Pre-Game Show: Remember Me

Pre-Game Show: ‘Remember Me’

Cyberpunk dystopia, information manipulation and tactical-espionage action. Capcom is making the stunning promise of ‘Remember Me’ a reality. Will the gameplay break new ground, or be quickly forgotten?

Remember Me (360, PS3, PC)

‘Remember Me’ is a game currently being developed by the French studio DONTNOD, and Capcom intends to release it in May of 2013. The company may even parlay the buzz into multiple projects. As a published product, ‘Remember Me’ owes much to the success of ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’, which signaled renewed commercial potential in an array of formerly exhausted themes.

Here’s a description of ‘Remember Me’ from the developer:

Neo-Paris. 2084.

Personal memories can now be digitized, bought, sold and traded. The last remnants of privacy and intimacy have been swept away in what appears to be a logical progression of the explosive growth of social networks at the beginning of the 21st century. The citizens themselves have accepted this surveillance society in exchange for the comfort only smart technology can provide. This memory economy gives immense power over society to just a handful of people.

Remember Me™ is a 3rd person action adventure where players take on the role of Nilin, a former elite memory hunter with the ability to break into people’s minds and steal or even alter their memories.

And here’s the trailer:

While the video reveals the type of compelling future and sexy atmosphere that must have attracted Capcom to fund the game, the gameplay and depth of the concept have fixated me on the title.

As we can see in the next video that presents seven minutes of gameplay, traversing the world and engaging in combat is completely familiar, if made slick by the trappings. Our memory-hacking protagonist Nilin has an upgradeable weapon in the form of her Hunt Glove, which can even fire long-range projectiles. By checking those traditional gameplay boxes (walking, jumping, punching & shooting) ‘Remember Me’ is free to pursue something more compelling, unconventional and seemingly less interactive than what most players are used to.

Memories. I’m talking about memories.

The last four minutes of the video feature almost nothing in terms of controls or commands. Yet the part where Forlan’s memory is manipulated spells out what is so compelling about ‘Remember Me’. The dream-like surrealism of the memory and the psychological manipulation of the characters, combined with the cyberpunk elements and dysfunctional society setting, make me desperately want to play the game.

In the past, I’ve seen games like ‘Heavy Rain’ or Telltale’s ‘Walking Dead’ really polarize both people who have and have not played them. Somewhere, somehow, each playable memory sequence in ‘Remember Me’ is diagrammed into a set of choices similar to BioWare’s dialogue tree. One way to make these choices seem more like a conventional game is to tie decisions together in a way not immediately obvious to the player. For instance, if you manage to get a character arrested in an early part of the game (which may have seemed like a good idea at the time), that character will not be available later, thus removing a choice. Another way is to place a timeout on many if not all choices. A five-second timer can place pressure on the player, and make achieving the objectives more difficult. ‘Remember Me’ might benefit from placing the players in a more active role, by allowing them to take direct control of the memory sequences.

In its current form, the game’s concepts have sold me as a player, but I really hope that the title’s sales and reception are strong enough to allow DONTNOD to build a deeper sequel.


  1. JM

    I love ‘Deus Ex’ and I’m anticipating ‘Dishonored,’ but in 2013 I need the ultra PC version of ‘Remember Me’ to be coming to the Playstation 4.

    Even then, the fact that this was a Sony exclusive and they threw it away, for Capcom to polish and sell, has me unable to fully embrace the hype.

    And, Capcom?!? Of the top 500 bestselling games, Capcom only owns 9, and the only ones that sell are ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘Street Fighter.’

    I think I’ll keep all my Cyberpunk eggs in the basket of CD Projekt RED.

    • Sony made the prudent choice to not only not publish ‘Demons Souls’ in the US, but subsequently then lose ‘Dark Souls’ to Namco Bandai.

      But yeah on the one hand I have seen talented developers start out by being focused by a big publisher but in this case Remember Me’ seems to have stumbled into expectations way beyond the scope of their design.

  2. Ben

    Did Sony ever ‘have’ Dark Souls? From what I understood, From Software had been looking to go multi-platform for Dark Souls anyway especially given the success of Demon’s Souls.

    • Sony had a fifteen year publishing relationship with From Software, and what happened with Demon’s Souls is partially detailed here:

      “For my personal experience with Demon’s Souls, when it was close to final I spent close to two hours playing it and after two hours I was still standing at the beginning at the game. I said, “This is crap. This is an unbelievably bad game.” So I put it aside.” -Sony’s Worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida

      Forcing From Software to turn to Atlus and Namco to publish Demon’s Souls was a mistake. Publishers fund new ips and retain ownership as part of a long term strategy, but Sony just lumped Demon’s Souls into ‘games made in Japan… the majority of them aren’t relevant to markets outside of Japan.’

  3. Ben

    I’m aware of what specifically happened with Demon’s Souls, I’m speaking more in regards to Dark Souls. I thought that because of the success of Demon’s Souls (which Sony certainly screwed up on), that they were looking broaden the userbase they could reach with Dark Souls. I mean, yeah, the experience with Demon’s Souls probably soured them from the get go, but had it become a success even under Sony, I have to imagine that they would have gone multi-platform anyway, since they’re a 3rd party developer, and Dark Souls proved to be more successful than the game probably ever could have been as an exclusive. They’ve also developed plenty of games for the 360 as is, prior to Dark Souls.

    • Sony was in position to secure the production of Demon’s Souls 2 and abstained. From Software has several teams, but it was the Demon’s Souls team that went on to make Dark Souls. Could they have produced both at the same time? Sure, but even under the most devious of intentions, they would have been foolish to try to realease both a Demon’s Souls 2 and a Dark Souls in the same year. (Which Sony would undoubtedly have protested anyway)

      Just based on the scuttlebutt from before Demon’s Souls was released in NA, I have to conclude that the production of Demon’ Souls 2 would have precluded any other Souls type game for a dev cycle regardless of whatever fervent desire by From Software to shuck the Sony owned ip and related platform exclusivity.

      • Ben

        Well no, I was assuming From Software would either do one or the other, not both. They could choose to make Demon’s Souls 2, assuming Sony wanted to go ahead with it, or they could do their own thing and go multi-plat like Dark Souls under another publisher. But since your first part and subsequent rumors you speak of answers that, it doesn’t matter. If Sony passed on a sequel, then that is certainly another mistake on their part.

    • Hey Ben, let me just qualify and reiterate that I consider Sony’s mistake- the lack of faith in and unwillingness to further publish Demon’s Souls that decided From Software’s production plans.

      • Ben

        Right, I was a bit confused in how you worded it earlier, but that makes sense.

        I still haven’t finished Dark Souls…I’m mostly through it, but I got distracted last year and never got back to it. Failed to complete it during the Summer drought, so it could stay incomplete at this point if I can’t find the motivation and time to play it.

        • Hard to recommend that you finish it when I consider the tight confines of the early parys of the game to be the best parts.

          Different studios and publishers have their own cultural aphorisms, but I have seen studios in the West respond to success with infighting over the perceived terms for future installments. Even success can breed contention between publishers and studios.