EXCLUSIVE: Interview with ‘Remember Me’ Creative Director Jean Maxime-Moris

Remember Me Game

Dontnod Entertainment’s Creative Director Jean-Maxime Moris.

Remember Me is coming to consoles real soon, yet there’s still some clueless gamers out there who don’t know what this game is truly about. Heavy.com took the time drum up a few questions from a few of our social networking buddies, as well as come up with a few questions of our own. The creative director and co-founder of the development studio behind the game, Jean-Maxime Moris, took some time out of his hectic video game production schedule to answer our burning inquiries.

Remember Me Game

Elton Jones: What is your name and title?

Jean-Maxime Moris: My name is Jean-Maxime Moris and I am the Creative Director on Remember Me.

SweetButtsHellaBab from Reddit: Do you think the general lack of female leads in gaming is detrimental to the medium? Why?

J-M M: It is detrimental to the medium as it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy to always label female leads as unsuccessful. I am a 33 year-old heterosexual male and have absolutely no problem with playing as a woman. Even if she were to kiss a guy in the game. So what? These are fictional characters, they do not question who you are, they’re just asking you to follow them as they take you on a journey. If you are not willing to play a female character, you are effectively turning down half of the population’s sensitivity. I think that’s pretty close-minded…

SweetButtsHellaBab from Reddit: What do you think, if anything, has to be done to alter the lack of rich, story-driven AAA games in the market today? We’ve seen plenty of story-based indie games sell huge quantities; why aren’t big developers/publishers interested?

J-M M: I think publishers are actually interested, but it is their financial analysts that are a bit reluctant! The costs involved are so huge that I can understand some level of caution. But growth and development are always driven by ambition and innovative people taking bold steps into new directions. So I definitely hope there will be more new AAA IPs from smaller studios going forward. Publishers just need to believe.

Remember Me Game

Myth (@ShadowPrecinct): The narrative seems pretty ambitious. What was the focus on story wise, and how does that affect the gameplay?

J-M M: In the early days of development we discussed many scenarios and one session led us to talk about the recent explosion in the use of social networks and we began to wonder what could happen if this ability to share experiences became even more prevalent and reached a point where you could digitize these memories and no longer simply share but actually trade and purchase them. Given the fact that we are all touched to a lesser or greater extent by social networks, we saw this theme had real potential as it would readily resonate with our potential audience. Central to Remember Me’s narrative is our protagonist, Nilin, who is a really interesting character – she is physically strong, agile and in possession of a unique ability allowing her not just to steal memories, but remix them and change the course of events. Yet she is also emotionally very vulnerable when we first meet her as she is unsure of who she is, who she was and who she can trust. In Remember Me we invite the player to join Nilin on her voyage of self-discovery.

We then worked to carry this memory theme into the action and deliver our “memory gameplay” mechanics which take a number of forms. First off we have the Memory Remix sections where Nilin jacks into another character’s memory and the player then looks for memory glitches to adjust thereby changing the overall memory and the character’s behavior back in the real world. The game’s combat is also driven by the memory theme whereby the more Nilin fights the more combat skills she remembers. Success in combat will be rewarded with Procedural Mastering Points (PMP) which can then be used to unlock Pressens, the building blocks for the game’s combo system and then later S-Pressens. There are also a number of other elements that make up the rest of the memory gameplay mechanics.

Remember Me Game

Rich Knight from Facebook: How does memory stealing work itself into the actual gameplay?

J-M M: Over the course of the game Nilin will need to obtain information from other characters in order to move the gameplay and narrative forward. As an elite memory hunter, Nilin has the ability to access other people’s memories via their Sensen – the memory recording technology implanted into all citizens of Neo-Paris – and extract the details she needs.

IX_Hispana from Reddit: What is Remember Me going to add to the gaming industry as a whole?

J-M M: Wow, not an easy question to answer. But honestly I hope it shows that developers, and indeed publishers, can take a few risks and not be afraid of trying fresh ideas and concepts.

EJ: What was the decision behind having a female protagonist of mixed race?

J-M M: We didn’t start the project thinking, right we need to have a female protagonist. Nilin came about as a result of the story we wanted to tell, not the other way round. Neo-Paris is a very cosmopolitan city so having her mixed race carried that through pretty well. But to be honest, Paris is already very cosmopolitan so she might also have been mixed race had the game been set in 2013!

Remember Me Game

EJ: Can you explain the combat system?

J-M M: We didn’t want a game that relied on weapons; indeed guns are banned in Neo-Paris, so the combat focus is very much on hand to hand combat and at the center of this is the Combo Lab.

Remember Me’s Combo Lab allows you to create and customize your own bespoke combos by unlocking new fighting move memories and combining them to maximize their power. The Combo Lab provides a second layer of depth to the game’s combat system, with the goal of encouraging players of all abilities to experiment with different combinations and find the best combo for each combat situation. The Combo Lab is accessible via the pause menu at any given moment in the game.

There are four combo sequences available. Each sequence consists of several slots delivering either kick or punch attacks. The sequence is predetermined, but you are able to assign the type of kick or punch move, known as “Pressens,” for each slot in the sequence. Each Combo starts with a standard attack, or launcher, which cannot be altered and the other slots are empty until you fill them with Pressens. At the beginning of the game, some combos’ slots are locked. The more Nilin fights the more Nilin remembers her melee combat skills and further slots become unlocked.

The Combo Lab is something we feel will appeal to both those who enjoy the intricacies of a deep combat system and the more traditional action adventure gamers. For the former they can dig into a system that allows for thousands of different combo possibilities and fine tune the combat their way, but for the latter we have an intuitive interface that will allow them to adapt their combos at any time during the game to best tackle any given situation.

EJ: How did you work with Capcom during the game’s development process?

J-M M: It was a real collaborative effort with Capcom providing insight and feedback on gameplay elements and with our team working closely with the PR and marketing folks at Capcom to make the most of shows, events and of course interview opportunities.

EJ: Why was the game’s original title changed from Adrift to Remember Me?

J-M M: When the project was known as Adrift it was quite different to what Remember Me is now as it touched on the topic of global warming. As we shifted the focus from environmental issues to memories it made sense to have a title that was more fitting.

EJ: Who would win in a fight – Remember Me’s Nilin, Mirror’s Edge’s Faith, or Beyond Good and Evil’s Jade?

J-M M: Nilin, without a shadow of a doubt.

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