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AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative, from the Zero Escape devs, will arrive 2022

To solve with your AI eyeball Alba

Grisly murder mystery visual novel AI: The Somnium Files is getting a sequel. Called AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative, it features a new set of murders to solve with AI-eyeball Alba and new protagonist Mizuki Okiura. There's a teaser trailer below.

This won't mean much to you if you didn't play the original game, and I should know:

The game's Steam page explains that the crime this time involves the "Half Body serial killings", beginning when half a body is found and then the other half isn't discovered until six years later. You take control of Special Agent Mizuki Okiura, who was a main character and surrogate daughter to protagonist Kaname Date in the original Somnium Files.

Beyond that, we don't know much, but it seems like AI sidekick Alba returns, suggesting it'll be a similar mixture of visual novel dialogue, branching paths, and delving into people's memories to solve puzzles and unlock clues.

AI: The Somnium Files was created by Kotaro Uchikoshi, who is best known for his other murder mystery visual novel series, the Zero Escape trilogy. Katharine called those the "top bestest best visual novel of all time, fact, no recounts", which is high praise. Alice O called AI: The Somnium Files "out now" back in 2019, but I don't think any of us got round to actually playing it. Uchikoshi left developers Spike Chunsoft in 2017 and is presumably not involved in this followup.

Nirvana Initiative (I'm already sick of its official capitalisation) is due for release in spring 2022 according to its official site, and will be release on, uh, Windows 10 and Steam, as well as everything else.

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