James & Lily Burns
James or Lily is the main playable character in Layers of Fear 2. James and Lily were siblings, and some of their history can be learned through dialogue throughout the game. Their father was very abusive, and their mother died while giving birth to James.
They are a very popular method actor/actress. They were then contacted by their Agent, telling them they were chosen by the Director to play the lead role in his new movie. The Agent says this deal is "too good to pass up", even though the Actor has stated in the past that they hate the sea, due to their childhood trauma.
- The Actor's last name is Burns, as seen on a hospital check-in card.
- The Actor's father has some similarities to the protagonist from the first game: alcoholics, lost their wives, served in war, and lost a body part. The Painter is missing his right leg from the knee down; the Actor's father is missing his right eye.
- Their childhood home has a similar layout to the first game's house.
- Various symbolism throughout Layers of Fear 2 reveals that it was Lily who perished on the ship all those years ago, and James was the survivor. A quote heard from picking up an item in Act 5 has Lily saying that James called out into the void for her, but "something else answered." This likely means that James got in contact with something supernatural like the Rat Queen, and he ventured into the void to recover his sister's soul - and took it into himself. This is what resulted in a distorted development as he grew up, and what gave birth to the Formless Man. This is why the Director refers to a stolen fire, and one can 'carry the flame of another.' The body the two share (being James' body) can physically change and become Lily. She even says in her ending: "A mother long gone, a sister's last breath. A life for a life. A death for a death." This confirms that no matter what ending you get, Lily died as a child. This is not just a personality disorder - the presence of the Rat Queen, the mysterious items, and the implication that the Actor is physically changing (many of the notes in Act 5 say they are shifting, shedding skin), suggests that the two siblings share the same body. This is why in either of the main endings, the siblings have the same hair/eye color and have a mole in the exact same spot, even though they are not twins.
- James and Lily share their names with Harry Potter's deceased parents from the Harry Potter franchise.
- The Burns siblings also shares the same name as real-life actress, Lily James. Their profession was also a nod to the actress’s career as well.