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Thread: [Multi] AI: The Somnium Files

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    [Multi] AI: The Somnium Files









    AI: The Somnium Files is an adventure video game developed and published by Spike Chunsoft, which released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in September 2019. It is set in Tokyo and follows detective Kaname Date, who investigates serial killings and enters witnesses' and suspects' memories to extract information to help solve them. The game is directed and written by Kotaro Uchikoshi, designed by Akira Okada, and produced by Yasuhiro Iizuka, and features character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki and music by Keisuke Ito.

    Gameplay
    AI: The Somnium Files is a mystery adventure game that is split into two types of sections: investigation and somnium parts. The story progresses through branching paths leading to multiple different endings, based on choices the player makes; the player only gets a full view of the story by playing through each route. Rather than starting over from the beginning several times to see different paths, the player can skip directly to the branching points using an in-game flow chart.

    During the investigation parts, the player character, as detective Kaname Date, uses his artificial intelligence unit Aiba's functions, such as X-ray vision and zooming, to further the investigation in the real world. During the somnium parts, Date uses a machine called the Psync Machine to enter the memories of suspects or key witnesses who do not want to share information with him, in the form of dreamscapes called "somnium", to find clues and extract the information by solving puzzles. The puzzles involve examining objects and choosing an action to perform with it, and solving mental locks – obstacles standing in the way of clues – allowing the player to sink deeper into the character's subconscious. There is a six-minute time limit before the dreamscape collapses, and as actions take time to perform, the player must be careful in deciding what to do. Within the somnium parts, Aiba takes on the form of a humanoid and acts as the player avatar.

    Setting
    AI: The Somnium Files takes place in a technologically advanced Tokyo in the near future, and follows Kaname Date and his top-secret team within the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, known as the Advanced Brain Investigation Squad (ABIS). ABIS is responsible for investigating crimes through the process of Psyncing, exploring the subconcious dreams of persons of interest via a machine connecting the two together in a dream state known as Somnium. ABIS agents doing such are known as Psyncers, and act as observers in subjects' dreams who are able to retrieve secrets and clues the subject may be hiding or may not be aware of. To ensure psyncers are not subject to adverse effects, their time in a subject's somnium is limited to a maximum of six minutes. Also featured in the universe is the topic of advanced Artificial Intelligence, based around a global cloud-based system known as the Wadjet System that acts as the core of AI.

    Plot

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    Kaname Date is called to a murder scene at Bloom Park in the quarantined Kabasaki district, where Shoko Nadami's corpse is found tied to a carousel horse with her left eye removed. Searching the area, Date finds Shoko's daughter Mizuki in the carousel's central column, clutching the murder weapon and suffering from aphonia. Date investigates the phone call made to the police about the scene, leading to his friend Renju's company Lemniscate as well as Ota and Iris. At the end of the day, it's decided for Date to psync with Mizuki to learn more about what happened and hopefully cure her aphonia.

    Depending on choices made in Mizuki's somnium (and in subsequent somniums), the game branches off in different and often conflicting ways that lead to the player learning more clues. As the player progresses through the various branches, they are eventually able to piece together a lot of the game's backstory and how it ties into the present.

    18 years prior to the game's events, Manaka Iwai was the mistress of Congressman So Sejima, eventually giving birth to a girl. After meeting him at the docks, Manaka was repeatedly stabbed in the back by So's psychopathic son Saito and buried by the Kumakuras after Rohan removed her right eye. Following a GPS tracker, Renju and Hitomi were able to dig her up shortly after and kept her body frozen in the Okiura cold warehouse since then. Manaka's baby was raised by Hitomi, who chose the name Iris.

    6 years prior to the game's events, Hayato Yagyu was a police officer started killing criminals after realised they would quickly walk free, leaving nothing for the police to find. Rohan discovered it and forced the officer to doing the same for the Kumakuras, giving him the codename "Falco". One such job led him being chased after taking a bullet to the stomach. Hitomi found him, nursed him back to health and the pair started a relationship, becoming a father figure to Iris. One day, Rohan broke into their home and attempted to shoot Falco, but Hitomi moved into the path of the bullets (and lost the nerves in her right arm as a result). Falco was arrested for his past events, becoming #89.

    In addition, the player learns a state secret: The reason for the six minute limit left when in Somnium is because spending too long in Somnium can cause the conciousness and memories of both the psyncer and host to switch, causing them to change bodies. The player also finds the prototype Psync machine, in the abandoned chemical plant in Kabasaki where the explosion took place.

