Siliconera recently spoke with Zero Escape series creator Kotaro Uchikoshi about his next adventure game, AI: The Somnium Files, to talk about the meaning behind “AI” and the idol heroine Iris.
The game’s title is interesting it could stand for artificial intelligence, the eye, or the Japanese word for love. It was teased with A-set (a virtual idol said to be Spike Chunsoft’s mascot, but was a teaser for A.I.) too. Is love with a virtual character a theme in the game?
Kotaro Uchikoshi, Director: [Laughs] I see… ummm… yes. “A.I.” (the sound) could mean a lot of things. It could mean artificial intelligence, the eye or I for yourself. It’s not just love for A.I., but different kinds of love may be involved too.
The Zero Escape series intertwines the themes well with the puzzle gameplay. How is the gameplay tied to this theme?
Akira Okada, Assistant Director: There are a couple keywords for this game, memories and dreams. You get to watch people in their dreams and get to learn people’s types of loves. If someone is having a different kind of heartwarming love you can look at it in their dreams from their memories. Those are integrated together.
A-set appears in AI too. What can you tell us about her as a character?
Kotaro Uchikoshi: For character designer Yusuke Kozaki, this was one of the first characters I asked him to design. I wanted to make a heroine loved by all and I gave that idea to Kozaki.
Judging from those YouTube videos it looks like she’s going to suffer a lot too. How does it feel to make a character you want to be loved suffer so much?
Kotaro Uchikoshi: [Laughs] You’re totally right. When I was writing the scenario for the game, I didn’t expect Iris to be such a cute girl. It kind of hurts my heart to make her go through this if I had the chance I would have rewritten the scenario.
The cover art is interesting. There are lots of different characters in gray on the bottom. Which one is your favorite?
Kotaro Uchikoshi: I like them all, but Ota is my favorite. [Ota is the character on the bottom left near the ESRB logo.]
Akira Okada: Aiba. [The floating eye character who helps Date during investigations.]
AI: The Somnium Files releases for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on July 25, 2019.