AI: The Somnium Files

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AI: The Somnium Files
AI The Somnium Files.png
Cover art, featuring (left to right) Aiba, Date and Iris in the center
Developer(s)Spike Chunsoft
Publisher(s)WW: Spike Chunsoft
EU: Numskull Games
Director(s)Kotaro Uchikoshi
Producer(s)Yasuhiro Iizuka
Designer(s)Akira Okada
Artist(s)Yūsuke Kozaki
Writer(s)Kotaro Uchikoshi
Composer(s)Keisuke Ito
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Release
  • NA: September 17, 2019
  • JP: September 19, 2019
  • EU: September 20, 2019
Genre(s)Adventure
Mode(s)Single-player

AI: The Somnium Files[a] (// (About this soundlisten) EYE) is an adventure video game developed and published by Spike Chunsoft, which released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in September 2019. It is set in Tokyo and follows detective Kaname Date, who investigates serial killings and enters suspects' memories to extract information to help solve them. The game was directed and written by Kotaro Uchikoshi, with character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki.

Gameplay[edit]

AI: The Somnium Files is a mystery adventure game that is split into two types of sections: investigation and somnium parts.[1][2][3] The story progresses through branching paths leading to multiple different endings, based on choices the player makes;[4][5] the player only gets a full view of the story by playing through each route.[3] Rather than starting over from the beginning several times to see different paths, the player can skip directly to the branching points using an in-game flow chart.[5]

During the investigation parts, the player character, as detective Kaname Date, uses his artificial intelligence unit Aiba's functions, such as X-ray vision and zooming, to further the investigation in the real world.[5][4][2][3] During the somnium parts, Date uses a machine called the Psync Machine[3] to enter the memories of suspects or key witnesses who do not want to share information with him, in the form of dreamscapes called "somnium", to find clues and extract the information by solving puzzles.[5][4][2][3] The puzzles involve examining objects and choosing an action to perform with it, and solving mental locks – obstacles standing in the way of clues – allowing the player to sink deeper into the character's subconscious. There is a six-minute time limit before the dreamscape collapses, and as actions take time to perform, the player must be careful in deciding what to do. Within the somnium parts, Aiba takes on the form of a humanoid and acts as the player avatar.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

AI: The Somnium Files takes place in a technologically advanced Tokyo in the near future, and follows Kaname Date and his top-secret team within the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, known as the Advanced Brain Investigation Squad (ABIS), made up of 6 investigators, a squad leader simply known as Boss, and an engineer nicknamed Pewter. ABIS is responsible for investigating crimes through the process of "Psyncing," exploring the subconscious dreams of persons of interest via the "Psync Machine," connecting the two together in a dream state known as "Somnium." The ABIS agents investigating these dreams are known as "Psyncers," and act as observers in their subjects' dreams, able to retrieve secrets and clues the subject may be hiding or may not be aware of. To ensure Psyncers are not subject to adverse effects, their time in a subject's Somnium is limited to a maximum of six minutes.

Date is assisted by AI-Ball, nicknamed Aiba, an artificial intelligence powered by the Wadjet System, who is embedded into Date's prosthetic left eye, and is capable of communicating with Date as well as provide X-Ray vision, thermographs, zoomed vision, and hacking various electronics. Aiba acts as Date's avatar within the Somnia, and together they investigate their subjects' dreams in order to learn the truth about their investigation.

Plot[edit]

On a Friday night in November, Kaname Date is called to a murder scene at Bloom Park in the quarantined Kabasaki District, where Shoko Nadami's corpse is found tied to a merry-go-round horse with her left eye removed. Searching the area, Date finds Shoko's daughter, Mizuki, in the merry-go-round's central column, clutching the murder weapon and suffering from aphonia. As he rests in Mizuki's hospital room overnight, Date falls asleep and sees a dream constructed from his memories prior to 6 years ago, when he first obtained amnesia. In his dream, he saw a woman shot and bleeding on the floor, and a man holding a gun standing besides her.

On Saturday, Aiba investigates the anonymous phone call made to the police about the scene, and identifies the caller as Ota Matsushita. Date eventually finds Ota in the lobby of Lemniscate, a talent company run by Renju Okiura, who is Date's friend, Mizuki's father, and Shoko's ex-husband. As Date learns about Ota and Mizuki's discovery of the crime, the net idol A-set (real name Iris Sagan) appears, who, after some coercion and blackmail, manages to tag along with Date in his investigation. The pair reinvestigate Bloom Park, and once Iris is returned home, Date meets her mother, Hitomi Sagan, the woman he saw in his dream. Later that day, Boss tells him to Psync with Mizuki to learn more about what happened and hopefully cure her aphonia.

