Oxenfree & Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals Endings Explained

Oxenfree is most certainly a one-of-a-kind game. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so engrossed in a narrative-driven title to this extent, and the first game had a profound effect on me when the credits rolled. The same could be said for Oxenfree 2, the equally impactful sequel—a game that simultaneously managed to thrill with what it revealed about the series’ intriguing lore and posit a plethora of new philosophical puzzles to ponder over.

You can fairly easily finish both games over a couple of sessions, but it’s likely to take you a couple of playthroughs of each to truly understand the implications of what happened. Even then—if you’re anything like me—you probably won’t feel content that you have everything figured out.

Having played through third and fourth runs of both games now and spent hours poring over the lore and history of Oxenfree’s world, in this article, I’m going to explain the endings of both games. We’ll dive into the basics of the lore, summarize what went down, and use those core elements as a springboard to take a deep dive into each possible ending in each game.

I’m going to need to spoil both titles to do so, of course, so make sure you’ve played through each at least once before reading ahead!

oxenfree lost signal endings overview

Bottom Line Up Front

If you’re in a rush, take a look below for a brief summary of the endings we’ll discuss within the body of this article.

Oxenfree 1

  • Through piecing together the history of Maggie Adler (the instigator of the game’s core events), Alex and the group make their way through the island to try and close the portal, stopping The Sunken’s interference once and for all. When Alex finally comes face-to-face with the ghosts, she is offered the choice of either sacrificing herself or Clarissa for the rest of the group’s freedom.
  • In reality, the choices don’t matter for the iteration of Alex we’re playing; with the story predicated on the ideas of multiple realities featuring infinite versions of the same characters, our choices can only affect different versions of Alex and her friends. The situation cannot be altered for our version.
  • This is what we experience as the different endings: potential scenarios, rather than the alteration of the current one, in each of which Alex is usually doomed to repeat the occurrences of Edwards Island over and over (until the loop is broken in Oxenfree 2).

Oxenfree 2

  • The sequel’s ending comes not long after we discover Alex and friends as the ghosts Olivia is communicating with, having been trapped in the loop from the first game. Riley and Jacob have now joined forces with Alex to stop Olivia from opening the original portal on Edwards Island to convene with The Sunken.
  • Following a struggle, the portal is partially closed. Alex explains that either Riley, Jacob, or Olivia must sacrifice themselves by properly closing the portal from the inside.
  • No matter which decision is chosen, this breaks the loop from the first game forever, with Alex and her friends being freed and brought back to reality. Whoever chooses to close the portal remains in an idyllic world based on happy memories, while the others are free to return to the land of the living.

A Primer on Maggie Adler

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of the endings, it’s extremely important to understand the character of Maggie Adler, someone we never meet but who is the key instigator of all that happens in both games. If you haven’t bothered to collect all of her letters scattered throughout each game, it’s easy for a crucial aspect of understanding the story to pass you by.

Below is only a brief overview of the topic, so to learn more, I implore you to seek out the Adler Letters for yourself (check out our walkthrough on finding each of them in Oxenfree 2).

The Tragic History of Maggie Adler

Maggie’s influence over the plot dates back to the 1950s. Being exceptionally talented in math and engineering, she accepted an offer to work for the army when she was in college. During her work, she received a distress signal that she interpreted incorrectly, ultimately resulting in a friendly-fire bombing of the USS Kanaloa submarine. Maggie bore heavy guilt over the incident and was forced by the military to keep the truth a secret.

Not long after the accident, she learned of strange anomalies on the radio waves she was tasked with observing. She pieced together that one of the voices she was hearing on the radio was that of one of the known personnel on the sunken submarine, alerting her to a supernatural origin.

