if the pelt would've hunted Nikos down anyway, had Asterion not said what he did at the end to Nikos, as the Dust and Silence alternate has them peace out before the pelt comes around.
Not really a spoiler from this route per se, but P finds it so funny that the cursed minotaur snake calls itself Argos, because P stands for Panoptes and he and his people 'should have' been the real Argos in a way.
If Shackled is about taking on the shackles of the one they have redeemed no matter why or how you did it, this Dust and Silence alternate is the deliberate breaking of it through accepting it. Nikos is not just shackled by the realm as a punishment, but he instead calls this responsibility and joins Asterion through to his freedom to try and nurse his mental health back. Otherwise, no new revelations here I think.
Ah Asterion... a true tragedy, us as the audience knowing what you're missing by not turning around and look for the Foreman like you do when pissed off at the Master in the Dust and Silence version. No real spoilers were expunged from this ending.
This one is probably the best ending out of all 6 Ruthless route endings, mostly because it seems to end the best for our boys and the Master gets done in by his hubris... well, I concede Snekboi is not in a great state physically, though, compared to the last Dust and Silence on the next post. There are no real new spoilers to discuss in this one either, that isn't already covered better elsewhere, like the Overseer being Hermes.
This has really sated my curiosity of the ruthless route. I whole heartedly believe that every moment of the route is Impactful and full of heavy emotions. All I can think is how raw the scene are that not only did it break the player, but would break me as well. It is bitter sweet that you learn so much about argos, yet give him so much suffering. A price to pay for knowledge. I thank you for giving in-depth written post of the routes plot because I will not touch it. I will not be happy putting everyone in this catatonic state lol.
You're welcome! It is really impactful and explores the overall themes of Minotaur Hotel in big important ways, which is why I wanted to do it justice and write up a very detailed summary of its content so more people could learn about it. Hopefully by skipping the worst of the traumatic bits, rewriting it to mostly never be 2nd person (I found it felt a lot worse to see "You order Asterion to follow you" rather than "The Master orders Asterion to follow."), and using 'The Master' to refer to the player instead of our more common 'MC' designator, it helps provide distance that this is exploring the tragedy of the Ruthless route, rather than being something the player has chosen to do.
Which i believe is fitting since at this point, the master is now a whole new entity then before. Seeming like once you open the doors to the route, the master changes altogether. How did you feel about the shift? Was it gradual enough to make you reflect upon your actions or harsh enough to make you recoil? I understand now what someone told me about this cycle being broken, but in a explosive way. Rather then harmonies in the main route What happens to Asterion once free in some routes is unknown, but then he would be subjugated to the las against his kind no? Broken in such a state. Kinda continuing this cycle which the game loves to point out and keep surfaced. What is your thoughts on the main route after completing all the ruthless routes? It makes me think that the simple humane actions you do by giving asterion kindness is very underplayed. Made to think its the simplest thing one can do yet has a huge impact as we can see now.
The hard part for me is the dissonance pre-the Ruthless route's start after Chapter 12. The Ruthless Master's actions versus the rest of the narrative still going on before the story forks - recruiting Kota or Luke, the other times you're chatting with Asterion about starting up the Hotel and not being the worst etc. Once the route begins after Chapter 12, it is a lot easier to separate the character the Master has become from me as the Player/MC and the choices I'm picking to see the content. It's still tough seeing a very traumatized person not only be denied the help and therapy they need to deal with their trauma, but instead getting new trauma heaped on to them, but once you're in the Ruthless chapters, the Master is more of their own character with their own hubris that they need to get foisted by like any good tragedy. In fact, I'd say these chapters are a great tragedy that really has punch because you're in some control over what type/details of the tragedy you see.
I do think this helps underscore a point the devs made about the Ruthless route before it was done: it does make doing the right thing more impactful to do because you can actively chose the wrong thing to do to someone like Asterion. The tough part is how much a VN wants you to self-insert to the story, so it feels much more personal not just choosing to do evil things, but hearing the dark thoughts in Asterion's head and actions behind closed doors that an abuser would never see as a consequence of their actions. It's really important to note just how much they wrote the MC to very intentionally not do anything that would abuse his power over Asterion beyond the ruthless content and maybe trying to send him out naked or just in his underwear. The main route MC talks with Kota about this because of the power dynamic, and the only reason our relationship with Asterion can work is that Asterion knows we're never actually ordering him to do something, even when we say "refer to us by name, not as Master" - he knows it's never truly an order, just colloquialism.