Depending on choices made in Mizuki's Somnium, the game branches off in two major directions, labeled as A and B. Within the B story of the Somnium, Date and Aiba find the frozen corpse of Iris underneath the merry-go-round, and learn about a phone ringing in the area during the time of the crime; this action, while leaving Mizuki uncured, gives Date the information to look for a phone at Bloom Park at night, where he finds that a mysterious caller was the last person to try and contact the phone; Date also contacts Iris to not leave her house in fear of the corpse he found inside Mizuki's Somnium. However, in the A story of the Somnium, Iris's frozen corpse was not found, and she was not contacted to stay at home, and instead of a phone call, the silhouette of the killer is seen in the outskirts of the park within the dream; with a cured Mizuki, they investigate Bloom Park again at night, and discover surveillance footage of Renju's car in the area, but as they search to interrogate him, Renju's corpse is found in the maid café he runs, his left eye missing.

Left Side[edit]

Following the A branch of Mizuki's Somnium, on Sunday, the Shoko case evolves into the "New Cyclops Serial Killings" case, named after a similar case from 6 years prior. The murders are linked to a Yakuza gang known as the Kumakura Family, whom Date learns are affiliated with a congressman named So Sejima. Iris Sagan is named a suspect, as she was witnessed with Renju in Akihabara the night he died, near Sunfish Pocket, the maid café his body was found in. As Iris begins withholding information, Date finds out she was keeping a secret with Ota, and decides to Psync into her Somnium. This Somnium also branches into two storylines, and in one branch, Date doesn't find any meaningful clues to the case, aside from a possible connection to Congressman So, and he is forced to release her.

Date drops off Iris at Matsushita Diner, run by Ota's family, where Ota knocks him unconscious and takes Iris with him by car. Driving from Central Tokyo to Fuchu City, Ota stops at a FamiSto convenience store, where his car is stolen by an unknown individual, with Iris and Ota's phone inside. Ota chases after his car, and using his phone's GPS, finds their location. On Monday, past midnight, as Date begins waking up, the serial killer begins playing a livestream where Iris is laid on a table in an Okiura Fishery warehouse at Ariake, with her left eye missing, and a saw-blade above her. The killer, dressed in a polar bear costume, begins the saw-blade machine, but is foiled by Ota, who arrived at the scene just in time. As Date arrives himself, the killer had fled, leaving a wounded Ota and an unconscious Iris. In the morning, Date begins investigating the warehouse, and interrogates So Sejima –about Iris's Somnium–, Mizuki –about the Okiura Fishery warehouse–, and Mayumi (Ota's mother) and Hitomi –about the status of their children–. While most yielded nothing new to the case, Date learned about Mayumi's dementia and of the death of Hitomi's childhood friend, Manaka Iwai. They eventually interrogate Ota about the events of last night, and he also confesses to the secret he and Iris hide: Iris was seen driving without a license around Akihabra, close to the time Renju's body was left at Sunfish Pocket. When Date discovers a hidden weapon Ota was keeping on his person, Boss coerces him to Psync into Ota's mind and learn what he remembers of the event. This Somnium also branches into two paths.

In one branch of Ota's Somnium, Date and Aiba learn that Ota was stabbed by his mother's kitchen knife. When they visit her to ask about the knife, Mayumi confesses to the crime. On Tuesday, Date continues his investigation, believing Mayumi's confession to be false to protect her son, and learns about what she was doing the night of the livestream. When Ota and Iris left the Diner in their car Sunday night, Mayumi took a taxi to follow the car around the city; after the kidnapping at the convenience store, the taxi followed the car to So Sejima's mansion, then followed it up to the edge of the restricted Kabasaki District, and then followed them to the Okiura Fishery warehouse. As Date visits the Sejima residence to interrogate So about his late-night visit on Sunday, the congressman's body is found dismembered and with a left eye missing. Despite this, Date begins to Psync with Mayumi, uncovering her lost memories due to her dementia and learns of the Matsushita family's past. After the Psync, Mayumi recants her confession, stating she was afraid the man in the polar bear costume she saw was her son. Later that night, Aiba reveals new clues she found: video footage of Iris stealing the kitchen knife herself on Sunday night, and Shoko's eyeball located in Renju's stomach. This concludes the Ota Route.

