- Title: Homesick
- Release Date:
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All the readable-version documents, pictures, and other items presented as lore in the game, organized by the area in which they are found, and my interpretation of what those items tell us about the people who lived here, including the protagonist, and the events before and during the game. Literally as many high-quality spoilers as I can manage, so definitely play the game before you read this guide.
This guide is organized by the order in which you find various materials (in readable form), along with my impressions of what they tell us about the world, people, and events of Homesick. The images are screenshots, and therefore canon. My impressions are my own and might be completely wrong (although obviously I don’t think so, or I wouldn’t be making the guide).
This guide is inherently spoilers, so other than putting some spacer lines as a help to those who clicked on the wrong guide, I won’t be using any spoiler protections.
The protagonist begins the game by awakening in a heavily damaged bedroom with dry flowers growing through the floor tiles, and half of a child’s drawing of what is probably two people holding hands in a field of (very large) blue flowers floats in from the window to land at the foot of the bed. The angle of the arm on the torn edge of the drawing implies this is a child, holding hands with an adult.
There is a yawn from the protagonist, with a voice that sounds like a tenor male.
The door to the apartment is closed and locked.
All the written materials you find are unintelligible, so for the moment, the only items to gain information from are the half-picture and the two pictures on the walls, which have two very different styles.
One is a picture of a moon, brightly colored and in a style suitable for a child’s bedroom.
The other is some sort of diagram drawn in black and white.
If you attempt to go too close to the windows, the screen goes white and the character cannot advance further. There is a single fire axe in a case in the hall near the starting room, in a case with damage to the glass implying impacts, but the character is too weak to lift it. The door that will eventually take you to the next area is locked, with the key jammed.
After restoring moisture to the flowers, you are once again able to sleep. When you sleep, you enter a dark, black and white world, and you have a fire axe (whether or not you attempted to pick it up in the bright world). There is a constant crackling sound, and black something-or-other rises around you if you hold still, eventually causing you to wake.
In the dark world, the poster on the door is now legible.
If you haven’t flipped the apparently-useless switch on in the hall in the bright world, the hallway is pitch black, and you are trapped in the room. If you have, you are able to move on to the next area and break down a door that had been blocking your path to the Common Room.
You continue this pattern of watering flowers, sleeping, and breaking down doors to progress through the game until you reach a point where you are able to decipher the various texts in the game. Assuming you continue in the same direction the game has you moving during the first portion, this is also the first room you reach after gaining the ability to read the texts you find in the building.
You are now able to read the other items in the room (including the poster on the door, which was previously only readable in the black and white world).
Two of the books are about sleep and dreaming.
The other two share a theme of duality related to the author. One has “two authors”, and sounds like it might have been written as a children’s book, and the other describes the dual population of a place with the same name as the author.
There are two letters in the room. One is the first page of a long letter, the other a very short reply, apparently still to be sent.
From these, it appears our protagonist is Tosh, whose older sister, Sabine, has gone to a place called the Village, which sounds like an eco-arcology focused on sustainable living. It is unclear if she started out in the building/location in which the game takes place, or if they split up to go to different places earlier.
The fact that the poster is on the door to Tosh’s apartment implies that he is being directly told not to turn off the lights in the hallway; if it were a more general admonition, I would expect it to have been near the light switch. Given the apparent focus on sleep, it is possible that he had difficulty sleeping with the hall light on (the construction of the building isn’t the greatest, and light leaks under a door can interfere with sleep), and thus turned it off frequently enough to warrant putting up a notice.
Next Door Neighbor
If you progress to the apartment next door to Tosh’s, you reach an apartment whose owner I am not able to definitely name. If the books with taped-in pages are handmade, which seems likely given the content of the others found elsewhere, his name is likely “Brent M.”, and I am going with that.
(I suspect that a lot of the names and content that is not directly pertinent to the plot was provided as part of kickstarter rewards. If so, Brent M is probably a backer who provided this content to be included in the game. Trying to determine which things are directly relevant to the plot and which are only tangentially related because the backers knew what kind of game they were backing is part of the challenge in lore analysis of games of this type.)