That breaking things bit was me, heh. I've been thinking more about that and ruthless in general.
The title of the route is extremely relevant. It's not the "ruthless" route, it's specifically "The Ruthless Master". This means many different things at once. It's your part in this story. It's the actions taking place. But more importantly, it's one of the sacred roles the labyrinth was built around.
Whether it's gradual or harsh is fairly irrelevant. It can be either depending on your choices. Are you withdrawn immediately and justifying your bad decisions the entire time or did you accidentally "slip" and break your promise to never send Asterion to the valley? The reason goodness can exist is because of the Gods and their lack of imagination. "The Ruthless Master" is almost like a fast food training video or an infomercial. They take things to their worst possible conclusion to get the point across, regardless of how realistic it would be for you to get in those situations. This is how Gods saw human nature. The labyrinth was constructed to give a human the power to gain could ever want except one: Time. No matter how gradual or suddenly the shift to Ruthless Master is, no matter the excuses or motivations, it's all just a reverberation of the past playing out again. What may seem like once to you is something Asterion has lived through more than an unforgivable amount of times.
I haven't mentioned it until now, but Act 1 of The Ruthless Master is titled "Time Demands His Due". Chapter 12 pre-TRM is very different from Chapter 12 normally because of how much work is done to establish how stark our leads perception of time is. This comes through the dance between Asterion's thoughts and Nemesis's offerings. This of course happens throughout the good route, but there are a few distinctions. Nemesis no longer filters her words to be approachable by the reader and is instead focused on the timescale of someone who has lived multiple thousands of years. She likely knows we could be listening, but at that point, it is too late and wants to emphasize that no matter how important and rational we view our actions, we are utterly insignificant to the two of them.
Then there's the brilliant mechanical shift. Asterion talks about the delay between action and reaction. Likewise, there are stops inserted mid-sentence to punctuate the unnatural rhythm as well as emphasize the cruelty of endless mundanity without having a will. It's a dance between Asterion and those writing and coding. Probably the cruelest sentence is uttered here: "Reign yourself." How easily a false freedom from submission could be misappropriated into a slogan of self-power. It occupied both and considering it's said of a prince, there are many layers at play to make two words put together sting.
This repetition, odd rhythm, and self-torture to cope with physical torture all work in tandem to highlight how non-existent your voice is at this point. It's almost been entirely removed from what should be a shift into Asterion wanting to trust you. You are a blip. Your words aren't new. They're not unique. They're not special, and in the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, you'll be gone. This really highlights what helps the main story work. Part of why the romance is so special between you and Asterion is that it forces Asterion into a human timeframe. A good master to Asterion may be akin to a good month to us. The timescale is so vastly different that he knows there will eventually be another person to take your place. So while a romance with Asterion may be akin to a life well-spent, something eternal and sacred to your identity and experience, Asterion has to cope with knowing how finite that time is. However, because of that mortal fear he gets a chance to experience humanity to a fuller degree than he's previously been afforded.
As for Nikos and his actions, I think the fifteenth tablet is likely the most relevant thing here. There are a few things that stick out, but there's one line I want to point.
"A price must be paid to do what is right, all men know."
In a tablet titled "Folly". The right thing only requires a price when there is injustice attached, be it personal or societal. In many ways, The Ruthless Master is allegorical using figures we will understand*. It feels very ritualistic. Nikos sees the old gaining power and thus uses that opportunity to play by old-school rules. "An eye for an eye." Justice was something entirely different then and Nikos, through Nemesis, can exploit that way of thinking at the cost of harm done to at least him, possibly others.
*God, I'd love for Nikos to put on a one-person stage play iteration of this. Using a stripper pole from Luke to ascend as everyone watches on in dismay lmao. Maybe Khenbish and his die would appreciate it. :P I low-key ship them but that's neither here nor there. I just want Khenbish to be happy and I think Nikos and his oiled and burnt optimism would stick with him.
Okay, I really need to get sleep. I just have a couple of thoughts while writing this and replaying some of The Ruthless Master route. Wish I had more energy to more into the allegorical aspects, but I don't know if my train of thought will be there tomorrow. Anyway:
Really cute to have the Fake Argos snake say the master is peacocking about.
