Remember Me (video game)
Game cover featuring the main protagonist Nilin.
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
Remember Me is an action-adventure video game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Capcom. It was released in June 2013 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game's plot focuses on Nilin, a memory hunter working for an underground resistance called the Errorists. When the game starts, she has been stripped of nearly all her memories by mega-corporation Memorize. With the help of a mysterious man named Edge, she goes on a quest to bring down Memorize and recover her lost memories.
Remember Me was developed as the debut project of Dontnod Entertainment, with one of the company's founding members, Jean-Max Moris, as its director. Part of his goal for the game was to create a thought-provoking story, and eventually settled on a female protagonist to help convey the story themes. Originally a PlayStation 3-exclusive titled Adrift, it was cancelled in 2011, then later purchased by Capcom, and resurrected as a multiplatform game. The game received mixed to positive reviews upon release, with general praise going to the story concept, some of the gameplay elements and the general setting. Criticism was laid against aspects of the main narrative, the combat, and design choices that were considered detrimental to the game.
Remember Me features platforming, exploration and melee combat. The game introduces the mechanic of 'memory remixing': entering and rearranging a target's memories to manipulate them. Players accomplish this by replaying a memory and modifying details to change the target's recollection of the outcome. Another key mechanic of gameplay is stealing memories from certain targets and using points called Remembranes to replay the memory in real-time: this is often needed to proceed through the game or avoid hazards otherwise hidden from the player. When the player is low on health, the screen will glitch until a sufficient amount of health is regained.
In terms of combat, the game allows players to create and customize their own move combos in the Combo Lab, which uses four families of fighting moves called Pressens that players can reorganize by creating chains, earned through gaining PMP (Procedural Mastering Power), with a limit of four combos being active at any one time. The four Pressen families are "Regen" (healing), "Power" (damage), "Chain" (duplication and doubling of previous moves) and "Cooldown" (regeneration of S-Pressen energy). The game's creative director, Jean-Max Moris has said that there are 50,000 possible Pressen combinations. The special moves, S-Pressens, are made available to the player through the course of the game: the moves enabling them to do things like stun groups of enemies, move at high speed and land more hits, or turn hostile robots into allies which then self-destruct. Players also have access to projectile-based weapons like the 'Spammer' and 'Junk bolt'.
The game is set in the year 2084, in a futuristic version of Paris called Neo-Paris. The Memorize corporation has invented a new brain implant called the Sensation Engine (Sensen), which enables roughly 99% of the population to upload and share their memories on the net, as well as remove unhappy or unpleasant memories. This gives Memorize an immense degree of control over the population and enables them to establish a surveillance state. This, in turn, leads to a small group of rebels forming under the name "Errorists": their mission is to bring down Memorize. The invention of the Sensen has also resulted in the creation of Leapers; memory-addicted humans who have absorbed so many memories that their Sensen has degraded and they have mutated into a subhuman form, now living in the sewers of Neo-Paris.
The game begins as Nilin (Kezia Burrows), an Errorist imprisoned in the Bastille Fortress, is having almost all her memory wiped by Memorize. As she is taken to have the last of her memories wiped, a mysterious man called Edge, leader of the Errorists and a man she only hears over her comm device, helps her escape. Edge tells her that she is an Errorist with the gift of both stealing and remixing memories. After escaping into the slums of Neo-Paris, Nilin encounters Tommy, a fellow Errorist. Suddenly, Nilin and Tommy are attacked by Olga Sedova, a bounty hunter chasing Nilin. Nilin dives into Olga's mind and remixes her memory to make Olga become an Errorist ally and she transports Nilin to her first destination.