Brent has, most likely recently, separated from his wife, and is very much not over it yet. My interpretation of this note is that it refers to the formal separation of spouses, which in some places is an early stage of divorce proceedings, but it could just be referring to splitting up in general.
He appears to like cars, based on the book about S.A.A.B. and the picture on his wall.
It is unclear if he intentionally acquired the book about dressing for romance, or if it was perhaps a gift from a well-meaning friend, given that he definitely doesn’t sound to be over his ex.
Based on everything seen here and the fact that it is a studio apartment, this looks like the immediate landing point of a man whose marriage has just fallen apart.
Across the Hall
Across from Tosh and Brent’s apartments is a larger apartment that apparently belongs to a young couple, Eliott Willow and his wife (whose first name is not given), who wish to adopt one or more orphans who lost their parents to recent troubles in the region. There are two small beds in the second bedroom, and it is implied they have no children at this time, so I am unsure if these were in preparation for children or if there was someone else sleeping in that room.
You find four letters, all relating to the adoption. The couple seems entirely behind the idea, while Eliott’s parents do not approve.
in the kitchen area, you find their acceptance letter and a reply.
In the master bedroom, you find the letter from Eliott’s parents, and his letter to his wife, referencing the family disapproval and reassuring her about the situation.
The books in the apartment also refer to parenting and adoption.
The art in this apartment is pleasant, a small photo in the bathroom and a simple, pleasant image of two people sitting at a cafe-type table in the bedroom.
The story theme of this family is pretty straightforward, but adds context to the world. There is enough danger and violence in an entire region that the number of orphans has become a social issue in and of itself, and there are both people wishing to take them in, and people who are inclined to distrust their commitment to their new families.
In the common room, there is a notable lack of decorations- no pictures or other items to make the place pleasant, just windows and places to sit… and filing cabinets, dumped haphazardly by one of the exits. You discover why these are here in a later room, but the contents are encountered first.
The majority of the items in the filing cabinets fall into two categories: newspapers and slides containing images of industrial sites, sometimes obviously malfunctioning, sometimes not. The main articles in the newspaper clippings all reference the energy sector and/or industrial safety.
First is an article about the energy boom, with a note that there are calls to shift to eco-friendly and safer forms of energy production. Mining is mentioned, but no other source, so coal is implied.
Second is an article about anonymous worker complaints about widespread safety violations.
Third is an apparent followup to previous reporting about a power plant explosion, indicating that more people may have died than had been previously estimated, and the bodies are only being found now that the towers are being reconstructed. There is an “Official Warning” in the classified section, indicating dire health consequences due to failure to evacuate in an unspecified “real emergency”.
Finally, there is an article about a study on cancer risk which will be conducted excluding energy workers, and the complaints that this will incorrectly minimize perceived risk.
The slides are as follows. I have guesses as to what most of them are, but I am not certain. (These appear to be real photos of industrial sites; if they are not, kudos to the art team!)
A general industrial complex. apparently flooded. I am thinking of various dam burst disasters, as we have an energy-industry theme going with the newspaper articles.
More industrial-looking buildings, definitely flooded.
A man standing next to what appears to be a fallen mining or drilling rig. Hard to tell from what’s in shot.
What appears to be a fire at a power transmission station.
Comparison, possibly of soil affected by a disaster and unaffected soil.
Some form of refinery or similarly complex processing center. No obvious malfunctions, but I am not sure there is supposed to be smoke/steam coming out of so many places.
Power transmission stations or something similar. No obvious malfunctions.
I think this is the initial processing slag heap at a mine, but whatever is happening here, I wouldn’t want to breathe it.
Overall, a definite theme of industry, especially the energy sector, not playing by the rules when it comes to safety, and the authorities doing little, if anything, to stop it.
This continues in the Memorandum found in the filing cabinet in the closet, which details the dollar amounts of recent settlements and penalties paid due to safety violations. The fact that multiple company names are listed, and yet this is apparently an internal memo, implies that this is a conglomerate of various energy companies. Also of note is the fact that half of them name apparently governmental bodies as the primary defendant, reinforcing the lack of proper oversight.
