Have you come to the end of Scorn but are you still confused as to what it all means? Here’s our take on the Scorn ending and what we think it represents.
Much like FromSoftware’s Souls games, Scorn primarily uses environmental storytelling to deliver its narrative. While there are a few in-game cutscenes, there’s absolutely no text or dialogue, and what happens (often shockingly) before our eyes is generally open to interpretation.
However, as you begin to reach the end of Scorn, many of the game’s themes and ideas begin to become clear, as does our protagonist’s motivation. Each of Scorn’s five acts sets the stage for the ending, but the game cuts us the rug at the last moment in a truly memorable and confusing way.
Here’s what we think it all meant, and as we’ll talk about Scorn’s plot, themes, and ending, spoilers will be plentiful from now on.
Scorn tells a dark story, but it’s cleverly crafted.
Contempt Plot Summary
Scorn opens with an alien landscape of what looks like a dying world. The biomechanical structures are clearly influenced by the work of the late, great HR Giger, looking very much like the worlds seen in Alien or Prometheus.
A humanoid figure is released from an egg and sees a shimmering tower in the distance that appears to wave to them in some sort of greeting. They head there but have to go through a series of abandoned structures before they can get there.
The facility they are in appears to be connected to some sort of cloning or birthing unit, where living things are grown, gestated, and harvested for unknown reasons. There is something both human and alien about the entities there, but the structure was apparently abandoned long ago.
As the player was, many of these humanoid beings are in stasis and some are freed from their whelping pods/eggs by their actions. At some point, the player releases another (much weaker) miniature from a pod and has the choice of forcing their cooperation before abandoning them – or assassinating them to take what they need.
A selfish callousness on the part of the protagonist is implied, suggesting he knows more about what happened here than we realize. After equipping themselves with a gun, they then use several more eggs to seemingly “fertilize” a large machine. However, something goes wrong and they are coated in a goo that may contain mutagenic properties before the scene fades to black.
We then find ourselves in command of another humanoid who also spawned from an egg in the hellish landscape outside the structure. Like the last player, they are drawn to the tower and begin to follow in the previous protagonist’s footsteps.
Scorn seems to be able to take place in the Alien universe.
During their journey, the new character is stalked by a mutated creature and eventually attacked and fused with it. The creature is parasitic and uses the protagonist to keep itself alive at the cost of its health. He also holds the gun found by the first player, suggesting that this mutated beast is him in a new form, still trying to reach the tower by attaching himself to another pilgrim.
The pair eventually make their way to the tower after battling several monstrosities. Some of the creatures they encounter on their travels represent aborted children and other dark themes related to fertility and the issues that can arise during it. A creature that appears benevolent to the player represents a mother in childbirth, she helps the protagonist to progress – but at the cost of her own life.
In the tower, the protagonist sees murals on the walls depicting breeding aliens and humans as well as what appear to be experiences of transcending psychic flesh and the material world. A large, suggestively shaped portal can be seen at the very top of the tower and the player tries to reach it.
However, the mutant begins to undermine the protagonist from their lives and gradually takes control of their bodies. The player then uses a machine to remove the mutant but severely damages its body in the process. The mutant flees, leaving the player to attach themselves to a hive mind to try to save their conscience in the event of death.
They then use it to take over another nearby body and use it to pick up their original body and transport them to the portal so they can ascend or transition to another plane of existence. However, this stolen body either dies or has its connection to the host somehow severed as it approaches the portal, leaving the now badly injured protagonist vulnerable and unable to progress.
When this happens, the mutant and original protagonist returns and merges with the player again. The two mutate together into a mass of flesh that remains stuck in place, with neither able to reach the portal. Both characters appear to die in this form, with anything beyond the portal out of reach forever.
Scorn is a psychological horror game with shooting elements.
The End of Scorn Explained
The protagonists of Scorn, the one we play for most of the game, and the original one who becomes a mutant, both seem to have some understanding of the world they find themselves in. They both apparently grew and hatched with this knowledge and were born on a desperate quest to reach the tower and escape this dying world.
It seems that the entire population of Scorn is hatched in this lifetime, only a select few make it to the tower and successfully pass through the portal. This also implies that the mutant character cannot walk through the portal unless they merge with another being. Or the mutant may simply want to feed on it to survive longer until another worthy host arrives.
When we first play Scorn, we assume the world is dead and we see the remnants of an ancient civilization long gone. Or as in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (a prequel to the Alien franchise), the whole place could be a facility for DNA splicing or the creation of bio-weapons.
However, the game’s final act shows us, through murals, that humans (at least this game’s version) worked with aliens to create the perfect organism and world. It’s unclear if the hive mind the player connects to is part of this plan, or just needs to go through the portal, but if so, it would imply that civilization has found what she is looking for.
Or the portal could simply represent a new world to travel to now that this one is rotten and dying. Where things get dark is that it seems not everyone is welcome in this new world. Could the whole trip be some twisted form of eugenics in that only a select few can actually reach the tower and step through the portal?
Themes of fertility and pregnancy feature prominently in Scorn and its ending.
Scorn leans heavily on its themes of birth, fertility, death, and rebirth through its characters, monsters, and environments. It gets even stronger at the end of the game when the pregnancy images are all over the place. The creature carrying our protagonist’s shattered body is also heavily pregnant and must be injected with the blood of alien babies before it can come to life.
It seems pregnancy complications are a theme that hangs over Scorn like a dark cloud. Even the statues surrounding the portal are all pregnant figures, pointing at it and beckoning our protagonist to be reborn. When you look at the suggestive shape of the portal, it’s clear that this is some sort of rebirth for the protagonist, if he can pull it off.
It could also be that the population has begun to struggle to conceive or carry babies to term, leading to the Scorn civilization creating such a dark path to follow. The aliens could have caused this or offered them salvation in the form of the portal. The player who fails to get to the portal and be reborn can also be seen through the lens of a failed birth/pregnancy, which adds another layer of tragedy to Scorn’s ending.
Finally, the mutant attaching to the second playable character could also be a commentary on twins and the unpredictability of such pregnancies. Could the two characters have been reborn together if they hadn’t threatened each other in various ways during their fight for survival?
While Scorn’s ending is incredibly grisly, there’s probably a lot more to it than we’ve been able to cover here. The great thing about these games is that there are probably no wrong answers, and Ebb Software has deliberately left it open to interpretation.
Body horror is always scary, but HR Giger’s work often involves the theme of fertility, much like Ridley Scott’s Alien did before him. In this film, a character is imbued with a face-squeezing parasite and forced to go into gestation and give birth to an alien creature, resulting in his death. Scorn also examines these ideas and plays on our fears of things going wrong in this area of life, which we believe makes it one of the scariest games ever made.