This is a translation of pages 39-46 of the Remember11 Premium Book that was released with the PSP port. The booklet was released in April 2009, 5 years after the original release of Remember11.
Transcript: Google Drive (credit to √Ganesh#1825 from the discord server)
“Remember11” is the final entry in the “Infinity” series. This is an exclusive interview with Takumi Nakazawa, who served as director and scenario writer, about the truth of the series’s most complex story. It also includes spoilers for Never7 and Ever17, so if you can, please finish those first before reading this
“That Guy” who meddles in the world of Remember11 was born in a bar!
Q: Remember11 is one of the most complex titles in the Infinity series. Could you tell us how you came up with the plan for it?
A: Initially, we decided that we wanted to make a suspense story with personality exchanges in a facility on a snowy mountain and a closed-off area, then the plot was built up from there. But that lacked depth and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t think of the last element to make it complete. So I went drinking with Kotaro Uchikoshi and I hit my head on the ceiling in the bar while I was drunk. Then Uchikoshi, who was watching the whole thing, said “That’s it!”. I didn’t have the intention of hitting my head, but I was the one that did it, nobody else hit me. “I don’t know why I did it, but I did it myself”. That idea was the beginning of everything and we inserted it into the suspense. Ever17 was about freeing the player from the mystery of the game by solving the problems faced by Blick Winkel (BW) who has the same viewpoint as the player. But such a being doesn’t only have good effects on the world. Such an existence may have hit its head like in the story I described earlier. What would the characters feel if they did something but they don’t know why they did it? I thought it would be interesting because it was the opposite of Ever17.
Q: Ever17 and Remember11 have elements of meta-fiction depending on how they are interpreted. Ever17 has the scene where the characters meet with BW, but in Remember11 I felt that the process of discovering “That Guy” was not clear. Is it because the focus is on their reaction and response to this discovery, and not on the discovery itself?
A: That’s right. The process of discovery is in-progress during Ever17, but in Remember11 it is a past event. That’s the reason for the name “Remember11” (remember, recall). In this work, there is an omnipotent and absolute presence called “That Guy” that manipulates the world. Ever17’s BW can only see the world at one point in time and doesn’t have the ability to manipulate it. However, “That Guy” distorts reality and influences the characters.
Q: But it knows all the things that can happen in that world.
A: This is represented by the TIPS system. While the player is reading the TIPS, the game stops progressing, right? From the perspective of the game characters, this is the same as instantly knowing everything.
Q: Even the other systems have a meaning. The basic idea with the choice system is that you can infer with the world, right?
A: Yes, that’s how it was represented.
Q: So what does “That Guy” represent for someone playing the game?
A: I intended it to be understood like this. Since the characters are in this terrible situation because of a higher presence (ie. the player), then this time they will punish it. The person making choices is left with a feeling that they can’t finish. As a piece of entertainment it leaves many unanswered questions (bitter smile). Everything that the characters do in the game world is overseen by “That Guy”. How can they punish someone like that… It’s a story where they need to rack their brains.
Q: Looking at the TIPS, [ORE] seems to have memories transplanted from “That Guy”. However, the knowledge that [ORE] has is exactly the same as the player who has read the manual and cleared the Kokoro route, right?
A: Yeah, that’s “red accepts blue entirely”. Satoru is the so-called detective, and is named “Satoru” (perceive) to reflect his intelligence. Even if you’re not as sharp and capable as Satoru, would you be able to act wisely if you could redo everything using all of the information you collected? It’s an idea from Never7. Well, who is this “person” that’s going to act wisely?
Q: So Satoru didn’t experience memory loss but had a memory transplant from “That Guy”?
A: [ORE] doesn’t know things that he should know. As mentioned in the TIPS, there is a reason for this condition. How do we create the inconsistent memories that he has? They’re not missing by chance. For whatever reason, those are the memories he has. Use that to guide your thinking. Well, I feel like I’ve already said the answer (laughs).
Q: Along with [ORE] and “That Guy”, Self was one of the difficult words to interpret. In the transition video that plays when a personality transfer occurs, the name “Self” is displayed. Are Kokoro and Satoru under its control?
