Difference between revisions of "Kentucky Route Zero"

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|engine    = [[wikipedia:Unity (game engine)|Unity]]
|engine    = [[wikipedia:Unity (game engine)|Unity]]
|platform  = Windows, macOS, Linux
|platform  = Windows, macOS, Linux
|release  = 2013–2018 ([[#Development|info]])
|release  = 2013–2018 ([[#Release|info]])
{{title}} is a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it. The game is developed and published by [[Cardboard Computer]], an independent studio consisting of [[Jake Elliott]], [[Tamas Kemenczy]], and [[Ben Babbitt]]. It follows an episodic format, mirroring the dramatic structure of a five-act play. The project was first revealed on January 7, 2011 on Kickstarter. By the end of the campaign, the game had acquired USD $8,583 from 205 backers, exceeding its original goal of $6,500. A heavily-revised trailer with an updated visual style was released on October 17, 2012.
{{title}} is a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it. The game is developed and published by [[Cardboard Computer]], an independent studio consisting of [[Jake Elliott]], [[Tamas Kemenczy]], and [[Ben Babbitt]]. It follows an episodic format, mirroring the dramatic structure of a five-act play. The project was first revealed on January 7, 2011 on Kickstarter. By the end of the campaign, the game had acquired USD $8,583 from 205 backers, exceeding its original goal of $6,500. A heavily-revised trailer with an updated visual style was released on October 17, 2012.

Revision as of 11:01, 5 February 2018

Kentucky Route Zero
Developer Cardboard Computer
Publisher Cardboard Computer (PC), Annapurna Interactive (Console)
Designers Jake Elliott, Tamas Kemenczy
Composer Ben Babbitt
Engine Unity
Platform Windows, macOS, Linux
Release 2013–2018 (info)

Kentucky Route Zero is a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it. The game is developed and published by Cardboard Computer, an independent studio consisting of Jake Elliott, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt. It follows an episodic format, mirroring the dramatic structure of a five-act play. The project was first revealed on January 7, 2011 on Kickstarter. By the end of the campaign, the game had acquired USD $8,583 from 205 backers, exceeding its original goal of $6,500. A heavily-revised trailer with an updated visual style was released on October 17, 2012.

The game's five acts follow the narrative of a truck driver named Conway and the mysterious people he meets as he tries to cross the fictional Route Zero to make his final delivery for an antique company. The first act was released on January 7, 2013. The second, third, and fourth acts, along with four shorter, free-to-play supplemental games, have since been released. The final act is forthcoming. The game is currently available via Steam, itch.io, GOG.com, and the Humble Store, and will release on all major consoles in 2018. Players receive all available acts upon purchase, with future acts and updates free-of-charge.


Players are able to choose between different dialogue options.

Kentucky Route Zero is point-and-click game. There are no traditional puzzles or challenges; instead, the game focuses on storytelling and atmosphere. Players are able to control Conway (and other characters) by clicking on the screen, either to guide him to a location or interact with other characters and objects. Players are also able to choose characters' dialogue during in-game conversations, which are text-based. These choices do not impact the storyline as in a branching narrative, but rather influence the poetic dialogue of characters later on, affect aspects of stories that are told to the player, or change which characters may be encountered.


Title Medium Release date
Act I Video game January 7, 2013
Limits & Demonstrations Video game
Art exhibition
February 8, 2013
October 4–10, 2013
Act II Video game May 31, 2013
The Entertainment Video game, Play November 22, 2013
Act III Video game May 6, 2014
Here And There Along The Echo Video game, IVR system October 30, 2014
Act IV Video game July 19, 2016
WEVP-TV (wevp.tv) Web television Summer 2016
Un Pueblo De Nada Video game, Video art January 25, 2018
Act V Video game N/A


Act I

Main article: Act I
Act I poster.jpg

Act I of Kentucky Route Zero was released on January 7, 2013. It introduces Conway and Shannon to the main cast of characters.


An old hound in a straw hat. Both have seen better days.