    Date had been incapacitated by Falco at the disused chemical plant, after discovering Renju dead. After waking up strapped into the prototype Psync machine, he realises #89 in front of him is actually Saito. Saito laid out what happened: As Shoko, he had lured Renju to the chemical plant, swapped bodies and left Shoko's body in Bloom Park. Next, he had attempted to lure Iris but Date's warning earlier in the story prevented that. After getting into a serious car accident while in Renju's body, Saito had to improvise - When he had secretly heard from Pewter that #89 was being sent to ABIS, "Renju" asked Pewter to help #89 escape. With Rohan (as #89/Falco) and Saito (as Renju) reunited, the two swapped bodies, causing Rohan's consciousness (now in Renju's body) to die due to Renju's injuries. Saito then used Falco's body to lure Iris to the plant, since she had been looking for him since, which in turn lured Hitomi and Date to him.

    With all this explained, Saito forcibly psync'd with Date, exchanging bodies in the process. As Saito celebrated and Date went unconcious, he remembered what happened six years ago - Wanting to leave the Kumakuras' service, Rohan had demanded Falco do one last job: Killing Hitomi and Iris due to their connection to Manaka's murder. Knowing someone else would've killed them if he failed to do so, he confessed his past to Boss who suggested swapping bodies with Rohan so he could call the hit off. During the Psync between himself and Rohan, Falco also discovered that the original Cyclops Killer was Saito with Rohan removing their victims' right eyeballs post-death. However, Rohan escaped and went to Hitomi's house to kill her - Falco in Rohan's body arrived to save Hitomi, but inadvertently shot her as she defended "Falco". Boss and the police arrested Rohan while still in Falco's body, becoming #89.

    While still in Rohan's body, Falco went to see Saito to get a confession for the Cyclops Killings. However, Saito saw through the deception and interrogated Falco, learning of the Psync technology and the ability to change bodies. Stealing the prototype Psync machine, Saito swapped bodies with Falco. However, Falco escaped before the Psync process finished, taking Saito's body but leaving his memories behind. Found wandering the streets by Boss, she created a new identity for him: Kaname Date. Because of Falco's past, the MPD covered it up effectively erasing Hayato Yagyu from history. Saito in turn stayed in Rohan's body in a secure hospital for five years, before somehow swapping bodies with Shoko Nadami. The swap caused Shoko (in Rohan's body) to jump off a roof to his/her suicide, while also starting the chain of swaps encompassing the New Cyclops Killings.

    Before he could force Date to watch Hitomi and Iris die, Saito is suddenly ambushed and chased off by Moma, who Aiba had called for help. Following further into the plant with a rifle, Date sees Iris held at gunpoint by Saito. Just as Saito is about to fire, he is similarly ambushed by Hitomi and Ota, the latter untying Iris. The group chase Saito to the top floor, where he has Hitomi at gunpoint. Facing a dilemma of how to save her, Date is called by Aiba who suggests her self-destruct mechanism, which would kill Saito but also herself. Date invokes it with great reluctance, causing Saito's head to explode and saving Hitomi. Mourning Aiba's sacrifice, Date forgets his old identity and reaffirms himself as Kaname Date.

    Three months later, Iris is recovering from nanotech surgery to remove her brain tumors, unknowingly paid for by the MPD in return for Date's friends keeping what they know on the Old and New Cyclops Killers secret. Iris asks Date to take her to the game's various characters. While talking with Boss, Date is unexpectedly knocked out by her and wakes up in the Psync room with Pewter who reports on his incarceration. So is less angry now that Date is no longer reminding him of Saito, and reveals he is no longer a politician, his agreement for Saito to disappear was his suspected leverage against the MPD, and that the chemical plant explosion was Saito's plan so that So could turn Kabasaki into a casino district. Mizuki now owns Lemniscate due to inheriting Renju's ownership but is still arguing with Date. Ota now works multiple jobs, but is still exaggerating his heroism to anyone listening. Mayumi now has medication to help her delirium and has resolved her past animosity towards Iris. Moma has spread his love for A-Set to the rest of the Kumakuras. Since psyncing isn't known to the public, everyone believes that Date needed plastic surgery and it unfortunately made him look like Falco.

    Finally, Iris takes Date to the warehouse district where she shows him a surprise: Aiba back from the dead, rebuilt using the Wadjet System and implanted by Pewter while unconscious at ABIS. The game ends with Iris leading a dance number featuring most of the surviving characters.

