The Outer Worlds The Ultimate Story Guide to The Hope
From the first moments of the game all the way through the ending resolution, the Hope plays a tremendous part in The Outer Worlds' story.
After Phineas picks you from among the frozen colonists, both your story and your future mission is guided by what happened on Hope and what its existence means for the future of Halcyon.
In this guide we will offer a summary of why Hope is so central to The Outer Worlds and then provide a full catalog of logs from the Hope itself to attempt to reconstruct the tragedy that unfolded on the ship.
Please beware that this story guide will contain spoilers for the final chapters of the game's story, including the variations in the endings.
The Hope's Story - Easy to Miss?
The only time during the game we can learn about Hope's detailed history is during an ending sequence quest, Kept Secret But Not Forgotten. Which would be entirely fine, but as a player you already have to deal with automechanicals guarding every corner of the ship. In addition, most players will have to deal with the Board's guards if they didn't complete Sophia's questline.
In such environment, it's not surprising that a few players will not get a chance to go through all of the available logs on board of the ship as they fight their way to the control room. Furthermore, even if you were one of the players who did find a way to collect the majority of the available records, some details are still easy to miss, while others are simply missing.
Yet, despite the overall mystery surrounding the events, we can still reconstruct a fairly supported picture of what happened on board of the Hope and what that means for the rest of the story of The Outer Worlds.
Quick Summary - the Hope and the Hero
Before we dive into the Hope's logs, let's quickly review the central information surrounding Hope.
Phineas V. Welles, an ex-employee of the Government of Halcyon (the Board), discovers Hope when it arrives from Earth twenty-five years too late, with hundreds of thousands of frozen colonists on the board. The vigilante scientist begins an independent operation to revive the Earth's brightest minds.
Unfortunately, Phineas discovers the side effect of such a late revival of bodies that were supposed to remain in the state of suspended animation for no longer than ten years. That effect is something Phineas calls "Explosive Cell Death" - a rapid process by which the frozen human's flesh quickly turns into an unsalvageable liquid soup. Test subject after test subject, Phineas has to listen to the screams of agony and watch human bodies die in his hands. While this took a mental toll on the scientist, Phineas pushed forward with determination until you became the first colonists to survive as a result of his efforts.
You will discover this information inside Phineas's lab, but especially when you access Phineas's terminal behind the glass panel during the Brave New World. Some of the additional gruesome details will be available on board of the Hope, as Phineas requests the ship to make record of his notes, but we will not cover these details in this guide.
The Hope for Halcyon's Future
After Phineas sends you to the Emerald Valley, you will quickly learn that the Board silenced any discussion or rumors about the Hope and its colonists if you attempt to discuss your past or the ship itself with anyone in the area. Your story will be treated as a joke or as a threat, and you will hear again and again that the lost Hope's story is nothing more than a legend to the Halcyon's current inhabitants.
While being an ironic metaphor for the hopeless struggles of the colony, this is also an important part of Hope's function in the story's development. While Phineas will depend on your help in reviving the Earth's brightest minds from the Hope in order to secure Halcyon's future, the Board will plan on disposing of overdue colonists in order to use the Hope's cryogenic technology to regulate Halcyon's critical overpopulation with its "Lifetime Employment Program."
Your actions during the Brave New World will choose which of two paths (not counting the Easter Egg suicide ending) the Halcyon colony will be following towards its uncertain future.
The Fate of the Hope's Crew
Aside from this information, what happened to Hope remains a mystery. Although some of the questions will remain unanswered unless the game's developers give us some answers in the upcoming 2020 expansion, the ship's logs shed some light on why the events unfolded the way they did.
This guide will not cover the locations of the logs presented in the reconstructed timeline, focusing on their contents instead.
Part I - Hope Leaves the Earth
After The Earth Directorate sold rights to the Halcyon system to an alliance of three companies, Spacer's Choice, Auntie Cleo's, and Rizzo's, two ships were prepared to transport massive numbers of the Earth's frozen colonists to populate Terra-2. Just like its twin sister, the Groundbreaker, the Hope also had a crew to supervise its 10-year journey.