A: That’s part of the meaning. It also shows that the transitions actually occur between 3 points, not 2. The word “Self” has no specific meaning and is used flexibly. When different characters refer to “Self”, they may not be referring to the same thing.
Fuyukawa Kokoro, Mayuzumi Lin and Utsumi Kali: The female characters who are toyed with by fate.
Q: I wanted to ask about each character. The protagonist’s face was shown many times at the start of the Kokoro route. This is a start contrast to Ever17.
A: I wanted to show the protagonist’s face this time so you can be shocked when it turns into a man’s face after a personality exchange. Also, since Ever17 hid the protagonist for the twists, we decided to subvert it to deny readers that theory (laughs).
Q: Kokoro is left-handed even after entering Satoru’s body, but when Satoru entered Kokoro’s body he could hardly do a push-up. Does your physical ability depend on your body or personality?
A: Of course it’s the body. The interpretation for why Kokoro remained left-handed even after entering Satoru’s body is because of procedural memory where actions are remembered through repetition. She doesn’t feel a particular discomfort with Satoru’s right hand, but Kokoro simply isn’t used to using it. Therefore, even if you enter Satoru’s body, Kokoro is always left-handed. Because Satoru’s body is quite muscular, that’s why Alpha caused so much damage when it entered his body in the latter half of the story.
Q: Alright, what about the two-sided Lin?
A: Two-sided doesn’t mean two personalities. She is firm and tough at work, but in private she shows an innocent smile to her lover. Everyone has this unconscious behavior. I wanted to make her this way because I saw the movie “My Sassy Girl” (猟奇的な彼女, lit. That Bizarre Girl) during planning. Even though she’s cute, it’s scary how selfish she can be (laughs). I thought it would be interesting to put these elements into my work. However, if you always have this kind of personality, it becomes a comedy. Since this is an emergency, we put this kind of personality in it. She expresses the duality within everyone in an easy-to-understand manner in the form of “I’m a beautiful woman, but I’ll rant when I open my mouth”.
Q: What about Utsumi, the mother of the two children. She was confined in the pure white room in Hotarubi. Was that a Leiblich facility or something?
A: It is a room that Satoru and his colleagues made to carry out the plan. By the way, the Hotarubi mine is located in Moegi village (萌葱村). Moegi means “light yellowish green”. Together with the red of Mount Akakura (朱倉岳, 朱=red) and the blue of Aosagi Island (青鷺島, 青=blue), you get RGB which are the three primary colors of light. In July 2011, Satoru and Enomoto set everything in motion using the transfer device in Hotarubi. I decided to make the room white since white is the origin of all colors and that room is the start point.
Q: At the beginning of the Kokoro route, there is a scene where Utsumi has bloody hands. What was she doing?
A: It’s exactly as she said. Alpha entered Satoru’s body and caused him to bleed due to self-harm, so she tended to his wound. The reason she gets upset is that she was suddenly surprised that she was being suspected. It’s a typical pattern when you become more suspicious if you say it wasn’t you. The scene where Satoru’s body is harmed is actually quite simple. Satoru and the player themselves create the danger in their imagination, a murderer without a form, and they just say things without really knowing. For example, there’s a scene where Satoru is attacked in the dark and is injured, but if you choose to attack the shadowy figure, he will die and get a bad end. That figure isn’t actively stabbing, but Satoru got stabbed as a result of the struggle with them. Inubushi is suspected as a criminal, but she has never hurt anyone during the game.
Q: Speaking of which, there is a scene in which a man killed by Inubushi says “The shadow has come”, but does that mean that’s something he created out of fear?
A: Quite simply, there are many ways to interpret the shadow of an unidentified figure coming out of the darkness. Like “self”, this word does not have a single meaning.
Inubushi Keiko and Kusuda Yuni — The true meaning behind their mysterious speech and conduct
Q: I want to talk about Inubushi. She seems to be an inconsistent character in the Satoru route, but is it still due to DID?
