FAITH is a love letter to the Atari and Commodore 64 along with The Exorcist providing a game that is mostly authentically retro while giving a deep story, tons of different gameplay and lots of lore. We’re going to explain the story of what’s going on in FAITH through the three games along with our rather optimistically on-point description of what’s occurring.
The story is told through various notes found throughout the game along with the progression of the actual game and the cutscenes. We’ve compiled below the most canon storyline possible, but do encourage you to think of various other interpretations as well.
FAITH starts in a clinic in town where Amy Martin works alongside Gary in New Haven, CT where the game assumingly takes place. Here, Amy is converted by a cult worshipping the UNSPEAKABLE (an entity) and its leader Gary to be the vessel for the Profane Sabbath. In 1986, Amy’s parents grow concerned with the rather supernatural things occurring around their daughter and convinced she’s possessed, call Father Allred and John Ward for assistance.
Father Allred and John arrive at the Martin’s residence where they find the possessed Amy bound in the basement. They begin the rites together, but Amy’s parents concerned about the noises come downstairs. John is asked to take them upstairs. When John returns, he finds Father Allred dead with the cross left for him to finish the job. He fails and is the only survivor of the night.
Yale Psychiatric Clinic Visit
Something that a lot of players get confused about is that John actually went into the care of the Yale Psychiatric Clinic after Amy’s exorcism. He was released and then the events of FAITH begin. It’s naturally to conclude that after the failed exorcism and seeing everything that occurred, John was likely considered to be insane and went through a treatment process.
The various endings of FAITH allude that John could be someone else or imaging things, but further games give additional context as to why.
A year later, in 1987, John Ward returns to the Martin House. This is the first game in the trilogy and is rather loosely connected with the other three. The game was worked on heavily for many years and went through a lot of iterations. The canon story is that John Ward starts the game off saying what he’s doing is not approved by the Vatican. He then arrives at the Martin’s house, which is locked.
John Ward engages on a surreal horror adventure fighting off attacks from Michael Davies until he obtains the key to the house. There he returns to the attic and finishes the exorcism of Amy Martin who flees out the glass window at the end.
John returns to his car and leaves, returning home.
There are other endings, but they’re ultimately non-canonical. Given the discovery that Amy is locked in John Ward’s house in the bad ending of Faith III, it’s entirely possible that FAITH isn’t the entire story since he would need to collect Amy from beside the tree.
The second game transitioning to Snake Meadow Hill Church and the Candy Tunnel (sewers). Here John Ward goes on another surreal horror adventure through a church possessed with demons and a sewer system full of demonic possessed cultists. It culminates in Miriam Bell attacking John Ward and Father Garcia intervening and the two of them teaming up to take Miriam down. At this point John awakens, revealing the entire game to be a nightmare.
At various points in the game, backstory is dropped that’s revealed elsewhere here, such as Michael Davies’s being someone that Father Garcia was attempting to save. Outside of that, most of the story is just foreshadowing the coming events.
You could also see it as a flashback/nightmare as well, although the popular opinion is that it’s just a dream due to the overwhelming surreal nature of some segments.
Faith III represents the main game in the series. There are a total of three actual days or segments of gameplay and four technical days in the game with the fourth being The Profane Sabbath. John Ward is sent to investigate three sites where the cult could be summoning the demon MALPHAS.
John Ward is given each a letter from Father Garcia to visit three different locations. At each of these locations, John must face off against terrible demons and stop the Profane Sabbath from occurring.
Day 1: Clinic
Here John Ward visits the clinic that Amy and Gary worked at. The outside is guarded by a police officer, so John has to enter through a back window. Inside John investigates a bit, until a demon attacks and captures John. John is attached to a stretcher until he hides and then escapes, at which point he frees himself and joins the officer in fending off demon attacks.
The officer doesn’t make it at the end, but John gets away. John can return inside the clinic for one of three optional boss fights for the full ending.
Day 2: Apartments
John Ward visits an apartment building owned by Gary. Within the apartment building is various backstory about the cult, ramblings about Gary and other nonsensical and surreal things. Throughout the building, John makes his way to a resident named Lisa and a demon Anu who John must defeat. After rescuing Lisa, John can continue on his journey for the default ending.
For the secret ending, John returns to the elevator and inputs 1, 4, 2, 6, 2, 10, 5, 1 which concludes the elevator monster storyline. Timmy is on the 7th floor and is led away by the elevator monster, where John can discover the horrific result. There’s a boss fight here with Tiffany, a failed vessel who is one of the three mini bosses for the canon ending.
