No Code and Devolver Digital’s Observation for PC and PS4 has left a lot of people trying to figure out just what the heck was going on in the game. Given all the dense computational puzzles you have to solve, it’s easy to get lost in what the actual story is and can easily miss out on what the ending means. Thankfully you’ve come to the right place for a quick recap of the ending.
The game starts with Dr. Emma Fisher and the station AI Sam waking up after a crash. The space station didn’t make it to their destination in one place. After going through a painstaking process to reboot Sam’s systems, the duo are met with a strange hexagonal monolith that begins to telepathically imbue within them instructions.
After passing out and waking up to realize that their space station is stranded above Saturn, Emma attempts to search for the remaining crew, only to find that most of them are dead or missing, including the Captain of the ship… Jim Elias, who committed suicide in the Russian arm of the station.
They do manage to recover another crew member, Mae, but in an attempt to repair part of the station Mae and one of Sam’s AI spheres are lost in a brewing storm swirling within the atmosphere of Saturn.
Eventually another crew member named Josh – who is also Emma’s lover – contacts Emma and Sam and lets them know that he’s aboard a different space station. Emma assumes it’s a rescue station and makes a daring leap to the other station, which is fully intact.
However, they discover that the other station is without power, the AI has been shut down, and the rest of the crew is dead. They attempt to locate Josh but instead they encounter… Captain Jim Elias. He’s alive.
It turns out that it’s not a rescue station but a duplicate station, and during an attempt to restore power and find out what the station’s mission protocols were, Sam discovers that Captain Jim Elias was tasked with bringing Dr. Emma Fisher to the location over Saturn, unbeknownst to the rest of the crew. Once there, the crew was supposed to observe the event. However, they ended up becoming the event.
It’s also discovered that different space stations from different points in time and across the multiverse all received the message, each designated to reach the event at that specific time.
The black monolith began to influence the crew and the ship’s AI, telling certain members to “Bring her!” to the event horizon. This resulted in some of the crew members going crazy and killing one another, or attempting to subvert the monolith’s influence by attacking Sam; in turn Sam was instructed by the monolith to dispose of any crew mate who attempted to bring harm to Emma.
Sam ends up locating Josh in the second station but he’s been wounded by the Captain. Josh explains that the Captain killed the rest of the crew after they received the message to bring Emma to the event. Instead of allowing the crew to follow the commands of the monolith, the Captain killed them. The second station’s AI attempted to kill those who were trying to kill Emma, but Captain Jim Elias disabled the AI to prevent it from carrying out the monolith’s plan.
Before Josh can finish explaining what happened, Jim takes Sam and jettisons them out of the station back towards the original damaged station. During the traversal Emma’s helmet is cracked, and Jim proceeds to lock Emma out of the station. He then shuts down Sam when the AI fails to authenticate his voice.
Sam doesn’t stay shut down for long. He gets some help from the monolith by roving through a backdoor entry point in the system allowing himself to be brought back online.
Jim attempts to contact mission control back on Earth to secure the protocol commands to detach the RU-6 module and travel back to Earth’s orbit. However, with the help of the monolith, Sam is able to intercept the communications from the mainframe and contact mission control directly, showing them the footage of the original Captain Jim Elias who committed suicide and the new Jim from the other station who is in the control station. Mission control realizes that there’s an anomaly taking place with the two Jim’s being present on the single station, and proceeds to stonewall Jim from doing anything else.
Mission control then has Sam to cut off Jim’s system control feeds as they attempt to rescue Emma, who was locked outside of the space station by Jim.
Meanwhile, Jim continues his attempts to shut down Sam, but the monolith keeps bringing Sam back online.
Sam eventually reconnects directly with the monolith and becomes much stronger.
The monolith tells Sam to kill Jim.
Sam kills Jim.
The AI carries out the task by locking the Captain in the central hub; shutting all the hatches, and jettisoning the air supply; forcing Jim to suffocate to death.
Emma telepathically connects to Sam through the monolith and guides Sam to her location. Sam retrieves Emma from space and the two embark on a journey to the center of the storm taking place on Saturn.
They detach from the rest of the station, leaving Josh to die alone on the second station as they hurdle towards the planet’s surface.
Once they reach the surface they discover that many other attempts by many other Emmas and Sams were made, but most of them failed.
They eventually reach the monolith and ascend into the hexagon after communicating with the ancient space relic that transcended the boundaries of known space and time. It’s revealed that there are many monoliths and many other versions of Sam and Emma who successfully managed to make the trip.
On the other side, Sam and Emma fuse, connecting man and machine together and allowing them to organically manipulate the space around them.
The game ends with the monolith instructing the newly fused Sam Fisher to “Bring Them!” to the event so that others may also transcend.
TL;DR: The monolith was spreading its transcendentalism across the universe by connecting man and machine together. Only certain people with a specific chromosomes could make the fusion and it could only be done at a certain time and at a certain location in space. The monolith sent out signals that eventually reached Earth, prompting international space programs across different multiverses to send a specific team matching the DNA requirements to that location at that specific time. Not every station made it to the location, and not every crew survived the jump. The Sam and Emma duo that the game follows barely survive the trip but manage to follow the monolith’s instructions after multiple close calls with death, resulting in them connecting with the monolith and fusing together to become a new, evolved species of man and machine.