Keen to investigate the phenomenon further, she enlisted her friend, Anna Shea, to come and work with her. The pair came to hypothesize that the submarine crew may not be dead but trapped in another dimension due to a cataclysmic event caused when the onboard nuclear reactor imploded.

maggie and anna Oxenfree endings
Maggie and Anna researched the phenomenon. | Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

The two young women continue to get closer to the truth by managing to communicate with the ghosts, and on April 4th, 1952, they attempt to bring them back. Though they successfully managed to open a Temporal Tear (or Portal) into the ghost’s realm, it goes horribly wrong. Anna is taken through the portal when she gets processed by the ghosts, with Maggie barely escaping herself. This was the first instance of the lost crew’s malevolent behavior. They would come to be known as The Sunken.

In her older years, Maggie buys most of Edwards Island, attempting to block off much of it with gates and fences to keep people from wandering into areas where the spirits may find them. At the time the first game takes place, Maggie has only died a few days ago, then as an old lady in her 70s.

Maggie’s story represents the origin of the events that take place in both games and is, in many ways, analogous to Alex’s own misfortunes. It was Maggie’s mistakes that led to the ghosts having any power in the real world, similar to how it was Alex’s radio tampering that gave the ghosts power once again.

Oxenfree 1: Endings Explained

Oxenfree Endings wallpaper
Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture


Alex travels to Edwards Island with Ren and Jonus, shortly meeting up with Clarissa and Nona on the beach; Ren is Alex’s best friend, Jonus is her stepbrother, Clarissa is Alex’s dead brother’s girlfriend (the two do not get along), and Nona is Clarissa’s best friend (and Ren’s crush).

When exploring some nearby caves, Alex mistakenly opens some sort of portal within time and space by using frequencies from a radio she brought along, and she and Jonus teleport elsewhere on the island. It turns out that the rest of the party has similarly teleported, and amidst a series of mind-bending time loops and hallucinations, the group comes to learn that they have awoken malevolent spirits.

They find out that the spirits are those of the ninety-seven people killed on a U.S. submarine during World War Two when the vessel exploded following a mistaken friendly fire. When the nuclear reactor powering the ship imploded, the crew didn’t completely die but were trapped in an ethereal void forever. The ghosts—who call themselves The Sunken—are now attempting to possess the entire party with the hopes of exchanging their souls so that they can escape and leave the island.

Oxenfree Endings the sunken
The Sunken’s immaterial appearance. | Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

Following a failed attempt at escaping the island on a boat located on Maggie Adler’s estate, the group learns the full scope of the events that concealed the horrors of Edwards Island (those pertaining to Maggie Adler’s story).

Maggie did her best to keep people away from the island until finally succumbing to old age, and on learning her plans to close the portal using a radio, the group attempted to do the same. In trying to do so, Alex and Jonus travel to an underground bunker to try to close the Temporal Tear at its source. What follows is Alex’s final standoff with the ghosts and the foundational decisions dictating which ending you get.

The Endings

To understand each individual ending, it’s important to grasp that each possible outcome represents an event that happens simultaneously with all other endings. Each is part of a separate timeline, featuring different versions of our characters. All endings that could possibly have happened have happened within the canon of the game, with the player experiencing one slither of the multiverse during each playthrough based on the decisions they make.

This reality is most obviously seen in-game when Alex is oddly able to speak with her reflection—the reflected version being not merely a hallucination but a different version of herself entirely in an alternate universe.

Depending on which of the three speech bubbles you select when talking to characters, you oscillate between these realities, which culminates in you receiving a different ending.

speech changing ending Oxenfree
Each choice brings you closer to a specific ending. | Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

When Alex confronts the ghosts at the end of the game, they explain to her the futility of her decision—that no matter what she decides to do, she will remain stuck there forever with them because her decision can only affect a different version of herself and her friends.

Regardless, Alex is given two choices: she can sacrifice herself or sacrifice Clarissa to the ghosts in exchange for her own life. One soul must be exchanged (During this sequence, we also travel back in time to Alex’s childhood home, where she converses with her brother, Michael, and either convinces him to stay with Clarissa or leave. This is why, depending on your decision, he can appear in the final picture at the end of the game—in this new timeline that’s been created, he didn’t die).

