Furthermore, I didn’t expect to discover anything substantial in regards to the plot or certain “questions,” just some additional tidbits about Seran history and society.
This is one the acts I got the most information out of as we get a close look of what human society looks like 25 years after the end of the Locust War. While there isn’t a lot of human activity witnessed, there is just enough to get an idea of how it operates and how the New COG differs from everyone else.
- Collectable- Rubble Reclamation Manifest: In lieu of harvesting materials, the New COG has opted to recycle them from old ruins. This document also lists from what cities and how much rubble was harvested, but it is unclear if ordering signifies anything.
- Windwall: When Settlement 5 was hit by a Windflare, a massive wall surrounding the city was activated. Aside from serving as protection, it appears to be lined with large solar panels and wind turbines, serving as this settlement’s and, presumably, the New COG's primary sources of power.
- Robotics and automation: It was noted by Kait that Settlement 5 was reaching the final stages of completion within two weeks, with the work being completed by robots. From construction to security, everything is automated. There is no evidence of any human presence overseeing or making use of the settlement’s facilities as of yet.
- Community Boulevard: Considering the socialist undertones that has always defined the COG, it’s not surprising that they would continue to emphasize unity. Jinn’s administration appears to be using every opportunity to remind the citizens that a strong community will form the basis of human society going forward.
- Construction: Buildings in Settlement 5 are all being reinforced with steel. Since weather anomalies like the Windflares cause considerable damage, these cities are being built to last.
- Modular designs: Individual sections of buildings also appear to be easily assembled and replaced. A square portion of an exterior wall could be replaced immediately and without disturbing the rest of the structure.
- Public Transport: All of the roads appear to have a tram system integrated. Movement for DeeBee security forces for one, but its likely they will eventually be used by future residents for quick transportation throughout the town. We don't know if automobiles will have a place in new COG cities, but Jinn’s push towards social cohesion suggests they won’t.
- Pipe Network: An extensive network of cables and pipes run just below the streets and main floors of buildings. Many of the exterior walls of some structures can spawn DeeBee Trackers. They, along with general utilities such as water and power, are funneled through these networks straight from the Central Hub.
- Embry Street: Many in the COG’s new governing structure are still loyal to the old ways and continue to pay respects to past leaders and events.
- Mechs: The larger mechs can run autonomously, but appear to be man-able. On the other hand, other machines such as cranes lack a cockpit. The new COG is putting a lot of faith in their technology, even to the point that they feel human oversight isn’t necessary.
- DeeBee Security: Security forces are equipped to handle all threats non-lethally. The story suggests that this strategy has recently changed.
- Security Gates: Most roadways have security gates that can be raised or lowered as desired, spanning across the width of the street.
- Collectable- Settlement 5 Resident Assignment List: The settlement’s zoning is, appropriately enough, in the shape of a cog. Its broken down into three rings that radiate from its center and are in turn divided into nine districts. Residents are pre-assigned to live and work in each district, with Settlement 5’s capacity to house at least 730 occupants. As implied by the settlement’s occupancy limit, Humanity’s population 25 years after the war remains dangerously low.
- Maternity Annex: Obviously, the maternity annex was designed specifically to encourage child rearing. Posters on the interior walls promote human growth by “reminding” its citizens that it is their responsibility to offer up what they can to serve the greater good.
- Collectable- COG Birthing Pamphlet: Through Gene Therapy, the COG claims that its "Reprogeneticists" can manipulate an unborn child’s DNA in order to prevent disease and disability. Controversially, they also appear to be taking it a step further and allow parents to “design a baby.”
- Hub Exterior: Especially in the First Ring, everything is designed not just for structural integrity against storms, but for defense. For example, platforms surrounding the central tower can be raised to limit enemy movement and give defenders higher ground.
- Hub Interior: The Construction hub serves as a settlement’s nerve center and where all of its materials and resources are produced. Furthermore, it houses several hundred to several thousand DeeBee units, ready to be activated at a moment’s notice.
