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First of all, I've already finished the game before, so I'm not worried about spoilers.

So, I revisited the Ash twin project, took the core out, realized that I didn't have enough time to do anything with it, so I put it back and waited for the sun to explode. When it did, the core warped me to the beginning of the loop again. I decided to go to Dark Bramble to find the Easter egg, but got eaten by an anglerfish. I got informed that I had broken the fabric of time, and got the "You've met a terrible fate" achievement. Then the credits started with Kazoo music.

I'm terribly confused, how did I end the loop? The core is still in the ATP, so how did dying end the loop? Is this a bug?

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It's not a bug. It's a cleverly hidden alternate ending, and one you've managed to stumble into without knowing why. Specifically, you've triggered the Self ending. You sadly never met yourself, but that is not a requirement for the ending to trigger.

All you need to do to trigger the ending is to cause yourself to manifest as a duplicate, and then cause your duplicate to become a paradox on the next cycle, which is done by not repeating the same process that created them in the first place.

In short:

  • The warphole you traveled through was only intended to send the signal and probe data back in time 22 minutes.
  • You went through the hole. You physically travelled back in time. Normally, only your memories travel back to "younger" you.
  • Because of this, you are now susceptible to a paradox. If you don't go through the warphole again, then you've effectively triggered the bootstrap paradox. You didn't go through the warphole, so you didn't travel back in time (this time).
  • ...but the past has already been set in stone. You did arrive in the beginning of the loop after travelling from the end of the loop. Except... you didn't travel from the end of the loop (since an anglerfish ate you).
  • Effectively, you came out of a portal, but you never went in it. This breaks the concept of spacetime, and it effectively crashes the universe.
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  • That is seriously cool. Thanks so much for the detailed answer, it's awesome how in depth the devs made that game.
    – Millard
    Sep 17 at 16:32
  • 3
    "effectively crashes the universe." -> As I'm not familiar with the game, reading this crashed my brain Sep 17 at 17:04
  • lol, if you like space, exploration,, and figuring out a really cool mystery just by scraps of information you gather which you have to put together, I would highly recommend it. It's so good.
    – Millard
    Sep 17 at 17:49
  • and yeah it sounds insane when you haven't played the game, lol
    – Millard
    Sep 17 at 17:52

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