A: In truth, that’s just Inubushi’s personality. It’s more like a borderline condition than a personality change. Sure, the way she speaks and the tension change, but it’s just one personality with all of its memories. It is her personality that kills the rat. The appearance of Hotori isn’t surprising because of how her personality keeps shifting. She only thinks “is this yet another new personality?” And when she retracts (ie. moves into the Hotori body on Mount Akakura), she can’t move and dislikes the cold. However since this isn’t clearly stated in-game, you may interpret it as a symptom of DID. That interpretation fits, but it’s just that we wrote it with this intention. I thought it would be more interesting to not have a murderer while giving the initial feeling that there’s a killer lurking (laughs).
Q: I’m sure that tricked some people. Anyway, when Kokoro first transferred to SPHIA in Satoru’s body, she actually met the true Hotori in Inubushi’s body, right?
A: That’s right. She fainted from the impact of the plane crash, and when she woke up she was there. At that point, she thought she was rescued. Now that I think about it, maybe she was too calm (laughs). Anyway, she didn’t notice the personality change yet. She looked in the mirror and discovered that she’s in an abnormal situation that’s not at the same level as the plane crash, and she became confused and started rampaging.
Q: If you look at it from the view of Kokoro or Satoru who know the body isn’t theirs, they can come to a proper conclusion. The other people around them are also surprised. Speaking of surprise, about Hotori’s finger…
A: The real Hotori and Inubushi swap bodies, and Hotori is still alive. That CG was drawn to convey that as a hint. If the real Hotori’s body was full of life, that would have allowed Inubushi to move around Mount Akakura. That would really surprise everyone above all else (laughs).
Q: Next up, Yuni’s situation confused many players. The scene where Yuni listens to the 2011 radio in SPHIA seems boring, but it’s an important scene when thinking about the tricks of the story. Am I overthinking it by saying that he looks bored to distract players from the truth?
A: As you said, it’s an important hint. But at the same time, it would have been boring if the trick was exposed at that time, so the contents of the programs were intentionally bland. However, when he’s listening to the radio in 2011, he really is just bored.
Q: When talking to him, sometimes a strange voice is suddenly heard or something jumps out. It stands out, but what is the real intention?
A: If you ask too much, Yuni’s plan to meet with the real Satoru before the execution of the Yukidoh plan will break down. Everything he says is said in a way to prevent history from changing. Until it is done, his intentions are desperately wrapped in smoke. But it should still be taken seriously. The reason he’s so busy is because Satoru lost his memories. Because of that, Yuni had to act as a facilitator for the story. Without that guidance, only Yuni can steer the plan back on track. From the player’s point of view he’s making this a little confusing, but without him, the story wouldn’t work.
Q: That’s why Yuni condemns Satoru in Kokoro’s body at the start.
A: Satoru’s loss of memories was only one of the possibilities written on the terabyte disk. That’s why he’s angry. Why, of all things, did Satoru have to forget? They may have a hard time now because of that. Thankfully the terabyte disk has a way to deal with this situation, so he can manage to deal with it.
Q: A little off-topic, but the reason Satoru realized the truth of the transfer phenomenon is because of the sea and the phase of the moon. The elements of the moon and sea can also be seen in Never7 and Ever17.
A: During Never7, there was no deep meaning to those. However, I wanted to add jellyfish somewhere to express the process of Kurumi overcoming and accepting her circumstances. Uchikoshi made up a touching fairytale to go along with it. Jellyfish can be written as 月海 or “Tsugumi” (月=moon, 海=sea). That event CG and LeMU attraction in Ever17 were created because of this. “Qualle” and “Tsugumi” both come from 月海. Because it ties very well, we tried to make it a classic story. Some jellyfish are biologically immortal and will rejuvenate at the end of their life to allow their genes to live. This is similar to the Cure Virus and the infinity loop, so I decided to make it a key point in that game.
Q: The tagline “The labyrinth of memories that’s killing me” was also impressive. It’s a phrase that can be interpreted in many ways.
A: First of all, the fact that you can’t understand the various mysterious things that happened is similar to walking into a maze. You can also interpret it as locking someone in a maze. The idea is that you can lock someone in without ever touching them. If you can invite them into it, you can lock them up without touching them, right? It’s good if you can trick someone to enter it unknowingly. That’s what Satoru and his colleagues are trying to do. Of course, I’m not talking about physically locking it up, but taking revenge by taking away its freedom.
