When it comes to narratively driven games, none are quite as dense and packed full of content as Detroit Become Human. The story-heavy game features hours of purely narrative-driven content. There is the occasional action scene dominated by quick-time events, but the majority of the game comes in the form of creating your own story based on the choices you make. All throughout the game, you play as Markus, Connor or Kara. Three androids on the verge of sapience, each of which faces different plotlines. Whether it’s Kara, who simply wants to survive and live with her ‘adopted’ daughter Alice. Or Markus, the Android who’s had enough of being a slave to humanity. And finally, Connor, the android designed to hunt and destroy the deviants – androids who’ve gained sentience.
Players are given the option to ‘narrate’ this story, making all of the choices and deciding which narrative path to take. A simple concept on paper, however it’s no easy feat. David Cage, writer and director, of Detroit Become Human wrote a 2,000 page-long script to accommodate the branching story. These branching choices could be a minute as picking up an item in chapter 3 which later pays off in the final chapter. Or it might be a completely separate set of branches if one of the main characters dies prematurely. Basically, every choice in this game will have some form of consequence. Small of big, there are many different ways to play and experience this game.
The Many Endings of Detroit Become Human
Unlike so many other games with the illusion of choice, Detroit Become Human welcomes change and encourages players to play through new and different ways. Hence the replayability, you can play through the game the exact same way each time, or perhaps you’ll do a playthrough where you do the exact opposite of your first one. So it’s relieving to see that your choices do matter. So often will games promise that the players’ choice matters, and yet the game will only have two of three varying endings – that’s if you’re lucky.
So to hear that Detroit Become Human features 85 possible endings might seem a little unbelievable. According to the game’s flowchart, which shows players where choices branch off and how many variables there are between levels, it shows that there are 85 points where the game can end. However, there’s some overlap between the endings.
Obviously, there’s a lot of endings there but we’ll go through the most important ones for each character. What can happen to these individual characters. Naturally, spoilers ahead.
Connor is the one of the first android-hunting androids. He was built as an advanced prototype, with the main task of assisting human law enforcement. Especially when it comes to investigating cases involving deviants. Connor represents both the faceless entity of Cyberlife as well as the most hardy machines out there. While it can take some androids very brief moments to ‘awaken’, for Connor to become a deviant requires a lot of time and doubt to his system.
Throughout the game, Connor can die various times. However, whenever he does, he’s brought back – with his previous memories – downloaded into a new version of himself. As long as players choose to keep Connor as his deviant-hunting self, he will remain pretty much immortal. Any time he dies, his memories will simply be reuploaded to a new copy, from where he can continue his mission to destroy deviants. However, should Connor deviate, becoming a deviant himself. He is a lot more susceptible to death, as Cyberlife won’t be transferring his memories over.
New and Improved
If Connor remains a ‘machine’ and never deviates. And he survives to the very end, having accomplished his mission and killed either North and Markus, he will find that Amanda and Cyberlife have gone ahead and created an upgraded version of Connor, the RK900. Being told Connor will be shut down, decommissioned, doesn’t affect him at all and all his actions still weren’t enough to keep him alive. So even in this situation, where Connor does exactly as he is told, following his programming perfectly, he’s still to be killed and replaced by RK900.
Deviant but Compromised
Another ending features Connor gaining sapience, where he begins to value both his life and the lives of other androids. He successfully manages to awaken the thousands of dormant androids in the Cyberlife towers and seems to have won. And yet, lurking behind Connor’s programming, sits Amanda in waiting. Waiting for Connor to be in the perfect position, either he stands beside Markus and North, the revolutionist leaders, or he stands alone – the sole survivor of the revolution. It seems that despite having torn past the walls of programming, Cyberlife remained aware in Connor’s programming. Simply waiting for him to be in the perfect place at the perfect time.
If the revolutionist leader (Markus and/or North) is alive, then Cyberlife will attempt to seize control of Connor and use him to fire a bullet into their backs whilst celebrating their supposed victory. Or if Connor is the sole survivor of the revolution, and is designated its new leader, Amanda and Cyberlife will sit in silence, pleased that they have full control over the android deviants. No doubt to later sabotage it all from the inside, possibly leading them all to their deaths. Here is where Connor can fight back, if his visit to Kamski helped him learn about the ‘backdoor’, then he can push past Cyberlife’s system, forcing them out of himself and seizing control over his mind and body once and for all. However, should he be alone, without North or Markus to lead the revolutionists, Connor can’t trust himself to lead if he’s compromised. Connor can – then and there, atop the stage before the liberated androids – put a gun to his own head and ensure that Cyberlife can’t interfere with the newly freed androids.
Throughout the game, Connor has two individuals he seems to value. Whether it’s as a simple professional partnership, or whether he does genuinely want their approval. Amanda, the AI within his program to keep him on the straight path. Or Hank, the distrusting and disgruntled detective you’ve been partnered with to investigate deviant-based crimes. Leaning to one will end up pushing the other way, so it entirely depends on what Connor’s end goal is. If he turns deviant, he develops a friendly – almost familial – relationship with Hank. While, if he stays a machine, then he will be highly regarded by Amanda – though no amount of her approval will stop her from later replacing Connor with RK900.
If Connor stays a machine and lives to the very end, he will still be killed and replaced by Amanda. Whereas, if he turns deviant and both he and Hank survive, the two go on to work together and likely become good friends.
If you want to see all of Connor’s possible endings, you can watch a video compilation here.
Kara’s story follows both her and Alice. The two androids who showcase the true emotion and love androids are capable of for both each other and humans. Kara is an android who awakens from her mundane life of servitude upon the urge to protect Alice from her abusive father.
