More information surrounding Spike Chunsoft’s upcoming adventure game AI: The Somnium Files.
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[GDC 2019] Kotaro Uchikoshi Put His All Into the CERO Z-Rated Mystery Adventure Game, AI: The Somnium Files
Spike Chunsoft’s new adventure game AI: The Somnium Files releases July 25th on PC, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch. At the Game Developers Conference 2019, held in San Francisco on March 21st, 4Gamer had the opportunity to talk with Director Kotaro Uchikoshi and Assistant Director Akira Okada. We’d like to spread their words with this article.
- Thanks for joining us. Aside from the fact that your next game is a mystery adventure, there’s not much info out there yet. Could you tell us more about the kind of story you have in store for us?
AI: The Somnium Files takes place in modern day Tokyo, during a serial murder case where victims are left with one eye gouged out. The protagonist, Date, is a detective chasing the truth.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- Why did you choose Tokyo as the setting?
That’s where I live, so it’s the easiest place for me to visualize. I also wanted to show off its good side.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- Did you take Tokyo as it exists in real life and put it into the game?
To be honest, I couldn’t (laughs). I left in the names of neighborhoods and things like that, but I switched other elements around. So even though I used certain locations as a motif, they’re different enough that I don’t think people will recognize them.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- What’s the flow of the game like?
The game’s divided into two parts: Investigation Parts and Somnium Parts. Date begins the game with an artificial left eye equipped with an AI, and during Investigation Parts he can freely use its functions, like zooming in, X-ray vision, and so on, to advance the investigation. During Somnium Parts, he’ll go into the memories of persons of interest and look for clues.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- About how long is the game?
There are lots of side quests and things to do, so it will depend on the player. If you take your time, it’s around 20-30 hours, but of course, it’s possible to skip all that and go the efficient route.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- Does that mean the story has multiple routes?
There are multiple endings, and the routes diverge based on things like the player’s choices, so you’ll need to play through several times to understand the full picture. But players can jump to those points where paths diverge, so there’s no need to start over from the beginning.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- How much of an impact does player choice have on the story?
Somnium Parts will unfold quite differently depending on your choices.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- Does the title hold any particular meaning?
There are lots of different meanings to it – the AI in Date’s artificial eye; the Japanese word for love [愛, “ai”]; the English words “eye” and “I”.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- In terms of production, is there anything in particular you set out to do?
I decided to make an adventure-like adventure. This game takes traditional adventure elements and remixes them in a modern way, so even young people, or people that don’t know about classic adventure games, can still enjoy it. But on the other hand, people who have played traditional adventure games should feel nostalgic.
Also, the game is packed with the kind of fun that we can provide because of our long history making adventure games, and we’ve included that fun into every choice you make.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
The characters are another highlight. Uchikoshi-san’s Zero Escape series had a lot of unique characters, and in this game there are plenty that can hold a candle to Zero Escape’s cast.AKIRA OKADA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
- On that note, Yusuke Kozaki is in charge of character design, right?
Kozaki-san’s designs are famous all over the world, and I wanted this game to appeal to people worldwide, so I ended up asked him to do the designs. Like his art, the game itself blends both dark and pop elements, so he’s a perfect fit for that style.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- Speaking of which, Uchikoshi-san, you and Spike Chunsoft launched the virtual idol project “A-set”, who is also designed by Kozaki-san. How is she related to the game?
Right, she’s really deeply involved. Also, she isn’t a virtual idol, she’s a girl that actually exists in the world of the game. Even though she’s a YouTuber, she also gets caught up in the incident.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- A YouTuber involved in an incident – there’s something really modern about that. By the way, has the CERO rating been decided yet?
It’ll be CERO Z (18+ only).AKIRA OKADA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
- Oh, wow. Did you set out to make a CERO Z game?
Yeah, my producer was kind enough to say, “Uchikoshi-kun, you can make whatever it is that you want to.” (laughs)KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- The Zero Escape series received a D rating (17+ only), is that right?
With Zero Escape, I came up with fun tricks that involved bodily harm, but I ended up having to cut down on those tricks to make the games fit a D rating, which I really hated (laughs). So I was very happy to learn that I could make a Z-rated game.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- Are there any plans to make The Somnium Files into a series like Zero Escape?
There’s definitely a chance, if enough players ask for it.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
- Any final comments for your fans?
I absolutely think that adventure game fans will enjoy this one; for people that don’t normally play them, they’ll learn how fun adventure games can be. Please give it a try. I think my music videos are super important to my songs. They dig deeper. I want to cherish them more from now on. However, I think collaboration could easily change the spirit of my songs, so I try to only think about conveying to people the song in its best form.KOTARO UCHIKOSHI, DIRECTOR
Kozaki-san’s designs are really really cool, so I hope that people who don’t play many adventure games will judge this one by its cover and buy it.AKIRA OKADA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Thank you very much.
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