Conway, a truck driver, works as a deliveryman for an antique shop owned by a woman named Lysette. Conway's last job before retirement is to make a delivery to 5 Dogwood Drive. The game opens with Conway, together with his dog, pulling into the parking lot of a dimly-lit gas station, Equus Oils. He meets Joseph, the owner, sitting outside in a Queen Anne armchair. Joseph and Conway talk about a nearby truck accident with whiskey bottles broken all over the highway, and gives Conway's dog some jerky, who he optionally names either Blue or Homer.

Conway mentions his delivery to make on Dogwood Drive, to which Joseph says he must take the mysterious Route Zero. Joseph tasks Conway to fix the circuit breaker to restore power to the station so that he may use the computer to locate directions. In the basement of the horse-shaped station, Conway encounters Emily, Ben, and Bob who are playing a tabletop game and inadvertently blocking his path. They ignore him, apparently unable to see or hear him. Overhearing that they've lost a glow-in-the-dark twenty-sided die, Conway manages to find it with the lantern turned off. When he returns, the three players have disappeared. Conway reaches the breaker box, restores the gas station's electricity, and returns outside. When he asks Joseph about the strange people, Joseph suggests Conway may have been hallucinating. Conway uses the computer to find directions to the Márquez Farmhouse, where he is told he can talk to Weaver Márquez who has a better understanding of the roads. He also reads an email from Consolidated Power Co. who has sent Equus Oils a 14-day overdue notice. As Conway leaves, Joseph tells him that he loaded Weaver's old TV into the back of his truck to take to her.

WEAVER: That's my father's brother's daughter, Shannon. We're about the same age. Well, we used to be. She's older now.

Conway drives north on Interstate 65 to the Márquez residence, optionally encountering a variety of hidden locations and characters on the way. One location describes a museum with a book in the entrance. On the book's cover is written a smudged, indecipherable three-word phrase. On the first page of the book is a drawing of a horse; after several dozen blank pages is an elaborate ink drawing of a one-legged man working an antique adding machine, surrounded by whiskey bottles. Exploring further into the museum, Conway finds a marble hallway, its walls lined with plexiglass boxes filled with bird wings. If choosing to push through and shatter two glass doors, he finds another hidden door that leads to a large room filled with CD-ROMs, prints, and punchcards in envelopes labeled with real life artists' and game developers' names, along with titles of their work. One envelope's label contains the text "If I Had My Way, I'd Tear the Building Down. Wheattree, 1985." Conway is able to gather that it is about three characters in a tragic "love polygon": Joseph, Donald, and Lula.

SHANNON: We all lost people down here. Well, not all of us. But most of us.

At the farmhouse, Conway meets Weaver, who asks him to set up the TV, after which she can explain how to get to the Zero. Conway sets up the TV; as they look at the image displayed on the screen, Weaver says that Conway has made a mistake in setting it up. She tells Conway that it is time to start paying attention, and to look closely at the television. Looking into the screen again, Conway's gaze drifts to the barn out back and he spaces out.

Weaver informs him that the TV is picking up the wrong signal, but that her cousin Shannon can fix it. Although she would rather have Conway find Shannon and fix her TV, she gives him directions to the Zero on-ramp. When Conway looks away from the screen, Weaver has vanished. As Conway heads back down to his truck, Emily, Ben, and Bob can be seen playing "You've Got to Walk" in the foreground.

Arriving at his destination, Conway finds that the area is an abandoned mineshaft called Elkhorn Mine. Though skeptical that the mine would house an on-ramp, he walks inside. In the entryway, he meets Shannon, who is on the phone with someone about a looming eviction. After she hangs up, Conway explains his predicament. Shannon then reveals that she encountered Weaver earlier that evening, and that Weaver told her to come to the mine to "find something she's been looking for." The two head into the mine, and Shannon has Conway test a P.A. system to measure the depth, width, and air quality of the tunnels before venturing further. During the last test, the reverberation causes the roof of the mine to collapse onto Conway, crushing his leg.

