You wake up on a beach, no memory of how you got there or even who you are. A mysterious message floats before you, urging you to “break the timeloop.” You’re trapped on an island full of people who are trying to kill you. You die, then wake up back on that same beach. Day ends. Beach. Die. Beach. It’s enough to make you sick of beaches. Sick enough to start listening to those floating messages and do something about this timeloop. That’s Colt’s journey in Deathloop. Break the cycle by killing the people responsible for keeping it going, and maybe find a way off the island of Blackreef.
The island of Blackreef wasn’t always caught in a timeloop. It started off as an isolated fishing colony, but an anomaly in the area eventually attracted the attention of the military, and further down the line, the attention of the founding members of the AEON Program. These individuals and their followers came together to exploit the anomaly and create the timeloop that would ostensibly allow them to live forever.
But the human mind isn’t made to withstand eternity. After enough time, the inhabitants of Blackreef started experiencing amnesia. At the beginning of the game, Colt is in this exact position. When Colt first opens his eyes on this particular morning on the frigid, sandy beach of Blackreef’s shore, he only has fleeting, dreamlike memories from the day before. His constant companions through his journey are strange, floating messages and radio calls from a woman who calls herself Julianna, and often the two have conflicting agendas that Colt will need to navigate. Because of his amnesia, Colt gets to know himself as you’re getting to know him. You’ll be learning about his past as you’re uncovering the island’s strange story and unraveling its mysteries.
Bakaba has said that the story of Colt and Julianna is the story of Blackreef. They are fighting over the fate of this island, and most of the inhabitants have no clue what’s happening beyond their immediate orders to hunt Colt. They go through the same routines every day, unaware of the larger tableau playing out around them.
Julianna doesn’t just want to live forever. According to Smith, if you asked her that, she would say that’s “too simple.” Julianna came to Blackreef with similar motives to the other Visionaries, but she’s changed over the years. Actually, thanks to everyone’s amnesia, she’s the only one who has changed over the years. She has started getting bored. But now there’s Colt, who is suddenly able to remember things between loops, and that’s when life becomes interesting again for her.
“Colt wakes up on this island, and this woman is clearly the reason why everyone on the island wants to kill him,” says Bakaba. “She should be his enemy, but she keeps contacting him over his radio. Julianna seems fascinated by him and interested in what he’s doing and how he’s doing. This fascination goes both ways because everyone is on a schedule and everyone keeps forgetting, except for her. Julianna is with Colt every step of the way. So a lot of the conversations are this rivalry, this kind of duel of punchlines. But every now and then there are also these moments of sincerity. They share a lot in common, they just have very, very opposed goals.”