Part 1: Ark Asylum
This is the first thing we see when the game's booted up. Already feeling queasy? Good, hold on to that feeling.
The game opens with our unnamed protagonist reminding us that people die in space. I have no idea what the player character is supposed to look like, so to portray the main character I'll just use this gear I found in the game's assets:
The game tells us for the second time that people can't survive in space. Then we start doing what I can only assume are squats while we try to figure out where the hell we are.
This is the first character we meet in the game. If you think he looks stupid? You've seen nothing.
First and foremost -- I require a name. Something to enter into the annals of time. We must ensure you aren't forgotten.
Considering the subject material at hand, this felt appropriate.
Rabies, hm...? It has a nice ring to it. I'm sure you'll be remembered.
My name, you ask? I'm afraid that's not important. No one will remember me after this.
Your presence here portends a grand fate. Not just for you -- but for the universe, too. This is the purpose of those who come here.
To that end, what else do they call you? Your surname is just as important. And out of curiosity -- I must know.
Not to be confused with the McCutts, McNutts, or McButts.
Rabies McFutts, hmm? Very well, The pleasure is mine.
Man, it is really easy to pledge your eternal soul to vaguely ominous deities these days.
But do not worry -- you're not a slave. Your service rewards you with a power. Something that most would kill to achieve.
Others must bend to the rules of the world. But for you -- the opposite rings true. You are no longer a victim of circumstance.
When you make a choice, reality will bend. Your every whim will fall to your lap. The universe now accommodates -you-.
This is the power he hasn't explained in the slightest.
Oh, it appears that you're fading away. Do you long to return to Earth? I understand, there is fear of the unknown.
I will find you again soon. And perhaps then, we can talk a little more. Don't be scared Rabies, I mean no harm.
By the way, here's something I learned the hard way: this game's save function is busted. You can make dialogue go by pressing Z, X, or Enter, but if you save your game, only Enter will record the save. If you try to save using Z or X, it'll make the sound, and you'll be none the wiser until you come back later and discover the save didn't record.
Get used to Rabies not understanding what's going on at any point of the game.
It definitely wasn't a dream, I know that for sure. When you wake up from a dream, you know it wasn't real. You laugh it off -- continue on with your life. That's not the sensation I was feeling right now.
I try to ground myself in reality. I take in my surroundings -- the noises, and people. I focus on my destination: Tokyo, Japan. I feel myself calm down, slowly but surely.
The anxiety starts to replace itself with excitement. Though, man would argue what the difference is. Who didn't dream of going to Tokyo in their lifetime? It had to be on the bucket list of millions of people.
And it was the first of many places I'd visit. On what would surely be the best year of my life. I sit there, holding the armrest with a fierce grip. It wouldn't be long until I figured out how wrong I was.
Welcome to Major/Minor! I have such sights to show you!
Pop quiz: when's the last time you bought an energy drink because a pop idol endorsed it?
If you noticed that 'idols' is missing an apostrophe, you've just started the world's most frustrating game of eagle eye. I actually won't comment on typos unless they're just really obvious, but you can expect to see a lot more from here on out.
By the way, Klace is the name of the developer of this game. That's right, the dev self-inserted himself into his own game as a world-famous pop idol.
So when I say I picked up something of an addiction...? That might actually be the understatement of the year. The odds of winning were literally in the billions. So it took a fair amount of chugging in order to win.
I ask myself if it was worth it, but that's subjective. At least that's what I told myself in-between jitters. Being one of the "lucky two" came with its consequences. That's what the media called the prospective winners.
Before I can continue thinking -- I'm interrupted. Someone walking down the aisle has a nasty fall. They brace their descent and land on the seat beside me.
That takes a special kind of skill, doesn't it? He quickly rises to his feet, wearing a look of panic.
This is Kila. You will learn to hate him.
I think I preferred the typo-ridden solitude.
First time on a train...Don't know what came over me! I just got dizzy, and then -- bam!
(Sounds like someone has a bad case of vertigo.)
I apologize again. Sorry for intruding, I really am!