The 24-member crew of the Hope was led by the Captain Wilhelm Hunte and his wife Donna as the First Mate, Rezi Torrega in charge of Navigation, Frank Nolda as the Chief Engineer, and Alexei Volkov as the Medical Officer.
In his first entry, Wilhelm reflects on the realization of what an entire decade of travel even means. Compared to a week-long trip into the mountains (which would already worry Donna enough to pack enough food for a month), the couple are about to set-off on a decade-long journey.
In the first automated audio recording, the crew says goodbye "to old Blue," and a few of the crew reflect the unsettling feeling of leaving the Earth. Rezi is very happy to leave. Alexei and especially Frank appear to feel sentimental about their old home. Wilhelm, in turn, demonstrates determination for the new horizons. Hope is about to skip into the faster-than-light speed and begin its 10-year journey to Halcyon.
Part II - Crew Banter
Presumably, the next few logs on the ship are recorded as the Hope undertakes its decade-long journey. First, we hear from Donna Hunte as an epiphany similar to that of her husband hits her, but from a bit of a different perspective. In her messages to Wilhelm, Donna is tenderly concerned about losing an entire decade from the time they could have spent together with their cryogenized young son, Lucas, and how it might affect their future time with him.
Frank and Alexei, on the other hand, have their own moment of banter. Frank is appalled at the boarst in the ration supplies for the crews, terrified that he might need to eat it consistently for the upcoming decade and hoping that the doctor could "prescribe" him something. Alexei is unsympathetic.
Rezi, meanwhile, has different interactions with Frank and Alexei. Frank messages Rezi when he is bored, offering to play a "round of torts," but then waves Rezi off when she insists on checking the deck to make sure Frank isn't cheating. Frank insists that "it's not cheating if you don't get caught." He decides to find Alexei to play with him instead.
Meanwhile, Rezi has a sexual interaction with Alexei, and when he is unable to keep quiet in his pleasure Rezi warns him that if they "get picked up by the computer," they will remain on record forever. Obviously, that is what happens. Rezi is primarily concerned with that because there is someone in suspended animation she expects to re-unite with after the trip. What she is doing with Alexei is "a one-trip thing." Alexei doesn't sound like he knew that.
Part III - Nine Out of Ten
Year nine out of ten of Hope's journey to Halcyon. After nine years of smooth sailing, something unexpected is about to happen. Rezi Torrega calls over Captain Wilhelm Hunte with a great concern: the Hope is off-course. The ship is slowing down. If this wasn't enough, as the two have their exchange, the engines brace. Frank Nolda dials in to the captain - "Who hit the brakes?"
Captain Hunte gathers the crew with very bad news, Frank debriefing the information. Hope dropped out of faster-than-light speeds. The old travel path is no longer any good. Nobody knows how long it will take for Rezi to plot a new course, since it has to be very precise to avoid collisions. Nobody knows if the ship has enough fuel reserves. Nobody knows how long the journey will take on the slower speeds. Tension begins to set in, especially for Frank, but Wilhelm does his best to contain the situation.
26 years. After a tremendously intimidating number of the remaining travel time is calculated by Rezi, Wilhelm creates another manual log, reflecting on the UDL policies that will now determine the crew's ultimate fate. Universal Defense Logistics, as Wilhelm explains, focuses on prevention. Working for the company before, Wilhelm never succeeded in creating a separate category for safety precautions - UDL always redacted the efforts in light of investing into better crew and materials to avoid emergencies in the first place. This time, the results will be catastrophic. With one year worth of supplies left for a twenty-six-year journey, Wilhelm is assured that starvation is imminent.
Frank Nolda is the first one to truly panic in his own manual log: "we're fucked." Back on Earth, Frank has seen people lose their minds from being hungry for even a week. By Frank's predictions, the crew will not last a single month if they don't figure something out.
In contrast, Rezi focuses on the calculations. Without correct numbers there is not even a point in trying to figure out the rations, and Rezi is facing twenty six years worth of charting under a tremendous amount of pressure. She feels like colonists are quite lucky in their suspended animation.
Donna Hunte, meanwhile, finds a glimmer of hope. Her mother gave Donna a sample of seeds to start up her own garden upon the arrival. She hopes that they might sprout inside hydroponics.
