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  #1  
Old 10-25-2016, 04:11 AM
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Default Stranger's Motivation

Who wants a good, old-fashioned, Oddworld discussion?

More than ten years on, I remain perplexed by this scene.



What was Stranger's motivation here? Was he planning on killing another Steef to get the head and claim his 20,000? Or was he just identifying a possible threat on his horizon? If the latter, why mention the 20,000 specifically? Also if the latter, was he planning on avoiding Sekto or was he intending to attack him even before he met the Grubbs?
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Old 10-25-2016, 04:56 AM
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Surely it's just pushing that he's just aware that there's a potential hit on him out there, and that he wanted to make it clear to Sekto that he'd seen the poster. The second part of the cut-scene pretty much locks that in, right? Basically: if he doesn't fix this new threat, he's a 20 grand target.

Edit: Actually, dipping into some early design docs, this might not be the case at all. In early drafts, it sounds like Stranger legitimately thinks he might be able to find one, or at least is offering up his own as bait, as the amount specified is intentionally close to the surgery cost. The phone call is longer too, with Stranger listing other heads he can get, including Scrabs (for $1,500).

I'll clarify.

Last edited by OWI_Alex; 10-25-2016 at 05:07 AM..
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Old 10-25-2016, 06:51 AM
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When I played through, I assumed Stranger was willing to sell out his own kind, and as Alex suggested, actually was out to bag a Steef for Sekto. Interesting to know the Stranger was considering other bounties as well as outlaws (and maybe Steef!)
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:08 AM
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When I played through, I assumed Stranger was willing to sell out his own kind, and as Alex suggested, actually was out to bag a Steef for Sekto. Interesting to know the Stranger was considering other bounties as well as outlaws (and maybe Steef!)
I'll check and see whether I can share that part of the initial script. It's pretty interesting.
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:18 AM
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My assumption was that Stranger never intended to get in a conversation with Sekto--notice how he looks uncomfortable and scratches at the counter when the clerk is calling him up. He wanted to back out of that conversation without raising suspicion, as well as figure out just how much Sekto wanted that head so he could know how much potential danger he was in. Stranger didn't come off (at least to me) as so desperate for cash and/or without morals that he'd willingly sell out his own kind. I thought he either wanted to kill Sekto before he could kill him, or somehow fool Sekto into paying him without having to actually kill another steef, at least until shit hit the fan.

I am really interested to see the initial draft of the scene, though!
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Old 10-25-2016, 01:34 PM
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According to Wil:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil

Possibly, when the Steef population became too small, they all decided to go their separate ways. Together, they would have attracted attention. Maybe some went on the run, maybe others besides Stranger tried to fit into the ‘developed’ culture of the Mongo region.

The way I see it, Stranger’s plan to bring a Steef to Sekto doesn’t make any sense unless he knows where or how he can find another Steef. Thus there must, to his knowledge at least, be other Steef out there somewhere, but hiding from colonial and native populations alike.
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Old 10-25-2016, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FennecFyre View Post
My assumption was that Stranger never intended to get in a conversation with Sekto--notice how he looks uncomfortable and scratches at the counter when the clerk is calling him up. He wanted to back out of that conversation without raising suspicion, as well as figure out just how much Sekto wanted that head so he could know how much potential danger he was in. Stranger didn't come off (at least to me) as so desperate for cash and/or without morals that he'd willingly sell out his own kind. I thought he either wanted to kill Sekto before he could kill him, or somehow fool Sekto into paying him without having to actually kill another steef, at least until shit hit the fan.

I am really interested to see the initial draft of the scene, though!
That's how I've alway interpreted the scene as well. I don't think Stranger ever had the intention of killing an other Steef.

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Old 10-26-2016, 02:56 AM
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It's obvious - Stranger just use himself as a bait to get these 20 000 that he needs for the surgery. No hidden intentions.
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Old 10-26-2016, 03:32 AM
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It's obvious - Stranger just use himself as a bait to get these 20 000 that he needs for the surgery. No hidden intentions.
Thats how i always interpreted it aswell. He was probably going to pull a fast one on Sekto and run away with the cash after presenting his own head or something
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:29 AM
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Thats how i always interpreted it aswell. He was probably going to pull a fast one on Sekto and run away with the cash after presenting his own head or something
Yes. It's clear from the early drafts at least that the number for the Steef head is intended to match the cost of the surgery:

Code:
STRANGER
Scrab.

SEKTO
$1,500

STRANGER pauses to think over what he is going to say next.

STRANGER
Steef.

SEKTO
Steefs are rare and hard to find.  Harder still to kill.  You got a Steef mount?

STRANGER
(snears slightly)
Might be able ta find one... for $20,000 (actual value TBD, close to surgery amount).

SEKTO
(very serious)
You find me a good Steef head... you'll get your $20,000! 

STRANGER squints his eyes.

STRANGER
Well If I can get one... How do I find you?
Etc.

Note the 'snears slightly'.
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Old 10-26-2016, 06:48 AM
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Thanks for sharing Alex... even if I'm not sure the "slight snearing" is clearing things up.

I'm still pretty convinced Stranger was never going to hunt an other Steef but rather going to pull a fast one as many people suggested here.

