A crash and a bang in the middle of the night. A Relationship and Organizational Manager (or ROM) robot Turing wakes you looking for aid. Hayden, Turing’s creator and one of your old friends, has gone missing. The little robot asks you for your help finding them, and the two of you begin a new adventure into solving the puzzle of the inventor’s disappearance. However, their search for the truth may not be successful, nor survivable, due to the unforgiving nature of the city Neo-San Francisco. With a shifting narrative, potential multiple endings and danger haunting each and every alleyway, this is the story of 2064: Read Only Memories from indie studio MidBoss — a point-and-click mystery-adventure game set fifty years into the future and shaded with the neon lights of a cyberpunk dystopia.
Fusing ‘90s retro pixel visuals and audio with the cultural cyberpunk obsession of ‘80s America, 2064: Read Only Memories is an amalgamation of influences from Sam & Max, Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island with a modern, mature storyline. Refreshingly, the futuristic anti-utopia is painted with luminous palettes and despite its complex narrative, the society of Neo-San Francisco is one that has left discrimination based on LGBTQIA+ identification in the past. Players will encounter a multitude of characters on their quest through the shiny city, differing in race, sexual orientation and gender expression. Additionally, players do not select a binary option for their hero’s gender. 2064: Read Only Memories proffers a wide variety of personal pronouns and even allows the player to create their own if they would like. It is this feature that has received so much praise, and when some games studios are restricting hero capabilities based on their gender (Zelda can’t be the warrior because she’s a girl, anyone?), it’s a breath of fresh air that MidBoss appreciate the diversity of a contemporary audience.
2064: Read Only Memories promises to deliver a narrative that is complicated yet pertinent to present-day debates on cybernetic augmentation, discrimination, and the intricacy of technology with humanity. It hopes to challenge and create new nuances of approaching these issues for players, and with that came high-profile interest in the game. The voiceover cast boasts talent such as Melissa Hutchinson, Austin Creed, Adam Harrington, with notable names Zoë Quinn and Dylan Zaner to name just a few. Furthermore, characters of color are voiced by actors of color, a small yet highly significant decision when thinking on representation in the industry. Thusly, it is not unreasonable to claim that MidBoss are a development studio of the future of gaming and its derivatives. Championing the realities of a diverse and inclusive world, both in game and behind the scenes, the core creativity of the MidBoss team is an aspect that all those involved in interactive storytelling should aspire to.
If your interest is piqued, a public demo is available! The full game is released on the 17th of this month, with a 10% launch discount on PC and PS4.