Throughout the game, Kara’s story centres around the idea to seek out freedom and safety. But Kara isn’t an action-oriented character. She’s a housemaid, and thus isn’t the most well-versed when it comes to combat. Which usually means she’s not as able to protect herself from danger and threats like Connor or Markus can. Leading a lot of dangerous situations. Kara and Alice find themselves in multiple deadly scenarios on their search for freedom. As such, there are many places in which Kara can be killed. She can be killed by Todd at the very beginning, when failing to cross the highway, in Zlatko’s home or when attempting to run from soldiers during the Jericho raids. She can also die in the camps or when attempting to cross the river. Needless to say, Kara and Alive are constantly at risk.
Despite the odds…
And yet, if Kara and Alive endure the hardships of their journey. If they push on, fight for their survival, they can both survive. You might think that because Alice is a child, she’s safe from any on-screen death. You’d be wrong, Alice is just as vulnerable to death as Kara is. Kara can continue her story without Alice, as can Alice should something happen to Kara. But there are three main endings to the Kara and Alive plotline.
Kara and Alice can make it to the Canadian border, where they’ll have to pass through customs where border control are checking for androids. If Markus and Connor’s actions have helped lead to a peaceful protest and public support is high, despite the border control officer seeing that you and Alice are androids, he will turn a blind eye and allow you into Canada.
Kara and Alice can also wind up victims to the recall centres across the country. Where they’re treated as sub-human and lead to their extermination. Kara can escape here without Alice, or she can attempt to help Alice escape but potentially die in the process. There is also a chance that during this, if Markus’s revolution is effective in-time, they can liberate the androids trapped in the camps.
Finally, the river is the next focal point in Kara and Alice’s end. They hope to cross the river, avoiding border control and potentially being spotted. Except, their hopes for an easy and discreet crossing of the river sinks fast. Along the river are guards who gun down any ships they spot, here is another pivotal point to the Alice and Kara story. Either of them can die, both can or they can both make it across, but not without losing in the process.
Kara is fiercely devoted to Alice upon deviancy. Wanting to protect her from the worst the world has to offer and to find sanctuary somewhere safe and free. Throughout the game, Alice will look up to Kara, seeing her as a mother-figure. Alice wants Kara to do the morally good thing in any situation, but in doing so can risk their safety. When Kara later discovers that Alice is also an android, she can choose to distance herself should she (or the player) want to. But usually, unless one died without the other, they are two peas in a pod, joint at the hip.
Luther is another character who becomes close to Kara and Alice. Forming a little family unit, however if anyone has more opportunities to die than Connor, it’s Luther. This big hulking man seems dead-set on being a martyr for Kara and Alice, throwing himself in front of any wayward bullet. However, if you can keep the giant hero from sacrificing himself for Kara and Alice, Luther can end up with them both in Canada or safely escaping the recall centres.
Markus is the lead revolutionist of the game, the main instigator behind the android liberation movement. Markus’s role in the game is to push for equality. Markus sees for himself that androids are treated unfairly despite their awareness. And he wants to use his newfound sapience to liberate androids from human servitude.
Being the leader of a revolutionist party can come with a few risks. Markus isn’t exempt, in fact – much like Kara – is at constant risk of death. Markus is the spokesperson for the android liberation movement, and thus has a large target painted on his face. Although, depending on the player’s choices and actions, Markus can survive til the end. The player has multiple choices in how they want to play as Markus, whether he should remain peaceful or if he needs to choose violent methods to convey his message. Both are equally as dangerous, though the violent path leads to a lot more chances of Markus dying. All the while, should he choose to remain peaceful, he might prolong his own life but it costs the lives of many of his followers.
“An eye for an eye”
Markus can choose to try to convey his message peacefully. Without killing and trying to show humans that androids are not to be feared but to be seen as equals. However, this particular path does cost a lot of deviants their lives. As deviants across the world follow in Markus’ example, and choose not to fight back. Often getting themselves killed. When it comes to the final demonstration, should Markus choose to stay hopeful that his peaceful protest will draw the attention of people, it still comes at a cost. When cornered, anticipating death, only when Markus chooses to show his humanity might humans lower their weapons. And even then, it didn’t come without a great sacrifice.
No change without force
Markus has seen the cruelty of mankind, he has seen their resentment towards androids and their lack of hesitation in gunning them down. He’s tried to be peaceful but got tired of seeing his people die, instead he takes it into his own hands to force change. Even if it means his own death. Markus’s more violent path can lead to success but his victory is likely only temporary, with public opinion at its lowest, it’s up for discussion whether android liberty is guaranteed or could cause an all-out war. Markus can die for his cause, leaving the revolution in the hands of North who can also in-turn die for the cause. In some cases, Markus might need to even fight off a relentless Connor before he’s killed by the deviant hunter.
Markus is the one character in the game with the most relationships. He has his own entourage of friends and supporters. Simon, Josh and North are his close friends whom he can gain or lose their trust without throughout the game. Markus and North can also develop a romantic relationship, the two kindred spirits wanting android freedom above all. Though, all of these characters can die as a consequence of Markus’s actions throughout the game.
Markus usually ends up being the leader of the revolutionists, though in some cases North might take the lead should Markus die. As such, he’s the head of most deviant androids, wanting their freedom and liberty, and will support all his androids. Being such an advocate for their rights that he will even awaken any android he sees in the streets, granting them awareness and when confronted by Connor, his initial reaction is to help Connor become deviant.
Those are the main endings to the three protagonists, though of course there’s so many we couldn’t possibly fit it in one page. Detroit Become Human is a fantastic game, one that blends story, cinema and gameplay into one tightly knit bundle. Although it was released in 2018, it remains a beautiful game to look at with excellent characters and a fascinating experience for any narrative-focused fan.