Arriving in the Saint-Michel district, Nilin, who is aided by another Errorist codenamed Bad Request, is told by Edge to steal secret codes from Kaori Sheridan, Neo-Paris' top architect. After retrieving and uploading the codes to Edge, he uses the codes to open the Saint-Michel dam, flooding the district. Due to the flood draining out the slums, Nilin is able to infiltrate the Bastille and heads to the memory servers to free the stored memories of herself and the inmates while taking down Madame, the sadistic manager of the Bastille. After defeating Madame, Nilin releases the memories of the inmates and partially regains some of her own. She remembers the crime that landed her in the Bastille; on a mission, Nilin remixed the mind of a Memorize commander and made him believe he had killed his girlfriend. The altered memory pushed him to commit suicide.
Nilin reluctantly goes along with Edge's next plan: to remix the CEO of Memorize, Scylla Cartier-Wells, to make her see the harm her company's technology is causing. Nilin makes her way into Scylla's office and enters her mind, remixing the memory of a car crash which left her with a bitter taste against the world. As she changes the memory to make Scylla a more compassionate person, Nilin discovers that she is Scylla's daughter. Nilin is then told by Edge to head for the Bastille basements to save Bad Request, who has been taken captive. She finds Bad Request, but discovers that his memory has been fully wiped. Nilin then discovers that Memorize scientist Doctor Quaid is trying to find a way to control the Leapers through their Sensens to create a private army for Memorize. However, Johnny Greenteeth, a former co-worker of Quaid's who was experimented on and turned into a Leaper, kills Quaid and prepares to self-destruct the Bastille. Bad Request helps Nilin take down Johnny at the cost of his life and Nilin escapes the destroyed facility.
With all of Memorize's secret operations taken down, Edge presses Nilin to find the Conception Cube, Memorize's central base, and destroy H3O, the Memorize Central Server. Once there, she encounters her father, Charles Cartier-Wells, the creator of the Sensens. Upon finding him, she sees that, fueled by the car accident that injured his wife, he has become lost in a dream of an ideal world free from painful memories, all inspired by the desire to help Nilin forget about the accident. Nilin makes him see the harm his technology causes, and Scylla arrives to convince Charles to help Nilin enter the Central Server. Once in the presence of the Central Server, it is revealed to Nilin that Edge is a self-aware entity created by the amalgamation of unwanted memories within H3O. Nilin, who unwittingly started Edge with the memories of her unhappy childhood, enters the Server and, at H3O/Edge's will, she destroys him and releases the memories back into the general population.
As the memories are released, Nilin remembers Edge's words about the mind being a fortress, and says that Edge died to remind people that memories should not become open to all, and that painful memories should be lived with rather than forcibly removed. She finishes that outside her now-restored mind she has a family again and a damaged world to heal.
Development of the game began in 2008 when the company was formed. Initially called Adrift, the original concept of the game was a world flooded from global warming, with a key gameplay mechanic being the player character using jetskis to navigate a coastal city. Later, the Dontnod team thought up the concept of memory as a central theme and redesigned the game accordingly, although the game's director Jean-Max Moris was reluctant to set the game in Paris since the studio was based there. In interviews, Moris said that the game's theme was inspired by the social network sites that abound in the modern world, citing Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter as examples. He said that the game, while some elements looked fantastical, was grounded in the real world in terms of how social networking might evolve over the coming decades. One of the literary works referenced in the game is George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, though Moris stated that he did not want the game to portray any kind of intrusive message or meaning.
When asked in an interview with Penny Arcade Report why he made Nilin, Remember Me's protagonist, a woman, Moris said that part of his reason was that it "felt right from the beginning". He also stated that he wanted a game in the cyberpunk genre that was more about "emotion, intimacy, identity, and the way technology would intersect those", so it made more sense for the player character to be a woman. However, the fact that Nilin was a woman meant that when the game was shown to potential publishers, many were discouraged from backing the project, saying that a male character would sell better. Also against the game were its protagonist's race and the general structure of the game, in that the majority of human enemies were taken down non-fatally. Moris has stated in a different interview that one of the challenges with designing Nilin was creating a protagonist that was not over-sexualised or ineffective, saying: "You have to avoid the pitfalls of making her just a damsel in distress or a sex bomb, because this is what you think would appeal most to the hordes of men that constitute your fan base".
