One of the most exciting next-gen console exclusives to hit Xbox Series X recently is Bloober Team’s The Medium. A mystery tale that takes place in 1990s Poland, it follows the titular Medium, Marianne, as she investigates the abandoned Niwa Resort. Because her story, and those of the other characters, is told in a non-linear fashion, it can be pretty confusing to follow at times, but have no fear! TechRaptor has got you covered.
We’re introduced to Marianne at the start when she visits the home where she grew up with her foster father, Jack. Unfortunately, he has recently died, and the game uses this as an opportunity to let us know that Marianne is a spirit medium who learned from Jack, though she doesn't have complete control over her abilities. She also has had a recurring dream since childhood of a man and a young girl standing on a dock by a lake, when the man takes out a gun and shoots the girl.
After she prepares Jack’s body, Marianne gets a frantic call from a man named Thomas, who claims to know her. He says that he needs her help, asking for her to go to the long-abandoned Niwa Resort.
Of course Marianne goes, but here is where the story gets complicated. The Medium tells the stories of several characters, all intertwining with each other, and you piece them together as Marianne further explores the resort and discovers more about each of the characters herself. So, let’s simplify that shall we?
The Medium Story Explained - Spoilers!
Many years ago, Thomas was experimented on by the Nazi government because he possessed psychic abilities. Like Marianne, he was a medium, except his other self—Spirit Thomas—was a separate person from him, rather than the fusion that Marianne and her Spirit self have. After grievously injuring a man who was experimenting on him, Thomas escaped from his tests and has been hiding from the government since then. As a young adult, he made contact with Richard, an aging painter. Richard used Thomas’ descriptions of the spirit world to fuel his waning creativity, and in turn taught Thomas art and painting skills, acting as a foster father to him.
At University, Thomas decided to study architecture and, after meeting and falling in love with a young woman, grew apart from Richard. He and his wife then had two daughters, Lilianne and Marianne, and his wife died during the birth of Marianne. By now, Thomas has made a career as an architect and has designed and built the Niwa Workers Resort.
Richard ends up in a desperate situation and seeks out Thomas, now a single father, who welcomes him back with open arms, allowing him to live at the resort with Thomas and his girls. During this time, Richard develops a mild romance with the nurse on staff named Ursula, but ends up obsessing over and becoming friends with, and then molesting, Lilianne. As a spirit medium like her father, this incident leads to her trauma manifesting in the spirit world as a creature called the Maw.
Once Thomas finds out about what Richard has done, he uses his medium powers for the first time in years, summoning Spirit Thomas to enter Richard’s mind and destroy him, leaving him an empty husk. Spirit Thomas finds out that Richard also had a manifestation of trauma in the spirit world, called the Childeater, due to several factors. He grew up with an abusive stepfather during World War II, who also beat and raped his mother. Then, to save herself, she ended up reporting him to the Gestapo, who then found the Jewish family that they had been hiding in their home, killing both the stepfather and the Jews. Unfortunately, by this point, Richard had fallen in love with the young girl they were sheltering, named Rose, and her death then scarred him for life and led to his obsession with young girls.
Unfortunately, due to his calling on Spirit Thomas and using his powers again, Thomas is now back on the government’s radar, and they send an agent, Henry, to the resort to find and kill him. Henry turns out to be a psychopath and lights Thomas’ house on fire with both Lilianne and Marianne inside it. Spirit Thomas then attempts to attack Henry inside his mind so Thomas will be able to escape and save his girls, but Henry’s psychopathy proves to be too much and he essentially traps Spirit Thomas in his own mind. Meanwhile, Thomas is too late to save the girls, but Lily makes a deal with the Maw: In exchange for saving her and her sister from the fire, she sets it free to rampage.
This is the cause of the Niwa Massacre, which kills hundreds and permanently shuts down the resort, as the Maw possesses the resort’s nurse, Ursula, and goes on a killing spree, starting first with the empty husk of Richard. This then forces the government to close down the resort and institute a cover-up, with Frank the groundskeeper as the only employee remaining. Due to his heavy alcoholism, he can’t bear to go home and face his family, so he stays to assist Thomas.
Realizing that the Maw came from and is still a part of Lily, Thomas makes the decision to leave the young Marianne at the hospital after she finishes recovering from her injuries from the fire. By now, the event and subsequent coma has erased her memory up until that point, leading her to remember nothing before foster care, even into her adult life.
Meanwhile, Thomas uses an old Soviet underground bunker and modifies it into a home in order to keep Lily—and thereby the Maw—contained. They live underground for years until Frank takes pity on her and lets her out to see the sunlight, prompting Thomas’ frantic call to Marianne, who he has kept track of all these years.
Marianne then comes and explores the resort, fighting the Maw and putting the pieces together. Along the way, she meets a ghostly child named Sadness, a trapped spirit who guides her through the resort. She also learns that, because she was so close to death as a small child, her Spirit self and her real self are fused together, which made the Maw want to “wear” her body. All the other humans and animals that the Maw has possessed have worn out and died, rotted from the inside out. Because Marianne is so close to the spirit world, she will not rot and can be a permanent vessel for it.
After vanquishing the Childeater that came from Richard and then the Hound of Henry, she frees Spirit Thomas, who then explains to her that her sister is still alive. Thomas meanwhile has gone missing, as he attempted to enter the spirit world as a human to seek out Spirit Thomas as another plan to deal with the Maw.
The Medium: Ending Explained
Heading out to the lake that Marianne has seen in her dreams for years, she finally meets her sister Lily and finds out that her spirit world self is Sadness, who has been helping Marianne since she arrived. Lily, now an adult woman, is glad to be reunited with her sister. However, she explains that as long as she is alive, so is the Maw, and then asks Marianne to kill her, thereby fulfilling the prophecy from the dream which she explains they have both had for their entire lives.
Marianne then threatens to take a third option and potentially kill herself, meaning that while the Maw would still be inside Lily, it could have no hope of getting out into a permanent vessel and would give her sister some time to live. The screen fades to black and ends with the sound of a gunshot, leaving it ambiguous as to which sister, if either, died.
A post-credits scene shows that Thomas was successful in his attempt to enter the spirit world.
For those looking for any more clarification—who got shot, what happened to Thomas—you're not likely to get it. Leaving a purposely ambiguous ending like that definitely sets the tone of the game in stone, and I know I for one will be wondering about it for quite some time to come.