My “Detroit: Become Human” Story

Last week I finished playing the Quantic Dream video game Detroit: Become Human, and it was quite a ride. I’ve already written about what an intense game it was, but now I just want to share my personal experience with this game. Which means a spoiler-filled recap of my decisions, and where things went awry — because they totally did.

If you haven’t played Detroit, all you need to know first is that it’s a game set in a slightly futuristic Detroit, where androids are sold to serve humans. You follow the journeys of three of these robots: Kara (who serves as a house maid/babysitter), Markus (who starts out as a caretaker for an elderly artist), and Connor (a police droid). Every decision you make has a consequence, which can result in very different endings.

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING! Keep reading if you want to know how the story can go. Turn back if you want to play it yourself someday!

Connor

detroit connor 2.jpgOh, Connor. The over-eager police droid has some great scenes trying to track down deviant droids and turn them in. But he fails, over and over again. My investigations just did not go very well. Time limits were too tight for me, and I focused on the wrong facts or asked the wrong questions.

The good thing was that I did manage to strike up a decent friendship with human partner Hank. Though Hank is initially distrusting of androids and hates having Connor around, when Connor saves him from falling off the side of a building, Hank warms up to him.

I played Connor very seriously — focused on his mission, never feeling any deviancy. Though he has plenty of opportunities to show human emotion, I chose to make him pretty analytical. At one point, Hank even points a gun at him and asks if he has any emotion, and I had Connor say no. (That actually seems to appease Hank, who drops the gun.)

That said, Connor dies a couple of times in my playthrough. He is always brought back to life in a new version, to continue investigating. Not that any version is better than the last at closing this damn case.

In the end, Connor confronts the leader of the deviant androids but fails to bring her down — or to bring her in. In a final chase scene, he almost catches her — but apparently she gets away at the last second.

As interesting as it was to play him, I felt like I failed at everything he did, and there was no rewarding ending. Maybe if I had chosen to make him a deviant, the story would have been more interesting.

Markus

markus detroit.jpgMarkus was my favorite character in Detroit. A gentle caretaker for an elderly painting who is now in a wheelchair, Markus is eventually accused of murder and sent to a robot junkyard.

After seeing the androids wasting away there, he pulls himself out of there and looks for Jericho, the rumored land of deviant androids in search of freedom. Following clues, he eventually finds their headquarters — and then joins their leaders on missions to grab blue blood and parts to help their kind.

Along the way, he has choices to kill or show mercy towards those who stand in his way — android and human alike. I made him merciful. When he was a caretaker, his ward was a kind man who actually encouraged Markus to be an individual. Because of that healthy relationship, I felt that Markus would understand the good in humans.

Another android freedom fighter is North, who used to be a sex droid. Unlike Markus, she wants to fight everyone who crosses them. I can understand that, given her background — but this difference of opinion put her at odds with Markus much of the time.

Even so, they have a friendship that develops as they learn to respect and trust each other. There’s a touching moment on the roof of the headquarters, where they confess their pasts to each other to better understand the other. I feel that there was a romance there I might have missed, but I’m glad I didn’t pursue anything like that. Mutual respect was what I wanted for them, and they eventually found that.

There’s an epic scene in which Markus and North free androids from shops where they are being sold, and then turn the town square upside down for their cause. Though they can choose to be violent, I made them pacifist. They don’t destroy thing, they hack them. They are all about liberty. And at the end of the scene, when given the option of killing the policemen who are shooting them down, Markus chooses mercy.

This gets public opinion on their side, which is great. Although news reporters claim they are dangerous deviants, the public seems to understand that they just want to be free. They are not scared of them. That’s my goal, which seems to be working.

But in a peaceful march down the city street one day, Markus is faced with an option: fight the policeman holding a gun to him, or continue walking forward, hands outstretched in peace. At least, I thought those were my two choices.

So, since Markus is a pacifist, I continued my walk, remaining calm. And then the cop shot Markus.

That was the end of Markus’s story. In future scenes, I could see entire story trees dedicated to his journey, but I couldn’t access any of them. In his absence, North takes over the movement, becomes violent just the way she wants, and fails to succeed in achieving android freedom. It’s ugly, bloody, and totally disappointing.