Part IV - Extra Rations
An audio transcript follows. Wilhelm expresses concern over someone not taking their rations. Donna celebrates the extra food, but for Wilhelm it's a realization that someone is getting their food from another source. In their struggle for survival, every bit must be split among the crew. When Frank tries to disagree with that logic, Wilhelm lashes out. Everyone is to be interrogated.
Eventually, Frank messages the captain. "Sick of the witch hunt. It's me." Frank explains that he doesn't mind the hunger, but Wilhelm insists that his Chief Engineer gets proper nourishment. Upon his insistence, Frank resists brashly. To him, captain's orders no longer mean as much in the context of the unfolding chaos.
Frank's noble sacrifice, however, is not as simple as it seems. The ship's audio equipment catches Frank being both horrified and delighted at his mysterious discovery somewhere earlier in the timeline. "I'm going to hell, but it worked." He doesn't know how to talk about his findings to the captain.
Part V - It's Not Cheating If You Don't Get Caught
Rezi contacts Wilhelm over radio during one of the nights. She heard one of the cryonic pod alarms (the ones with frozen colonists) go off. Wilhelm heads in to investigate.
What he finds is unsettling. One of the colonists is missing, and the cameras in one of the cold storage bays have been deactivated for some time. Wilhelm and Rezi install another one in secret, which eventually catches Frank tampering with the pods. Wilhelm is confused as to why Frank would start "waking people up," when the crew is already short on supplies, but it feels like deep down inside Wilhelm suspects the correct answer.
Wilhelm and Rezi confront Frank. Frank insists that he solved the crew's food crisis. Wilhelm orders Rezi to find Alexei to throw the Chief Engineer into the brig. Rezi is confused, Wilhelm tries to contain the situation, but then Frank spits it out: he has been eating the frozen colonists. His justification is that the colonists will not survive without a crew anyway. Rezi feels sick, but eventually follows the captain's orders.
Part VI - Taking Sides
After spending some time with Frank, Alexei talks to Wilhelm. In Alexei's opinion, Frank's logic does make sense in some way, especially if Donna fails in her attempts to grow food. Wilhelm refuses to take Frank's side even if that's the case. "We are not cannibals."
Donna makes a manual log entry. Her efforts to grow crops have failed. With only a month left of rations, some of the crew begin to take Frank's side, despite Wilhelm's best efforts. Donna is afraid of taking that "dark path," but then she remembers her son in one of the pods and thinks of all the other families in suspended animation who might get destroyed because of the cannibals. She promises to resist the temptation.
Alexei makes a manual log as well. He admits that his moral thinking might be suppressed by hunger. Still, eating tens of thousands of innocent people in the next twenty-five years to save a crew of twenty-four no longer felt as impossibly unjust.
After this entry, things escalate. Captain Hunte addresses the crew of the ship - someone let Frank out of his cell, and now he and any of his supporters will be considered enemies of the ship. Wilhelm has locked the cold storage bays and threatens to freeze all those who attempt to access them to be then arrested upon arrival to Halcyon. Wilhelm ends his speech by begging Frank to turn himself in.
Interlude - Chief Custodial Engineer
There are a series of personal logs made by the Hope's dedicated janitor, Thurston Stallworth, that didn't make it to the ship's main archive. We will summarize their contents here, since they offer the best available record of what happened on Hope as conflict developed between the two sides. These logs begin sometime after the food situation got especially dire, probably around the time of Frank's escape from his cell. However, Thurston managed to see something positive amidst the crisis - the bathrooms were much easier to clean.
It seems, as more people take Frank's side and overrule Wilhelm's lockdown, blood stains begin to cover the surfaces of the ship, more and more frequently. Thurston is particularly annoyed at how difficult it is to clean and at the prospect of running out of antiseptic wash. He expects to be promoted upon his arrival to Halcyon for his hard work.
The mess gets worse until Thurston complains again, this time about a finger lodged in one of the automechanicals. This locked one of its leg joints and made it scratch floors.
Finally, Thurston gives up: "This civil war nonsense is exhausting. Blood everywhere." This time it's possible that some of it belongs to the active crew of the ship. Meanwhile, parts of Hope continue to be sealed off, preventing Thurston from doing his job. Thurston decides to find a way to lock himself into a hibernation chamber to be woken up when the ship arrives at the colony. "Have fun cleaning your own floors from now on. Assholes."