In another branch of Ota's Somnium, Date and Aiba learn that the killer was wounded in the leg and bled in the warehouse. The following day, on Tuesday, Date takes Mizuki along as they investigate the wounded killer's identity, and they inform a CSI agent to speed up the blood analysis at the scene. While Mizuki is being questioned at HQ, Date receives the blood results, only to spot a wounded So Sejima fleeing the crime scene. Date has Pewter compare the blood to So's DNA, and it gives a match, confirming So as the new Cyclops Killer. Date and Mizuki break into the Sejima Residence, defeating the various bodyguards stationed there, and ultimately results in the death of both So Sejima and Aiba, while Date is comatose from his eye injury where Aiba was killed. On Wednesday, Boss asks Mizuki to Psync with Date, and once she does, he wakes up from his coma. A few days later, Date, Mizuki, and Aiba (restored from a saved backup) visit the shrine, where they discussed the now-closed Cyclops case, as well as how Mizuki's homeroom teacher was seen speaking with So Sejima. This concludes the Mizuki Route.

Back in Iris's Somnium, another branch is available that reveals Iris has knowledge of the Original Cyclops Serial Killings case from 6 years ago, down to each minute detail, and Kaname Date's face is seen in the killer's reflection. Despite the strange Somnium, ABIS is unable to hold Iris for the recent murders, and Date is forced to release her. From here, a similar set of events occur as the other branch, with Ota taking Iris to Fuchu City and ending with the livestream video; however, Date was attacked at a bar named Marble within Shinjuku, placing him farther away from the crime scene, and without Mayumi's interference (as she was resting at her diner), it ultimately results in Date arriving too late to save Iris or Ota, as they are both killed by the New Cyclops Killer. On Monday, with no real leads on the investigation, Pewter tells Date about the identity of the Original Cyclops Killers: an unnamed psychopath and Rohan Kumakura, the latter being the former leader of the Kumakuras. With one of them (Rohan) dead from suicide a year prior, Pewter reveals the other culprit to be a prisoner named #89, who had called HQ on Saturday about knowing the New Cyclops's true identity. Date brings #89 to HQ, who looks like the man from his dream on Friday night, and interrogating him. #89 begins recounting a story to Date:

Six years prior to the game's events, a detective began killing criminals whom he deemed deserved to be punished for their crimes, with the police covering his actions up. Rohan discovered these crimes and forced the detective to work as an assassin for the Kumakura Family, giving him the codename "Falco." In one of these jobs, he is chased after taking a bullet to the stomach, and meets a woman who nursed him back to health, and the pair started a relationship. As #89 stops his story, Date decides to Psync with him, and discovers that the woman was Hitomi Sagan, Iris's mother, and that Rohan Kumakura (with assistance from ABIS's Boss) broke into Hitomi's home to kill Falco (#89), but shot Hitomi instead, which made her lose the nerves in her right arm. After the Psync, Pewter reports that So Sejima's body was discovered, and when Date looks for Boss to ask about the memory he just saw, he finds a video showcasing Boss shooting So Sejima in the head, his left eye already missing. This event reaches a Story Lock for the Annihilation Route, that must be unlocked through other routes.

Right Side[edit]

Following the B side of Mizuki's Somnium, on Sunday, Date learns that Renju was in a car accident the previous night and decides to visit him at the hospital. However, a hospital nurse tells him that Renju had escaped overnight and Date searches for him at Renju's maid café, Sunfish Pocket. There, he runs into Ota and learns that during a livestream last night, A-set was visited by an unknown individual and was never heard from since. Date meets with Hitomi Sagan again, learning that she is Mizuki's homeroom teacher and that she inadvertently healed Mizuki's aphonia overnight. Date also meets with the Kumakura gang and learns that its current leader, Moma Kumakura, is an A-set fan, and he makes a deal to introduce Moma to A-set if he gains any information on Renju's whereabouts. At sunset, Aiba manages to get in contact with the mysterious caller to the cell phone found at Bloom Park and learns their identity is Congressman So Sejima. Following So from his mansion, Date and Aiba see So leave the Okiura Fishery warehouse, and inside, Date (with Aiba out of batteries) finds the frozen corpse of Iris Sagan, the same as he saw in Mizuki's Somnium. So is brought in for questioning and Date Psyncs into his mind, where ABIS sees a mysterious figure murder Iris Sagan near the warehouses. Date saves the dream-world version of Iris during the Psync, and once outside the Somnium, he receives a call from the first response team stating that no body was found at the warehouse. Shocked, Date rushes to the Sagan Residence and finds Iris, alive and well, hanging out with Mizuki.