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Old 10-26-2016, 08:14 AM
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The first time I played through the game and got to the reveal, I kind of forgot about this scene. My second playthrough though, I got here and wondered if this was Stranger hatching a ploy to cheat Sekto out of the money somehow. I didn't really put a lot of thought into how exactly he might do that.

I think I heard somewhere that it implied Stranger was willing to sell out one of his own to save his skin, and I adopted that theory, once again without thinking too much about it.

Thinking about it now though, I think a mix of those two and FennecFyre's interpretation is my favorite: Stranger never planned to have this conversation, but once he entered it, he figured he might be able to cheat Sekto or, if it came to it, even find and kill another Steef.

For me, the way he sighs looking at the bounty makes me think it's him reflecting about how persecuted his race has become and simultaneously also how he might have to make the call between him and another Steef.
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:50 AM
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It would certainly have been awesome if we got to see Stranger struggle with tough choices like that, give us a little more insight into what kind of person he really is.

Here's another question to do with character motivation--why did Sekto call up Raider to find him a steef head instead of sitting back and letting Stranger do it? My assumption was that since Raider more or less works for Sekto (although he was probably more like a hired thug than a true employee), Sekto wanted keep the money "in the family", so to speak. That does call up a few more questions, though, like why does Sekto have outlaws on his payroll when he has literal armies of wolvarks?

Thoughts? Theories?
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Old 10-26-2016, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FennecFyre View Post
That does call up a few more questions, though, like why does Sekto have outlaws on his payroll when he has literal armies of wolvarks?
I think I know the answer to this: Maybe he wanted to pay outlaws to easily catch Stranger, it could be all a plan. Since Raider is a wanted it's pretty obvious that Stranger would hunt him, so Sekto says to the outlaw to trick the Bounty Hunter when he comes for him.

And nice theories to all! When I first saw this scene I thought the same thing that Oddey said about the sigh looking. For me he looked like he wasn't sure if it was worth it to kill a Steef to be finally part of Oddworld society, like he thought "Should I really go this far? To kill one of my species so I can be like the others? Man I can't do this..."
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Old 10-26-2016, 03:01 PM
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Stranger was willing, albeit reluctant, to hunt another Steef to save his own skin. In the Art of Oddworld it’s described how Stranger was designed as a character opposite to Abe – with physical brawn but out of touch with his spiritual side. The story of Stranger’s Wrath is Stranger realizing that he can’t run away and pretend not to be a Steef; he has to discover his spirituality and take his place as the guardian of the river. So his earlier willingness to hunt another Steef is meant to contrast with his rediscovered morals later on.

As for Sekto, the only possibilities I can think of are that he would either prefer to pay Caste Raider as he considers him more trustworthy (perhaps he suspected a trap, or as others have said wanted to “keep it in the family”), or that he in fact suspected Stranger of being a Steef or knowing something about the Steef that would have been of interest to Sekto. Note how after his phone conversation with Stranger he ponders for a moment – that’s likely the moment when he considers the potential threat Stranger might be.
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Old 10-27-2016, 08:30 AM
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The more I think about it, the more I think that Sekto called up Raider because he secretly suspected Stranger had a connection to Steef, say some knowledge about where they might still be around. He wanted Raider to intercept Stranger and force out whatever Stranger knew, much like what happened, presumably so Sekto could hunt them there himself. Only thing he wasn't counting on was that Stranger would be a Steef himself and get wind of Sekto being after him.

As for why it was Raider specifically, I'd say it was because Sekto wasn't about to do it himself and his Gloktigi wouldn't be suited for the task. I assume he chose Raider over his Wolvarks because Raider was a little stronger and a little smarter than any Wolvark seems to be and had a band of outlaws that were with him no matter what; that kind of ranking or leadership doesn't seem particularly present with Wolvarks, at least not from what we see in the game.
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Old 10-30-2016, 01:36 AM
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To address some of the responses:
Stranger never intended to bag a steef, and just wanted to sound out Sekto. - That was my initial thought, but why haggle specifically for the amount of 20,000 moolah, then?

Stranger intended to kill another steef and deliver the head - plausible, albeit unpleasant.

Stranger intended to trick Sekto out of the money. - How? How could he deliver his own head and run away?

The last theory makes slightly more sense in the scene that owi_alex quoted that says "You got a Steef mount?", which at least implies that Sekto wanted it alive. But that doesn't explain what Stranger was thinking when he first brought up Steefs.
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:28 AM
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I think there’s an important clue that we’re all forgetting. That cutscene opens with the clerk showing Stranger the Steef head bounty poster, and Stranger’s initial reaction is to immediately ask “what’s it pay?”, without so much as a second of hesitation. If he wasn’t planning to take on the bounty, or had any reservations about it, that didn’t show at all until the call to Sekto was made.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:49 PM
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I think there’s an important clue that we’re all forgetting. That cutscene opens with the clerk showing Stranger the Steef head bounty poster, and Stranger’s initial reaction is to immediately ask “what’s it pay?”, without so much as a second of hesitation. If he wasn’t planning to take on the bounty, or had any reservations about it, that didn’t show at all until the call to Sekto was made.
Yes, which is distinctly different than in the script that owi_alex posted. It just feels like they were tweaking the script but didn't take it quite far enough to make the character motivation consistent.
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