Lately, western game development has become nigh synonymous with muscular males, generic space marines, excessive amounts of blood and gore, and stagnated game mechanics. The France-based independent game studio Dontnod aims to battle these stereotypes head-on with their new Capcom-published game, Remember Me. In a recent interview with CVG, creative director Jean-Maxime Moris commented on this, questioning “How f**king stupid is this industry to only bet on those stereotypes?”
The company’s new game takes place in the year 2084, in the dystopian city of Neo-Paris. This far in the future, technology has advanced to the point where everyone has received brain implants which allow people to exchange and delete memories. More importantly, this also allows the corporation in charge of the implants to sustain complete surveillance over people’s memories and, should they deem it necessary, they may send a memory-hunter to completely re-write someone’s mind completely.
In the game, you play as Nilin; an amnesiac memory-hunter trying to find out who she is and why she got her memory wiped. Put in the words of Dontnod’s creative director she is quite the unique character for a western game: “…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’.”
The “ass-kicking” in Remember Me seems pretty interesting actually. The way the fighting flows looks a lot like the combat in the Batman: Arkham series. Yet unlike the Dark Knight, Nilin has a larger variety of combos at hand. Customisation plays a big role in Remember Me’s combat, as you’ll be able to use a Combo Lab to create chains of fighting moves called Pressens. There are over 50,000 combinations to experiment with, according to Capcom, so combat should be varied enough to keep the player from growing bored.
Other than fighting, the game also features a great deal of cinematic adventure/stealth segments. The gameplay videos remind me of the tremendously underrated Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – and anyone who has played that game should know that the combination of the words “cinematic” and “gameplay” don’t necessarily imply disaster. Also, the soundtrack to the game sounds amazing. It is like the music of John Williams and the IDM genre had a beautiful love-child.
I may be partial to games with these kinds of cyberpunk settings, however Remember Me looks like it’s shaping up to be quite the gem of a game. Let me remind you that the last time a European developer created a game with a unique concept and female protagonist we received the cult-classic Mirror’s Edge, so there are plenty of reasons to not forget Dontnod’s Remember Me.