On Monday, a debate begins amongst ABIS members, where Date and Boss believe that his actions in Somnium changed the world and saved Iris, and Aiba (who did not witness Iris's body) believes that Date simply hallucinated her body. Investigating further, they learn of a phone call from a prisoner named #89 to So Sejima, and about Hitomi's past with Iris and her old boyfriend, and Iris also makes Date promise to go on a date with her later that afternoon. With #89, codenamed "Falco," transferred to HQ, Date begins interrogating him, but #89 knocks Date unconscious and takes Pewter hostage until he escapes the building, with Renju Okiura as his getaway driver. After #89's escape, Moma informs Date of a lead to Renju's whereabouts, and he continues his investigation while also acting as Iris's "date." They learned from a maid that on the previous day, Sunday, Renju was seen looking for Iris around Sunfish Pocket. The two also meet with Ota and discuss Date's phenomenon with Iris's dead body, wondering if this was caused by a change in parallel worlds. Iris also talks about her "Uncle," her mom's old boyfriend who she hasn't seen in 6 years, and has been searching for ever since. As Date and Iris are about to meet Date's informant, the Mama-san at Marble, to speak with one of Renju's acquaintances, they are attacked by mercenaries attempting to kidnap Iris. They escape and rest within Date's home, where Iris reveals she's being hunted down by a secret organization known as NAIXATLOZ trying to take over the world using the Wadjet System. Date believes in her while Aiba is skeptical, and the two decide to Psync with Iris in secret, to learn if she's telling the truth. As they explore the Somnium, the story can branch into two stories.

In one branch in Iris's Somnium, Date believes in Iris wholeheartedly, and acts as her bodyguard. The following day, Tuesday, Date and Iris begin investigating NAIXATLOZ and their connection to Renju, where Date learns more about Iris's "Uncle," and the pair discover Hitomi privately speaking with So Sejima. They eventually learn from Mama that the person that she was going to introduce to Date was actually Pewter, who is Renju's current boyfriend. They find Pewter and interrogate him, where they learn that Pewter has been leaking information on the case to Renju, orchestrated #89's escape on behalf of Renju's wishes, and ordered the mercenaries to kidnap Iris. Pewter controls Aiba to shock Date, and he kidnaps Iris and takes her to the Okiura Fishery warehouse. Date and Aiba, with assistance from Moma, Ota, and Mizuki, perform a rescue operation for Iris, taking her away from Pewter's clutches. Date speaks with Iris about her "Uncle" again, and reveals that she only knew him by the nickname "Falco," the same as the escaped #89. She eventually reveals that the late night visitor she had was actually Renju, who tried to take her to an abandoned factory in the Kabasaki District and escaped, fearing for her life. The two visit the factory and discover a prototype Psync Machine, and as Iris collapses due to brain failure, Date decides to Psync with her to save her life just as he believed he did in So's Somnium. However, despite his best attempts, Iris succumbs and dies to her sudden collapse, with her last thoughts wondering if Date was actually the person she was looking for this whole time. This concludes the Iris Route.

In another branch in Iris's Somnium, Date and Aiba do not believe in Iris's words about NAIXATLOZ, and decides to leave her with Ota and Mizuki while he continued to investigate. Past midnight on Tuesday, Date meets with Hitomi, and the two discuss Iris's delusions, wherein Hitomi reveals Iris has a malignant Grade-IV brain tumor and only has a month to live, at most. The brain tumor caused the various delusions Iris had throughout the story, as well as other side effects she was experiencing. Suddenly, Date receives a phone call from Mizuki, stating that Iris had gone missing, looking for "the person I trust most." Date, Mizuki, and Ota begin searching for her, and eventually Date arrives at the Okiura Fishery warehouse, where, inside a frozen forklift, finds the frozen body of Iris Sagan. This event reaches a Story Lock for the Resolution Route, that must be unlocked through other routes.

The Final Routes[edit]

If the Ota Route, Mizuki Route, and Iris Route are completed, the Story Lock in Resolution Route is opened. On Tuesday morning, as Date grieves over Iris's death, Aiba begins to rationally question the events of this case, and the two discover that the body is in fact not Iris Sagan, but an unnamed woman who passed away 10+ years ago. When questioning So Sejima yields no results, they speak with Mizuki instead, and they learn that, a month prior, Mizuki followed her father Renju to the Okiura Fishery warehouse, which he owns, and found the woman's body inside the forklift. Aiba searches the missing's person's database and finds a matching case: Manaka Iwai, disappeared 18 years ago, and whose name Date recognizes from his conversation with Hitomi in a past route. Date interrogates Hitomi about Manaka's death, believing that she and Renju killed her, and with no responses, Date Psyncs into her mind to learn the truth. Before he dives in, however, Boss and Pewter tell Date about the reason for the six minute limit in Somnia: spending too long in a Somnium can cause the consciousness and memories of both the Psyncer and the Subject to switch, causing them to change bodies. Date soon Psyncs with Hitomi, and once it's done, she tells him the story as partially witnessed in her Somnium:

