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Karl
Screenshot 2024-07-04 at 22.30.23
Details
Name Karl
Location(s) Greggs, Salford Shopping Centre
Race Dwarf (Speculation)
     It's a bit weird innit?
— Karl


Karl is an unseen character and a former employee or associate of Deep Rock Galactic. He was presumably a dwarf and a co-worker of the four playable dwarves, but as of yet has no supporting lore or appearance in game outside of references in voicelines and flavor text. He is commonly referenced by the other dwarves when using the Salute command or killing enemies.

Information about Karl is vague, but most available information suggests Karl went missing and/or has died on Hoxxes IV.


Popular Theories[]

Among the players and fan base, there are a number of popular theories on who "Karl" really is. The most common theories are listed below in no particular order, divided into theories that can still prove valid and theories that have been debunked.

  • Valid theories:
    • Karl was a former teammate of the playable dwarves. The dwarves often reference Karl as if he was a previously close friend and talk about his disappearance as if they were there themselves. This would suggest that Karl used to be one of the team before he was one day left behind, giving birth to the phrase "Leave no dwarf behind". This theory is given additional credibility in unused voicelines. However, the actual evidence that Karl was their teammate is not entirely clear. The dwarves could also be exaggerating their perceived relationship with Karl. In a voiceline in response to a Cave Leech a dwarf may say "Ten credits say it was one of them tentacly things that got Karl...", suggesting both that they weren't there and that Karl is dead/missing. When pinging Ligmite, a dwarf may also say "I can't believe Karl died of Ligmite...", suggesting Karl may have succumbed to the toxic materials found on Hoxxes.
    • Karl was one of the initial dwarves to descend onto Hoxxes IV. Hoxxes is known for its dangerous working environment, but someone had to go in first to prove that it could be tamed. It is possible Karl was one of the first, if not the first dwarf to set foot on Hoxxes IV and fend off all the horrors it had to offer, proving that Deep Rock Galactic could harvest the planet while exploring its unknown dangers. Going in blind is a good way to misjudge the dangers and end up a martyr, giving credibility to the theory. Another detail is that Karl is commonly referenced in conjunction with Hoxxes' monsters, such as the Glyphid Dreadnought, or the activities of the dwarves, such as drinking and mining, which suggests Karl was a part of the same mining operation the playable dwarves currently are but isn't around anymore.
    • Karl is the dwarf all the playable dwarves descend from. This theory is an expansion of a general cloning theory: Since all playable dwarves are identical in physical appearance and ability aside from their gear, it is possible they are all descendants or clones of the same dwarf. This dwarf could be Karl, and the reason he got cloned is because he was as powerful as the other dwarves claim. There is not much information to either support or refute this theory, rather it is based on the game mechanics themselves. Other than their identical appearance, the suspiciously vague way that miners are returned to the Medbay after a failed mission, upon which they theoretically should be dead/unconscious and left behind, also lend credibility to a cloning process having taken place.
    • Karl is on the Space Rig, trapped in the Canteen. This popular theory arose as a result of the Error Cubes, and the secret door you can unlock with them, which is believed by many to be the door to the space rig canteen, where Karl can be found. This is evidenced by the fact the Dwarves will mention finding Karl upon inputting the Error Cube Code correctly for the first time.
    • "Karl" is a clever homage to the late Carl Sagan,[1] a real-life astrophysicist and one of the most well-known science popularizers of all time. Sagan was an avowed advocate for the exploration of the cosmos. Sagan helped lay the groundwork for two new scientific disciplines: planetary science and exobiology. Disciplines which may one day lead us to the discovery of places like Hoxxes. "The only planet we are sure is inhabited is a tiny speck of rock and metal, shining feebly by reflected sunlight[...] For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love." - Carl Sagan.
  • Lacking/Debunked theories:
    • Karl is Mission Control. Mission Control is clearly referenced in the game as not being Karl, most prominently through the voiceline "That guy at mission control, he really has a cozy job!". If "that guy" was Karl, the dwarves would surely be more enthusiastic and not speak about him as if he is no longer around. To top it off, Mission Control is generally looked down upon by the dwarves. Surely if he was Karl, he would be talked about in a higher regard.
    • Karl is an important figure, such as a leader or DRG's CEO. This theory thus suggests Karl is a prominent figure of some other sort, such as a leader, hero, mythological figure or perhaps the CEO of Deep Rock Galactic himself, and not actually a miner like the dwarves. If the dwarves' words are interpreted literally, one can argue that them shouting "For Karl!" means they are doing all this work for Karl, but for reasons other than revenge such as payment or loyalty. This theory is refuted by a lot of information suggesting Karl was a worker like the other dwarves and that "For Karl!" indeed refers to them taking revenge.
    • Karl never existed, but is a propaganda figure. This theory is based on a real-world propaganda campaign where the Soviet Union claimed a worker once delivered 14 times his daily quota in a coal mine.[2] Karl could similarly just be a ruse by DRG to make the dwarves believe they can be as great as him in order to boost their mission efficiency. This theory is refuted by an overwhelming amount of information suggesting Karl indeed existed[Citation Needed].

References to Karl[]

There are many bits of information spread throughout the game that hint towards who Karl was or his role in Deep Rock Galactic. A majority of the information about Karl comes from voicelines of the playable dwarves themselves. However, this information should be taken with a grain of salt, as it is highly subjective and can be exaggerated. The remaining information mostly comes from written lines of text found in various menus of the game, which is considered official as it comes from Deep Rock Galactic or the developers themselves. But even then, the information is vague.

