Starting out in 2011 as a mod for Half-Life 2 before getting its own Source engine release on Steam as a standalone game just two years later, The Stanley Parable has become an undeniable classic. Its bizarre premise of the titular character stuck in an office, hopelessly navigating a labyrinth of cubicles, hallways, conference rooms, offices, mind control facilities, depths of hell, serene landscapes, and more with only a snarky narrator to guide him, is either a commentary on video games, modern worklife, existentialist philosophy, or (more than likely) all of these at once.
Other than the narrator guiding you from a script, stopping to question or berate you every time your choices deviate from his proclamations, it was reasonable to assume that Stanley was probably alone in this mysterious office. Sure, the narrator sometimes made jokes about Stanley being followed, and there was one incredibly rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of someone early in the game, but aside from this, Stanley was otherwise alone. Wasn’t he? While the initial sighting might’ve been explained away as Stanley seeing himself as a result of some kind of weird-but-totally appropriate timespace aberration, many have been left to wonder if there are other people hiding around the office. Wating. Perhaps watching. Well, 2022’s excellent much-more-than-a-remake has given players even more reason to look over their shoulders when traversing the depths of the office, and players are pooling their evidence that Stanley may not be so alone after all.
Depending on who you ask, it might either make Stanley’s predicament more comforting or more disturbing to think that someone else could be walking the halls of the office along with him. Be it a G-man-esque visitor, another employee as the narrator hints, or Stanley himself as others speculate, a video has surfaced on Reddit, revealing not only that you can once again catch a very rare glimpse of another life in these usually lifeless halls, but also showing that the same mystery-person glimpsed in the original game is now heading in the opposite direction than they did before.
In true Patterson-Gimlin fashion, as of yet there’s no footage of this mystery person being spotted elsewhere in the game, just another sighting or two in the same place. One post from a now-deleted account — that’s not weird at all — has asked about further sightings, while others have asked about spotting other people in the game.
Were this simply one sighting of someone else in this digital Lynchian fever dream of a game, that would be creepy enough. Alas, more screenshots and videos (some which might be considered spoilers, so fair warning) are surfacing on Reddit and Twitter of other mystery-people apparently observing and following Stanley. One Reddit user claims to have used a noclip mod to get a clearer glimpse of a figure only briefly seen from a distance, standing in a pool of red light while Stanley rides up an elevator. The results, and the thought that a mysterious figure like this might be watching Stanley throughout his epic misadventure, is unsettling.
Fascinated by these sightings, I hoped to make my own contributions to the fact-finding efforts of other players, or at least see one of these mystery figures for myself. Alas, in my own attempts to catch at least a glimpse of the elusive coworker/other Stanley, the game would not tolerate my six or seven restarts. It instead pushed me into another room where I was forced to continue down the main story path. Of course it did.
It looks like I’ll be sticking to catching glimpses on the internet. It might be a good idea to keep the lights on when perusing the internet for more footage of this phenomenon. “Someone,” “watching” and “following” are good, yet terrifying, keywords for this.
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