Eighteen years prior to the game's events, Manaka Iwai was the mistress of Congressman So Sejima, eventually giving birth to a baby girl. After meeting with him at the warehouses, Manaka was repeatedly stabbed in the back by So's psychopathic son, Saito Sejima, and was buried by Rohan and the Kumakuras. Following a GPS tracker, Renju and Hitomi found Manaka's body and the Kumakuras in the Okutama Mountains, where they witnessed Rohan take out Manaka's right eye. They were able to dig up her corpse shortly after, and decided to keep her body frozen in the Okiura Fishery warehouse for 18 years, which Renju soon took ownership from his father's company. Manaka's baby was raised by Hitomi, who eventually grew up and became Iris Sagan. Once Iris's tumor was identified by doctors, Hitomi began a plan to blackmail So Sejima for money. On Sunday night, Hitomi used Manaka's frozen corpse as leverage to blackmail So in the warehouse, but didn't expect Date to arrive and find the body as well, wherein Date confused her body for Iris's. With the truth now revealed, Pewter appears under orders from So Sejima and the MPD to close the investigation on Manaka's murder, but Date and Hitomi manage to escape and head to an abandoned factory, where a kidnapper told Hitomi to head to in order to save Iris. As they arrive, Date seems to recognize the factory, and learns that Aiba's backup data and memories are being deleted by Pewter. Once inside, they find the prototype Psync Machine and Renju's dead body. #89/Falco appears, knocking out Date, reaching yet another Story Lock for the Resolution Route, but with this, the Story Lock in the Annihilation Route opens.

Back at the Annihilation Route, on Tuesday past midnight, Date and Aiba suspect Boss for the murders of Shoko Nadami, Renju Okiura, Iris Sagan, Ota Matsushita, and the recently discovered So Sejima. Tracking her GPS, they head to the Sagan Residence, only to discover it was a trap set by Boss and the MPD's Special Assault Team. The pair manage to knock them all out, injuring Boss's leg and shoulder, as they take her back to ABIS to Psync. With Pewter's help, Date Psyncs into Boss's Somnium, and witnesses all the Cyclops murders laid out in order, but committed by the victims that followed: Shoko killed by Renju, Renju killed by Iris, Iris killed by So, and So killed by Boss. After the Psync, Date accumulates all his knowledge on the case and declares his results: the person he's interrogating is not Boss, but rather an unknown individual who used the hidden feature in the prototype Psync Machine, found in the abandoned factory, to swap bodies with their victims, killing the previous host after transferring.

The person reveals themselves as Saito Sejima, the psychopathic son of So Sejima. On Friday afternoon, Saito (in the body of Shoko Nadami) swapped bodies with Renju and killed Shoko within Renju’s body, displaying her in Bloom Park and calling Mizuki to the park and find the body. On Saturday, Saito abducted Iris in front of Sunfish Pocket, unknowingly witnessed by Ota, and then swapped bodies and killed Renju within Iris’ body. On Sunday, Saito was taken to HQ for interrogation as "Iris," and was Psynced, but after being released, he coerced Ota to "abduct" "A-set." That night, Saito (as Iris) stole Ota's car when they stopped at the FamiSto store, and then abducted his father So Sejima, where he swapped bodies with him. On Monday morning, Saito took the unconscious Iris (inside So’s body) and killed her during the livestream, then killed Ota for continually interrupting the livestream and his past plans. On Monday noon, Saito (in So's body) summoned Boss to the Sejima mansion, took her to the factory, swapped with her, and killed So in Boss’ body. After he explained the events of the last 5 days, Saito then reveals that he lived inside Rohan Kumakura's body for 5 years until he swapped with Shoko Nadami a year ago, who, in horror, accidentally fell off the roof of the factory and died. Then Saito reveals a triangle body swap scenario, in which Date resides in Saito's original body, Saito used to reside in Rohan's body, and that Rohan is actually still alive and resides in #89/Falco's body, which is Date's real identity. Saito also explains that he had to remove the left eye of the victims in order for the prototype machine to work. Suddenly, Pewter bursts into the room, and reveals a livestream showing Hitomi strapped to bombs, and Saito promises to give her location if Date swaps bodies with him. Date agrees, and they Psync for more than 6 minutes. Saito, now in his original body, tells Date, in the body of Boss, the location where Hitomi is held, but it's too late, as the bomb explodes live on the computer. Aiba shocks Saito unconscious, but Date loses his will to fight; as a familiar voice rings in his head talking about parallel worlds, he wonders if there's another world out there with a better outcome. This concludes the Annihilation Route, which opens the second, and final, Story Lock in the Resolution Route.