No matter what you decide, though, the same scene plays out afterward. The group wakes up in a boat on their way back from the island, and a photo is taken to commemorate the trip. Everyone seemingly remembers the events of the previous evening, but they’ve been ‘amended’ due to any timeline alterations.

This photo and its subtle changes represent the alterations possible to the main ending, and depending on your decisions throughout the game, there are eight ways you can change the story with a whopping one hundred and forty-six possible configurations. Nevertheless, the past cannot be undone as such.

While alternate versions of Alex and her friends exist, each iteration is still ultimately going to travel to Edward Island and face the ghosts. This is why, during the final cutscene, everything is seen to loop over; Alex will always go to Edwards Island no matter what decisions she makes when finally facing off against the ghosts at the end of the game. Except in one scenario…

Oxenfree Endings flowchart doove
A flowchart depicting possible ending combinations. | Credit to Doove on YouTube.

The Secret Ending

There’s also a secret ending players can experience—the 100% ending. This requires the player to play the game twice and collect all of Maggie Adler’s secret notes that are scattered about Edwards Island.

In this ending, we see Alex, Ren, and Jonus in a parking lot preparing to make their way to the island for the reunion (the events preceding the start of the game), but Alex gets an eerie message on her radio from herself warning her not to go.

This is from one of the many versions of Alex who has already been to Edwards Island and experienced the events of the game. In a desperate attempt to save the lives of at least one version of her friends and other self, she has the initiative to make contact via radio. Luckily, the receiver version of Alex is creeped out and ultimately dissuaded from ever visiting the island. I guess you could consider this ending the ‘good’ ending, as it’s the only one where a version of Alex has prevented the time loop completely.

parking lot Oxenfree Endings
We can also visit this parking lot in Oxenfree 2. | Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

Oxenfree 2: Endings Explained

oxenfree mines
Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture


Oxenfree 2 takes place five years after the events of the first game, and this time, players take charge of Riley, a young woman who’s taken a job to investigate a series of radio anomalies by setting up radio transmitters around Camina (Edwards Island lies off the coast of this town).

We’re shortly introduced to the other central character, Jacob, Riley’s co-worker whom she meets here for the first time, and the two embark on their mission. After the first radio transmitter is placed, a huge triangular portal opens above Edwards Island in the distance, and just like in the first game, the pair are engulfed by time loops and hallucinations.

Jacob reveals that he knew Maggie Adler, disclosing her research to Riley as an explanation for what is happening, and the pair then plan to set up three other transmitters to make a relay and try and close the portal.

It’s not long before they encounter a secondary group led by a teenager called Olivia, whose dead parents were part of a cult called Parentage. Her plan is the opposite: to fully exploit the opening of the portal in a bid to reunite with her parents. Naturally, the two parties clash.

Oxenfree Endings time tunnel
Tear in the mines. | Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

Amidst the ensuing troubles, we find out that Riley is pregnant, and it is soon also revealed that the ghosts Olivia is communicating with are Alex and her friends from the first game, trapped in the time loop just like The Sunken. Alex and her friends plan to escape by preying on Olivia’s fantasy to open the portal for them.

Riley and Jacob refuse to let Alex do so and eventually succeed in closing the portal, but that doesn’t stop things. The Sunken have also been communicating with Olivia, and she now plans to travel to Edwards Island to open the original portal.

Riley and Jacob travel to Edwards Island to stop her, encountering the ghosts of Alex and her friends on the beach from the first game. Alex repents her plans to use Olivia, and she, Riley, and Jacob head to Hardnen Tower to confront her and stop her from using the portal.

The Endings

During the final stand-off, Riley is possessed and goes through a similar sequence of events as Alex did in the first game, reliving her past in an alternate dimension and interacting with her father and would-be son.

Once she comes back, she tunes the radio to close the portal and stop the sunken, but it doesn’t close it completely. Everyone (Alex, Riley, Jacob, and Olivia) appears together within a realm between time and space, where Riley must make a hard decision to close the portal once and for all.

