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)Spike Chunsoft
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 in development by Spike Chunsoft, planned for release in September 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. It is set in Tokyo, and follows detective Kaname Date, who investigates serial killings and enters witnesses' and suspects' memories to extract information. The game is directed and written by Kotaro Uchikoshi, designed by Akira Okada, and produced by Yasuhiro Iizuka, and features character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki and music by Keisuke Ito.

Gameplay[edit]

AI: The Somnium Files is a mystery adventure game,[1][2] and is split into two types of sections: investigation parts and somnium parts;[3] it additionally contains several optional side quests.[4] The story progresses through branching paths leading to multiple different endings, based on choices the player makes;[5][4] 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.[4]

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.[4][5][2][3]

During the somnium parts, Date uses a machine called the Psync Device[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.[4][5][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. As there is a six-minute time limit before the dreamscape collapses, and 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 human woman and acts as the player avatar.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

AI: The Somnium Files is set in a technologically advanced Tokyo in the near future, and follows detective Kaname Date from the Advanced Brain Investigation Section (ABIS) of the metropolitan police department. Date investigates a serial killing case in which victims have had their left eyes gouged out. Date himself lost his left eye six years prior to the beginning of the story, and has an artifical eye containing an artificial intelligence unit called Aiba that is linked to his consciousness and used to assist in investigating the killings.[5][1][2][3]

Among other characters appearing in the game are Date's co-workers at ABIS including his boss and old friend, and the engineer Pewter who handles the Psync device and created Aiba;[3] and YouTuber Iris Sagan, a high school student who makes Let's Play videos and music videos under the name A-set.[1][2][6]

Development[edit]

A 2016 photograph of Kotaro Uchikoshi
A 2009 photograph of Yūsuke Kozaki
The game is written and directed by Kotaro Uchikoshi (left), with character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki (right).

AI: The Somnium Files is developed by Spike Chunsoft,[7] and is written and directed by Kotaro Uchikoshi, produced by Yasuhiro Iizuka, and designed by Akira Okada, and includes character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki and music by Keisuke Ito.[8][9][10][11] 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.[4] The game is 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.[5] 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.[8]

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][12] The title also has additional meanings in that it is pronounced like the English word "I" and is short for "artificial intelligence",[2][4] 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.[10] The game's investigation-based puzzles are intentionally designed to be less difficult than those in the Zero Escape series,[10] and are described by Uchikoshi as a modern take on the style of Hideo Kojima's 1994 adventure game Policenauts.[5] 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.[13]

The game was first teased at a Game Developers Conference 2017 press event under the working title Project Psync,[7] 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][14] In January 2019, Spike Chunsoft started promoting the game with videos and a Twitter account for the character Iris.[6]

The game is planned to be 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" will be available which includes an artbook, the game's soundtrack, an Iris acrylic stand, a set of stickers, and a game box.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Known in Japan as AI: Somnium File (AI:ソムニウム ファイル, Ai: Somuniumu Fairu)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Wales, Matt (2018-07-06). "Zero Escape director reveals new murder mystery adventure AI: The Somnium Files". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 2018-07-06. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Romano, Sal (2018-07-05). "Kotaro Uchikoshi announces AI: The Somnium Files for PS4, Switch, and PC". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2018-07-08. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Romano, Sal (2019-04-12). "AI: The Somnium Files details Somnium Parts, ABIS members". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2019-04-12. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g YamaChan (2019-03-22). "[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 2019-03-23. Retrieved 2019-03-26. Translation.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Galizio, James (2018-07-16). "AI: The Somnium Files Interview - A Look Behind the Scenes with Kotaro Uchikoshi". RPG Site. UFF Network. Archived from the original on 2018-07-19. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  6. ^ a b Higham, Michael (2019-01-30). "Zero Escape Director Reveals Virtual Pop Idol From Upcoming Game". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2019-01-31. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  7. ^ a b Allegra, Frank (2017-03-02). "Zero Escape director teases next project". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 2017-03-03. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  8. ^ a b c Romano, Sal (2019-03-21). "AI: The Somnium Files launches July 25; interview with director Kotaro Uchikoshi and designer Akira Okada". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2019-03-22. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  9. ^ Shigeta, Yuichi (2018-07-06). "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 2018-07-06. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  10. ^ a b c Allen, Robert (2018-07-08). "Q&A With AI: The Somnium Files' Kōtarō Uchikoshi". Tech-Gaming. Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  11. ^ Uchikoshi, Kotaro (2019-03-24). "Keisuke Ito. He made super hyper great amazing musics for AI!! Look forward to that!!". Archived from the original on 2013-03-25. Retrieved 2019-03-25 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ O'Connor, Alice (2018-07-06). "Zero Escape director reveals AI: The Somnium Files". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on 2018-07-06. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  13. ^ Snyder, Gabby (2019-03-21). "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 2019-03-22. Retrieved 2019-03-22 – via Medium.
  14. ^ Frank, Allegra (2018-07-06). "Zero Escape creator's next game is a mysterious detective story". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 2018-07-07. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  15. ^ Romano, Sal (2019-05-17). "AI: The Somnium Files launches September 20 in Europe". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2019-05-17.

External links[edit]