The game was originally being co-developed by Dontnod and Sony exclusively for the PlayStation 3 under the Adrift title, beginning full development in February 2010. Following creative disagreements between Dontnod and Sony, and the subsequent cancellation of the project in February 2011 for unrelated reasons, Capcom purchased the IP and provided funding for the project as a multi-platform title. The game was officially revealed at the 2012 Gamescom event with an official trailer and gameplay demonstration.
The music was composed by Olivier Deriviere, who recorded an orchestral score, then modified and changed it using electronic equipment. In an interview with Game Informer, Deriviere said: "Remember Me is not just a game; it's a fully realized world that the creative team at Dontnod created from scratch. During my first contact [with the game], I was quite confused by so much information and I felt the music should reflect this confusion". Speaking to MTV Multiplayer about the game's main theme, Deriviere said that players would not hear it until the end of the game, since the theme is scattered in pieces through the rest of the score to reflect the nature of the game and the story of Nilin. Deriviere was awarded the 2013 IFMCA award for best for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for his work.
In collaboration with Mike Seymour of Fxguide, two of the game's developers, senior engine and graphics programmer Sébastien Lagarde and co-art director Micheal Koch, published a series of articles describing the technical work that was done in creating the game's graphics, in particular the lighting, rain and 'wet environment' effects. Lagarde notes that these articles overlap with material originally published on his blog.
Remember Me has received mixed to positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 73.33% and 72/100 the Xbox 360 version 68.73% and 70/100 and the PC version 67.06% and 65/100. General praise was given for the world design, the ambition of the story and the Memory Remix segments, with the main criticisms being laid against other aspects of the story, weak platforming, poor design choices and formulaic combat.
Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell liked the Remix segments, the general design, but said the later segments flagged, the combat was repetitive and the writing weak. He finished by saying: "The result is a game that a small number of people will rightly love and cherish, but overall it's an uneven experience - one that feels like it knows what it wants to be, but has resigned itself to existing in a world where it can't quite get away with it".
GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd found Nilin a good protagonist, while enjoying the Remix segments, world design, and combat. The pieces he found lacking were the story, which didn't really live up to its premise, a restrictive world design and troublesome camera.
Justin Speer of GameTrailers praised the scope of the world and its story, the platforming elements and the Remix segments, though he said they were "underdeveloped and underutilized". On the downside, the story and dialogue were often lacking, the combat was problematic, some aspects of the graphics and controls annoying or comical, and progress between savepoints was wiped away if the character died. He stated "It's up to you to decide if your mind has room to hold such a curious oddity".
Daniel Krupa of IGN enjoyed the premise of the game, the general setting, the ambitious story and Memory Remix segments, but found the combat unappealing, the platforming weak, and the gameplay simplistic and repetitive. He finished: "Remember Me is a likeable, even admirable game that tells a deeply personal story in a thoughtfully-fashioned world populated by richly detailed character models. But ultimately, it failed to challenge or excite me as a game, as all of its best ideas are confined to its overarching fiction rather than its gameplay".
Prior to the game's release, an official prelude story was published by way of a multimedia web site. The interactive site is depicted as the diary of Antoine Cartier-Wells, founder of the Memorize corporation and creator of the Sensen brain implant, and it tells the story of Memorize during the 100 years preceding the start of the game. Billed as an "HTML5 mixed media experience", it was put on the Public Shortlist at the Favorite Website Awards on May 28, 2013, with 70% 'Yes' votes. At the time of the game's release, a 24-page print comic book written by Matt Kindt and illustrated by Matthew Southworth was released by Dark Horse Comics, as an exclusive bonus item for those who pre-ordered the game from a specific retailer. Dark Horse later published a 184-page hardcover book featuring concept art and developer commentary. On June 20, 2013, another official prelude story was published, this time taking place a few months before the start of the game, and centering on the character of Nilin. Titled The Pandora Archive, it was written by British novelist Scott Harrison and published by Capcom as an eBook.
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