GTFO is a four-player co-op horror FPS based in an abandoned underground facility, where you and your friends are pitted against the mutated horrors left behind in the abyss. Each level of GTFO is marked alphabetically and increases in difficulty the further you descend. With each level, you will encounter more horrors and begin to unravel fragments of the story and lore behind GTFO.
The events of GTFO’s lore are viewed through the players, otherwise known as Prisoners. The group of Prisoners are awoken from Stasis Units between missions and are deployed into an underground corporate facility otherwise known as the Complex. From there, the Rundown begins, and the lore fragments become challenging to find.
Rundown Explanation for GTFO
The Rundown is a series of levels that the Warden designates and sends the Prisoners down into the contaminated Complex. Regarding gameplay, the Rundown levels change after a set period. During this time slot, players can explore and clear out levels, obtain cosmetics, and uncover fragments of lore through story beats or terminal logs.
When the allotted time is up, the Warden sends the Prisoners to a new section of the Complex. When this happens, levels are cycled out, and weapons come and go with each Rundown. Few tools and weapons in GTFO will remain permanent options, while the majority of the Prisoners’ arsenal can also rotate out at the start of a new Rundown.
Prisoners in GTFO
Other note-worthy Prisoners aren’t included in the four-player squad. If you are new to GTFO or have missed log entries from past Rundowns, you will need to find their log entries online since there is currently no way to read any past GTFO lore.
For the four Prisoners, players play as their names are Woods, Dauda, Hackett, and Bishop. The lobby’s join order chooses the Prisoner. The host will always be Woods, the second will be Dauda, the third Hackett, and the fourth will be Bishop. Each Prisoner doesn’t have significant dialogue, but their voice lines set them apart and add small amounts of character to their otherwise quiet personalities.
Aside from the Warden, one major side character is Schaeffer. Jon Schaeffer is one of the few characters interacting with the players when diving into the Complex. Schaeffer was hired in 2050 as a Pit Boss during the construction of the Complex and has left a large number of audio messages that mention the terrible past of several people that players have likely read about. During Rundown 6.0, Schaeffer reported that he had found another creature that isn’t a Sleeper and continues to voice his concerns about the identity or motives of the Warden.
The Warden’s GTFO Lore
The Warden is a mystery, an entity that forces the Prisoners to go down on expeditions in the Complex. While the Prisoners are given no other motive or hint of the Warden’s motives, players learn pieces of the overarching story. The Warden controls the HUD and interface of the Prisoners, issuing them commands and updating their objectives in the upper left of their screen. While the HUD the Warden controls is helpful to the Prisoners, they see every person as expendable, often shown in some level descriptions.
The Warden’s purpose, drive, and motive are unknown parts of the lore in GTFO. Some speculate they want to cleanse the Complex by any means necessary, and others believe there is something buried the Warden wants to recover or destroy. However, everything we know about the Warden comes from log entries, Schaeffer, or from the brief messages we receive from the Warden themself.
This end goal is clouded further by the actions they have personally orchestrated. In Rundowns three and four, it tried to kill Schaeffer. Rundown five, the Warden released Kovac Security Operatives from the Kovac Defense Services through the Influx Protocol.
The Complex’s Lore in GTFO
The Complex is owned by Santonian Industries, otherwise known as the Santonian Strategic Investments Company, which has a strong presence in the Complex through multiple signs and logos around several missions. The company owns several subsidiary organizations, including the Santonian Mining Company and Project Insight. Santonian Industries also highers KovacDefense Services for protection, shown from the Warden in Rundown 5.
The Santonian Mining Company dug into the Complex to unearth an asteroid “Chicxulub,” which hit the earth 66 million years ago, causing an extinction-level event that wiped out the dinosaurs. The Complex is a multi-leveled mining and research facility that extends far below the earth’s surface.
At some point, the Complex was abandoned, with a large portion of the property left severely damaged. The damage leads from the facility’s lower levels to the surface where every Rundown begins. The damage scattered through the levels indicates that an explosion or a fire broke out from the large metal plates ripped apart from the first level onwards.
Not much else is known about the Complex in the lore of GTFO. Perhaps the game’s devs will uncover more mysteries in a future update.
The Contamination & The Sleepers
The origins of the Contaminations are unclear and thus far unexplained. It isn’t clear if the spread of the virus is sentient or if its chemical makeup is even biological, to begin with. Levels such as “Don’t Look Up” from Rundown one have infested parts of the environment like the ceiling panels.
The Sleepers are the results of this Contamination outbreak and are scattered across every level of GTFO with slight differences in abilities and appearance. The Sleepers appear to be mutated employees who didn’t escape when the Complex was initially abandoned. Each Sleeper’s flesh has been twisted to grow hundreds of teeth, tendrils, and pasty white skin.
Sleepers are sensitive to light and sound, lying dormant in the Complex. Sleepers periodically glow from their chest or have spasms in their slumber when provoked or disturbed. During this short thrashing, their senses are temporarily heightened, and if a light is shined upon them or too much noise is made during their brief thrashing window, they will awaken.