    Development
    The game was written and directed by Kotaro Uchikoshi (left), with character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki (right).
    AI: The Somnium Files was developed by Spike Chunsoft,[6] and was written and directed by Kotaro Uchikoshi, produced by Yasuhiro Iizuka, designed by Akira Okada, and includes character designs by Yūsuke Kozaki and music by Keisuke Ito. Kozaki was approached by Uchikoshi for his role as character designer due to being an internationally known artist, and how Uchikoshi wanted the art to have a worldwide appeal. The game was developed with a higher budget than that of Uchikoshi's previous work, the Zero Escape series, which according to Uchikoshi helped allow him to express his concept for the game in a way that he was unable to with Zero Escape. Comparing AI: The Somnium Files with Zero Escape, Uchikoshi described AI: The Somnium Files as being made more with adventure game fans in mind, in contrast to Zero Escape's heavy use of cutscenes.

    Two of the game's core themes are eyes and "different types and expressions of love", reflected in how the title AI is pronounced "eye" and in how "ai" (愛) is the Japanese word for love. The title also has additional meanings in that it is pronounced like the English word "I" and is short for "artificial intelligence", and the "Somnium" in the subtitle is taken from the Latin word for "dream". The idea of entering characters' dreams to solve cases was proposed by Iizuka. Uchikoshi thought it was intriguing, so he decided to use it in the game. The game's investigation-based puzzles are intentionally designed to be less difficult than those in the Zero Escape series,[9] and are described by Uchikoshi as a modern take on the style of Hideo Kojima's 1994 adventure game Policenauts. Other influences on the game included EVE (1995) and The Silver Case (1999); Okada additionally mentioned Life Is Strange (2015), Detroit: Become Human (2018), Heavy Rain (2010) and The Walking Dead (2012–2019) as influencing his work on the game.[12]

    The game was first teased at a Game Developers Conference 2017 press event under the working title Project Psync, with a piece of artwork depicting an eye. Spike Chunsoft announced the game the following year during an Anime Expo 2018 panel, and released a first teaser trailer introducing Date. In January 2019, Spike Chunsoft started promoting the game with a YouTube and Twitter account for the character Iris.

    The game was released in North America on September 17, 2019, in Japan on September 19, and in Europe on September 20 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4, with both English and Japanese audio. In addition to the standard edition, a "Special Agent Edition" was also released, which included an artbook, the game's soundtrack, an Iris acrylic stand, a set of stickers, and a game box. Due to manufacturing delays and increased demand, the North American physical release was delayed until September 24, 2019.











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  2. #2
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    Variation on a Dream LtPsycho's Avatar
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    Member Glory's Avatar
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    Mooie thread en snel de daad bij het woord gevoegd, @Like-a-Bunny !

    Ik heb de game net binnen en zal hier wel wat bevindingen neerzetten. Ik ben benieuwd, goede verhalen al gehoord hierover!

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    Member Glory's Avatar
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    Ik heb er zo'n 8 uur inzitten en de game voor het eerst een keer doorlopen. De game lijkt qua sfeer en mysterie heel erg op 999. Mocht je die game geweldig vinden, dan ga je dit ook wel kunnen waarderen. Plottwists komen telkens net op het juiste moment om je nog meer op te zuigen in het mysterie. Ik heb het idee dat de pacing wat dat betreft wel iets beter is dan 999.

    Verder hoef je geen echt noemenswaardige veranderingen te verwachten. Deze game speelt en ziet eruit alsof het nog steeds een (3)DS game is. De gameplay is niet noemenswaardig en voelt heel random aan (op een vervelende manier). Het gaat echt alleen om het mysterie wat het interessant houdt. Wat wel tof is, is dat vrijwel alle dialogen zijn ingesproken waardoor de karakters iets meer gaan leven.

    Verder is de game echt extreem sexistisch, op een totaal niet subtiele manier. Groot minpunt wat mij betreft en past totaal niet in de verdere sfeer.

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    Member n00b_0wnage's Avatar
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    Bedoel je met 'doorlopen' dat je de game uitgespeeld hebt? Een game die maar 8 uur duurt?

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    Member Glory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n00b_0wnage View Post
    Bedoel je met 'doorlopen' dat je de game uitgespeeld hebt? Een game die maar 8 uur duurt?
    Nee, deze game heeft meerdere vertakkingen in het verhaal. Ik heb nu 1 vertakking gedaan door bepaalde keuzes te maken, maar snap er nog weinig van. Je moet alle vertakkingen gedaan hebben om het hele verhaal te begrijpen.

    Dit was bij 999 ook al zo, maar de structuur is nu wel een stuk duidelijker.

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    Administrator Liquidje's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glory View Post
    Nee, deze game heeft meerdere vertakkingen in het verhaal. Ik heb nu 1 vertakking gedaan door bepaalde keuzes te maken, maar snap er nog weinig van. Je moet alle vertakkingen gedaan hebben om het hele verhaal te begrijpen.

    Dit was bij 999 ook al zo, maar de structuur is nu wel een stuk duidelijker.
    Oh wow thanks man <3 999 en die Zero Escape games, jezus wat goed.