Shannon manages to free him and get him onto an old mine cart, part of the rail system from when the mine was operational. While exploring and looking for an auxiliary exit, Shannon reveals that the mine flooded at one point, killing the many miners trapped inside. The two discover a turntable, allowing them to change tracks and explore a number of tunnels. They explore the mine and see ghostly visions of miners in the flickering sparks thrown off the tram wires. At the end of one mine passage, they come to a stage which Shannon explains was used by folk song archivists as a recording studio for songs the miners would sing.

SHANNON: Do you have any debts?
CONWAY: I owe some people some apologies.
CARRINGTON: If you have attention to spare, I'd be grateful. Somewhere outdoors. Somewhere intimate. Somewhere tragic.

After exploring, they reach the exit. Shannon tells Conway she wants to investigate a tunnel with broken track from before, and has him wait for her. In the dark depths she discovers piles upon piles of helmets of the deceased miners. While waiting, Conway can choose to investigate various objects, such as a birdcage and tape reels, before limping out of the mine and into a wooden shack where he encounters notebooks written by archivists labeled "Márquez." Conway asks if Shannon's parents were the archivists, to which she says that Weaver's parents were; hers were miners who died in the flood.

Conway and Shannon travel to Shannon's workshop, located at the back of a small bait and tackle shop at the corner of Wax and Peonia Road, where Shannon recently saw Weaver's image on TV. However, Weaver is not there. On the way back to the farmhouse, Conway can choose to stop at Equus Oils where he and Shannon meet Carrington, Joseph's friend who is looking for a venue for his play. Carrington describes his play as "a grand, broadly experimental theatrical adaptation of 'The Death Of The Hired Man' by Robert Frost," and asks Conway to keep an eye out for venues for him.

SHANNON: There, just gotta turn it north/south, and —

Back at the Márquez Farmhouse, Shannon reveals that Weaver fled after learning of her family's debts, along with her own due to university tuition, and that tonight was the first time she had seen her since then. As Shannon attempts to fix the old TV, she notices moss growing on the vacuum tubes. After she cleans and recalibrates the TV, Conway looks in again. This time, both the picture on the screen and the barn behind the house begin to warp and separate, forming an image of the opening to the Zero and the truck driving into it. Black.



Optional locations

Act II

Main article: Act II
Act II poster.jpg

Act II of Kentucky Route Zero was released on May 31, 2013. It introduces Ezra to the main cast of characters.


SHANNON: This is weird, but ... do you think we're inside or outside right now?
CONWAY: Inside.
/ Outside. / Both.

Act II opens with a prelude in which Lula Chamberlain, an installation artist whose work is featured in Limits & Demonstrations, receives a rejection letter from the Gaston Trust for Imagined Architecture. After reading the note, she sorts through a series of proposals for reclaiming spaces for purposes alternate to their current function, such as a proposal to reclaim a distillery as a graveyard. If the player met Carrington in Act I, he will interrupt Lula, and ask her about his proposal for a venue for his performance. Otherwise, her coworker Rick talks to her, asking about the proposals and an upcoming office party.

Thoroughly lost on the Zero, Conway and Shannon stop at six-story building known as the Bureau of Reclaimed Spaces. They speak to the receptionist, Mary Ann about finding 5 Dogwood Drive. Unable to assign them to any of the proper clerks for the process, she instead sets them up to the fifth floor to meet with Lula. On the way, they encounter a variety of hermit crabs, a floor full of bears, and an organist.

MARY ANN: Just get back on the Zero and drive until you hit the crystal. Then turn around. It'll make sense once you get on the road.

After failing to navigate the bureaucratic mess of junior clerks that Rick presents them with, the two finally meet with Lula. She tells them that she used to live on a Dogwood Drive, but that it cannot be the same one: due to computational "name collisions," the many streets named Dogwood Drive have all been renamed, such as to Pale Dogwood Drive, Large-leafed Dogwood Drive, or Himalayan Flowering Dogwood Drive. She ponders if her former lover Joseph sent them to her to get her attention, or if her former intern Weaver overestimated her capabilities. However, believing that one may still just be named Dogwood Drive, she suggests they search the log of road name changes on the fourth floor. After the two come up empty-handed, Lula concludes the records have not yet been transferred to the new building from the former site of the Bureau, the Saint Thomas Church. She also suggests Conway seek out Dr. Truman to help with his leg, giving them his address in a small neighborhood on the east edge of Bowling Green.