Finally, much less spectacularly, there is a note explaining the combinations to the filing cabinets.
There’s a lot there, but it overall paints a world with industry, especially the energy sector, running roughshod over the laws and regulations regarding both the safety of their workers and the surrounding environment and communities, with little resistance by the government, and apparently willing to just pay off the necessary settlements when things go horribly wrong rather than improve. Lovely.
The library has one newspaper and many books. The newspaper definitely has story lore, both in the main article and in the classifieds.
The article is about energy subsidies and whether they should go to various fossil fuel industries or to newer, more eco-friendly ones. Nothing shocking there, considering what we found in the filing cabinets.
The classified advertisement adds some important new world information. There are company towns in this world, and they are apparently very well-integrated into how things work. The advertisement is exhorting people not to bring in non-Industry elected officials to a company town.
For those who do not know, the concept of a Company Town is one that is heavily embedded in the history of the Industrial age, particularly in North America. Basically, a single employer would build and run an entire municipality to house and provide for the workers they needed in a specific location. The most infamous ones were usually mining towns, as they were frequently too remote for workers to even visit the nearest town, allowing for many abuses. There is too much here for me to dig into in a eore doc for this game, but if you are interested and have a strong tolerance for depressing history, I do recommend looking into it. I think this is a major connection/concept for the game.
My guess is that all the books in the library are Backer content, and thus not directly part of the lore, but there are two that seem potentially pertinent, likely because the backers decided to use what they knew about the game as source material. In the end, I don’t think they fit with the rest of the game’s theme well enough to consider them in-world lore, but they do provide some fodder for interesting side theories.
If the devs did put in actual lore here, it implies more of a supernatural aspect to the story than is indicated elsewhere, and that I think detracts from the intended message.
The first that might be relevant is a self-bound book titled simply Case Journal 27. It describes a private detective who has been asked to go into a ruined building to acquire a sealed box belonging to the client. Could be this building, could be another, but the self-binding (implying this is a self-made book as opposed to a published one) makes it intriguing.
The second book touches on sleep and dreams again. The potentially key bit is about how they can affect waking life.
The remaining books appear to simply be interesting reading material.
The Circus of Sands
The Swabs Log from Liberty
Angels of Men
City of Roses
The Helping Friendly Book
This room is just past the Library, and has a piece of sheet music on the floor. Later, you find the same music denoted in a way that is much easier for people who don’t know how to sight-read music to use.
Just past this room, in the hallway, is the electrical cabinet for the elevator in the music room.
In the cabinet are instructions on how to get the faulty wiring to cooperate with the elevator actually working.
Nothing lore-heavy here, but including it for completeness. With the piano being so out of tune, I can’t tell if the piece you play is part of the soundtrack or not.
First Apartment on the Left
This apartment may be the source of the picture you have been using to help you sleep, as there are a number of pictures drawn in the same childish style and bright colors.
There are also a collection of alphabet blocks, mostly in this room, that you use to relearn the alphabet. I did not take pictures of those.
There is one decoration here with words, but no books or other texts.
In the smaller bedroom, there are two major types of picture. The first is the collection of pictures drawn as mnemonics for the alphabet (the one for the letter E is missing):
The second is freely-drawn pictures, two of which depict disasters.
The freely-drawn images of disasters, an oil rig, and tall, crowded buildings continue reinforcing the fact that this is a world where industry rules and disasters are common. If these are making it into children’s drawings, they are definitely part of the child’s life. Nothing groundbreaking here, just reinforcing themes.
Second to the Left
This room belongs to a Mr. Riggins, who is apparently considering the practicalities of becoming a whistleblower.
He has received a letter advising him that he definitely qualifies for Whistleblower protections, but that the political climate is such that that might not help him much.
There is a journal in which he details the reason for the filing cabinets in the common room, and ponders the safety, efficacy, and morality of whistleblowing.
