I posted this theory on twitter:
My theory about the Reyes kidnapping is it’s really just showing you what happens when a character goes to the ‘null void’ room. Reyes is technically ‘dead’ every time he isn’t in use, and this was just the games way of showing you that. The coroner is there to exemplify his ‘death’ but when he’s put back in use by the game/player, he is alive. I think Rikki is there just to give an example of an actor resource that’s randomly been put into use, totally detached from plot or purpose, but since she is mostly nulled too, it’s a good opportunity to have her there for example purposes. I think the Ray kidnapping is the ‘game spirit’ forcing upon you a dead end/‘dead man walking’/unwinnable bug and using the dime to make the sheriff rescue phone call is suppose to be symbolic of a workaround hack that allows you to continue the gameplay.
I think most of the abstraction of the story is a personification of adventure game theory and development?
The Westworld explanation actually seems really interesting! Perhaps Ray/Reyes just broke down and he/she needs repairs, in fact the tube girl who knows how to tinker with technology is there to help putting him/her back online.
That would also explain why the killer kills Boris, but only “damages” one of the agents, using the same weapon.
Also Rikki can build the special vacuum tube to enter the factory with almost no effort, doesn’t it say somewhere that only Chuck knew how to realize it? Perhaps Chuck controls all characters in the city and it has to concede controls to the player only when the player wants to use a specific character.
My theory stems from the fact that I think the “monitor cutscenes” are seen from the wireframe world developers’ eyes.
The whole game is a fight between Chuck, trying to “ruin” the game and save every character from their non-life, and the developers, who are trying to reboot the game.
The developers decided to remove a character, a playing character nonetheless, to stop us/them from solving the puzzle. However Chuck, who is controlling the coroner, with the help of Ricki Lee, revive the character (which needs some time)
So… an agent gets kidnapped if not in use and you haven’t seen him/her in quite some time. And they don’t acknowledge being “kidnapped” otherwise, I quote His Majesty Ron Gilbert, “the meaning would be lost”.
So, I have a new theory now. It’s basically “resource saving”. The simulation is running low on memory and some resources have to be deactivated, some processes put on hold. Since you didn’t see one of the agents in quite some time, the simulation deactivates them in a Least Recently Used fashion, making them available later as if nothing happened, except for a log entry that says “it seems like I blacked out”.
I like the hypothesis. I’m not sure if it has to do specifically with resource tracking/saving but I have come to the conclusion that the game is under the surface an adventure game about design and development, so any perspective that considers the characters and the events as metaphors for programming stuff resonates with me.