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By Ishaan . June 4, 2013 . 5:20pm
Remember Me, the sci-fi action-adventure game from DontNod Entertainment and Capcom, is out this week in North America and Europe. Remember Me takes place in the city of Neo-Paris, in a future where technology has advanced to the stage of “Social Networks 3.0”.
In this future, a corporation called Memorize has managed to turn people’s memories into commodities, allowing people to swap, share, alter and delete their memories. You play as a “Memory Hunter” named Nilin, who has had her memories wiped clean, and is on the run, trying to figure out why she’s being chased.
Siliconera got to DontNod’s co-founder and creative director, Jean-Maxime Moris, a few quick questions about the story and setting of Remember Me, and you can read his replies below.
It sounds like Memorize and their memory-sharing technology is an important part of society in Remember Me’s world. How do you reinforce this in the game to help the world feel convincing?
Jean-Maxime Moris, co-founder and creative director: The Sensen technology that made the digitization of memories and their subsequent sharing possible has become an integral part of the lives of Neo-Paris’ citizens as they have all had the device implanted. Its effects are far-reaching and the player is exposed to them throughout Remember Me.
From the moment they are introduced to Nilin, players will see the digital representation of the Sensen on the back her neck and then on everyone else they encounter during the game. The dangers of memory-sharing are shown through the Leapers, who overloaded their brains with too many memories and as a result have undergone physical mutations, plus the memory junkies that sit in the doorways of Neo-Paris’ streets. Naturally as the narrative unfolds, more details of Memorize and the hold its technology has on the populace will be revealed.
In the story, Nilin used to be a “memory hunter” before the game begins. What exactly is a memory hunter and what does their line of work involve?
Memory hunters are a group of freelancers employed to take memories from targeted Neo-Paris citizens that hold key information which can be used by whoever is paying to their advantage. Nilin is the most gifted of the memory hunters as she is the only one who can actually remix a person’s memory to change its outcome and therefore their subsequent behavior or feelings towards others.
There’s also a group in the game called the “Errorists,” whose goal is to take out Memorize and their technological advancements. In that sense, it’s almost as though they’re fighting technology and society itself. What kind of real life groups and inspirations did you look to while creating the Errorists?
We looked at all form of groups that carry out meaningful acts of political resistance in today’s world. Errorists are next gen hackers that are basically aiming at fostering “errors” in Memorize’s network of global memory control.
In Remember Me’s world, it’s possible for you to delete your own memories. How does someone go about doing that? What about all the people you know that it would affect, and their memories of you?
You basically choose how much of your memory you want to remain organic, and how much of it you want to be digitized. The latter memories are just files that you can delete like any contemporary computer file. If you delete them, those memories will not be available to you anymore.
You might rebuild representations of your past if you talk to the people that you knew in the past, but it will always be through their own eyes… or their own memories of you, which they can trade with you… The schizophrenic way of life!
Nilin can modify people’s memories, and we’ve seen her doing this to a member of Memorize, where she makes him believe he killed his wife. Is there only a single solution to each of these scenarios or can you reach the goal in different ways?
These memory remix sections are effectively super dynamic puzzles where you take over the memory of someone in a very cinematic way and are used at key moments during the game to drive forward the narrative. You are the hand of god and get to explore the memory at will, rewinding and fast forwarding it as much as you want. You first look for the memory glitches, i.e. all the elements that you can interact with. Then you get to try all the different combinations.
There is only one solution, but many of the combinations will tell you more about the storyline and reward you for exploration. Expect some emotionally charged sequences as changing someone’s memories doesn’t come without consequences. We believe players will enjoy them as not only do they draw the player deeper into the world of Remember Me but show a real dark side to the vision of Social Networks 3.0 that we explore in the game.
During combat, you chain several moves together to create combos. The timing between your inputs while fighting is rather forgiving. Why did you make that decision?
Our combat system puts a lot more emphasis on strategy and tactics than on execution. You build and customize a deck of combos and progressively unlock special moves called S-Pressens. Then we throw more and more complex waves of enemies at you whose abilities mirror yours. You need to really think and plan the order in which you are going to defeat your foes, as well as execute timely dodges over them so you don’t get interrupted in your combo chains.
That is already a lot to take in, although this is all introduced to you very progressively of course, so we didn’t want to have punishing timings on top of that. We really wanted to offer a fresh perspective on combo based games.
Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono served in an advisory capacity when it came to the combat in Remember Me. What kind of suggestions did he offer, and how much of it has influenced the final combat system in the game?
The combat system and the Combo Lab that sits at the heart of it was conceived and developed by the team here at DONTNOD so once we had signed the deal with Capcom everything was pretty much in place, but naturally we listened to the advice of Ono-san when it came to fine tuning.
How has the Remember Me project changed under Capcom’s direction compared to when it was known as Adrift?
While the game was still called Adrift at the time we started talking to Capcom, the concept, story and gameplay mechanics were pretty locked by this point. Naturally we had a lot of dialogue with Capcom on how we could finesse the overall gameplay experience but the core feature set and story remained unchanged.
Remember Me is heavily inspired by social media like Twitter, Facebook and so on. Given how closely it’s related to current trends, how come you aren’t integrating features that use social media into the game?
We thought about that but had so much on our plates that we had to pick our battles. Better not to do it than do it badly!