Back at the Resolution Route, on Wednesday past midnight, Date wakes up strapped into the prototype Psync Machine, and realizes that the #89/Falco that sits in front of him is actually Saito Sejima, who had been in Renju's body until he swapped with Rohan, inside of #89, and killed him. Saito reveals the events which transpired over the week. On Friday, everything occurred just as Date remembers hearing from Saito in the Annihilation Route. On Saturday, Saito called Iris to meet with her, but, due to Date warning her to not leave the house (after finding "Iris's" body in Mizuki's Somnium), Saito was forced to drive to her home, resulting in a car accident. Just past midnight on Sunday, he escaped the hospital, and as Date remembers hearing from Iris in the Iris Route, he visited Iris and takes her to the factory, but she escapes. On Monday, Saito was in contact with Pewter, who believed it was his boyfriend Renju, and learned of #89's visit to HQ, and just as Date remembers hearing from Pewter in the Iris Route, #89 (Rohan) escaped with Pewter's help and Saito took him to the factory, where they swapped and Rohan died to Renju's injuries. On Tuesday, Saito, inside "Uncle's" body, called Iris with video chat and asked her to meet, wherein he kidnaps her, luring Hitomi and Date to the factory. With all this explained, Saito forcibly Psyncs with Date, exchanging bodies in the process. As Saito celebrates returning to his original body, Date falls unconscious, also in his original body, as his past memories prior to six years ago returned:

His name was Hayato Yagyu, the vigilante detective-turned-assassin known as Falco. Wanting to leave the Kumakuras' service, Rohan had demanded Hayato do one last job: kill Hitomi and Iris due to their connection to Manaka's murder. He confessed to Boss about his job as an assassin, and to help him, suggested swapping bodies with Rohan so he could call the hit off. During the Psync between himself and Rohan, Hayato discovered that the truth of the Original Cyclops Killer: Saito Sejima was the true culprit, as he murdered his victims while Rohan Kumakura removed their right eyeballs posthumously. After the Psync, Rohan, inside Hayato's body, escaped and went to Hitomi's house to kill her, and as Hayato (inside Rohan) arrived to save Hitomi, he inadvertently shot her as she tried defending "Falco". Boss and the police arrested Rohan (inside Hayato), becoming #89. Soon after, Hayato (inside Rohan) met with Saito to get a confession, but Saito saw through the deception and captured Hayato, learning of the Psync technology and the ability to change bodies. Stealing the prototype Psync Machine, Saito swapped bodies with Hayato, taking Rohan's body while Hayato took Saito's. Hayato managed to escape, his memories erased due to forcibly removing himself from the Psync, and was eventually found by Boss. The amnesiac was given the new identity "Kaname Date" and became a member of ABIS, while Saito (inside Rohan) was arrested and hospitalized for the shooting of Hitomi Sagan.

Back in the present, Saito is about to kill Date, when suddenly he is ambushed and chased off by Moma Kumakura, who Aiba had called for help. Following further into the plant with a rifle, Date sees Iris held at gunpoint by Saito, but he is ambushed this time by Mizuki, while Ota rescues Iris. The group chase Saito to the top floor, where he has Hitomi at gunpoint, forcing Date to put down his weapon. Date is called by Aiba, who still resides in Saito's left eye socket and suggests using her self-destruct mechanism, killing both Saito and herself. Reluctantly, Date issues the command, causing Saito's head to explode and saving Hitomi. Mourning Aiba's sacrifice, Date discards his old identity and reaffirms himself as Kaname Date.

Three months later, Iris is recovering from surgery to remove her brain tumors, unknowingly paid for by the MPD, in return for those involved from keeping what they know of the Old and New Cyclops Killers a secret. The official statement given by the police declares that Renju killed Shoko, helped "#89" escape and was killed, and "#89" committed suicide in an explosion, which "injured" Date and required facial reconstruction. After her surgery, Date takes Iris to visit her friends and acquaintances. While talking with Boss, she unexpectedly knocks Date out, as he wakes up in the Psync Room, meeting with the incarcerated Pewter in secret. So Sejima announces he is no longer a politician, and reveals to Date his past secrets involving Manaka's murder and the history behind the abandoned factory. Hitomi and Date begin mending their relationship after years being separated, and all the events that transpired. Mizuki has inherited Lemniscate from Renju, and has been adopted by Date, the latter who recalls their time bonding together in the Mizuki Route. Ota now works multiple jobs to support his mom, Mayumi, who is now on medication for her dementia and has resolved her past animosity towards Iris. Moma has spread his love for A-set to the rest of the Kumakuras, with one of the yakuza revealed to be a mob doctor (implied to have been the one to help Manaka in childbirth) and as the fiancé to the hospital nurse. Date and Iris find one of Sejima's bodyguards drunk at Marble, revealing that he quit working for So, and they speak with Mama, who wonders if the information given about Renju's "crime" was real. Finally, Iris takes Date to the warehouse district where she shows him a surprise: Aiba, back from the dead. She was rebuilt using the Wadjet System, and was implanted by Pewter while Date was unconscious at ABIS. With the two reunited, Iris performs her pop song "Invincible Rainbow Arrow," turning into a group dance with all the other characters. This concludes the Resolution Route, and concludes the full story of the game.

