It's important to note that The Art of Remember Me is spoilerific. The book starts off with basic chapters on the art design of Neo-Paris and Nilin, the game's protagonist, but then quickly heads into chapters based off the game's different episodes. While details are not strictly given, some of the connections and twists crop up after a while, meaning if you want to preserve the story for yourself, I highly recommend reading The Art of Remember Me after you've played the game. If you're just looking for a few extra details on what's to come without spoiling the story, I suggest checking out my WonderCon coverage, which touched on a lot of the game's setting and an overview of the gameplay mechanics without diving into the meat of the story.
One of the aspects I've been most impressed with in Remember Me is the three-tiered city of Neo-Paris consisting of Deep-Paris, Mid-Paris, and High-Paris. Deep-Paris is the slum areas of the city where the dregs of humanity go and those who can't afford to buy their way out of it; it's run down and dirty, but still unmistakably Paris. Mid-Paris is the Paris of today, expanded upon, but not far outside our scope of technology, with familiar architecture. High-Paris, on the other hand, is a science fiction utopia, filled with the latest tech and the richest citizens. Each of these sections of the city has a distinct feel and character to it. No better place is this seen than in this art book which contains several dozen concept pieces for each tier. The creative team has created something special here, building upon the preexisting structure of Paris and turning it into a unique but still believable place.
This book is filled with gorgeous art work. You're probably thinking, “Yeah, Kristine, it's called an art book,” but the sheer scope of Remember Me's art caught me off guard. Besides the settings and the character designs, The Art of Remember Me goes deeper into their process, focusing its attention also on graffiti, advertisements, and, most fascinating to me, the use of metaphors in their game. A lot of thought went into the color and shape of everything. The colors characters wear are statements about who they are and what their ties are. Everything down to a logo has a meaning behind it, and it's this aspect that makes The Art of Remember Me a perfect buy after playing through the game for the first time and getting ready for a second play through.
Perhaps my favorite chapter is the Deleted Memories, which covers many of the abandoned ideas DONTNOD had while creating the game such as using a different city than Paris and having a different, more punk-styled Nilin. It's fun to think about the other directions this game could have taken in its years of development.
So, plug June 4th into your Sensen and remember to pick up Remember Me. Then, when you're finished, consider taking a deeper look at Neo-Paris and the thought that went into this brilliant-looking game.
Four and a Half George Orwell References out of Five