Now, in that peaceful protest scene I had an option to run away from the cop. I should have taken that route, but I thought that would be cowardly and cheating. Apparently, it was the path I needed to take if I wanted to succeed at Markus’s mission of peace. I just felt that the game didn’t make that clear, and so my option was not rewarded.

I also felt that the scenes with North lacked impact. Her violent path was dramatic, and her confrontation with Connor was intriguing — but she didn’t seem to care at all about her friendship with Markus or what he had wanted for the androids. She never referenced him in her decisions. She was sad about his death, but didn’t seem to care about the path he had taken — meaning the choices I had made as Markus accounted for nothing, just because of my one bad decision.

Kara

kara detroit.jpgKara’s story turned out to be the most satisfying for me, although painstaking in its own way.

In her story, she serves in the household of a single dad who does drugs and abuses his daughter, Alice. She’s about eight years old, and when Kara witnesses the abuse, she can’t hold back. Breaking free of her code to obey her owner no matter what, she intervenes in the abuse — but a few minutes too late for an easy out.

In my playthrough, when Kara confronts her owner, both she and Alice are beaten and have to flee the house in a dramatic chase scene. It was intense. Kara was bleeding blue android blood, and I barely made it out the back door, with Alice’s father yelling at us the whole way.

After that, Kara and Alice spend the night in a car (after I failed to steal clothes and money to get a hotel room for us). In the morning, Kara changes her look — cropped gray hair all the way! — and they head to the home of a man who is supposed to help rogue androids.

Alice is wary of the man right away, and even I felt uneasy playing. You can just sense when something is off. But Kara insists that they have no choice but to trust the man — so they follow him into his basement, where he immediately turns on them. It was a pretty terrifying moment, having him tie up Kara and delete her memory, while kidnapping Alice to murder later.

Fortunately, Kara is able to pick up clues throughout the house that remind her of Alice, until her memory is restored. She reunites with Alice and ends up racing and hiding through the house, eventually burning it down in their escape. They also leave with one of the man’s other androids, Luther, who becomes part of their makeshift family.

Their journey takes them to another safe house — a real one this time. There’s a great moment of Alice riding on a carousel in an abandoned theme park, smiling for the first time in days. She relies on Kara, seeing her as a mother figure. And that’s how Kara transforms: she feels that Alice’s life is more important than her own, just as a mother would.

Eventually they make it to Canada, but it’s a long, hard road. Along the way, I had Kara make thoughtful decisions, being moral as a way of teaching Alice good values and kindness. Yet she was also real with Alice. I never pretended things were better than they were, but just tried to be realistic even while comforting Alice. It was a nice balance that felt right for their relationship, and it definitely made Kara a compassionate character.

All of this led to a terrible choice toward the end of the game. To flee to Canada, they have to steal a bus ticket from somebody — so they steal from a couple of parents with a baby. I learned later that I could have stolen the bus tickets from somebody else, but in the moment I was so panicked to escape that I didn’t care. I felt bad, but I had to get Kara, Alice, and Luther to Canada no matter what. (We had just saved Luther from a firing squad, after all!) Alice was horrified by the choice, but we made it to the border.

Along the way, it’s revealed that Alice is actually an android. But that doesn’t change their feelings for each other. It’s an interesting moment for me, as a player, since for a split second I felt like it meant that it didn’t matter as much whether Alice lived or not — but they I felt awful thinking that way. This is a story about androids who think and feel as humans, and so they should live as them too. I realized then that I wanted Kara to save Alice, and for them to be happy together. Alice being an android didn’t change a thing, in the end.

In the final moments of the game, it becomes clear that Canada’s border security is heat-scanning for androids. Kara can sacrifice Luther, or another android she saved earlier, or just try to proceed without any sacrifice. Or she can sacrifice herself.

Kara dying for Alice felt like a natural end to this story. It was a heartbreaking decision, but it was the one I wanted to make. I wasn’t sure if we would make it if nobody was sacrificed, and I didn’t believe Kara was the type of person to sacrifice somebody else. So she let herself be scanned and killed so that Luther could cross the border with Alice, to freedom.

