Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
Remember Me Could Have Been So Much More

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 25 Jun 2013 16:00
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remember me

First add a stealth element. I know stealthing as a mechanic is getting rather a lot of airtime in triple-A games lately, but that's no bad thing. And games embracing nonviolent gameplay still don't equal the number of ones encouraging it. But anyway, we switch up the gameplay to Nilin trying to avoid confrontation if possible, which makes sense, 'cos at the start of the game she staggers out of oppressive future prison where she underwent mistreatment to the point that she can barely stand, and you can't just walk that off.

So, we add stealth, and then like many stealth games we need a distraction mechanic. Most stealth games use something like throwing something noisy to make a guard look the other way, but the concept of memory implantation is tailor made for such a service, as well as for immediately pacifying a guard who has spotted us and is attempting to attack.

We give the player character the ability to make that weird Jedi hand gesture at any random guard, at which point we go into the guard's recent memories. From the player's perspective, they and all other entities in the room are moved to wherever they were thirty seconds ago and some kind of filter (black and white, maybe) is added to illustrate that we are no longer in the real world, but the world as the guard remembers it.

At this point, there are many different possibilities. We could, for example, run straight up to the guard and allow them to shoot or beat us to death. Then we cut back to reality, and assuming we aren't in plain sight by the time the guard recovers from the memory implant, they will remember having killed us, and will go back to being passive and unaware. Alternatively, in the false memory, we could alert the guard and run to some distant location, so that when we return to reality, the guard will go there to find us. Maybe we set up a trap there earlier that the guard will now stumble into. Thirdly, we could simply kill the guard inside their own memories. This leaves them in a temporary state of existential uncertainty, creating the same effect as a stun attack.

We could even have a secondary special ability that allows us to assume the appearance of one of the other guards while inside the false memory, which adds a whole new suite of effects. We start shooting the guard whose memories we're rewriting, return to reality, and the guard will start pre-emptively shooting their allies. Or we do something that tricks the guard into thinking they killed us, which will leave them stunned and guilt-ridden until they see that their ally is, in fact, still alive. But if we're really clever perhaps we can sneak around and kill that ally before that happens, and leave the body where the first guard can see it. So the guard assumes they were responsible and shoots themselves.

Now, this all rubs up against the ethical problem with violating people's minds to destroy their sense of self, the same one that Remember Me toys with and then forgets about as with so many other things, but I guess if we all got over the shooting people to death thing, then it's a small potato to stomach. You didn't even bat an eyelid reading that sentence, did you? Why are you such a terrible person?

Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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