BRANDON: "Work is play for mortal stakes." That's the title of the evening's homily, in fact.

Mary Ann tells Conway and Shannon that the church is actually inside a self storage facility, and describes how to navigate there by following a series of ritualistic directions on the Zero. At the storage lot, the two talk to the janitor, Brandon. He says that he must start the night mass, but tells Shannon the records are in unit C315 and gives her his keys. Shannon leaves to look for the records while Conway rests his leg. Brandon presses play on an old tape player, and the two talk and listen to a prerecorded sermon on the virtue of hard work. Shannon returns with the file they were looking for. As they leave the building, Conway collapses from his injury, hallucinating about his accident at Elkhorn Mine. When he comes to, Shannon decides their first priority should be to find Dr. Truman.

They return to the Bureau only to find that Lula has disappeared in a hurry; however, before she left, she processed all the files needed to transfer Conway and Shannon back to the surface roads. They also encounter Carrington at the Bureau, and Conway is able to suggest either Elkhorn Mine, the self storage facility, or Equus Oils as the venue for where Carrington can host his performance. The two head out of the Zero, above ground, in search of Dr. Truman.

FLORA: I think you need to get some real horses in the stable.
MUSEUM STAFF: Do you like horses?
FLORA: Not anymore. Now I like jungle cats. You should get some real panthers in the stable.

Following the directions given by Lula, they arrive at where his house should be, but find that all houses in the neighborhood have been torn down and replaced with the under-construction Museum of Dwellings. Here, they encounter residents of the museum's many residences and, while taking cover from the fierce storm outside, explore the displayed homes as narrated by the museum staff watching security footage in the future. The residents discuss the group's presence: Fred believed they were from the power company and stayed indoors, Hudson recounted a conversation with Shannon about his crackling radio, and Sadie describes how she talked with them on the porch. Exploring one house, they meet Flora, a young girl who tells them that Dr. Truman has since moved away. Flora also recounts Conway's story of exploring the cabin, in which he said he found an entrance into a hidden basement containing a pit with glowing moss, a garden, and a river. Conway states he lived in the cabin with one of his parents when he was young.

EZRA: Julian's my brother. He's a lot bigger and stronger, and he has more feathers than me, but he's still my brother.

After exploring a variety of other dwellings, including houses, trailers, birdcages, horse stables, and tents, and talking with their residents, Conway and Shannon take a construction lift to the roof where they meet Ezra. The young boy explains that he and his brother Julian fly many of the museum's homes, including Dr. Truman's, out to the forest at night because the forest is easier to sleep in, but that Dr. Truman asked not to be brought back. Ezra agrees to bring Shannon, Conway, and his dog to the doctor and calls Julian, a giant eagle who swoops down, snatches them off the roof, and flies them to the forest. In the air, the group can observe many situations and locations below, such as an all-night diner, the Márquez Farmhouse, Equus Oils, a wandering guitar player, and the bait shop.

EZRA: You have a way of falling behind, don't you? Me, I'm always too far ahead. Maybe I should slow down a bit, like you.
EZRA: They're singing about their home because they're lost right now. It's a scary song.
SHANNON: It's scary, but they can still sing about it.

The group lands in the forest. As, Conway, limping and assisted by Shannon, and the rest of the group walk through the illusory trees, stopping intermittently, Emily, Ben, and Bob can be seen playing "Long Journey Home" in the foreground. They arrive at Dr. Truman's house and while Ezra and Shannon watch TV, the doctor inspects Conway's leg and gives him a dose of an anesthetic called Neurypnol TM. Conway begins to succumb to the drug and falls into into a nebulous, drug-induced sleep, as his vision grows black and the walls of the house pull away to reveal the forest beyond.