There are several different types of Sleepers, all featuring different genetic mutations. While all variations of Sleepers haven’t been adequately documented, we are confident that more reside deep in the Complex.
The Lore Behind Some Common Enemies in GTFO
The Striker is among the most common enemies in GTFO lore. They have low health and deal marginally low damage, but make up the bulk of swarms. Strikers will charge the Prisoners in swarms, overwhelming players with their numbers to sink hundreds of teeth from the bulk in their heads. These enemies also have a tongue attack that requires them to be in melee range but allows them to maneuver around the Prisoners.
Strikers also crawl below the player’s line of sight, skittering across the ground as if they were possessed. They are easy to kill, but their lower stature makes them a bit harder to hit, and they can avoid trip mines entirely if they aren’t planted low enough.
The Shooter is the second most common monster in GTFO. Shooters serve as the ranged version of strikers. They have less health than Strikers but fire a bright projectile with traces that lightly track the player. The Shooters projectiles deal more damage than a Strikers bite, making them more significant threats among a group of Strikers.
Shooters won’t engage in melee with Prisoners, often trying to maintain a reasonable distance to use their ranged attack repeatedly. Their appearance differs from Strikers; their heads are covered in small black warts on their upper body, while Strikers have an open maw of teeth for a head.
Giants, also known as Titans, are towering monstrosities that are more durable and slower counterparts to the Striker and Shooter. They serve as tanks and can drain the player’s recourses unless they have a Special Weapon capable of taking them out quickly, like the Sniper Rifle.
Giants come in both the Striker and the Shooter variety, but the Striker variant is far more deadly. If the slow Giant Sticker makes its way into melee, its punch attack can deal half a player’s HP, or its tongue attack takes out a quarter of your health. The Giant Shooter variant is less deadly than the Striker variant. The Giant Shooter’s projectile is slower but fires in three bursts, still making them a significant threat, but not nearly as much as Giant Strikers.
Both Giant versions should be dealt with as soon as possible. Headshots against Giants might not kill them. Their bodies can still function without a head and will continue their onslaught toward the players. Along with their bodies big gigantic, their genetic mutations have also increased, having more teeth or wards on their heads from the increased infection. It’s unclear from GTFO lore whether prolonged exposure to the virus has increased their size or if their bodies are a twisted fusion of past employees.
Scouts are one of the special enemies Prisoners have encountered in the Complex. They are the only monster that skulks around the halls while others remain still, but they are mostly unconscious. Scouts resemble a slightly taller Shooter, with sacs that protrude tons of tendrils from their skull.
The Prisoners nickname these tendrils “feelers,” which allow Scouts to sense nearby players if someone touches a tendril. Altering a Scout with light, noise, or brushing their tendrils will cause the Scout to emit a loud screech that instantly wakes up other Sleepers in the room. In addition to the Sleepers the Scout wakes up, it will spawn an extra wave of 12 enemies, which can induce Giants, Strikers, Shooters, or Hybrids.
Avoid Scouts whenever possible, or deal with them immediately. Since they are always on the move, the Bio Scanner can mark their position to keep players updated on their current pathing.
Hybrids are the last somewhat common enemy in GTFO lore. Their appearance is a more deadly variant of a Striker and Shooter. They shoot piked projectiles from their head while running into melee and punch players while they are close. Their size is similar to a Giant, but a Scout’s health is higher, making them the fourth tankiest enemy in the game.
You don’t have to worry about Hybrids too often, as they only spawn within certain zones on specific expeditions. However, be warned, like other Giant enemies, they usually spawn in pairs of two or more. One tip for dealing with Hybrids is to shoot their head while it glows; if done correctly, this will cancel their ranged attack. The Hybrid’s head will only break upon death, and you can’t blow holes through their body, making them a horrific threat and dire result of what the virus can do if left unattended.
Wrap Up of Our Introduction to the Lore of GTFO
There are far more enemies in the Complex than what we mentioned here. We wanted to keep the mystery and fear of discovering these monsters for you to experience. A part of GTFO is through finding the threats and the lore firsthand. While it can be challenging to follow if you don’t read every terminal, fully complete every Rundown, or have decided to pick up GTFO recently.
The levels, the weapons, and the lore are constantly progressing, and while it can be annoying to some, it’s enriching to others. The game doesn’t hold your hand with tutorials, how enemies work, or even the slightest tip on how to conquer the levels in GTFO; we admire it. We appreciate GTFO’s style because it’s a far more immersive simulation of being thrown into a horrific Underdark with no sense of reason or knowledge of why you are down there.
We highly recommend grabbing a group of friends and exploring the depths of the Complex to uncover the secrets behind the infection, the meteor, and what the Warden has planned. If you enjoyed our look into the lore of GTFO, check out our five best GTFO loadouts for multiplayer to ensure your survival in the abyss.