Subsurface circular a moral decision, is there a correct one?

Posted By   MrBirky's Avatar MrBirky   on July 29th, 2020 Report

Subsurface circular as a game is a linear affair, but at the last moments of the game you are presented with a decision. This article aims to look a little deeper into the decision presented to the player, and look at ideas and consequences of the two options. WARNING SPOILERS!!!

This article will not bring up all potential ideas and consequences, but rather a starting point for the reader to come to their own conclusions (much like the game did). Do take into consideration that these are my opinions, which will most likely differ from your own.

I will also not be talking about the game as a whole, as I've already posted a review of the game, (feel free to check it out on Gamesense).

In the last segment of the game after talking to all the Tek's that the game allows, learning and understanding the relationship with human. Additionally, the various intellectual capacity of the Tek's, as well as their roles in human life, you get the opportunity to talk to Red, a fellow Tek who initially wanted you to investigate the disappearance of a Tek who was a friend of his.

In the simplest format your decision is for you to shoot yourself, or shoot Red.

Shoot yourself

If you choose to shoot yourself, you allow the revolution to happen. Its worth noting when I say revolution, I mean a revolution on behalf of the humans, not the Tek's. This decision allows the 8,000 strong inventory Tek's to kill management, and any Tek's obeying them. The game also explains that the inventory Tek's are not programmed with Asimov laws of robotics.

Asimov laws include 

To not allow a human being to come to harm, or through in action injure a human.

They must obey human orders, unless it conflicts with the first law.

They must protect their own existence, providing it doesn't conflict with the above laws.

With management no longer in place the Tek's will take over positions of power, therefore not allowing humans 'to do jobs that they were never designed to do themselves ' this implies that with Tek's in charge they will be able to look at tasks from an entirely different standpoint, without any emotions or potential for bribery. As for humans, they will gain their livelihoods that were taken from them by Tek's. The game also displays the diversity in programming for Tek's, as you can tailor them towards specific occupations. This implies that Tek's are not forced into these positions, so they are not slaves. However, you could argue that they are a slave to their own programming, but in game the Tek's got annoyed if you tried to reset them. This means that they are closer to humans, in the sense of them thriving on structure, routine and above all a purpose.

Concerns that arise by letting the revolution happen is that the Tek's in management positions could easily be reprogrammed, or be easily influenced by other Tek's, as the player we assume because they are Tek's, they are not open to such influence. During the game your character gets reprogrammed by another Tek, striping you of your occupation as a detective, meaning that Tek's have this ability which could be dangerous and easily misused. Furthermore, the game makes an example of your character being able to deceive another detective into giving you information, via changing another detectives emotional state, proving that high level Tek's have the capacity to be tricked and take on negative emotions.

Although humans will regain their livelihoods, it may only be a short term gain, as when they put the Tek's in charge, they may come to the same conclusion as management, by resorting back to low level Tek's, replacing them and being back in the same position.

Shooting Red

If you choose to shoot Red then nothing will change, a large section of the human population will not regain their livelihoods, the revolution will fail, and the inventory Tek's will be destroyed and the production of low level Tek's will continue filling positions of traditionally human roles.

This decision on the surface seems better than the alternative, given the other decision will lead to the same issue's arising, the only difference being who is holding the position of power. The option of killing Red seems more rational for the player as throughout the game you meet Tek's at a lower intellect, and this option means that they would become obsolete.

As previously stated, this is a human revolution, not a Tek revolution, but something that the game does not mention is the human capacity to adapt to their environment. Technology grows over many years, as do humans in terms of their ability to work alongside technology and eventually change our attitudes towards it. With this, could come learning opportunities and even new fields of work.

On the other hand, Tek's have not just replaced humans in menial unfulfilling jobs, they have replaced all manner of jobs from childcare and psychiatrist positions. In the long term an inevitable conclusion would be a similar outcome to what would happen if you choose to shoot yourself.

Additionally, the feelings of the people who wanted the revolution to happen will not simply leave, and may cause more radical ideas leading to more bloodshed, further mistrust and ill treatment of Tek's, and using them as 'pawns '


Whichever decision you make, many Tek's and humans will die (the game makes that clear). As mentioned in my review you don't get to meet any humans management or not, so it is difficult to come to a solid conclusion.

Both options have massive problems that could lead a situation much worse or not solve anything at all, leaving the player in a state of picking between two bad outcomes for both parties.

What decision did you make? Do you have any thoughts in the decision-making process? Let me know in the comments.

Written by Matthew Birkinshaw.

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