If you think about it, loading a game really is like traveling through time.
ANONYMOUS;CODE, the latest game from Steins;Gate creator, Chiyomaru Shikura, takes place in a world where technology allows people to access information directly into their neural pathways in a manner similar to Ghost in the Shell. The story revolves around the character, Poron, a young hacker with a fascinating ability.
A playable demo of the game was available on the floor of Tokyo Game Show 2016 and I got a chance to check out this new-fangled take on a very basic game system.
In the demo, a hack/hijacking of a plane has taken place. As the hacker, Poron, you are given an in-game time limit of thirty minutes before the culprit hacker remotely flies the plane into the city and crashes it. As the story slowly unfolds, the game quicksaves at certain points. Poron gathers information on what’s going on and how to maybe prevent the crash as the clock ticks down. Eventually, it becomes clear that despite what you’ve learned, it’s too late to prevent the crash. As the story heads towards its inevitable conclusion, the upper left corner of the screen flashes indicating that you should use Poron’s unique ability.
By opening the system menu and selecting Load, Poron takes control and the game loads to the first quicksave. With the knowledge gathered before loading the game, Poron makes the events unfold in a different manner to solve what couldn’t be solved before and hopefully prevent the plane crash…
Personally, I think the use of the save/load mechanic as a way to apparently leap through time is an incredibly creative concept. The creator, Chiyomaru Shikura, has always added an overlapping layer of interactivity in his games which I have enjoyed. The demo for ANONYMOUS;CODE only really utilizes the system once, but even that brief sample was enough to make me imagine a whole host of potential ways in which it can be utilized.
The demo itself was short and fairly linear–despite the in-game loop-around with the loading mechanic. I only got a general idea of the characters’ archetypes and not really their personalities or backgrounds, and the world itself was largely a mystery to me. However, what I did get to see of the game and the creator’s track record are enough to reassure me of the finished product’s quality.
ANONYMOUS;CODE is currently scheduled for release in Japan later this year. There is no word on a Western release.