Development[edit]

A 2016 photograph of Kotaro Uchikoshi
A 2019 photograph of Yūsuke Kozaki
The game was written and directed by Kotaro Uchikoshi (left), with character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki (right).

AI: The Somnium Files was developed by Spike Chunsoft,[6] and was written and directed by Kotaro Uchikoshi, produced by Yasuhiro Iizuka, designed by Akira Okada, and includes character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki and music by Keisuke Ito.[7][8][9][10] Kozaki was approached by Uchikoshi for his role as character designer due to being an internationally known artist, and how Uchikoshi wanted the art to have a worldwide appeal.[5] The game was developed with a higher budget than that of Uchikoshi's previous work, the Zero Escape series, which according to Uchikoshi helped allow him to express his concept for the game in a way that he was unable to with Zero Escape.[4] Comparing AI: The Somnium Files with Zero Escape, Uchikoshi described AI: The Somnium Files as being made more with adventure game fans in mind, in contrast to Zero Escape's heavy use of cutscenes.[7]

Two of the game's core themes are eyes and "different types and expressions of love", reflected in how the title AI is pronounced "eye" and in how "ai" () is the Japanese word for love.[2][11] The title also has additional meanings in that it is pronounced like the English word "I" and is short for "artificial intelligence",[2][5] and the "Somnium" in the subtitle is taken from the Latin word for "dream".[2] The idea of entering characters' dreams to solve cases was proposed by Iizuka. Uchikoshi thought it was intriguing, so he decided to use it in the game.[9] The game's investigation-based puzzles are intentionally designed to be less difficult than those in the Zero Escape series,[9] and are described by Uchikoshi as a modern take on the style of Hideo Kojima's 1994 adventure game Policenauts.[4] Other influences on the game included EVE (1995) and The Silver Case (1999); Okada additionally mentioned Life Is Strange (2015), Detroit: Become Human (2018), Heavy Rain (2010) and The Walking Dead (2012–2019) as influencing his work on the game.[12]

The game was first teased at a Game Developers Conference 2017 press event under the working title Project Psync,[6] with a piece of artwork depicting an eye.[1] Spike Chunsoft announced the game the following year during an Anime Expo 2018 panel, and released a first teaser trailer introducing Date.[2][13] In January 2019, Spike Chunsoft started promoting the game with a YouTube and Twitter account for the character Iris.[14]

The game was released in North America on September 17, 2019, in Japan on September 19, and in Europe on September 20[15] for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4, with both English and Japanese audio. In addition to the standard edition, a "Special Agent Edition" was also released, which included an artbook, the game's soundtrack, an Iris acrylic stand, a set of stickers, and a game box.[7] Due to manufacturing delays and increased demand, the North American physical release was delayed until September 24, 2019.[16]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic(NS) 86/100[17]
(PS4) 80/100[18]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Famitsu34/40[19]
GameSpot8/10[20]
Hardcore Gamer4.5/5[21]
Nintendo Life8/10[22]
Nintendo World Report8/10[23]

AI: The Somnium Files received generally positive reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic,[17][18] and was the 12th best reviewed Nintendo Switch game of the year.[24] Reviewers generally praised the plot and strong writing to the game; they noted it was simultaneously cerebral and thought-provoking while remaining accessible and understandable.[22][25] The voice acting was also considered "superb", with the actors bring life to the characters.[26] The dream sequences were also praised as creative and inventive.[22] The art and character designs received approval as well.[27] There was also some light criticism of certain "sleazy" jokes as being not particularly funny and painting Date as less sympathetic and more of an "oaf" than he was presumably intended to be.[26][25]

In Japan, the game failed to chart in the Media Create top 10 and Famitsu top 30 in its release week.[28] The PlayStation 4 version ranked 27th with 2,267 copies sold, while the Nintendo Switch version was 33rd with 1,767 copies sold in the Dengeki top 50.[29] The PC version of the game was among the best-selling new releases of the month on Steam.[30][b]