There are also two slides here, which might or might not come from the collection in the filing cabinets, as their topics aren’t quite the same.
One is a picture of two (I think) people standing in an area of forest that has been logged and possibly burnt. As I understand it, some logging operations involve/d burning the stumps after logging, to make it easier to traverse the land and/or clear the area for replanting, but I am unsure if that is what is depicted here. Given the themes of the game and the size of the stumps, I am thinking this depicts the logging of old-growth forests.
The other looks to be people playing something like football or rugby while wearing protective uniforms. Possibly this is what is required to play sports outside in that location? Hard to say. Unnerving image, regardless.
He has one other book, the usual upwardly-mobile business type manual.
Finally, he has three pictures. I find the combination of fairly pleasant dog photos and whatever is over the bed interesting, but I am not sure what to make of it. I actually like abstract art, but I am not able to tell if this one was always so odd, or if it is meant to have been heavily damaged. If so, why it is the one picture to be so warped is an interesting question.
This is getting into the meat of the matter. The facilities Russel is responsible for are definitely unsafe, and he is coming to grips with whether he should play along or try to do something to make things safer. His predecessor was hurriedly moved somewhere else, and it is not clear if that was voluntary or not. Given the state of the place, I don’t think he managed to make a difference in time.
One interesting point to note is that the next apartment I will mention has a similar dog photo. Perhaps the two were friends.
Nothing really interesting here lore-wise, but there’s a note that tells you the combination so you can get the keys and reach the remaining apartments.
Locked Apartment with Desk
This room belongs to a Mr. Russel Paxton, who is apparently quite a prolific author.
He has a letter from the regional director of something writing-related, enthusiastically inviting him to submit an entry to a regional writing competition.
A quick note about a story idea I would love to read.
All the books in this room are his writings, properly bound. We get a snippet of one story, plus two short-short stories.
Collection of short stories, with what I think is only the beginning of a story called The Rover
Ampere (I particularly like this one)
He has one picture, which is hard to see properly without moving into free camera, as it is lying on a table rather than on a wall. It is also very small.
Russel is an interesting one. He obviously puts a great deal into his writing, and heavy industrial work, even as a manager, doesn’t lend itself to having that kind of time, so why is he in this building that seems to be primarily industrial workers? In whatever manner, he has managed to afford pretty much the only furniture that breaks the mold of the furniture that seems to have come with the housing- that chair is definitely not the usual around here.
His picture is somewhat similar to the dog pictures in Riggins’ room, and they live almost directly across from one another, so possibly they are friends?
Kind of an enigma, but not one that breaks the themes.
Second Locked Apartment
The two letters in this room reveal it to belong to a woman named Mariah, who apparently left a family farm to work in an industrial setting after a drought set in. She has recently been promoted, but there are concerns about working conditions.
She seems to wish for a less “industrial wasteland” environment, both from her statements in her letter and her choice in reading material.
Her pictures are what appear to be a family photo and a vector rendering of a heart with too many parts.
She has a trunk that has been stenciled with locations, probably places it has been shipped. The inclusion of Brooklyn, NY and Norfolk, VA set her travels in the United States, making it likely that the building is also in the US. (Not sure if that was intentional, or if this is an accident of texture use.)
Mariah fits the archetype of a displaced farm worker who was forced by circumstances to take up an industrial job.
This was particularly a theme during the Dust Bowl years in the United States, when bad land management led to a drought drying up the topsoil of most of the Great Plains, turning it into giant, sometimes lethal, dust storms instead of rich, productive farmland. Many practices designed to minimize topsoil loss and wind erosion of topsoil in particular were developed in the aftermath.
Entry Hall & Restroom
Once you manage to get the elevator door open, you are able to go down to the entry hall of the building. Here, there is a newspaper that I feel explains the location of the game. The description of the company housing in the article is entirely accurate to the upper area of the building.
The first classified ad is another that I am unsure about in terms of whether it is lore or backer content.
There are busts of several people on plinths, which I am guessing are backers. No lore significance that I have found, as there are no labels.