For me, this was the most heroic end to a story about love and family. As sad as it was, I really enjoyed being able to make this choice, and see Alice make it to a new and better life.


If Markus had lived, the final confrontation between my serious version of Connor and my pacifist Markus could have been amazing.

Unfortunately, because I played Connor as such a stickler, I didn’t get any reward at the end of his story. If I was supposed to play him as a deviant, I wish the game had made that the only path for me. But instead, the game gave me a choice, and my decision led to a story ending that made me feel like I had made the “wrong” choice.

The same thing happened with Markus — only it was worse. I loved Markus, and I feel a little tricked that he died. If he had still been present in North’s mind after his death, influencing her decisions, I would have felt better about things. Instead, it feels like the game punished me for making Markus brave and self-sacrificing. It was a useless, fruitless martyrdom.

Still, Detroit has a very engaging storyline with characters I really cared about. I just struggled knowing what certain choices would lead to, and some of the storylines felt like they weren’t fleshed out enough. A part of me wants to replay the game to try to get the outcome I want — and just to explore Markus’s story more — but the game was so intense that once was probably enough for me. At least for now.

If anybody else finished the game, I’d love to hear your thoughts and how your stories ended!

— Ashley

6 thoughts on “My “Detroit: Become Human” Story”

  1. Okay, this is really interesting. Thanks for doing this. Your version of things is really different from the one I saw, in ways I didn’t expect were possible.

    Moiren was mostly enemies with Hank, and her Connor went deviant. He ended up helping Markus by unleashing an army of newly made, newly deviant androids… only for it to be revealed that Connor going deviant had been the plan all along. With Markus and all the other revolution leaders dead, Connor became the leader of an army of androids who think they’re free but are actually serving the interests of their corporate creators (she could have avoided this and granted them true freedom by having Connor commit suicide at the end, but she chose not to).

    Moiren also went the pacifist route with Markus, but he survived until very near the end. I’m not sure it’s possible for him to live to see the end credits? As much as I can understand being frustrated by losing him, I actually like the idea of North leading the revolution instead. That would have been interesting. In Moiren’s playthrough, North died in the attack on Jericho.

    I agree Kara’s story is the most compelling. I find her the most relatable character, and the relatively down to earth nature of her arc makes it more powerful. It sounds like the fight with Todd went worse in your version of things. Moiren stole his gun and killed him, allowing Kara to leave relatively unscathed.

    Fun fact: It’s also possible to not make Kara deviant at all. In that case, Todd kills Alice, and it’s implied he then kills Kara, too.

    Moiren also avoided having Kara’s memory wiped, though the rest with rescuing Alice and making friends with Luther seems the same either way.

    Kara’s end was also very different for Moiren. In that version, Kara didn’t get to Canada, and she, Luther, and Alice wound up in what amounts to an android concentration camp where deviants were being executed en masse. Ironically, though, that appears to be the better ending, because in that version it’s possible for all three of them to escape unharmed, if a little emotionally traumatized.

    So to summarize Moiren’s ending was: Markus dies to evil human cops but wins the public approval, Connor takes over to lead the revolution but is a prisoner in his own mind, and Kara and her “family” escape and presumably live happily ever after.

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing Moiren’s playthrough! That is so different. I had no idea those would be potential options, routes, or endings. That’s awesome! I’m really curious to watch another playthrough now or just run through the game again on Casual a different way.

      North leading the revolution could have been really interesting, but it was a let-down for me, the way it was done. She spends some time mourning Markus but doesn’t reflect on his pacifism at all — she just goes all in with her violent approach, and things end badly for her actually. (Connor faces her at some point, but I chose for him to spare her. So she just sits there in an old android shop with a failing revolution going on outside, all her doing.)

      I’m so surprised by Connor’s story. I really wish I had made him deviant now. I did get the impression at different times that the game wanted me to make him deviant, but I just kept standing against that hoping for an interesting “alternative” storyline — but it didn’t really pay off for me. It sounds like the route you describe is a lot richer.

      Kara’s ending also has me intrigued! I will have to see a playthrough of that part in particular. Do you have a link to a video so I can check out some of these scenes?