The game was nominated for "Best Adventure Game" at the Famitsu Dengeki Game Awards 2019.[32]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Known in Japan as AI: Somnium File (AI:ソムニウム ファイル, Ai: Somuniumu Fairu)
  2. ^ Based on total revenue for the first two weeks on sale.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wales, Matt (July 6, 2018). "Zero Escape director reveals new murder mystery adventure AI: The Somnium Files". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on July 6, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Romano, Sal (July 5, 2018). "Kotaro Uchikoshi announces AI: The Somnium Files for PS4, Switch, and PC". Gematsu. Archived from the original on July 8, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Romano, Sal (April 12, 2019). "AI: The Somnium Files details Somnium Parts, ABIS members". Gematsu. Archived from the original on April 12, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Galizio, James (July 16, 2018). "AI: The Somnium Files Interview - A Look Behind the Scenes with Kotaro Uchikoshi". RPG Site. UFF Network. Archived from the original on July 19, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f YamaChan (March 22, 2019). "[GDC 2019]CERO Zの推理ADV,「AI:ソムニウム ファイル」には,打越鋼太郎氏の全力が盛り込まれている". 4Gamer.net (in Japanese). Aetas Inc. Archived from the original on March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019. Translation Archived March 26, 2019, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b Allegra, Frank (March 2, 2017). "Zero Escape director teases next project". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on March 3, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Romano, Sal (March 21, 2019). "AI: The Somnium Files launches July 25; interview with director Kotaro Uchikoshi and designer Akira Okada". Gematsu. Archived from the original on March 22, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  8. ^ Shigeta, Yuichi (July 6, 2018). "打越鋼太郎が手掛ける本格推理ADV『AI:ソムニウム ファイル』がPS4/Switch/PC向けに発表!". IGN (in Japanese). Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on July 6, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Allen, Robert (July 8, 2018). "Q&A With AI: The Somnium Files' Kōtarō Uchikoshi". Tech-Gaming. Archived from the original on July 14, 2018. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Uchikoshi, Kotaro (March 24, 2019). "Keisuke Ito. He made super hyper great amazing musics for AI!! Look forward to that!!". Archived from the original on March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ O'Connor, Alice (July 6, 2018). "Zero Escape director reveals AI: The Somnium Files". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on July 6, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  12. ^ Snyder, Gabby (March 21, 2019). "A.I. The Somnium Files Interview with Mr. Kotaro Uchikoshi and Mr. Akira Okada—Where, oh where, has A-Set gone?". Archived from the original on March 22, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2019 – via Medium.
  13. ^ Frank, Allegra (July 6, 2018). "Zero Escape creator's next game is a mysterious detective story". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Higham, Michael (January 30, 2019). "Zero Escape Director Reveals Virtual Pop Idol From Upcoming Game". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on January 31, 2019. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  15. ^ Romano, Sal (May 17, 2019). "AI: The Somnium Files launches September 20 in Europe". Gematsu. Archived from the original on May 17, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  16. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (September 6, 2019). "AI: The Somnium Files Game's N. American Physical Release Delayed to September 24". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on November 2, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  17. ^ a b "AI: The Somnium Files reviews for Nintendo Switch". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on October 19, 2019. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "AI: The Somnium Files reviews for PlayStation 4". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  19. ^ "Famitsu's The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Review Score Is In". Nintendo Insider. September 11, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  20. ^ "AI: The Somnium Files Review - Eye Love You". Gamespot. September 13, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  21. ^ Swalley, Kirstin (September 24, 2019). "Review: AI: The Somnium Files". Hardcore Gamer. Archived from the original on September 27, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  22. ^ a b c "AI: The Somnium Files Review (Switch)". Nintendo Life. September 12, 2019. Archived from the original on September 13, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  23. ^ Theriault, Donald (September 12, 2019). "Ai: The Somnium Files (Switch) Review". Nintendo World Report. Archived from the original on September 13, 2019. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  24. ^ Dietz, Jason (January 3, 2020). "The Best Videogames of 2019". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  25. ^ a b AI: The Somnium Files review Archived November 18, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, TechGaming
  26. ^ a b "AI: The Somnium Files review - a bizarre story, masterfully told". Archived from the original on November 18, 2019. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  27. ^ Review: AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES Archived November 18, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, Japanator
  28. ^ "[Japan] Famitsu sales for Week 38, 2019 (September 16th – 22nd) [Top 30]". Perfectly Nintendo. September 27, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  29. ^ "【週間ソフト販売ランキング TOP50】『ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島』が13.2万本(9月16日~22日)". Dengeki Bunko (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. September 26, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  30. ^ "Best of 2019: New Releases". Steam. Valve. Archived from the original on December 28, 2019. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  31. ^ "A Look Back - The Best of 2019". Steam. Valve. December 26, 2019. Archived from the original on December 28, 2019. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  32. ^ Sato (April 18, 2020). "Here Are the Winners of the Famitsu Dengeki Game Awards 2019". Siliconera. Retrieved May 4, 2020.

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