There is a listing of residents of the building, which I believe to be another backer perk.
Also in the entryway is an announcement about evacuation drills, including some reminders of how to behave during an evacuation. This is highly significant to my overall hypothesis about the story of the game, both because of its content and its placement at nearly the end of the game, i.e., a reveal.
I am also including the completed sleep drawing here.
Once you sleep in the entry hall, you break open the main door, but you are also guided to break down the final locked interior door, which turns out to reach a restroom. Here you encounter the only mirror in the game, initially in the dark world, then in the lit world.
In the dark world, you see yourself thus.
When you get close to the mirror, you awaken in the bright world, still standing in front of the mirror, and see this.
The mirror then shatters, and it is unclear why. However, if you look down, there is a fire axe of the type you have been wielding in the dark world, and which disappeared from the case upstairs, making it likely that the protagonist destroyed the mirror instinctively when they saw their reflection.
There is one final newspaper in the restroom, with an article about how a lawsuit has reaffirmed the requirement to publicly post the hazards of failing to escape in the case of an actual evacuation, still from a nonspecified hazard, and lists those negative impacts.
After waking up in the restroom, you take one final nap, and leave out the main door, awakening in a place that appears to be a construct of the building and the natural elements the protagonist has been promoting in each sleep location. It is too small and isolated to be anything real, but it looks exactly like the light world otherwise.
You have a certain amount of time to wander around here, and then the protagonist moves out into the meadow and looks up at the clouds. Then the sleep picture floats up and away, and the game ends.
I am not including this image. Seriously, play the game, the moment has a lot more meaning then.
The World We See
So, with all that, what does it say about the situation the protagonist is in?
This is a world where energy companies, and industrial companies in general, have free rein, and have thoroughly trashed the environment on a scale not seen in North America in the real world. The government is divided into Regions, corruption in favor of the energy companies is rampant, and massive ecological disasters are common. In some places, the outside world is becoming unlivable, and living entirely indoors is the norm due to pollution. In others, it is still safe to be outside, and even farm, but there is rampant homelessness and drought. There is great unrest, and many orphaned children.
The building you explore as the protagonist is a company housing block set up with an apartment-style structure and an industrial style so sparse it is essentially Brutalist. Most of the furniture is basic and interchangeable, thus probably included with the housing. While facilities for entertainment exist, they are of the type that requires minimal investment on the part of the company. There are no decorations in the public areas, so this would be a very grim place to live.
The specific company associated with this block is engaging in the widespread flaunting of safety regulations, as noted in Riggins’ thoughts about whistleblowing and the reference to concerns about safety in Mariah’s letters.
There are evacuation drills once a month, which is apparently an increase from the previous schedule, possibly in response to pressure from groups wanting increased safety. The rules explicitly discourage going back for anyone who is found to be missing in the case of an evacuation.
It is noted in multiple places that the health impacts of failing to evacuate, i.e., avoid whatever the disaster is, are dire. The general implication seems to be either radiation or chemical exposure, but it is not specified precisely what.
The building seems to have suffered a nearby explosion that blew windows on the nearest side into the building while leaving others intact. There is significant damage to all surfaces, but objects are still intact, including a great number of paper documents, which show no sign of burned edges, but everything looks to have been left untended in a very dry environment for a long time. It definitely seems to have been caught in an industrial accident as referenced in the various documents found in the building.
In order to interpret the events shown in the game, it is important to select which details are significant, and which are not. This is, obviously, the area in which I might be the most off the mark, but I feel that these are important details that are indirectly expressed about the situation, rather than the world.
There are significant questions about the reality of one or both of the worlds Theo finds himself in over the course of the game. There are hints that both are real, but with details that are possibly hallucinatory. Certain things can only be affected in one or the other world, and they affect one another.
The pattern of soiling on the bedding whenever Theo wakes in the bright world after getting something done in the dark one fits for someone with weeping sores or bad burns, but it is too black.
