Making Sense of Outlast 2's Ending

The credits rolled, but you still have questions about Outlast 2's ending. We've got answers.

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By the time Outlast 2 fades to black, developer Red Barrels has given you all the pieces to the game's ending. The catch is that those pieces can be arranged in different ways.

Many aspects of Outlast 2 remain open to interpretation. That was by design. Red Barrels crafted a survival-horror adventure that will keep fans talking for years, debating Blake's hallucinations and arguing over the fate of Lynn's baby. We've studied the game's ending and compiled evidence to frame what seems to be the most popular explanation so far.

It goes without saying that spoilers follow. If you have yet to see the ending for yourself, or want to talk it over with other players first, avert your eyes until later.

Lynn and the Baby

Following a tidal wave of murderous cultists and hallucinations that made Blake (and you) question what was fact and what was fiction, Blake makes his way to the mines. There, he finds Lynn, his wife, who gives birth while the storm reaches its crescendo. Lynn dies after seeing the baby safely in Blake's hands. Before she slips away, she says, "There's nothing there."

The meaning behind those three words divided Outlast 2's fan base. Lynn, on the brink of death, could have been referring to the absence of heaven or hell. Remember, she, Blake, and their friend Jessica attended Catholic school as children. Whatever happened to them over the years since, religion formed the bedrock of their beliefs.

Another interpretation is that Lynn was referring to the baby Blake held in his hands—or, rather, was not holding. Blake's had more than his fair share of hallucinations. Could it be that the child was another in a long line of illusions?

Knoth sees the baby, which seems to reinforce the notion that the baby was real. Consider this, though: Knoth was exposed to the same radio signals that corrupted Blake's mind. If the baby is another hallucination, Blake and Knoth might share it.

Visions of the Past

Blake leaves the bodies of Lynn and Knoth. The background warps, changing into the school where he spent his youth. Jessica appears; rope burns decorate her neck, evidence of her suicide. Jessica guides Blake to the kitchen where they used to play. They kneel and offer up a prayer. The screen fades, and the credits roll.

Outlast 2's final scene is rife with symbolism. Although its meaning is up for debate, Blake willingly following Jessica and kneeling to pray alongside her can be seen as Blake giving in to his guilt over her suicide. He never forgot Jessica begging him to stay with her on the day she took her life. Guilt gnawing away at his conscience, coupled with the effects of the signals emanating from the radio tower, broke what remained of Blake's mind. Or, perhaps, paved the way for acceptance and peace.

Which brings us back to Lynn, the baby, and Knoth. If Blake's mind was broken—and it did seem to be—perhaps the nightmarish visions became his new reality. A tapestry woven from hallucinations, terror, and ghosts from his past.

There's much more to Outlast 2's story than meets the eye. Read our guide to find out how Outlast 2 connects to the first game. If a section of the game is giving you trouble, learn how to find bandages and heal

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.