    Jammer dat de prijs nog wat steep is. Maar echt, ontzettend bedankt voor de tip. Dit lijkt mij wel wat.

    Het sexuele kan ik mij voorstellen, maar ik vond 999 / ZE al vrij edgy op momenten. Ach, het hoort er soms een beetje bij

    edit: oh lol is ook van Spike ChunSoft
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    Member Glory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquidje View Post
    Oh wow thanks man <3 999 en die Zero Escape games, jezus wat goed.

    Jammer dat de prijs nog wat steep is. Maar echt, ontzettend bedankt voor de tip. Dit lijkt mij wel wat.

    Het sexuele kan ik mij voorstellen, maar ik vond 999 / ZE al vrij edgy op momenten. Ach, het hoort er soms een beetje bij

    edit: oh lol is ook van Spike ChunSoft
    Ja, als je 999 geweldig vindt (die andere games heb ik helaas nooit gespeeld), ga je dit ook heel tof vinden. Ik ben even wat verder gaan spelen en heb wat andere branches vrijgespeeld en ben echt totaal hooked. Ik denk dat deze game iets minder abstract is en meer grounded aanvoelt dan 999 (wat ik niet echt erg vindt, want het einde van die game vond ik echt veel te ver gezocht).

    Ik heb nog even gezocht en kennelijk is de switch versie niet heel lekker geoptimaliseerd (lage resolutie en veel aliasing), vandaar mijn klacht over de graphics in mijn vorige post. Mocht je de keuze hebben en toch niet in handheld mode willen spelen, zou ik wel overwegen om de PS4/PC versie te nemen. Die schijnt er een stuk beter uit te zien (vooral scherper).

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    Administrator Liquidje's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glory View Post
    Ja, als je 999 geweldig vindt (die andere games heb ik helaas nooit gespeeld), ga je dit ook heel tof vinden. Ik ben even wat verder gaan spelen en heb wat andere branches vrijgespeeld en ben echt totaal hooked. Ik denk dat deze game iets minder abstract is en meer grounded aanvoelt dan 999 (wat ik niet echt erg vindt, want het einde van die game vond ik echt veel te ver gezocht).
    Heb je de sequels van 999 (Zero Escape - Virtue's Last Reward & Zero Time Dilemma) ook goespeeld?

    En ik vond 999 wel wat vergezocht, maar damn wat hebben ze de gameplay, de story, en wat de game uniek maakt goed in elkaar verwerkt imho <3

    Maar deze staat bovenaan de wishlist. Ik moet echt alles in mij aanwenden om deze game niet te kopen nu :')
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    Member Glory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquidje View Post
    Heb je de sequels van 999 (Zero Escape - Virtue's Last Reward & Zero Time Dilemma) ook goespeeld?
    Nee, nooit gedaan. Ik had niet echt een goed gevoel aan het einde van 999 over gehouden zoals ik al zei. Toen ik las dat de opvolger het principe van 9 kamers e.d. vasthield, had ik er eigenlijk niet zoveel zin meer in. Daarna de serie ook een beetje uit het oog verloren.

    Misschien nog wel een idee om die op te pakken (zeker VLR) als dit naar het einde toe blijft bevallen.

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    Member Glory's Avatar
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    En ik ben er volledig doorheen nu. Ga er verder niet teveel over zeggen, maar als je 999 geweldig vond, ga je dit ook leuk vinden. Het verhaal wordt op een fantastische manier verteld. Ik was behoorlijk snel hooked en het heeft me eigenlijk tot dicht bij het einde niet meer losgelaten. Karakters zijn ook een stuk meer uitgewerkt dan in 999 en hebben echt een hoofdrol. Ik vond de opzet geslaagder dan in 999, maar daar zullen de meningen wel over verdeeld zijn. Het is een enorme trip, zonder dat het echt ergens uit de bocht schiet. Ontzettend knap gedaan.

    Verwacht niet teveel van de gameplay, dan kan het alleen maar meevallen. Het is echt gewoon een visual novel, met nagenoeg geen bewegingsvrijheid (minder dan in 999 ook) en je hoeft ook vrijwel niets zelf uit te zoeken. De somniums (waar de voornaamste gameplay in zit) zijn soms leuk gedaan, maar de meeste voelen ontzettend random aan, waarbij je weinig controle hebt over wat er gebeurt.

    Ook kan ik echt aanraden, niet voor de Switch versie te gaan, tenzij de handheld mode echt belangrijk is. Naast de niet zo crispy graphics, heeft de game naar het einde toe steeds langere laadtijden. Het komt regelmatig voor dat je enkele secondes moet wachten tussen normale dialoog gesprekken. Ontzettend vervelend.

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