      1. Moiren still has the videos of her playthrough up on her Twitch page for now (I think Twitch takes them down eventually). They’re kind of long, but you could maybe skip to the stuff that’s new to you. This is the one that has the endings, including Kara in the concentration camp: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/267080806

        You could probably find other playthroughs on YouTube. It is really amazing how many different possible paths this game seems to have.

  2. I can’t believe how much I liked this game. The only David Cage game I played before this was Beyond: Two Souls which I really disliked, but I thought Detroit was so cool. I knew things could go really different based on the flow charts, but reading your story makes me appreciate how good a job they did with the branching narrative.

    I’m not the greatest at choice making in games especially under time pressure. So when it is a character that isn’t my own created one, I try to find a touchstone to help guide my decisions when I’m in doubt. So for Kara, it was doing the right thing for Alice. But I couldn’t steal the tickets from the other parent/child like you did I guess. Like that seems like it was the right thing to do for Alice since you were able to get her on that bus and I was not, but I found myself worried about what Alice would think about me doing that along with it being mean to the other family I guess. It’s a tough decision. And I figured there was another way to get tickets too (there was I guess but I didn’t find it apparently!). So I ended up finding the black family that helped us earlier in the game (Rose I think her name was maybe? and her son) and they helped me get to the border. But then I had to take a boat across and try to avoid border patrols. And they ended up shooting up my boat and hitting Alice in the process. My motor was dead from the gunfire and I was trying to get Alice to the shore alive, so I jumped in to try and push it myself even though it is made clear the freezing temperatures would probably kill Kara. We made it to the shore, but Alice died in Kara’s arms. And I was very sad. Keeping Alice alive and okay was what I wanted more than anything in the whole game, so this was brutal. I tried my best :(

    For Connor, my touchstone was sticking to the mission like you were doing, but I ended up wavering due to some events that occurred in my story and I turned him deviant. So he ends up helping Marcus and others escape the attack on Jericho and goes off to the Cyberlife headquarters to try and free more androids for the revolution/march thing. But then another Connor was sent to stop me. Hank (who I had become good friends with at that point) is put in the middle and basically mixes up the two Connors during a scuffle and shooting mine. As you can see, I’m on fire with great endings so far.

    My best ending was definitely Marcus’. I largely went the pacifist route with my revolution though I occasionally made rash decisions the other way in key moments. I felt bad about them and so did Marcus. But looking back I guess developing feelings as an android in this manner would probably result in stuff like this happening like with people in real life, so I don’t feel too bad about how that played out. I also ended up having a romantic relationship with North. This ended up sort of saving the day for me I guess. We marched on the camp thing. Ended up getting attacked by police and stuff. I don’t know it was chaos and a bit of a blur for me thinking back. I ended up saving a bunch of androids via QTEs. At the end, it is the remaining saved androids standing there and I get to make one final decision. It is like say something about freedom and stuff like that as far as I recall. But also kissing North was one of the options. And I figured I’m screwed. They are going to die anyway, let me let them just be happy in their final moments. So I chose the kiss North option and apparently seeing this, I suppose viewed as a particularly human thing: Love, it finally turns the tide including the president’s opinion who puts a stop to everything and calls off the killing of androids. And it seems like humans and androids will at least try to live peacefully together after this. But they also don’t paint it like everything is perfect all of the sudden either. It is going to be tough obviously which I think is realistic. Anyway, that might be a cheesy ending, I don’t know, but I was happy one of my endings turned out sort of happy I guess! Kind of makes the Kara thing more of a bummer. If they hadn’t crossed the border they might be alive still.

    Anyway, a wild ride. I enjoyed it greatly!

  3. ooo quite an interesting ride, but I’m sad for you that you had to see Kara die. I highly recommend watching CoryxKenshin’s playthrough. Markus becomes a pacifist leader, Connor becomes deviant and joins the cause and becomes friends with Hank, and Kara can make it through the scanning part without anyone dying!! I don’t want to spoil the “how” for you bc it was so nice to watch!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I want to see what happens (and how it happens) when everybody lives. My playthrough was pretty depressing! I really wanted Markus to succeed as a pacifist leader, so I’m excited to see that storyline especially. Will definitely watch the playthrough!!

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