[SPOILERS] I think I finally understood the ending

So over the months I’ve occasionally been talking to people here and there about the ending of the story because some aspects of it don’t seem to make sense. Like the countdown…it rather abruptly goes from 16 to 0 and then it ends and the simulation hasn’t ended and the Atlas isn’t dead…even though the countdown was expressly to the end of the life of the Atlas and the Atlas creates and controls the simulation…so we’re left with the question of what the hell just actually happened.

What I mostly heard was that the countdown is obviously not in real time so the countdown is to the actual death of the Atlas but minutes to it mean something entirely different from minutes to us so who knows long it’s actually going to be. But then why did it end and the Atlas didn’t die? To which I was sometimes told that well it didn’t actually end, you just got real close to the time running out but it didn’t and since we don’t know how long that’s going to take it could be eons for all we know. Sure…but there’s a problem with that too…we vaguely know about how long a minute of its countdown is…15 warps is 15 minutes of its countdown so then if the story ends and assuming there’s 1 minute left how can you endlessly warp around and then the time never runs out?

Well…I think I’ve finally been able to reconcile what actually happened…why the Atlas wants to reset the simulation over and over even though it doesn’t buy it time and what the countdown actually is. The Atlas isn’t dying, at least not imminently, and the countdown is unrelated to its actual death…the Atlas is just obsessed with its own mortality. It knows that it will eventually die and it knows what will kill it so it wants to endlessly run simulations of its own death in futile attempts to find a solution even though it can’t. The countdown and the descriptions of the black hole tearing it apart…they aren’t happening…it’s a simulation on a loop. That’s why the Atlas is in so much emotional pain and why everything seems so urgent…it’s simulating the end but it’s not the end and won’t be the end anytime soon. The Atlas is coming to terms with its own mortality and the fact that nothing, not even it will last forever.

I feel kind of stupid now for not having figured this out sooner…but the answers of what actually happened don’t come until you use remembrance on a whole lot of terminals in stations, which can be hard to find…only then do you clearly get the picture of what the countdown really was and what happened at the end of the countdown and that it actually finished and it wasn’t to the real death of the atlas or actually relevant in any way to the actual death of the Atlas when while remembering the 16/16 countdown at the end it says: “At the end of all things, it will no longer be alone. //END” https://nomanssky.gamepedia.com/Rogue_Data

So that’s it…that’s all it was…a simulation of the Atlas trying to understand or find a way to prevent its death.


Yes. That has been my take on it too.

Nothing to feel stupid about. The story is designed to make us chase our own tails trying to figure out wtf. :grin:

Thanks for writing it out so succinctly. :heart:


If using the biblical term, a day is like a thousand years, 16 minutes = 11.11111 years, 1 minute = .69 or about 7 months.


YOU DID IT! You arrived at the same conclusion I did! I think you are right, the Atlas isn’t close to death, it is just running simulations of its future death.

The best evidence for this is at the beginning of the remembrance lore when it always says, “The Atlas has created a simulation of its own world, its entire existence, in an attempt to witness its own impending death.”


lmao…yeah, that should have rung a bell when I first saw it but it didn’t. Looks a lot more obvious when you think of it in perspective as remembering your whole journey from the beginning. But at the specific point in time when I saw that entry I didn’t stop to think that this was Remembrance and it just so happened to be a nice synopsis of everything.


Hmph. Let’s run with that for a bit.

We are a copy of the original creators mind. Why exactly the Atlas asked for it from the creator we don’t know, but it’s pretty clear that the reason for this is existential. The Atlas doesn’t want to simulate its creator, it wants his actual mind. Presumably, to be able to reliably predict his actions, since he can be assumed to still be somewhere out there (natural death isn’t much of an issue when you can casually copy minds).
So the Atlas simulates its creators, and its final moments over and over again. Always with the same result: At the end, we’re there. It predicts it with the very simulation we are experiencing. Us visiting the Atlas at the end of the countdown is not an actual event, it is the prediction.

There is one peculiar problem with that, though:

One minute left
And as it watches the moments leading up to its own death, towards completion of sixteen, something happens.
Someone walks towards the ATLAS, a figure in the darkness and in the light. It places its hand against the glass of the ATLAS, and the vision ends.
The ATLAS attempts to see past this moment, but it cannot. It cannot see its own death. It cannot determine who this figure is.
But whatever happens… whatever may occur beyond the sixteen… something will arrive. Something will be there beside it.
At the end of all things, it will no longer be alone.

The Atlas doesn’t know it’s us? How could that be? It knows who we are, so how can it not know it’s us? The whole theory fits together beautifully and elegantly, except for this one single issue: How can the Atlas not know?


Since this is a memory of how the story ended as shown by Remembrance that is what the simulation showed the Atlas would happen at the end…but in that simulation is was us. How does the Atlas not know who it is? Because while in the simulation it was us and it probably knows that, in the real ending when the Atlas actually does die it probably won’t be us. How does it know that someone will be there…well, it doesn’t, not any more than it trusts its simulation…which it seems to trust very much.

There’s also a more 4th wall breaking explanation…in game we are designate UNKNOWN Traveller…and the Atlas does not know us the players, just the shells it created for us to inhabit. We see Telamon become aware of us the players and speaks to us directly in its logs…where it speaks of us saving and closing the game…so it’s not a stretch that the Atlas is also aware that we are not just what it created, that we are much more.


This is very reminiscent of the original Abandoned Building lore in which the protagonist visits a system with a red star that then collapses into a black hole, trapping them.

Is that the prediction? The Atlas’ creator will return to it only to be trapped with it as the planet’s sun destroys them?


Gosh, this thread is DEEP:smiley:

I hate to “state the obvious” but I feel there’s a possibly stark link with the “Loop16” concept here…? (Not explicitly stated above, but for the mention of 16min countdown and, later, “a simulation on a loop.”)


The atlas is moments away from falling apart to the blackhole in the scenario, if it was actually about to die then there would be nothing it could do. So the idea that this was all just a preventive scenario makes a lot more sense. Sometimes there is not enough time to stop something and it is too late. So I think dark trethon hit it on the spot, and I disagree with you argent star.


Welcome to the forum @ScipioAxe. Generally, we do not post in Archived threads. This is 2 years old and most of us have forgotten about this topic.
Feel free to visit our current threads and post your NMS adventures in our various screenshot threads.


:smiley: He’s not the only one to have somehow missed this old thread. When it popped (spell check – yep; spelled that right! whew!!) up in my list of new posts, I got a chance to savor it. So thanks to @ScipioAxe .


Same here. I dont know how i missed this one either. Good read.