There is no dearth of chilling moments in the psychological horror game Visage, developed by SadSquare Studio. The game is set in a suburban home in the year 1985, where the player, embodying a man named Dwayne Anderson, navigates through the dark corridors of a house haunted by its past and a mind haunted by its demons.
Visage – explaining the story
The tale unfolds with a tragic prologue. Dwayne is responsible for the murder of his wife and two children, followed by his suicide. Waking up in a blood-soaked room and trapped inside his house, Dwayne is subjected to a string of terrifying paranormal events. His only path to escape is by traversing through three chapters, each delving into the harrowing stories of the house’s former inhabitants.
The first chapter takes us back to 1965 and centers around Lucy, a little girl whose innocent friendship with a demonic entity quickly turns into a nightmare. This entity communicates with Lucy through radio and television, influencing her to the point of committing atrocious acts, culminating in Lucy’s violent death.
The second chapter takes a leap back to 1962, introducing us to Dolores and George, an elderly couple. Dolores grapples with mental illness, hearing mysterious numerical sequences in her baby monitor. As her condition deteriorates, her relationship with George crumbles, leading to a devastating end for both.
The third chapter offers a glimpse into the tortured mind of 28-year-old Rakan Al-Mutawa in 1970. Rakan, suffering from scopophobia, descends into paranoia and violence, ultimately succumbing to a tragic fate.
The final chapter returns the focus to Dwayne and his family. As the details of Dwayne’s past and the tormented lives of his wife and children unravel, a deeper understanding of the grim tale begins to take shape.
Each of these narrative threads is masterfully woven, keeping players on edge while slowly uncovering the disturbing history of the house and its inhabitants. The brilliance of Visage lies not just in its gripping narrative, but in the multiple endings it offers.
Visage – both endings explained
Visage has two key endings – the default ending and the alternate ending called “The Void,” each significantly impacting how the game is interpreted.
In the default ending, Dwayne is seen putting on a mask – a potent symbol often associated with concealment, deception, or transformation. As Dwayne navigates through a room concealed behind a poorly painted wall, he is instantly teleported to a serene and beautiful landscape featuring a white screen with the faint silhouette of his family at a distance. This setting dramatically contrasts the terrifying journey Dwayne has been enduring within the haunted house.
The white screen is open to interpretation – it could symbolize a clean slate, signifying that Dwayne has finally broken free from his torment and is ready to start anew. The presence of his family could indicate reconciliation or forgiveness, perhaps a redemption of some sort from the heinous actions he committed. On the other hand, the white screen might also represent oblivion or void, suggesting that Dwayne’s journey was all for naught. The serene backdrop featuring a heavenly rainforest as the credits roll could be indicative of Dwayne’s longing for peace, a yearning for an escape from his terrifying reality.
On the contrary, the alternate ending named “The Void” presents a much darker conclusion. Here, Dwayne, after accessing a secret door and descending a staircase, finds himself back in the room where the game began. The loaded revolver, a grim reminder of his past actions, is still present.
In a horrifying repetition of the game’s opening, Dwayne shoots himself, each shot taking him to the location of one of the seven VHS tapes – his only possible route to the default ending. After collecting one tape, time resets itself six times, until the revolver finally runs out of bullets. It’s a powerful representation of how Dwayne’s torment is unending, how he is trapped in a vicious cycle of horror and despair. Each tape collection signifies his futile attempts at escape or redemption.
This cycle finally breaks when Dwayne wakes up in the well from Chapter 4, a symbolic representation of the depths of his despair, a dark and bottomless pit that signifies his desolation. It’s a well without boundaries – infinite in all directions, underscoring the pervasive and unescapable nature of his guilt and torment. This ending truly embraces the bleakness and inevitability of despair. It’s a haunting finish to Dwayne’s journey, one that serves to remind the player of the inescapable nature of past actions, and the haunting power of guilt and regret.
So, whether it’s the almost utopian default ending or the grimmer alternate ending, each serves to tie up the narrative threads in a chilling bow, giving players much to contemplate long after the game has ended.