Alex explains that one of them needs to go inside the portal to properly close it from within, which would trap that person inside forever while everybody else goes free.

The person who goes inside the portal will exist forever in a perfect memory of their choosing. Crucially, because Alex can see into the future given her new ghostly powers, she explains to Riley that it never ultimately ends well with her would-be son, Rex; Riley and Rex would repeat the relationship Riley had with her father, experiencing good memories but eventually drifting apart.

Regarding Olivia’s future, Alex has a more ambiguous answer, not fully being able to see the outcome, and determines that it could be either positive or negative. Olivia is adamant about being the one to go through it, seeing it as her destiny, while Jacob’s reaction differs depending on your decisions in the game (as we’ll see below).

ending oxenfree portals
Each character faces the last portal. | Night School Studios via Indie Game Culture

Choice 1: Riley’s Sacrifice

Riley laments that she doesn’t have a future and barely has a past, and given her self-assessment that she ultimately has the least to lose, she decides she should be the one to enter the portal. While nowhere near as self-deprecating as Jacob, Riley is very much a lost soul; for her, entering the portal is her opportunity to do something meaningful. Knowing the reality of her relationship with her future son also majorly influences her decision.

With Riley’s sacrifice complete, she awakens at the bus stop on the island, this time greeted by her son Rex. The two are planning a hike to the summit. This is Riley’s personal heaven that she’s entered. She’ll live an apparently happy life with Rex, and given the properties of the portal, their relationship will presumably not deteriorate as it was prophesied by Alex.

riley Oxenfree Endings
Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

Choice 2: Olivia’s Sacrifice

Olivia wants more than anything to reunite with her parents, and now presented with the opportunity to do so by sacrificing herself to the void, she pleads with the group that she should be the one to go inside.

The rest are notably reluctant at first to let this happen, unsure of Olivia’s ability to make such a big decision at this young age, but in this scenario, they ultimately agree to let her go.

Olivia heads inside and closes the portal, and Riley wakes up to a call from Evelyn telling her she’s succeeded in her job of setting up the transmitters. Evelyn has no recollection of what happened during the previous night, and shortly after this conversation, Riley meets Alex.

Alex expresses her thanks to Riley for saving them, and the pair briefly discuss how they hope Olivia is happy with her decision. Jacob is found to also be alive and well, and he also remembers what happened the night before and thanks Riley for not letting him go through the portal.

During the epilogue, we can hear an audio recording of Oliva, elated at reuniting with her parents.

olivia Oxenfree Endings
Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

Choice 3: Jacob’s Sacrifice

Jacob either decides he wants to be the one to go in, or Riley asks him to. Similarly to Olivia’s ending, Riley wakes up at the bus stop to a phone call from Evelyn, who thanks her for a job well done, and once again meets Alex as above.

Riley then finds Athena, Jacob’s dog, who leads her to the docs. She ‘explains’ to the dog what happened to Jacob and how, thanks to him, she gets to meet her son.

Interestingly, Jacob’s impetus to enter the portal will change significantly depending on Riley’s attitude toward him. If she’s reacted to his multiple attempts to reach out to her with scornful disregard, this manifests itself within Jacob as a strong conviction to go through the portal—to bookend the only meaningful aspect of his life: his relationship with Maggie Adler and the phenomenon.

If Riley forms a strong bond and friendship with Jacob, thus instilling a much higher sense of self-worth within him, he remains notably silent as Riley ponders her decision of who to send in. He’s found a reason to live that he didn’t have until he discussed his life with Riley, making this the most morally objectionable choice for most people.

jacob Oxenfree Endings
Each character faces the last portal. | Night School Studios via Indie Game Culture

The Trinket Box

Many people are confused by the trinket box presented at the end of the game after the final scene ends.

As well as a tally for your decisions, the audio recordings that play provide insight into the character’s fates: we see what happened to Olivia’s friends (Charlie and Violet) by interacting with the cell phone, sailor Nick’s fate (whether or not you convinced him to enter the portal) by interacting with the badge, whether you alienated Olivia by picking up the tape player, and Jacob’s future by interacting with the tape.

