Scarlet Nexus‘ main hook is that you’ve got two playable characters: Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall, soldiers striving to defend their city from neverending attacks from Others. But who exactly are the Others? Where do they come from? And what exactly are these red strings that keep appearing around the both of them?
Understanding the full breadth of the Scarlet Nexus story can be a little tricky, because of how it’s structured. Whether you play as Yuito or Kasane, you’re going to be missing out on some critical perspective. The story’s also designed in a way that both characters learn plot points at vastly different times, making an enormous difference to the context in which you see certain characters.
So if you want to understand everything Scarlet Nexus has to offer, you’ll have to play the game through twice. That’s about a 35 to 40 hour playthrough, although if you follow Ari’s recommendation and juggle two saves at the same time, you’re looking at a 50+ hour adventure.
Some might not have the time to slog through two playthroughs, though. And there’s always people who love a good dose of cyberpunk story. If that’s you, I’d recommend giving Scarlet Nexus a try: there’s a free demo available on all major platforms, and it’ll let you play through a decent chunk of both characters.
So if you’re like me and enjoy reading recaps and breakdowns just to help you process exactly what you just saw, then spoilers ahoy. We’ll be getting deep into the Scarlet Nexus story for this.
Final warning people: major spoilers ahead.
OK. Let’s begin.
So why is New Himuka under attack anyway?
The city of New Himuka is actually one of two in the Scarlet Nexus world. The second major city is called Seiran, and it’s located on the water. Seiran and New Himuka are part of the same country, but there’s also a third city for a religious sect called Togetsu.
But we’ll get to that in later.
As per the official description, humans evolved to the point where they unlocked psionic powers. That attracted “deranged mutants” known as Others, who discovered a taste for human brains and heads. (The SAS powers within each soldier kicks in here, with the paranormal military force censoring the images of the dead to protect soldiers’ mental health.)
But what actually happens — and the various OSF soldiers discuss this in the early hours of the story — is that Others descend from a place called the “Extinction Belt”. The belt is never really shown in-game, but it’s described like an atmospheric barrier that envelops the Earth. Others are spawned in the barrier, get attracted to the power of human psionics (and brains), and society naturally evolves around the need to survive.
OK, but what are Others? Why are some of them flowers in heels?
Look, I don’t know about that last bit.
But the actual explanation for Others isn’t supplied until the last half of the game. While Scarlet Nexus doesn’t say why the Others are exactly what they are, it confirms that the Extinction Belt was formed from a comet that passed by the Moon (not the Earth) 2,000 years ago. The cosmic particles from that event began transforming living beings into the bizarre, brain-eating monsters.
So humans can become Others, too?
Yup. The Scarlet Nexus story actually focuses on this a lot. The first time it happens is when Naomi’s precognition sees her sister Kasane dying to an unseen projectile. Naomi rushes forward to take the bullet instead, which results in her being metamorphosed into a giant Other.
As the game progresses, you learn that both the cities of New Himuka and Seiran have been experimenting on transforming people into Others themselves.
OK, but why?
To beat the Others, of course! Although there’s a few different ways New Himuka goes about it. One route explored by Seiran uses the brains of people with psionic powers to convert Others into controllable Other Weapons.
Another offshoot of that research, explained by Arashi — whose family runs the equivalent of Scarlet Nexus‘s Big Pharma — is to produce medication. “Human-born Others can temporarily regain their senses when they take that medication, even letting them talk,” Arashi adds.
So the medication helps keep humans who have transformed into Others in check. But it also works for people whose powers have been artificially generated. Not everyone in Scarlet Nexus‘s world is born with powers, and the New Himuka government (courtesy of Karen) later admits to experimenting on these so called “duds” in various facilities.
That includes some of the OSF’s most powerful soldiers, and it connects the game’s two major protagonists together as well.
So how exactly are Kasane and Yuito connected?
If you play as Kasane, you’ll get the answer to this much faster than if you play through Yuito’s campaign first. Having seen both, I’m not really sure which is better to start with.
Still, either way the characters know each other from early on. In the first half-hour, Yuito immediately has a flashback as soon as he sees Kasane at a nearby shrine in Suoh. She’s wearing a headband that he recognised from early on, a headband worn by someone who saved him when he was a little boy.
Yuito asks Kasane about this, although she has no idea whatsoever. As it turns out, Kasane did meet Yuito when he was a child. She did so courtesy of a power that both Yuito and Kasane share, although neither of them realise this until later on. (Yuito much later than Kasane, incidentally.)
So what is their power?
The game lists Kasane and Yuito’s power as psychokinesis — the ability to mentally manipulate objects in the physical world — but later on you learn that both Kasane and Yuito’s power is actually gravikinesis.
The difference here is that while gravikinesis and psychokinesis can achieve the same goal, like throwing a car at an enemy, controlling gravity can be vastly more powerful. In Kasane’s playthrough, an older version of Yuito explains this, although he describes gravikinesis as “the power to create dimensions”.
Yuito doesn’t discover this until much later, though. He does end up activating it accidentally, however, and his power resonates with Kasane when she reacts strongly to the death of her platoon captain, Captain Seto. Yuito reacts to that and finds himself in the same dimension as Kasane, but the combination of their powers combined creates a pseudo-black hole — called the Kunad Gate — over Earth that will slowly consume everything.
In that dimension, Kasane grabs the Red Strings — only to drag her and her platoon 50 years into the future. It’s there that things start to get, uh, slightly weird. Major General Karen copies Kasane’s power, and while chasing Karen’s tale for answers, the party runs into the character from the opening cutscene, an older version of Yuito Sumeragi. There, Yuito explains that he “led to world to destruction” by creating the Kunad Gate — but he wasn’t strong enough to travel through time like Kasane could, and he failed to find another answer to get rid of the Kunad Gate.
