Memory’s Dogma CODE:01 will be out soon, and along with a the launch of new Steam store page, developer Liz-Arts has released a free Memory’s Dogma manga to introduce the game’s world and a few of the characters. It sets up what will no doubt be a fascinating story, with a candid exploration of suicide from a developer that has proven its ability to do justice to such complicated and personal themes.
Set in Tokyo in 2030, Memory’s Dogma paints a world in which memories can be digitised and stored. After a wave of crimes making use of the technology, these “e-memories” are strictly controlled by the Government, and may only be used to temporarily store memories of the recently deceased to help loved ones say goodbye. That’s not enough for Kusuhara Hiroki, who’s struggling with suicidal impulses after the death of his closest childhood friend, Mizunashi Sorano, and resolves to attempt to steal her memories.
It all sounds very Psycho-Pass in a way. That’s no bad thing, especially after the excellent Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness showed just how well the visual novel format can work for this sort of psychological sci-fi thriller. That said, given Liz-Arts’ previous work, I’m expecting something far more personal, and the Memory’s Dogma manga bolsters that expectation.
It opens with Hiroki waking up in a hospital, confused, with his friend Kakeru at his side. His bandaged wrists hint at what’s happened, and Hiroki’s brief internal monologue—”Failed again”—suggests that this isn’t uncommon. At that point, Kareru just comes out and says it: “You just don’t learn, do you? I already warned you, didn’t I? Out of the few ways to off yourself, slitting your wrist has the lowest chance of success.” We soon learn about Sorano and the reasons for Hiroki’s attempts at suicide; it’s more than a depression at the loss of his best friend: “I don’t get it myself. Just that… There are moments I sink into this feeling that Sorano’s calling for me.”
Even within just these few pages, this Memory’s Dogma manga to deliver a look at suicide that’s surprisingly open, something that’s a rarity in video games. It’s blunt and startling at first, but also offers a brief but nuanced look inside the mind of a suicidal person, setting up the game for a much deeper exploration of this theme. Again, Liz-Arts is a developer with a proven ability to tackle such subjects, so I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how Memory’s Dogma shapes up.
Memory’s Dogma CODE:01 is due out later this year for PC.