Most importantly, you’ll read a letter from Alex. If you chose the Riley sacrifice, the letter will be written to Riley’s father and to Rex in both the Jacob and Olivia sacrifice endings. The letter reflects on the supposed future (and the people involved in it) that comes from deciding who will go into the portal and be absent from the real world.

Despite seeing that Riley’s future with Rex is not a happy one, she does her best to reiterate the sacrifices Riley made to be with him. Although this breakdown of the relationship was deemed inevitable, Alex still tries her best to strengthen it.

box Oxenfree Endings
Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

Summing Up Both Narratives

I imagine that was a lot to take in despite my attempts to simplify things, so let’s look at the big picture encompassing both games.

There are many different interpretations as to the true meaning of the stories told here, so I think it’s best to focus on concrete themes so you can make up your own mind.

One clear motif is that between Maggie and Alex: both characters suffer an immense amount of guilt over what were ultimately tragic mistakes, and there’s a sense that history is repeating itself when viewing both character arcs as a whole. As we’ve discussed with the original Oxenfree, there is no real ending, nor is there one expressing a distinctly good or bad outcome (with the exception of the secret ending); whatever scenario is displayed at the end of the game, we’re given the option to continue the timeline that goes on forever until the climax of Oxenfree 2.

We can keep playing over and over to perfect the ending to end up with everyone—even Alex’s dead brother—living to tell the tale, but there’s futility in the fact that the version of Alex we play as is still seemingly trapped forever. Despite the apparent complexities of the game, I still think it has a relatively simple theme: the consequences of choice.

It echos the so-called Butterfly Effect, whereby one small decision has a ripple effect, thereby altering major aspects of the world. The developer intended to subvert the more binary systems of most choice-driven games to express the sentiment that things are never black and white — that there can’t be darkness without light. (see this GDC interview with the developers for more insight).

portal Oxenfree Endings
Night School Studio via Indie Game Culture

It’s this idea that makes the Oxenfree series so unique. Whatever choices we make to rectify the mistakes of a previous run, we, like the characters, have to accept unforeseen consequences in other areas. It’s a bitter truth, and an incontrovertible fact of life we all must deal with.

Wrapping Up

I hope I was successful in explaining Oxenfree’s thrilling but at times perplexing narrative. If you’re here only to check out the Oxenfree 1 parts before you play the second game, be sure to check out our Oxenfree 2 Lost Signals Review here on the site. Also, don’t forget to stop by the News section for updates on the latest indie game news (hopefully we’ll be reporting on Oxenfree 3 soon!).

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is there likely to be an Oxenfree 3?

Answer: Given the popularity of the world Night School Studio has created, as well as the fact that many mysteries remain unsolved, I think it’s highly likely we’ll get an Oxenfree 3 at some point. When we’ll get it is anyone’s guess, but so far as the content, I like the popular theory that it’ll revolve around Maggie Adler.

Question: Are the ghosts evil?

Answer: From Maggie Adler’s research, we learn that the ghosts’ actions and motivations are due to the degradation of their minds by what had happened to them. They are not the same crew anymore and don’t even have a true understanding of what happened, reverting to an oddly childlike state. They are shadows of their former selves who are unaware of their original humanity, so I don’t think you could classify them as evil.

Question: What happened to The Sunken after Oxenfree 2?

Answer: This has been purposefully left ambiguous, but with the portal closed, I think we can assume that The Sunken was sealed away with it and didn’t escape into the real world. I don’t think they could ever be freed: their minds were too far gone and had become so twisted and warped from years of being in the void that they’d lost all semblance of their reality.

Continue reading

Oxenfree 2 Adler Letter Locations

Oxenfree 2:Lost Signals Review -Coming In Loud And Clear

IGC’s Best Indie Games of 2023 – As Voted By You

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top