The torn picture is important because it represents a goal, but the flowers you restore are more ambiguous. “Dream logic” is often used to refer to things that make no sense, but dream logic actually does hang together, just without the benefit of common sense- extraneous factors of the symbols are ignored. I am not sure if the flowers are even real in the context of the game, or if they are a symbol of something else, even for Theo. Either way, restoring them is what gives Theo the wherewithal to take on another bout in the dark world.
If Theo is suffering from memory loss in the bright world, that would explain why the only thing he can read until he gets to the blocks is the sign in his dream. He isn’t technically reading it- he is remembering reading it.
A small detail: it’s hard to be sure because of the lighting, but the color values of the blue in the picture and in the flowers are really close. Might be an in-world match, might be a coincidence, or might be a little psychological cue to associate the world with the blue flowers with sleep.
In the dark world, there is a strong implication of fire as the hazard, but the building in the bright world shows signs of damage, but it doesn’t read as having burned, to me. The surfaces are more or less intact and have no charring, and small objects that would have been heavily damaged are present (all those documents are just fine). Even after a long time has passed, burned places don’t look like that.
Okay, headcanon time. I have come up with an interpretaion that satisfies me, but your mileage may vary. I am fine with discussing this, but I don’t really feel like arguing. If you have a different headcanon, I am interested to hear it, and might or might not change my mind (there are still some things I am not sure of), but if we disagree, that’s fine. You do you.
Given that the doors go down in the bright world when broken in the dark one, and lights turn on in the dark world when switched in the bright world, my impression is that events are legitimately happening in the order you encounter them, but there has to be a reason that the dark world has the inky “fire” as a hazard despite the building being burnt. It is possible that there is a large degree of hallucination here, which would make certain aspects of the game make more sense, so my impression is that Theo is in a semi-lucid state for the majority of the game, with periods of nightmare-plagued sleep with sleepwalking (not common together, but okay).
At some point, Theo either slept through a real evacuation, ignoring it because he thought it was a drill, or attempted to comply with evacuation orders, but was stymied by the darkness in the hallway. Either way, he did not evacuate successfully, and no one came to help him. He has been dealing with the effects of exposure to both the “normal” levels of pollution and whatever the disaster was ever since. Given the state of the buildings and Theo once we see him, I am thinking severe acute radiation poisoning, as that leaves physical objects looking entirely normal, just more radioactive.
Given the corporate environment, I sincerely doubt the official agents that are supposed to do a sweep to find anyone who was missing were particularly thorough, especially as that task would usually fall to the floor manager, the same person who put a sign on Theo’s door. If he already annoyed the floor manager, it is not unlikely that they took a “he’s getting what he deserves” attitude if it was surmised that he couldn’t get out because of the darkness. It is also possible that he went straight from asleep to coma, and they didn’t find him because his room is locked, and he was unable to respond to any verbal checks.
Here comes the first timing question: how long has Theo been stuck in this building? This largely depends on whether the flowers are a hallucination or not. If they are not, he has been there quite a while- it would take time for flowers and grass to gain a foothold in what is probably solid cement. If they are a hallucination, then it could be pretty much any amount of time, but I think something on the order of days or weeks, given the limited range of activity Theo had until the game began.
Hunger and approaching death can both cause delirium, so I think the flowers are a hallucination, which also explains how they manage to bloom so quickly after being watered, and why they are the trigger for being able to go to places that would normally not be accessible due to the light. I think the flowers represent the wherewithal Theo needs to get himself out of the building after being trapped for quite a while after the disaster. He was inspired by the torn drawing, which might or might not be physically real. That one, I’m not sure about, but I think it is real. He was lying there, basically waiting to die, until it arrived at the start of the game, at which point he decided to make one last attempt to get out, despite the lack of positive outlook.
I think the experience of the dark world is so bizarre because the state required to sleepwalk and dream at the same time is an inherently broken one- it means the brain is not operating sleep properly. I don’t know why the inky fire is there, but I think that the general framework for those sections of the game is memory of the day of the disaster, so perhaps I am wrong about there not having been fire, or perhaps that is how his mind is interpreting the pain he is in.