On the Zero

In the overworld

Optional locations

In the overworld (driving)

On the Zero

In the overworld (flying with Julian)

  • Bait shop
  • Equus Oils
  • House (Burning house)
  • Chapel
  • Church
  • Diner
  • Elkhorn Mine
  • Apartments (Family moving out)
  • Figure in a blue suit
  • Guitar player
  • Graveyard (Hard Times Distillery)
  • Márquez Farmhouse
  • Museum of Dwellings
  • Museum
  • Overgrown subdivision
  • Small light
  • Swamp


Main article: Act III
Act III poster.jpg

Act III of Kentucky Route Zero was released on May 6, 2014. It introduces Junebug and Johnny to the main cast of characters.


LYSETTE: It wasn't anyone's fault, Conway. That's what we mean when we say it's ...
CONWAY: An accident.
/ A tragedy. / A shame.

The previous morning, Conway sits at breakfast with Lysette. The two reminiscence about Ira, Lysette's deceased husband and Conway's former boss, and her son Charlie who died in a tragic roofing accident. Lysette tells Conway of a mail-order delivery, the "last act" of Lysette's Antiques before she leaves that day to move in with her sister Cora due to her old age and poor health. As the Neurypnol TM wears off, the dream slowly vanishes and Conway awakens in Dr. Truman's house.

Conway stares at his leg, which has been replaced with a ghostly, skeletal limb with a yellow glow. Conway remarks his leg feels foreign and mentions his dream; Dr. Truman tells him that while he may feel a sensation of "lost time" or "lateness," the strength of the drug would make dreaming highly unlikely. He suggests Conway look over the bill, and notes that payment will be handled through the Consolidated Power Company as they have bought out Dr. Truman's employer.

JOHNNY: Do you like music?
EZRA: I don't like music, but I do like sounds.

Conway, Shannon, and Ezra return to the Museum of Dwellings and find it closed for the night. Outside, Julian sits perched atop a streetlight, and Shannon tells Conway of her previous drug problems with Weaver's ADD medication. Emily, Ben, and Bob stand at the entrance, and debate whether to enter after finding the door unlocked; they are unable to hear Conway. Meanwhile, Ezra runs around the rain-filled parking lot. He encounters Flora, who is watching her paper boat slowly float away across a large puddle. She says she wishes it was still raining, and suggests they watch her boat until it disappears over the horizon, and hopes Ezra will say something romantic to her. When Ezra returns, the three debate where to head next: to Shannon's workshop to call a long-distance phone number written in the documents they found, to an all-night convenience store to get something to eat, or to Equus Oils to ask Joseph directions to the Zero, When Ezra returns, the group decides to set out to search for Lula. Soon after beginning the drive to their next destination, Conway's truck breaks down near a large tree. Shannon attempts to call a towing company to questionable success. While waiting, Ezra talks to Conway's dog and plays word games with Conway, while Shannon tries to repair the truck's radio.

JOHNNY: Test. Test. One. One. One. Three. Fifty. Lamentation. La — men — ta — tion.

Junebug and Johnny speed by the tree on their motorcycle. After some discussion, they decide to stop and help in hopes of gaining an audience at their performance to which they are running late. The two fix the truck's engine, and Conway, Shannon, and Ezra agree to accompany the musicians to a tavern, The Lower Depths tavern to watch their performance. At the bar, Junebug and Johnny sing the song "Too Late to Love You," as the roof of the bar seemingly disappears to reveal the full moon overhead. After their performance, the bartender, Harry Esperanza, admits he cannot pay them, left with nothing but an I.O.U. from the Hard Times Distillery who traded his customers' debt for whiskey and the events in The Entertainment. Harry suggests they head to the distillery to claim their payment, but notes that they must take the Zero to get there. After hearing Conway is searching for Dogwood Drive as well, Harry confirms that heading to the Zero is their best course of action. Junebug and Johnny decide to accompany the trio, and Harry gives them directions: tune the radio until they hear something "familiar but strange," and immediately turn around when it cuts out. Together, the group sets out in search of the Zero. Tuning their radio to a station that sounds like horses running, they drive until they see a team of horses standing in the middle of the darkened highway, and immediately appear on the Zero.

