Is it Deus Ex meets Total Recall? Or Mirror's Edge meets Blade Runner? Or is it Uncharted meets Momento? Not even a bar full of leery games journalists could get to the heart of what Capcom's Remember Me is all about. They could all agree on one thing though: Remember Me is the star of the show.
The debut offering from Paris-based studio DONTNOD Entertainment stole the show in much the same way Ubisoft's Watch Dogs did E3, and it's further proof that the public is hungry for new IP. Remember Me is set in a futuristic Paris, where everyone is fitted with brain implants that allow a shady corporation called Memoreyes to control, delete or otherwise alter everyone's memories.
Naturually, there are those that think that this simply isn't on, not least a rebellious faction known as the Errorists. Remember Me's heroine Nilin was formally a member of this group; a memory-hunter who herself can hack into people's memories and remix them at will.
As the game begins however, we learn that Nilin has been hoist by her own petard. She finds herself locked in the Bastille prison, her memory completely wiped and being hunted down by an unknown force.
During the course of Gamescom, we managed to corner DONTNOD co-founder and Remember Me creative director Jean-Maxime Moris, and asked him the question: what is Remember Me? Here are our findings...
There's so much going on in the debut gameplay trailer that it's difficult to know where to begin. So let's start out from the top: how did the idea for Remember Me come about?
The genesis of Remember Me was basically five people sitting together in a restaurant in Paris, drinking a lot of wine and talking about what kind of game we'd like to make. Those talks eventually led to us founding what would become DONTNOD Entertainment.
We knew from the start that we wanted to make a new sci-fi thriller, and what would later become Remember Me really started to take shape when the idea of doing something concerning people's memories was raised.
The concept fitted really well with what we wanted our game to achieve. We wanted to present a sci-fi future that was less about physical augmentations asmuch as it was about human intimacy, and about how technology is capable of reshaping our identites. It's happening even today; technological advances are changing the way we relate to other people, from friendships to relationships.
This is pretty deep stuff; most game plots don't normally adance past 'PLANT THE C4 AND GET TO DA CHOPPER'. What kind of background reading did you do to ensure Remember Me's polemic held water?
We studied the work of several 20th Century philosophers, many of whom put forward the idea a long time ago - before the internet was popularised, even - that as technology advances, capitalist societies are going to move away from being a top-down, vertical government with a few powerful people at the top and the workers at the bottom - you know, the type of arrangement that was shown in an extreme form in George Orwell's book, 1984.
And it's no accident we presume that Remember Me is set in 2084, exactly 100 years later...
Exactly, we want Remember Me to show what comes after that. And philosophy's instinct is that it'll be a more horizontal kind of social model. Power and influence won't just come from the government - instead the flow of power will become more muggy and unclear, with more poles of control.
Instead of being controlled directly we're going out and learning and sharing a lot of information for outselves via social media. Which is obviously good, but the other side of that coin is that we're giving a lot of tools to the 'watchmen', as it were; we're logging on every day and sharing who we are, what we believe in and what our political views we hold. We're not saying bad things are being done with that data today, but I want Remember Me to ask serious questions about how much power we're willingly giving to others, and what that could mean for us in the future.