- Fabricator: Serving as the COG’s greatest technological asset, it’s able to print and construct any piece of equipment. For standard Fabricators, only relatively few designs are readily available and blue prints need to be uploaded for it to construct anything else. They are also likely used in the construction of the settlement, but to do so in such a short amount of time would require several working in unison, or perhaps a much larger version.
- The interior of some residential buildings already have furnishings; some of the paintings we may note are in fact images from previous games.
- The large Mammals like the one that pulls Oscar’s cart appear to be Sera’s version of horses. The ones showcased share physiological traits to Draft Horses, but with substantially greater muscle structure around the neck. Noticeably there is a small set of horns between the eyes and snout, suggesting design influences from Rams.
- Reyna’s Village: Counter to COG settlements, Outsider villages like Reya’s are much more organic and rustic in appearance. Relying on contemporary materials such as wood or scavenged parts, Outsider settlements display a homesteader vibe.
- Energy: With the absence of Imulsion, all human settlements have to rely on alternative forms of power. In the case of the Outsiders, they appear to partially rely on renewable energies such as wind and water.
- Outsiders Community: Where participation was an explicit expectation for COG Citizens, it is implicit among the Outsiders. As their lifestyle is more attuned to survival, most form strong communal bonds both out of necessity and genuine compassion. From their perspective, granting individuals a choice means that their vision of a community is more "real" than the COG's.
- Collectable- Book Inscribed to Kait: An aged King Raven manual, Reya notes that her husband, Kait’s father, wrote it; suggesting that he was an engineer for the COG military.
- Bulletin Board: a notice near the Outsiders Town hall reveals other minor facts:
In and Out
A Few Snags
- Sera is home to a unique form of insect called Scree-Mites. A crude illustration suggests that the have eight legs and bulbous thorax. Occasionally they infect livestock and humans, though they appear to be more of an annoyance than a health risk.
- A Topographic Map details the local region. Most locations have been imposed with red markings, with two COG settlements linked together to the north, the westernmost one connected with a road that leads southwards. Reyna’s Settlement is marked with a green dot in the south, connecting with a COG road to its west and an unknown location in the center. There also appears to be lat-long coordinates marked, using degrees, minutes, and seconds.
- Oscar smells.
Details here are much more modest, but do give us a subtle view of country life of Pre-E day Sera.
The Prodigal Son
- Stroud Estate: The mansion belongs to Anya’s family and had existed long before the Locust War. The building is in disrepair, but given what has happened in the last 42 years and the lack of attention recently, it is still in remarkable condition.
- Anya’s Grave: In the front yard, there is a gated of area that houses Anya’s grave, JD’s mother. Nothing is revealed about her fate, but here grave is marked as Anya Stroud, not Fenix as expected. As the property historically belonged to the Stroud family, this might be to preserve their legacy.
- Collectable- Old Bottle of Wine: Aged wine bottles date back to around 150 years, meaning that the estate dates back to pre-Imulsion days and had once served as a winery.
- Condors: For much of the Pendulum Wars, the COG relied almost exclusively on rotary wing aircraft for air support. Despite calls for a larger force of fixed wing aircraft, vehicles such as the King Raven would remain dominant. It was only recently with the inclusion of Condors that the COG saw the value of diversifying its motor pool. Much like the DeeBees, Condors also appear to be automated.
- Tyrus Geology: As observed throughout the series, much of Tyrus appears to be mountainous. With this, we can assume that Jacinto Plateau was formed under two conditions: Volcanic activity millions of years prior, lifting the ground above surrounding areas. The region once held glaciers, eroding mountains and leaving behind highlands.
- Jacinto Plateau: Plateaus typically are arid highlands with little vegetation, but Jacinto appears to have plenty of woodlands. This might be explained by prevailing winds bringing in moisture from the ocean onto the mainland.
- Collectable- The New Ephyran: Evidently a parody of “The New Yorker.” On a cover of a magazine found near The Stroud Estate, it appears the Cole has revived Thrashball with the use of DeeBees.
