How it works
STEM is a system that allows multiple minds to be brought together and to be connected. Using a Bathtub-like Terminus, subjects can be connected to one particular mind and experience the memories, and perceptions of the individual. There are two ways to connect the person to the system: through the plug and through frequency (advanced version).
However, the applications of STEM are numerous. They include curing people of their mental illnesses, interrogation of criminals and learning people's memories.
It also seems that for the STEM system to work, it needs a main brain/mind or subject who would load his/her world as base, for the others to come.
When Ruvik created STEM he had the intentions of using it to create a reality of his own image to be with his sister Laura Victoriano.
Dr. Jimenez, being a long time friend of Ruvik, decided to help Ruvik out and provide him with materials and patients. Around this time, MOBIUS had made Jimenez a member and had him share his work with them. After Jimenez published Ruvik's work, Mobius became interested in it and wanted to be involved. Mobius ended up putting Ruvik in a tight situation. Either he finished the project, or they would remove him from the equation. The relationship between Mobius and Ruvik became worse and worse over time.
Over the course of research Ruvik had at first a version where people were plugged into the system via cord. Anyone could be hooked up to the machine. Then the next version, had it be wireless. Eventually Ruvik made an alternation to STEM in which the only one who could work it was Ruvik. The brain synchronization was the only way in. They need someone who had similar brain waves as Ruvik. This where Leslie came in and was important. For as Leslie shared the same brain sync with Ruvik. This sync was correlated to specific trauma, Ruvik lost his sister and Leslie lost his parents.
After this The Administrator demanded that Ruvik fixed it. When he denied, they had no other choice but to take what they needed from Ruvik. They killed him and took his brain, which they then placed within the center of the STEM system itself. After this, they tried to continue tests, however, Ruvik's lingering consciousness was slowly taking over STEM. He had turned the majority of the STEM system itself into a hellish landscape of various levels, with each subject attached to it giving some influence, but only Ruvik himself having conscious control of his own influence. He began to kill anyone who was sent into STEM.
Once they realized this, they had his brain removed. When they did this, they thought they had gotten rid of him. However they soon learn that Ruvik's consciousness is still present within STEM, which meant it was still a hell hole. Jimenez and The Administrator devised a plan, to send a group of people into STEM. The more "sane" individuals would be used to cleanse the system and to neutralize Ruvik. They planned to send Juli Kidman in, who was already under cover as a Junior Detective, to complete the task at hand. They also planned to send her with her two colleagues Sebastian Castellanos and Joseph Oda. They saw Sebastian as a threat due to him getting closer to the truth and finding out about them. And Joseph so that they could be sure he wouldn't get involved too.
Marcelo wanted to prove himself useful by finishing the task and not follow his orders, attempting to make Mobius see his worth and let him rise higher in their ranks. He flips the switch himself when the police, including the detectives arrive at Beacon Mental Hospital. This is when the game begins. Turning on the wireless machine ends up dragging everyone in the area into STEM. However it takes awhile for the machine to pull people in, and thus Ruvik temporarily released as the cross between reality and the mindscape blurs. Ruvik kills all the police who come in and wounds Jimenez. After the detectives find him they try to all escape from Ruvik in the Ambulance. However the machines begins to head back into the mindscape dragging everyone into STEM. The ambulance crashes and from then on they are all inside STEM.
(In the DLC, it shows the sinister application of the system in controlling human's subconsciousness through a high-pitched frequency emitting from the system.)
Locations in STEM
Most of the areas in the game are locations in the real world as well as STEM. The real life ones are different and usually infested by Haunted, but all are based on the memories of people connected to STEM, usually the main characters. However, some are only seen in STEM and are usually created by someone inside as a completely altered version of a real world room.
- It's unclear how many people STEM was able to pull in via the wireless signal at the start of the game, and it's unclear what happens to their bodies in the real world as well
- Even though Sebastian, Connely, and Joseph were pulled into STEM via the wireless signal, they were somehow in the bathtub-like terminuses and were actually plugged into the system in the real world, as shown at the end of the game. Kidman, on the other hand, was pulled in via the wireless signal, but was not plugged into the system and instead, she seemingly woke up standing