(Check out the full interview with the developer here)

San Francisco and its surrounding area is home to all sorts of unique culture. Of course, for gaming purposes it’s a veritable Mecca with the likes of EA, Zynga, Maxis, Double Fine, and more within mere hours. For others, it’s about experiencing all sorts of culture and sights blended together in a way that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. It’s a vibrant city that’s bold, progressive, and inclusive. There’s a chance for everyone to fit in. It’s also home to Midboss. Founded by the people behind GaymerX, they want to take that culture and help everyone experience a taste of it. What better way than to show off the spirit of San Francisco as it exists in the future of 2064: Read Only Memories?

In this not-as-distant-as-you-might-think future, Neo-San Francisco is the place to be. The city’s abuzz with activity and there are all sorts of colorful characters making each interaction unique in some way. It’s also home to journalist Hayden Webber, who receives a visit by Turing, the world’s very first sapient machine. Robots are nothing new here, and many people have their own ROMs – Relationship Organizational Managers – to assist them. The director the game, JJSignal, explains that these machines “possess virtual intelligence, like an advanced Siri.” They learn what their owners like and adapt their own style to fit. Turing is different, however, in that it has “not only self-awareness but the ability to make judgments like a human.”

Where the story differs slightly from other cyberpunk tales in a similar vein is that Turing isn’t out to become more human, but to find an identity of its own. Of course, that attracts the attention of some powerful people, and the creator of Turing winds up missing. Hayden, being an old friend, was chosen by Turing as being the best possible option to find its creator. It helps that Hayden is a journalist and possibly has some connections that can aid the investigation, but that’s where players take over, guiding the pair through the city on the hunt for missing man and discovering an even deeper conspiracy beyond the kidnapping itself.

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Though the initial segment I played was brief, nearly everything in sight had some interactive element to it. There was enough to make the sequences both informative and entertaining, keeping me poking and prodding at every little oddity in my small apartment. The game wears its influences on its sleeve. The aesthetics are definitely reminiscent of eastern sources like Snatcher or anime such as Akira and Bubblegum Crisis, while the actual writing draws a lot from titles like Neuromancer.

As the game is slated to come out in Japan as well, I decided to ask about some of the localization process, if not just because I tend to dip my toes in that field, as well. In the western release, one of the intriguing aspects of the inclusive nature that helped shape the project was that players are offered the choice of personal pronouns such as he, she, they, ze, or even custom pronouns. Asking about the Japanese release, JJSignal let me know that Playism has every intention on trying to keep these options available. Of course, Japanese pronouns work differently, so options have shifted to allowing players to choose a title such as “prince”/”princess”. It’s interesting touches like this that add a nice bit of uniqueness to the title.

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2064 is actually the moniker attached to the updated version of the game, which originally launched in 2015. The biggest addition is that there’s now a fully voiced main cast and supporting cast, but there have been plenty of smaller tweaks as well. The writing was updated in some sections based on player feedback and some of the puzzles have been made a bit more accessible. We won’t have to wait long to see the final product, and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

For more information, check out the official website here.

 

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