The path you take through the building is one reasonable evacuation path Theo might have been assigned. If he wasn’t sun-sensitive and/or doors had not been locked (remember those jammed keys), it would have been a relatively easy path to the music room, and in the dark world sections, there are sounds of people, as if Theo isn’t the only one following the path. His shortest path to the music room would actually be to go through the door nearest his apartment, but evacuation patterns are not always designed to be efficient, especially in places that have this little care for worker safety. A better path would have been to go through the door nearest his room, but as that door only locks from the other side, it is likely his assigned path would be the longer one.
Of Note: Poor evacuation protocols in case of emergency are a trademark of industrial era workplace disasters. In some cases, workers were literally locked in as buildings burned around them. They weren’t explicitly locked in because of the fire, it was just standard practice, usually with the reasoning that it kept workers from sneaking out for breaks or stealing materials, thus the workers did not have the ability to unlock the doors. Safety evacuation in general was pretty bad back then, and workhouses and the like were often particularly bad.
It is possible that Theo was in a coma for some of the time he has been in the building (that being mentioned as one of the symptoms of exposute), so it is possible that the entire game experience takes place as the doubled dream of a dying man. I tend to think he awakened from some degree of coma to finally get out of the destroyed building, but the whole thing being a dying delirium would explain a few of the oddities my version does not.
Theo is experiencing all of the listed symptoms, with coma being most likely the backstory of why he is in the building so long after the disaster. His memory was damaged, and the torn picture brings him back some of his memories, spurring him to action towards getting out of the building, even if he makes himself worse in the process. He essentially channels his healthy self in his dreams, thus the healthy-ish image in the mirror when he first encounters it.
The one time Theo wakes up somewhere other than where he went to sleep is in the restroom. There are many techniques used in trying to have a lucid dream or wake from a nightmare. One such technique is to look at yourself in a mirror. Depending on who you ask, this will either make you aware you are dreaming, turning the dream into a lucid one, or wake you up. In this case, it seems to be a bit of both, with the mirror snapping Theo out of his dream in a way that doesn’t let him get back to his bed first. Whether consciously or reflexively, he uses the last of his strength to break the mirror, then drops the axe.
He then boes back to lie down one last time, leaves the building… and dies. The final location is a construction of his mind as he passes.
There are some things that my interpretation doesn’t fully account for, and I am aware of that. My explanation for the inky fire is iffy. My guess that the flowers are a hallucination is iffy. I might have missed some information, the devs might have left contradictions in the game on purpose to keep things interesting, or I might be completely misinterpreting things and those are the key to the real story. I don’t know. All of this part is my conjecture.
A few more conjectures, of a more meta variety:
The name of the game seems to be a play on words. Possible associations I came up with are Theo being homesick for the place/time/concept portrayed in the torn picture, the fact that the setup of the housing has led to him being so sick, and/or the entire situation around the company housing and disasters being sick.
The general nature of exposure and hazards seems to have been done intentionally, so that this doesn’t become a commentary on a specific kind of bad industrial practice to the exclusion of others. This is about themes, not “we hate this very specific industry”. Abuse of the workforce, lack of social responsibility, and general greed in the corporate and industrial sector seem to be the point.
The company town references are ties to some of the most fundamental abuses of human rights by employers in the west seen outside of actual slavery, and the tone of the game is very much one of “are you going to stand for this?” with the actual game experience being the cautionary tale of what could happen if nothing is done.
I didn’t find the mechanics of the game all that exciting, but that wasn’t the point of the game. I find the story and the presentation interesting enough to have basically binge-written a lore guide so that people could catch details I didn’t see mentioned in other places. Hopefully, the added information can provide a basis for someone to come up with an explanation that doesn’t have the remaining holes.
Kudos to the devs for including so many details relating to a period and situation in history that a lot of people never run across when learning history, and thanks for making the game.
That's everything we are sharing today for this Homesick guide. This guide was originally created and written by Nightsmaiden. In case we fail to update this guide, you can find the latest update by following this link.