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Remember Me developers discuss futuristic setting with modern basis

Remember Me is "examining the growth of social media and how it affects people's lives" Mat Hart, Capcom

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Remember Me's developers at Dontnod Entertainment want the game to offer social commentary on today's society, and during a panel at New York Comic Con this weekend, they explained they're doing that by grounding the futuristic title in familiar elements from our world.

Remember Me takes place in 2084 in Neo-Paris, a city that contains structures we would recognize — such as the Eiffel Tower and the Bastille Pillar — but also looks very different from the Paris of today, with a "bigger-than-life layer" on top of current buildings. Neo-Paris is split into three zones: Deep-Paris, Mid-Paris and High-Paris. Deep-Paris is a poor district, full of slums and abandoned areas. Mid-Paris is the area that most closely resembles the current city. And High-Paris is the domain of the wealthy, a place that fits our clean vision of the future. It contains a utopian tower, and its inhabitants wear only black and white — a color scheme that has meaning in Remember Me.

Dontnod also explored setting the game in other cities, such as Sydney and Tokyo, but decided to go with Paris because the studio calls it home, and because the developers thought they could build a realistic future version of it. Dontnod wanted to "try to keep a sense of history" in Neo-Paris, said lead artist Aleksi Briclot, so much of the architecture throughout makes use of stone and wood. And in 2084 — a clear reference to George Orwell's 1984 and the dystopian vision of the future it outlined — Neo-Paris is also influenced by geopolitical changes spurred by global warming.

Yet the world is on the precipice of a period of peace, one brought on largely by the memory alteration technology developed by the corporation Memoreyes. The company's voluntary brain implant turns recollections into data, allowing the humans of the future to forget their painful memories of the past and share their better memories with others. According to Mat Hart, senior producer on Remember Me at Capcom, the game is "examining the growth of social media and how it affects people's lives." Nilin, the game's protagonist, makes a living as a Memory Hunter — someone who rewrites people's memories — until she wakes up in the Bastille with her own memory wiped.

With its setting and story, Dontnod is hoping to "raise some interesting questions beyond" producing an entertaining action game, said Briclot. Fans will find out if they succeeded when Remember Me launches in May 2013 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. For more, check out our Gamescom preview.

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