Was the story of Satoru and Kokoro complete? What does the word “story” refer to?
Q: The good end for the Satoru route was shocking.
A: Did it leave a bad aftertaste (bitter smile)? This is a story where the characters are saved, but the people watching are not saved. That’s because revenge is the goal of the characters. I haven’t used this kind of ending in more recent titles, but I thought that was the best form of expression given the circumstances at the time of production. If you’re one of the people around Satoru, I’m sure life will go on after the good end. There are still mysteries like the origin of the terabyte disk, but it doesn’t make sense to talk about them. We don’t understand the origin of the universe in the same way. It’s literally a different dimension. When were BW and “That Guy” born? Even if you think about it, you can’t answer it unless you’re one dimension above. Also, seeing all these various explanations from players, I feel bad giving a precise answer… At first I was reluctantly holding back, now I feel like I can’t speak no matter what. It’s thanks to the players who put all their brainpower in solving this story that this story has spread further then I imagined. I’m deeply grateful.
Q: Looking at the peculiar nature of this work, there is some criticism that it is an incomplete work.
A: That can’t be helped. Not all of the information is presented. If you believe it is incomplete, I just have to accept that. Anything I say would just be an excuse, so I’ll accept any criticism. I’m sorry for those who say this is an incomplete work. I can only say that I will do my best to make the next titles more enjoyable. Thank you to those who theorized about what the story meant and continue to enjoy it. For the people around Satoru, this story is complete. The tragedy is that Satoru is not the perspective that witnesses the conclusion. Because of this discrepancy, it left a bad aftertaste.
Q: When you reach the end, the sentence “This story is not finished yet” appears. The story of Satoru and the people around him is complete, so what is the meaning of the word “story”?
A: The correct interpretation is the story of the player. That sentence came from the plot of “Infinity”. “Infinity” [the original version of Never7] had no concept of Cure Syndrome and was just a story about time travel. That story is over, but there was a plan to end it like a horror movie where your story might still be infinitely looping. It was also a message that your should simply move on and play the other heroine routes, but those who are addicted will play the same scenario over and over again. This is a kind of infinity loop. It will repeat eternally and won’t advance into the future. This story ends here, but your story starts here. I wanted to be cool by ending with such meaningful words (laughs). It’s a theme that’s been repeatedly used after “Infinity”. Even after the story is over, another story continues. That’s an infinite loop.
Q: Finally, could you tell us what this work was like for you?
A: Remember11 was a turning point for me. It was also a break and a chance to re-evaluate myself. It was the last title I released as an employee of KID and the last title in the Infinity series. It carries a lot of emotions. We received a variety of responses, from rave reviews to scolding criticism, and I was able to return to my original intentions. I played the game again for the first time in a long time because of the PSP port, and I was still very satisfied with how the introduction manages to hook you in. I don’t have much pride in the introductions of the works I’ve made after Remember11. None of them have the same pull as the start of Remember11. However, I reflected deeply on how the ending was not well-received and left a bad aftertaste. In any case, each of these games was made by me, and I’m going to do my best in the future.
Playback Remember11 (1st)
Here is the event CG that left an impression on Nakazawa, which introduces the real backstory. Satoru’s sister, Sayaka, is not shown in Kokoro’s side of the story but the Yukidoh Plan is created because Satoru – “independent of his will” (due to the player’s choice?) – laid his hands on her. It’s regrettable this wasn’t depicted because this event is necessary to understand this work. Against his will, a god-like entity manipulated him unnecessarily… If Satoru didn’t think this way, he might not be able bear the consequences of his action.
Playback Remember11 (2nd)
A date scene that shows Satoru and Lin in the Kokoro route. Actually, if you look closely at the scene, you can see Satoru’s hair is black. This is where a hint to discover the truth is hidden. Satoru doesn’t appear on-screen in the prologue and is foreshadowed by the fact that Inubushi says it’s her first encounter with Satoru in the Satoru route. Just like Ever17, Nakazawa said he was careful about directing and CG.