Another love came by, and stole my heart away. I wish that I could take it back, but it's too late.

Driving on the Zero, the group comes across a large chamber dominated by a rock spire, known as the Hall of the Mountain King. Johnny waits outside with Conway's dog while the others ascent the summit. Climbing up the path, Conway, Shannon, Ezra, and Junebug find various types of vintage computers in large piles, many in states of disrepair, surrounding a tall, burning fire of discarded electronics. They come across a old man named Donald who appears fixated on a grand project – his life's work – named XANADU, involving an old computer growing black mold inside, along with a piece of software and artificial intelligence designed as a simulation of his life's missed opportunities from long ago. He invites the group to take a look. Walking around the cavern, the group meets Amy, Roberta, Andrew, Donald's former research assistants who helped work on the project, now in ruins. The group turns on XANADU, but the text is garbled, unable to be read, and the audio distorted. Shannon attempts to use a portable degausser on the system, and they are able to make out the name "Lula" before the program crashes.

DONALD: The chalky bones of a beautiful dream. But you can see what it once was, can't you? Can't you?

The group questions Donald, who claims a group of people who he calls "the Strangers" had sabotaged it, and describes their appearance as dangerous and horrible. Asking him about Lula, Donald reveals the origins of XANADU, telling the story of how it was built by Lula, Joseph, and him. He states that while he does not know where Lula is now, as she and Joseph "left" a long time ago, the simulation of "Lula" inside XANADU may be able to figure out where she went. The group decides to locate the strangers so they may fix XANADU and find Lula. Donald tells them the strangers come through a tunnel of crystal and mud caves, and the group departs to seek their help.

The group comes upon a church in a muddy graveyard. Conway and Shannon go inside, while Junebug waits outside with Ezra, reading headstones and getting to know one another. Junebug reveals that she and Johnny are androids, robots manufactured to clear out the flooded Elkhorn Mine, but after listening to an old type player in the mine, they knew they were destined to be more than faceless, robotic miners, and escaped.

JUNEBUG: We slipped out onto the road, just these two featureless shadows, and ever since that night we've been detailing. Coloring in. Specifying. I feel more like myself every day.

Conway and Shannon emerge from the church, shaken, but Shannon says they have what they need. Returning to the Hall of the Mountain King, they tell Donald that XANADU can be fixed by scraping the mold off of the "timing crystals," along with letting it sit unpowered and typing in a specific phrase. The group boots up XANADU again, this time in a readable state. They find it contains a text adventure-like simulation game with crude graphics, including the history of its creation. It tells a story of Lula, Joseph, and Donald dragging computer equipment into caves to work on the project; however, after encountering what appear to be mute, animate skeletons in a crystal cave, Lula and Joseph abandon the project, with one of them getting lost in exiting the caves. (The same conversation can be heard in Limits & Demonstrations in the art exhibit and installation titled Overdubbed Nam June Paik installation, in the style of Edward Packer by Lula Chamberlain.)

LULA: We're on a dirt trail, in the park. Or, well, it's not really a trail ...
DONALD: (Distant) It's a trail!
LULA: It's more like a tendency.

XANADU reveals that Donald stayed in the caves, eventually stumbling into the Hall of the Mountain King, deciding this is where he will set up his equipment and establish his legacy. XANADU turns into a day-by-day simulation describing its own creation, including hiring a research assistant named Weaver from the University, along with a number of others – Mary Ann, Rick, Greg, Andrew, Amy, and Roberta.

Conway and the group continue playing the simulation, choosing to sleep, hire research assistants, or assign assistants to tasks such as debugging, transcription, or speculation. Seemingly unable to exit, they decide to try typing "Wait indefinitely." XANADU outputs that one research assistant, Weaver, follows the strangers into the tunnels, and neither return. Years pass and mold grows, until one night, different strangers arrive, and an old friend, Lula, returns. The program exits. Lula is standing in the cave.