I find it interesting that Asterion plays the Lyre. It so heavily emphasizes the strings over other material. Considering the imagery of the fates, it feels like Asterion taking some control over the strings in his life. It also brings to mind the labyrinth and yarn, also a part of "Folly'. Folly itself isn't inherently negative, more just unrealistic with an undercurrent of foolishness. Interesting that Folly is a tablet with no ornamentation that also mentions the potential of a surprise rekindling.
God, I hope even a fraction of this makes sense lmao goooooodnight
oh yeah, are we the interloper or is that Nikos? Hm
Its funny how you pull such magnificent strands of thoughts right when you go to bed hmm? Every run I play through it haunts me to believe that asterion knows how much you love him yet you as a player may or may not have that sinking feeling that this will not last forever. The scene with the knife really brought it to light. Though your time may be fleeting, it's enough that your time spent has eased his mind when you don the lead ring. The master was right when he mentions no man should have that much power.
Argos is just a whole trip on its own. At the very core of it all. It's just a play, and a role he dons to prove himself to the gods. The pelt was the mask and by the gods he did his part. I like to think once he relinquished the pelt, it was him taking the mask off. No more Argos but Nikos. Being lucky in the main route, and reaping what he sowed in the ruthless. At the very least honourable enough to fix what he has caused. That in my mind, is what makes Nikos a great character
I love hearing from everyone and getting an idea what the game has brought and how everyone digests its contents. Y'all are awesome.
Edit- I'm so glad you popped up so you can have the credit you owed I forgot you told me ;-;
Lol, pleaaaaase don't worry about credit with me unless I'm posting like an actual work. That was a comment I wrote specifically for you in regard to something you posted to make sure you got what the route was about. (Without revealing too much in case you decided to play.) That you remember the idea says more than enough.
Just as a general addendum now that I've gotten some rest:
I meant to include this when discussing the mechanical way the story expressed Asterion's reversion. It's clear the purpose was to show Asterion withdrawing and disassociating. What I wanted to conclude was how both this and the master are succumbing to spiraling thoughts and how it manifests further pushes the other away. The master, lacking time, is impatient. Asterion, having nothing but time, turns to contemplation to avoid upsetting the master. This makes the master more impatient and less kind, which causes Asterion to have to think harder on how to please him which results in a longer time between responses. It's an ebb and flow that is pushing things to their inevitable conclusion
This is another ending looking at the theme of things being a cycle, but I think it's very important to note that this (in my opinion) is probably just 'recursion' and not some stuff where the Master time-travels back to the beginning of the game and is that exact old man. While a neat idea, things don't line up with the deed reverting to the 'old man' (even further spoilers: Poseidon) on Clément's death, and there have been no other signs of time-travel powers or gods of time being invoked at all in the story, even in this route. It's a good way to show that the Master has cursed themselves, even if they did not die from their hubris with the poisoned elixir, but I really think that's a far as we should read into it... of course, let me know if you disagree!
Let me know if you named yourself with a different letter/name and thus got the old man at the end here to use that letter... It's a great touch if true and would've been a bit of extra legwork from the devs for an easter egg, though I really wonder what names get plucked for rarer characters or even symbols lol.
Also, the speedrunner response to meeting another speedrunner is as great as you'd expect: the old man looks down on the young man because they speedrun a stupid game, calling them a "Cringe ass nae nae bitch" (or something really close to that).
Also one of the better ending results, the Master is not dead of the poison, but they are completely irrelevant once the boys are gone, which is its own just reward. This one actually has some spoilers I glossed over during Nemesis' chat flashback with Nikos, he goes into more detail about Jean-Marie being artifacts and information from Joseph the Merciful, whom Nikos clearly reveres as though he is a saint. Then, when talking about the Overseer, Hermes, Nikos makes some really interesting lore claims:
A holy duty, Goddess, Given, no less, by a God of old. Mama and Bampas... and the priest back at the village, too... they all told me He, the one I should not mention ((Hermes)), even knew the Christ. They said He was John the Baptist. That is had always been Him. That's why I did it, Goddess. I was told it was the right thing to do. Blessed.