Joveus had mentioned in another thread that he thought he saw what looked like Locust emblems throughout the catacombs in this section. After taking a closer look, while some of décor on the walls vaguely resembles the Locust emblem, it’s rather ambiguous at best and I don’t believe there is a strong connection. In that respect, this was the most disappointing section of the campaign, but still, this act provides plenty of historical insight into pre-COG Sera.
- Cafes: Fort Reval has a lot of them.
- Collectable- The Consolation of Death: A caption explains that it is written in an old Tyran language, as further evidenced by the apparent age of the book and the environment it was found in. If the title is any indication, it gives us some minor hints towards what Religious Serans believe.
- Historical Plaque: A plaque that appears after leaving the archives tells of a legend that an assassin was foiled when a priest tripped him and thus giving the breezeway its name. It also mentions a period called “The Silver Age.” Sometimes called the “Silver Era,” it was likely analogous to Earth’s Middle Ages and early Renaissance.
- Medical Base: Years earlier, Fort Reval played host to a COG medical base. As evidenced by the remains, the garrison was wiped out by the Locust.
- Lord of Reval: After Del makes his “Wizards” gaffe, there is another historical plaque that comments about the statue in the courtyard. The identity of the figure is conjecture, but the plaque refers to “The King,” implying that the statues seen later and throughout the complex represent its first or most famous King.
- Shield Maidens: The statues outside of the church where the Swarm Drones are encountered have shields with a COG symbol on them. These same statues can be observed outside of the Stroud Estate and occasionally afterwards. They may have been constructed sometime after the establishment of the COG, though given their apparent age and affiliation with the surrounding fort, this could also mean that some ideology similar to the COG had existed centuries earlier. (This is strictly conjecture on my part).
- The same symbol reappears in the cemetery.
At the Doorstep
- Gorasnayan Empire: Another plaque beyond the tram explains that the forts defenses were eventually breached by the Gorasnayans, meaning that it originally existed around the same time the Gorasnayan Empire.
- Colors of Reval: Just outside the Barracks are blue flags, the only recognizable iconography being the head of a Lion. These same flags can be witnessed in the Multiplayer map, Dam, just atop the aforementioned structure. Both the fort and dam are within Tyrus’ boarders, and given that both are from different eras, we can conclude that Fort Reval was a precursor to modern Tyrus.
- Museum: Beyond the Barracks is a Military Museum dedicated to the COG victory in the Pendulum wars. Much of what lies inside is already understood, though the amount of propaganda used renders the accuracy of most of its exhibits suspect.
- Osmium: Old COG armor used Osmium in its design; Osmium being the densest naturally occurring element in the periodic table.
- Centurions: Outside the museum is a pair of statues depicting kneeling men equipped with longswords that are generally associated with Middle Age weaponry, but also wearing armor similar to Centurions from the Roman Empire.
- Warlord of Reval: Another plaque is found inside the keep overlooking the central courtyard. The keep itself belonged to a warlord, but then was inherited by a dynastic line of Kings by the start of the Silver Age.
Do not go gentle
- Catacombs: The catacombs appear to descend a considerable distance, suggesting that a number of prominent figures are entombed here. Furthermore, this tells us that the surrounding fortress was in use for a considerable amount of time and even for its time, was a major power.
- The condition of the catacombs is very remarkable, credit probably goes to its construction. Most damage appears recent, caused by the Swarm.
- Mummies: The second level down houses mummified remains. A few in particular rest between a pair of statues as if they were guarding the body. Behind the remains are carved murals with a King like figure and the sun, both in gold.
- Robbed Man: Statues depicting a robed man with a spear can be found throughout the catacombs and earlier on the surface. They don’t appear to depict anyone in particular, but it is likely that they are meant to signify the characteristics of this society’s elite: warrior-philosophers, priests, or politicians.
- King’s Tomb: The final chamber is obviously where they buried the Kings of the old Kingdom. Little else tells us much about them, just that a massive statue lies in the center of the room depicting the same Lord as seen through out the complex.