Part VII - Final Decisions
Meanwhile, Donna makes a desperate personal log that likewise doesn't make it to the archives. Apparently, Frank offered her a tiny piece of human flesh and Donna's starved body immediately responded to it regardless of her choice. She begs her family, including her son, to forgive her. Donna made a dire decision to break the lock to her personal quarters in order to starve herself to death.
Wilhelm messages Rezi. He asks her one question: "Can you get us to Halcyon?" Despite the hesitation, Rezi states that she has to. There seems to be a glimmer of hope in the way Wilhelm responds with "Good." Wilhelm, then, asks Rezi to meet on the Hope's bridge to make their last stand. He has to admit that Donna will not be joining them, but promises to fill Rezi in when they meet up. They do not have much time left.
The final set of logs comes from the Hope's Navigation Interface. As Rezi focuses on her work, Frank and his supporters try to force their way in. While Frank tries to convince Wilhelm that letting Hope fly without a crew is a gamble on hundreds of thousands of lives, Wilhelm is unwilling to hand-pick which ones survive through Frank's methods. Frank asks Alexei to find him a drill.
The next transcript comes when Rezi notices that the sound of the drill has stopped. This would have been good news, if it didn't imply that Frank's group could be trying trying to force their way in into the cold storage to simply outlast Wilhelm and Rezi. Captain tells Rezi to continue plotting the course as he heads out to take care of the situation.
Wilhelm is never heard of again. In fact, Rezi haven't heard any human sounds since the Captain left. Still, Rezi completed setting the course. On her last day of rations, Rezi knows one thing - she does not want to starve in the same way Donna did. Rezi's last words are, "Fly true, Hope."
Part VIII - Decay Into Mystery
It's unclear what happened to Wilhelm Hunte or Rezi Torrega. There is a corpse of a male crew member right outside of the control room with a tool (drill?) wedged into the right side of his chest. It's uncertain whether the body is of any of the leaders of the crew. A lone skeleton leans against a stuck door, overseeing the automechanical charging stations on the same floor. Out of all crew members, Donna's fate might be the most certain one.
What's more certain, however, is that Wilhelm failed to stop Frank's crew from getting inside the cold storage bays.
Infested by sprats, storage bay 12 is also littered by empty colonist pods. This image is confirmed by the Hope's Hibernation Storage Status. If Phineas is responsible for taking out 8% of the Storage Bay 8 for his rescue efforts and a single pod out of 10,000 in Storage Bay 5 (you), it was Frank and his associates who brought Storage Bay 12 to 76% capacity, killing a potential of 2400 hibernated colonists.
But what happened in Storage Bay 12? In his panic, Frank left us a personal log entry that explains why his people might not have survived the rest of the trip. Just like Phineas, Frank discovered that the overdue frozen bodies turn into liquid, probably several years into the remaining trip. Ironically, Frank seems to be at least somewhat concerned that the liquefying colonist he stuffed back inside will not make it. In his log Frank sincerely hopes that this will not be happening to the other colonists. "Or after all this we're gonna starve anyway."
This is the same room we last hear from janitor Thurston, which might mean that he used his special privileges to get inside the storage bay, unknowingly paving the way for the cannibals to come.
Hope's Communication Systems didn't provide any more information on what happened, even though it did express concern about human lives it houses on board. In addition, ADA commented on the difficulty in keeping a conversation with Hope's computer and was able to point out where the private quarters of the Hope's former crew were located. Perhaps more information will be available with the upcoming story expansion.
What do you think about Hope's eerie story? Do you think this story and its characters add to the experience of The Outer Worlds and shed some light on what life and interstellar expansion was like on the game's futuristic Earth? Do you think Obsidian paved a solid way for the sequel with this mysterious backstory? Do you think Hope's mysterious slowdown is related to the Earth's ultimate fate? (Some have speculated that an unexpected massive object used Hope's path to trace its way into the Earth's solar system.)
Tell us if you found this guide useful and if you would like to see more of The Outer Worlds story-focused log guides from us!