So uhhhh, in this universe Hermes was a very famous preacher and figure in Catholic mythology. It starts hinting how Nikos and the snakes are so favored by the Olympic gods yet say Catholic prayers and the like. I think we should, maybe in the old theory thread or in a fresh one, inspect the way P looks at and uses the Ave Maria & Holy Mary invocations so much, yet was created by Hera in light of these (because the term is hilarious) crossovers.
Also, I suspect the hard cut after Nikos asks what the Afterlife is like is because Nemesis actually does tell him, but could get in sooooooo much trouble for it that she blocks it from our view or I guess her memory. Nowhere else in the game have we had a cut this hard, so it really sticks out as intentional. I suppose it could be because she's pissed he asks, too, but I dunno, I like to hope she'd give him this reward for his devotion to her VENGEANCE ways.
Yeah man, no problem. I didn't think I needed to call it out but to be clear, these endings are fully crafted experiences with all the polish you get reading the rest of the VN: the text boxes advancing in certain cadences to mimic speech, the sprites moving and changing expression, the chilling music selection, etc. It's not just torture porn with reused asset soup, there's a tragedy here getting told that probably lands a lot harder than people are used to since I don't think we really seek them out in popular culture anymore, and because you're not just reading it but getting to experience it with art, music, text, and a degree of participation. It's a powerful experience.
1) Yeah, I kind-of wanted to get ahead of someone positing a time loop theory since I felt my summary implied it more than actually going through the route does. Glad I could spark the idea for the name, though, go for it! It was already a cool touch that the young man matches your background and pushes back on accepting the deed if you did as well, so that's why I thought it was intentional, haha. It did add to the experience for sure, so I think it's worth it if you can slap it in without too much hassle.
2) That's a good point! I was running a little on fumes by the time I was writing up the last ending summary and spoilers section, so I didn't think to point it out. If the forums had a better way to hide spoiler images in some sort of expander box, I'd snag a screenshot and put it in the spoiler post.
3) Oh no, I totally did not pick up on that! I 100% thought there really was Kota and Luke in the lounge because I assumed they would've waited at least a day for the Master and Asterion to return, I just thought it was a stylistic choice to not show their sprites or their words to Asterion because he's already given up and pulled into himself and his own head. Definitely fucked that they didn't, but with no Master and no one with the deed willed to them, it's possible the realm itself threw everyone else out before Asterion made it back... at least, that's what I'm going to tell myself.
4) Oh man, I'm learning all sorts of stuff here! It's easy to assume that the mythical snake people created from these gods would only ever worship them, so I am very interested to learn more from him back on the 'main' route, I just jumped the gun on calling him Catholic, then. Sorry Nikos, lol.
Also, as you can tell, I definitely never heard about that theoretical link for John the Baptist and Hermes/Mercury, very interesting! I'm still gonna shitpost and call it a crossover, though, even if it's both canon and canon.
5) Oh yes, I was totally remiss not mentioning the phenomenal credits song done by Jake, and having the lyrics start sooner in the credits was a great and powerful choice - I heard this song a lot while summarizing the endings, and it still puts a lump in my throat because it's that powerful at evoking emotion and capstoning an ending to Minotaur Hotel, especially since there are the different versions. I know I called out which characters (Asterion and/or Nikos) appear as a drawing on the background of the credits, that's also what instruments you hear during that ending, if anyone couldn't guess.
I think it really says something how many people, myself included, turned around their opinion/desire to see the Ruthless route to completion once the truths in Chapter 18 (and sooner, for Argos) came to light. You all crafted such amazing twists with a fascinating story & character in Argos/Nikos that I re-engaged with content I had even said in the past that I was going to avoid. That content, in turn, is so good that I took a week to put together these summaries so more people could experience them! I think that's the highest praise I can give for this stuff, and the best way I can say thank you all for not just writing, but creating the whole experience. So, you're welcome, but also thank you.
Great summaries, I actually want to go through again to see what I ended up missing (Which is the non Dust and Silence endings) maybe not anytime soon though, I still feel bad about being mean to Asterion. But with the As You Are, I Once Was ending, while my first thought was a time loop, but then I remembered the recursion stuff that P talks about during the Hinterlands chapter, so who knows, maybe the next master has a few spare paperclips on him.
The game wouldn't be complete without it and I'm happy to see it was effort that didn't go to waste.