- Silver Era Tyrus: Kait and Del conjecture that the catacombs are up to 800 years old. In the novels, Gorasnaya's Chairman Trescu stated that the Gorasnayan Empire was "won and lost" five centuries earlier. If both statements are true, then a general timeline can be traced:
- Around 800 years before E-day, coinciding the beginning of the Silver Era, a powerful Warlord founded Fort Reval and, by extension, Tyrus.
- Eventually, the government was ruled by a successive line of Kings who would continue to lord over the region for several centuries.
- Later, the Gorasnayan Empire assaulted the Fort and assassinated its last king, putting an end to the Tyran Monarchy.
- As the Empire existed as far back as five centuries, this would mean that this pre-Tyrus Kingdom was active between 800-500 B.E.
Elevator to Hell
- Nothing of Interest.
- Osmium Mines: While active, the mines were for digging up Osmium. According to Del, the element was used to coat the blades on Lancers.
- Locust Weapons: Along with the Locust bodies, the COG buried their weapons as well. It’s not clear why, likely that they might be useful at some point in the future; but instead allowed the swarm to quickly stock up on guns and ammo.
- Fallen: Approaching the main hive, there are skeletons of COG soldiers littering the floor. They appear to have been dead for some time, most likely in an engagement with the Locust during the war.
- Both the Pouncers and Snatchers have large, glowing bellies. In the case of the snatchers, they are capable of spewing an unknown fiery substance. Furthermore, upon death, both erupt in a violent explosion in a manner curiously similar to the Lambent.
These last two acts held little of value, so most of what I’ve listed below is miscellaneous information.
- Locust Shells: Some shells don’t appear to have been opened yet, suggesting that many more are yet to emerge as Scions.
- The Dam: Del mentions that the heads onto of the dam represent 4 sources of pre-imulsion energy: water, air, solar, and gas. There is no mention of other fossil fuels such as oil even though it was known that Human Society was heavily dependent on them. As these sources ran dry, Humanity briefly turned to renewable energy. This might mean that the dam was built after the oil started to disappear, but before Imulsion was discovered.
- Windlfare Orgins: The COG had several theories to explain the Windflares and other weather anomalies. A few ideas include holes in the planet’s crust, sunspots, and atmospheric distortions. Press releases from the developers state that they were created by Imulsion Counter Measure, but there is no clarification in game. For now, their existence remains a mystery.
- Locust Remains: Along with the remains of COG soldiers, there are occasional skeletons of Locust Drones as well. Not surprisingly, they’re general structure is similar to humans.
- Power Map: There is a substation map that shows the route that electrical power flows from the dam out towards nearby towns and cities. It doesn’t provide any directional detail, just that Fort Reval, Tollen, Speyer, Bronn, Illma and Montevado are all near each other.
- Manufacturing: The welcome sign to Speyer claims to be the heart of COG Manufacturing, helping develop COG arsenal during the Pendulum and Locust Wars.
- Time: I didn’t notice this before, but the clocks in the Centaur factory go up to 13 hours, not surprising considering that a day on Sera is supposed to be 26 hours long. They have the same minute and hour hands that Earth clocks would have, with markings both under and in-between the numbers. It’s not clear if Sera rotates two hours longer than Earth, or if their measurement of an hour is shorter than ours.
- According to Marcus, Lancers can run on Smartass.
- Nothing of Interest.
- Jack Jr and 2nd Betty: Baird’s mechs appear to be modified variants of the same machines from Settlement 5.
- Debris: Upon returning to the dam, there appears to be a mass of rusted debris including a large ship. Either they were transported by Windflares or the debris was carried there after the sinking of Jacinto, similar to what happened at Halvo Bay.
- Nothing of Interest.
This is everything that I could discover from playing through the story again. This was also my Insane Mode play through so while there was more I would have liked to have uncovered, I’m satisfied with the result. But even so, I still believe that there might be something I overlooked so I encourage you to give it a shot as well.