The apartment building was owned by Gary and used by the cult, hence the horrific things that occur within.
Day 3: Daycare
Police are outside of the daycare and John has to enter from the rear. Here John goes on an adventure through the daycare and into the cultist lair. Through various puzzles and demons, John arrives at the end where he finds Gary. Father Garcia joins John and they both exorcise Gary, which leads to one of the below endings.
In order to unlock the seal, John has to pass by the picture of Miriam multiple times in order to have a mini-boss fight with her, finishing off the last seal and enabling the canon / secret ending.
If John fought all of the secret mini-boss demons (three in total) then the path will be open and a boss fight with “Super Miriam” will occur. Miriam was supposed to be the true vessel, but her body was too weak. So MALPHAS the demon and Gary merge with Miriam for one last boss fight. Here, after defeating the boss, John will meet Amy one last time and be able to finally exorcise her completing what he started.
Upon leaving, John is giving a choice of joining Lisa and living a normal life or Father Garcia and continuing the fight against the Unspeakable. The game then concludes, with Gary, his cult and the Profane Sabbath being defeated.
If you didn’t finish all of the secret mini-bosses (you get a cutscene after each with the seal breaking), then you’ll join Father Garcia in the fight against the Unspeakable. If you refuse, Father Garcia will turn his gun against John and force him along.
The mini-bosses are:
Boss 1: Return to the clinic. The stretcher will trigger the boss fight.
Boss 2: Save Lisa and then input 1, 4, 2, 6, 2, 10, 5, 1 in the elevator.
Boss 3: Continue to pass all the Miriam paintings.
The Profane Sabbath
If John doesn’t complete his mission (i.e. returns to his car each day) then the Profane Sabbath will occur. You can see the results by visiting houses and notice that the cultist have made John’s car unusable. John returns inside into the basement where he gets a key to the locked room where Amy is. He then goes to the Martin House, where he observes the window isn’t broken and then is consumed along with Amy and Michael Davis.
Is John Delusional or Seeing Hallucinations?
This is a great question – is John Ward actually a priest and is what is going on in the game actually real?
The answer is rather simple: FAITH canon ending (When Faith Endures) and Faith III are in reality. All other endings of Faith I are non-canon and from the game’s original development. It’s pretty cut and dry when you look at the evidence.
In FAITH I & II you have some big issues with the multiple endings and different way the story can be told. The developers were clearly playing with the world and the story and the mechanics. It translates into a full fledge game in III where John goes through multiple areas interacting with real people who verify what he’s seeing.
The police officer in the clinic assists John. Lisa confirms everything actually happened to John. John meets Father Garcia, who drives the car (meaning that John is actually with them). All of this concludes third party verification of the events happening. John’s stay at Yale Psychiatric was only a result of the botched exorcism as of Amy. He was released and went on to continue to fight the UNSPEAKABLE.
Multiple endings in FAITH can make it hard to feel that’s 100% true. In one ending, John is said not to be an authentic priest but the game literally starts with John saying he’s gone rogue. So it’d make sense that the church would deny John as a priest.
So like a lot in this genre, it’s up to you to really think about what’s canon and what isn’t. We feel pretty good that everything fits together nicely.
What is the Profane Sabbath?
Some kind of eldritch horror event. There’s not much to really describe what bad thing happens, but you do find out that in the bad ending in Faith III that it’s not a good thing.
Who is Gary? Who is Miriam? What is the UNSPEAKABLE? Why is John doing any of this?
The answer to all of these questions is truly up to your interpretation. Gary gives some direct answers about what’s going on. They’re basically taking someone and doing some surreal things to them and voila, they then achieve some eldritch horror takeover of the world. There’s some Christian religious messaging mixed in, but it’s clearly an eldritch horror tale.
It’s almost like a priest found themselves with the power to fight back against madness, but was questioning that if the power to fight back was madness itself.
Who is MALPHAS?
A demon. A fictional one. Probably pulled from Owl House. You can read more on Wikipedia.
What’s the “TRUE” meaning?
The game is basically a love letter to a ton of horror tropes and authors. While the Exorcist plays a big role in the game, there’s clear direct connections to a ton of horror series. For instance, “Gary is a Friend” and the Gary cult are a great analogy to Army of One by Junji Ito. There’s many film, video game and other references and Easter Eggs.
So most of the story exists to carry along those tropes. That’s why it’s likely not that important to read too deeply into the meanings in certain areas.