Voicelines[]
  • During Missions
    • "This one's for Karl!" (Killing an enemy)
    • "FOR KARL!" (Killing an enemy)
    • "For Karl!" (Using Power Attack)
    • "That thing ate bullets, like Karl drank beers!" (Killing a Glyphid Dreadnought)
    • "We got it! Karl would be proud!" (Killing a Glyphid Dreadnought)
    • "By Karl! Look at all that pretty sparkly...!" (Killing a Glyphid Crassus Detonator)
    • "WAIT! Guys, do you think this will tell us where Karl is?" (Correctly inputting the Error Cube Code and unlocking the secret door)
    • "I'll beat your record this time, just watch me!" (Mining minerals) Note: Karl is not directly mentioned, but might be the record-holder "watching from above".
    • "Ten credits say it was one of them tentacly things that got Karl..." (Lasermarking a Cave Leech)
    • "By Karl! That is a lot of Shredders coming out of the Caretaker!" (Caretaker releasing Shredders)
    • "Karl's good fortune! Jet Boots!" (Lasermarking a Jet Module Crate)
  • Outside of Missions
    • "This one's for you, Karl!" (Starting the game)
    • "Karl!" (Starting the game)
    • "For Karl!" (Saluting, cheering, slapping fuzzy dice)
    • "To Karl!" (Cheering)
    • "Karl would approve of this." (Cheering)
    • "...K...Karl? Is...is that you?" (Drinking Blacklock Lager)
    • "Wait a minute...if all truths are knowable, then all truths must in fact be known.....but by whom? ...Karl would know!" (Drinking Smart Stout)
    • "I......I.......I know where Karl is! It's so bloody obvious! What...uhhh....hmmm....anyone up for playing the hoop game?" (Drinking Smart Stout)
    • "Hmm...what Karl would choose?" (Selecting cosmetic)
    • "I'm gonna wear this in honor of Karl!" (Forging cosmetic)
    • "Watch my back, Karl!" (Starting Jetty Boot game)
  • Unused Voicelines[3]
    • "Don't leave me, like you left Karl!" (Drop Pod leaving without the player)
    • "Karl, if you're down here, now's the time to come out and say goodbye!" (During the final retirement mission)
Written Information[]
  • Biome descriptions that can appear on the Deep Dive terminal screen:
    • "I heard this was Karl's favourite biome. He was such a fun guy. Get it?" (Fungus Bogs)
    • "This is the kind of place they say we lost Karl." (Hollow Bough)
  • From the Skull Crusher Ale's description: "People ask why we remember Karl. People ask what made him a legend. Rumor has it Skull Crusher Ale is at least partly to blame. Make of that what you will. Beware."[4]
Other Information[]
  • Mission names might start with "Karl's", among many other words.
  • In a Ghost Ship Games development vlog[5] put out shortly after Karl was first mentioned in the game, Mikkel and Robert, responsible for writing voicelines, stated that they decided to put the voiceline about Karl in the game to add some more depth to the dwarves' world (and more generally, just for fun[6]). They wanted it to feel like every enemy death was a bit of revenge for "Karl", who is purposely left faceless and with an unknown fate, but is hinted at as both a former colleague and a good friend.
  • One song of the official soundtrack that plays during missions is titled "Karl's End",[7] suggesting Karl might have met his end on the planet.
  • There is an achievement named "Karl Would Be Proud".
Unconfirmed Information[]
  • It is possible the large central statue in the Memorial Hall is an effigy of Karl, in which he worked for Deep Rock Galactic as a Scout. This could make sense as the other four dwarves around the central statue are the four playable characters. The fifth and the central could therefore depict Karl, as it would be weird to have two random Scouts and just one of the others.
  • Skull Crusher Ale, which Karl was very involved with in some way, gives an increased melee damage buff. This might imply Karl was able to brawl with the dangers of Hoxxes with only a pickaxe, and the dwarves salute him in honor of his skill. The achievement "Karl Would Be Proud", where one must complete a Hazard 5 mission without a dwarf dying or ordering a Resupply Pod, also supports this theory.
  • The Smart Stout quote that mentions "knowing where Karl is" is ambiguous about what the dwarf has figured out while under the influence of the Stout. Given the other implications and things to infer, it's likely referring to where Karl's body and/or gear is located after he passed on Hoxxes. Another interpretation of this quote could be that Karl is alive and the dwarf has figured out where he's been surviving after being stranded/left behind. This possibility is supported by the unconfirmed information that suggests Karl was a hearty and strong dwarf, and therefore could have survived Hoxxes' ruthless environment.

Trivia[]

  • Karl bears some resemblance to Cousin Okri from the Vermintide games; a legendary, possibly fictitious dwarf that is viewed as a hero by the playable character(s).
  • According to an unnamed Dev, the name Karl is an homage to English presenter and Voice Actor Karl Pilkington, most know for their antics on TV series An Idiot Abroad and his discussions on the Ricky Gervais Show.

Video[]

There is a video on youtube talking about the history of Karl.(the guy spent months reasearching things on karl and many other things)

References[]

  1. Carl Edward Sagan (/ˈseɪɡən/; SAY-gən; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) - Wikipedia
  2. Wikipedia - Stakhanovite movement, accessed April 16th 2021
  3. Deep Rock Galactic translation service, accessed April 16th 2021, requires account
  4. Tim And Eric's Mind Blown Gif Explained - Published Nov 04, 2020
  5. Ghost Ship Games - Deep Rock Galactic Vlog #1 - Published Sep 29, 2017
  6. Rock and Stone: Digging into ‘Deep Rock Galactic’ with studio head Søren Lundgaard, published on February 7th, 2022
  7. Deep Rock Galactic - Original Soundtrack Volume I + II on Steam, published on February 28th, 2018
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