Posthumanism in Outer Wilds

Bowie, Simon. 2021. “Posthumanism in Outer Wilds.” Press Start 7 (1): 45–65. https://press-start.gla.ac.uk/index.php/press-start/article/view/203.

This article performs a posthumanist reading of Outer Wilds (Mobius Digital, 2019) focusing on how the game represents posthuman subjectivity. Outer Wilds uses two alien species to represent two conceptions of subjectivity: a transhumanism focused on technological augmentation of the human, and a posthumanism focused on decentring the human subject from philosophy and culture. This article argues that Outer Wilds leads the player through several Braidottian processes of posthuman “becoming.” Outer Wilds represents becoming-machine in the two species’ different approaches to technology, becoming-earth in embracing a geo-centred perspective on ecosystems beyond the subject, and becoming-imperceptible in the two species’ different approaches to death and the idea of the self. Through these becomings, Outer Wilds represents what it means to be a posthuman ethical subject in a world on the verge of collapse and emphasises the importance of acting in the face of an ongoing environmental disaster.