Lula gives Donald the information needed to find Dogwood Drive and asks him to perform the calculations needed to resolve the previously-mentioned street name collisions. Donald states he should have the results in an hour, and will forward the information to the Bureau. Lula and the group return to the Bureau to wait. As they descend from the Hall of the Mountain King, Emily, Ben, and Bob can be seen playing "What Would You Give" in the foreground. Back at the Bureau, Lula states that after sorting through the results and cross-checking references with their records, they were able to find a corresponding mail stop along the Echo River route, and notes the night ferry is scheduled to stop by shortly, taking them where they want to go. Lula wishes them safe travels, and muses she's feeling impulsive, and may return to Mexico.

DOOLITTLE: The Echo River is fed from Lake Lethe, but you wouldn't recognize a drop of it. Lethe is cold, dark, and so very deep. And still!

While waiting for the ferry, Conway reveals what happened while he was talking with the strangers: he and Shannon had gone via a hidden elevator to an underground whiskey distillery staffed by indistinct glowing skeletons, identical in appearance to Conway's new leg. At the distillery, Conway and Shannon meet Doolittle who mistakes Conway for a new hire as a shipping truck driver. Doolittle gives them a tour, "speaking" only via a tape recorder around his neck. He hells them about The Formula, a revolutionary equation introduced to them by a brilliant mathematician that allows them to simply plug daily numbers in and run it through an adding machine instead of compounding interest by hand. Doolittle introduces Conway and Shannon to many of the distillery workers, all of whom who fell into debt and were forced to work to pay it off. He tells Conway he hopes he is a better driver than Miguel, who got into an accident earlier that evening involving bourbon and glass strewn across the interstate. Inspecting the truck he is expected to drive, Conway recalls stories of his past with Lysette and his former boss Ira in small vignettes. In one story, he recounts the accident that killed Lysette's son Charlie: too hungover to perform a roofing job, Charlie took Conway's place and, in performing the work in the hot sun, slipped and fell to his death.

He removed his hands from the steering wheel for a moment and felt the car drift into a decision. Years later, he'd think of this as the moment he himself started drifting.

On the way back up to logistics, Doolittle tells Shannon and Conway that the black mold from the Hall of the Mountain King is drawn to ethanol fumes which seep through the air into the cavern; not wanting even a drop of whiskey to go to waste, the workers come to scrape it off the machinery. Arriving upstairs, he shows them the adding machine which calculates each day's interest and tells Conway he is hired, offering him a "shift drink" to mark the occasion. Shannon protests, but Conway, in a daze, cannot resist, and takes a sip of the alcohol (with the game's cursor slowly, automatically moving toward the "Drink" option, outside the player's control). Shannon firmly states that they have a delivery to make and that Conway will not be working for them, but Doolittle notes that the alcohol he just drank was very expensive, not to mention the time he spent giving them the tour. Doolittle says that Conway will start the next day, as the scene blurs and fades to black.

EZRA: I'm confused.
CONWAY: It's just the way these things go, kid.

Back in the Bureau, the group stands silhouetted in front of Conway's truck, mulling over what's to come next. A tugboat arrives. As it pulls into view, a horn blares, revealing a gigantic, trumpeting wooly mammoth.



In the overworld

On the Zero

Optional locations

In the overworld

  • Equus Oils
  • Elkhorn Mine
  • Railroad track (model train store)
  • Arcade (Interstate 65)
  • Museum
  • Clockworks
  • Bus Stop (Main Street)
    • Linda's Home (Dixie Highway)
    • Patty's Home
    • Keith's Home
  • Drive-in Theater (Finney Road)
  • Bait shop and Shannon's workshop
  • Convenience Store
  • Petting Zoo (Interstate 65)
  • Picnic (Annetta and Peonia Road)
  • Creek (Hiseville Road)

On the Zero

Act IV

Main article: Act IV