If the promise of a new IP at this late stage in the console cycle wasn't reason enough to generate interest in Remember Me, recently-released gameplay footage suggests it will be a unique experience.
In a futuristic vision of Paris, players aid protagonist Nilin as she traverses the Gallic dystopia with a taste for revenge - a professional 'memory hunter', she's found herself at the wrong end of her own skillset, imprisoned and unable to recall why. She soon sets out to unearth what exactly happened, manipulating the memories of her enemies in order to restore her own. The oppressive Memoryes corporation, controlling and deleting the memories of the public, are in her sights - 1984 meets Eternal Sunshine, then.
We sat down with Remember Me's creative director, Jean-Maxime Moris, to talk about the game.
Your demo is very action oriented. What will players be doing in your game?
Remember Me is a story driven linear experience, and that's a conscious creative choice. We want to retain as much control over the events and the emotions that the player goes through as possible. It really is a third person action adventure, where 50 percent is action - combat, chases and boss fights - then the adventure kicks in, where you're rewriting people's memories or dodging drones. We have a great variety of gameplay mechanics, but they all come together to create one varied experience.
Do you find the current generation of consoles limiting creatively?
If we were still on the SNES I would be happy to do games for it. I fully respect technology and the people behind it, but we often mistake technology for art. One day we'll reach a point where the uncanny valley has been crossed. There will be a point where photo realism has been reached and AI will be perfect, then we'll look back and say: "Okay it's just like the real world - what now?" What we'll try and create is interesting experiences - immersive, fun games - but I had that on my Gameboy. I always work with what we have and that's fine by me.
We're seeing a resurgence of cyberpunk and sceptical futurism. How does that impact on your story?
It's the main driving force behind our universe. The year the game is set in is a wink towards Orwell's 1984, but we believe that in 2084 a new form of control might have emerged. Already people are giving the guys in charge all your personal data. They know who you are, who you are related to, who your friends are, where you're going, your political beliefs, your religious beliefs, what music you listen to. Is someone following you? Well you're doing the policeman's job yourself with your smartphone's GPS so why bother? We could be giving you this false impression of freedom and liberty when you're actually just being your own watchman.
What frightens me is not the technology, it's that very few people question the way social networks work. It's a fascinating theme, and if it makes players think about how open they are with their own personal information, that's good. We're definitely following in the giant elephant footsteps of Philip K Dick all the way. He is the biggest influence on everything in the world of modern sci-fi, anyway.
To play devil's advocate, why challenge gamers with a story that makes players ask questions? The biggest games in the world are just 'man with gun and a load of targets'.
Why not? Videogames have become such a formatted medium, but it's the most powerful medium in the world and it has the most potential in the future. Yet everything is formatted. We just wanted to do things differently. You said man with gun, but you forgot to say white man.
Straight white man, even.
Really. How f**king stupid is this industry to only bet on those stereotypes? It's the only thing you give people, they get accustomed to it and don't want anything else. So yes, our character, Nilin, is mixed race, she is female, her sexual orientation is her private life, so I won't go there. She runs around, climbs, leaps, kicks guys' asses, remixes their memories, only kills a few people - and does it all in a game with no blood. We made those choices to say: 'look you can have something that's kick ass, something that's powerful, and you don't need it to be ultraviolent'.