Older Yuito argues that the only possible solution is to go back in time and kill him. That’s the only way the Kunad Gate can be stopped before it gets too big, apparently. And since New Himuka — run by Yuito’s father, the chairman of the New Himuka government — was responsible for transforming Naomi into an other, she had no qualms in both trying to kill Yuito, and the government when she returned.
The middle arc of both stories effectively revolves around this conflict between Kasane and Yuito, and both platoons discover some facts at the same time. But there’s some small details not seen depending on what side you’re on. Kasane’s troops get to the secret research facility first; Yuito’s troops try to follow a truck, only to run into a quick fight with Kagero and Kyoka, who delay them.
At the research facility Arashi realises the human heads are being transported from Togetsu, the supposed religious fanatical cult. When Yuito arrives, the Seiran military leaders warn that all of the Other research subjects — including Naomi — will be disposed of to bury the evidence if Kasane refuses to take Yuito’s team down. Kasane’s team also runs into Major General Karen, who explains Seiran’s true belief is that the Extinction Belt is necessary for survival (while Suoh wants to eliminate it).
Either way, both parties eventually want to visit Togetsu although for different reasons. Yuito’s platoon gets branded as traitors from Suoh, so they opt for seeking out Togetsu instead of aligning with Seiran’s rebellion. Kasane’s troops head to Togetsu to learn more about their connections with New Himuka and Seiran, and it’s there that both characters learn what the “religious sect” is actually all about.
OK, so what’s Togetsu exactly?
Through different means, both Kasane and Yuito learn they were what’s called “Design Children” — children specifically grown up to be psionics via physical, psychological and alternative forms of manipulation. You actually get an indication of this before reaching Togetsu: one of the old OSF hospitals has small collectibles that contain notes on past subjects, and their attachment to a certain attendant at the facility.
The religious sect, as it turns out, isn’t really that religious after all. Upon entering their Matrix-like facility in the mountains, both platoons learn that the Togetsu’s faith stems from the Moon. Not because the Moon has some kind of holy power, but because those living on Earth descended from the Moon — thousands of years ago.
So as it turns out, Scarlet Nexus is low-key a game about climate change! Who’d have thought.
But no, seriously, it’s actually about climate change. Humans ruined the Earth’s habitat beyond repair, forcing them to colonise the Moon 3,000 years ago. Humans then spent 1,000 years working on the necessary technology to terraform the planet back into something habitable. So when that technology comes online, a bunch of colonists get sent down from the Moon to inhabit earth. Those colonists include Yuito’s ancestor, the one responsible for founding New Himuka, Yakumo Sumeragi.
But then what’s the red strings got to do with all of this?
The answer to that lies in the Extinction Belt, and what happened.
The running mythology within New Himuka, and the one you start the game with, is that the Extinction Belt formed around the foundation of New Himuka. That’s not actually the case, and you learn this first in Yuito’s campaign.
In a confrontation with Yuito’s brother, and the current chief of what’s left of the OSF, it’s mentioned that colonists were also sent to Earth as a way to reduce the Moon’s population. The colonists believed the Moon created the Extinction Belt and used it to trap the colonists on Earth, and if the Extinction Belt can be destroyed or removed somehow, humans can invade the moon and enact revenge for their initial colonisation.
Of course, the reality is a little stranger than that.
If you play as Yuito you find this out through the Togetsu archives, and if you’re on Kasane’s campaign you’ll find it out later on through Kagero. The Extinction Belt was formed after a comet passed close by to the Moon, causing particles to turn people on Earth and the Moon into “monsters” by way of both planetary bodies’ gravitational pull. Those monsters, naturally, are what’s understood as Others.
The Earth was in a phase where the colonists were fixing its “gravity control”, although this part isn’t explained. Either way, the Moon believed they could stop Other particles from drifting onto the Moon if they sabotaged the redevelopment on Earth. But thanks to a rearguard effort from those on Earth, led by Yakumo Sumeragi, the Moon’s plan failed. So — and, again, this is totally unexplained — Moon Management “pushed the Other Particles” toward Earth, wrapping it in the Extinction Belt and making it impossible for any colonists to leave.
The Extinction Belt also prevents transmissions between the Moon and the Earth, which is largely the basis for the formation of the Togetsu cult. Their plan is to break apart the Extinction Belt by any means necessary — and after thousands of years of failures, they believe the only true path for succession is the Red Strings.
OK, but how?
The Red Strings allow users, with the right amount of power, to travel back in space and time. So according to Togetsu, if they can travel far enough back in time, they’ll be able to prevent the re-colonisation of Earth — eliminating the events of the following 3,000 years.
Of course, that’d have all sorts of consequences, particularly on the current platoons who wouldn’t exist under such an arrangement. So both platoons come to an agreement: it’s neither Seiran or New Himuka they want to support, but they don’t want to see Togetsu hit a giant button on 3,000 years of history, either.
Of course, that’s not everything the Scarlet Nexus story has to offer. But if you’re confused after a long playthrough — or maybe you’ve just forgotten parts of the story by playing over multiple sessions — this should give you a pretty clear timeline of what exactly is going on, and why.
Also, if you do happen to have read through all of this before playing and you’re still interested in giving Scarlet Nexus a whirl, please do! I’ve left out lots of segments here that add plenty of colour and explanation, key details you’ll discover about characters along the way, and I haven’t outlined how the story actually ends. That’s worth watching — regardless of what character you play. (And as an extra bonus: you get a slightly different ending depending on which campaign you’re in. Enjoy!)