Zero Escape director reveals new murder mystery adventure AI: The Somnium Files

Kotaro Uchikoshi, creator and director of the wonderful visual novel mystery series Zero Escape (which spans 999: 9 Hours 9 People 9 Doors, Virtue’s Last Reward, and Zero Dilemma), has revealed first proper details of his latest venture – murder yarn AI: The Somnium Files.

Uchikoshi first spoke about his Zero Escape follow-up in March last year, when AI: The Somnium Files was teased with a bit of gruesome eye art, and merely known by its codename Project: PSYNC. Now, however, speaking at Spike Chunsoft’s Anime Expo 2018 panel, the designer has shared more – including the evocative announcement trailer below.

AI: The Somnium Files unfolds in a technologically-advanced modern-day Tokyo, and begins with the discovery of a body that’s had its left eye gouged out. Enter Kaname Date, a detective with a cybernetic eye, on the trail of a serial killer.

Thanks to the AI helper in his eye, Date can peer into the memories of witnesses and suspects in order to extract new information. These memories, explained Uchikoshi, are like dreamscapes, and are called “somnium”, from the Latin word for dream. All of which sounds somewhat reminiscent of Bloober Team’s excellent detective sci-fi horror Observer from last year.

During the Anime Expo panel, Uchikoshi also revealed a second character from AI – Iris Sagan, an 18-year-old high school student and “net idol” who posts videos of herself to YouTube, dancing, singing, and doing Let’s Plays. She has an as-yet-unknown part in the mystery.

AI: The Somnium Files has snagged Yusuke Kozaki as lead character designer (who previously created characters for the likes of Fire Emblem: Awakening, No More Heroes, and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan) and Spike Chunsoft says the game is coming to Switch, PS4, and PC.

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