(I try explaining to him that everything is fine. But he seems to think he's commited [sic] an awful crime.)
One of the deer furries ran out in front of the train and got run over, so it stops. We're also made aware of the one of the game's "features", which are "choices" that "affect" the story. For the most part I'm going to be making the decisions myself, but for a few (one in particular) I'll have you guys vote on them.
Oh no, what was that!? Are we going to die...?
(I can't help but snicker at that. He's clearly one of those "catastrophic" thinkers.)
Remember what I said about you learning to hate this guy?
He goes to rummage through his bag. A bit of a bookworm too, isn't he? I decide to just sit back and wait it out. In situations like this, there was nothing else to do. I try to think of how I could pass the time. It might be a while until we're mobile again.
I can't use my phone for anything other than texts. The data charges while abroad were a death sentence! But everybody back home would already be asleep. There was quite the time difference at play here.
My phone vibrates, and I go to look at it. Almost as if it knew I was thinking about it.
Meet Rook, whose entire character essentially boils down to not having any patience. For now, it's best to say we won't keep him waiting.
Also, most "choices" in this game basically boil down to having one obvious and one wrong answer, and then the game immediately tells you what choice was the right one.
I put my phone back in my pocket and recline in my seat. I wasn't exactly sure how Rook was related to Klace. But he had to be pretty high up there...
I was only given concrete details last week. I thought there'd be limos and media coverage. But I was quickly told that this wasn't the case. I was getting picked up by a regular guy named Rook.
I wonder if he would go full-on cliche...With a large piece of cardboard that says "Rabies".
Oh, man...I really hope we'll be okay. My train rides are usually incident free!
(Usually? But he said that this was his first time? He seems to contradict himself without realizing it.)
Well, as fun as awkward silences are...We should probably get to know each other. Just in case we're stuck here forever.
You can call me Kila! I'm here to-Well, I'm here to see some friends! What about you? What brings you to Tokyo?
It's nice to meet another English speaker. I only speak Japanese at a pre-school level.
I don't think Klace really understands how sweepstakes work. Why is the Japanese media gonna care about two contest winners?
We come to a second choice, and it's best we don't reveal why we're in Tokyo. I'm attempting to steer us towards the "true" ending, but I'll probably end up showing both anyway.
(I decide to stick to my morals and not break the NDA. It was probably for the best. Who -wants- a lawsuit? If I did let out my secret, and word got back to Rook? Well, I'm sure there'd be hell to pay.)
Oh, you can't say? That's cool, I guess. I'm just here to visit my brother. Nothing to hide on my end, really.
I thought he said he was here to meet friends? Now he's here to meet his brother? That seems odd. Nothing to hide, huh? I feel bad that I can't tell him. He clearly realizes that I'm hiding something.
Ughhhhhhh. This is Kila, folks.
NO NO NO NO.
Yeah, I'm the bad guy for not wanting to entertain your creepy maid fetish.
Before I can continue talking -- the train moves again. And the passengers are shaken up by the sudden movement. Kila beams a wide smile, as if this was a major victory.
Wow, I was scared for nothing. That didn't really last long at all!
I hope he has fun wandering around those Maid Cafes. They may not be my thing, but he sure seems excited. Personally, I was more excited to meet Rook. I wonder what he'd be like.
More importantly, I wonder how he'd treat me...He certainly seems like an interesting guy. For a moment, I'm glad I didn't break my NDA. I don't think I would've been able to face him if I did.
I find it odd that I'm analyzing my previous actions. As if I could have changed what I said and what I did. Perhaps it was because of that weird vision I had. "I can control my own destiny", or something like that.
What a ridiculous thing to comprehend. If I could control my destiny -- I wouldn't be here. I'd probably be off somewhere living a life of luxury. But there's no use thinking like that, so I stop.
Rabies suddenly has a heart attack, and the background inverts colors because that's honestly the best effect the dev could come up with.
I start to panic. I go to focus on my breathing, like before...But -- I can't breathe, either! I sense someone behind me. And then I feel it. That hand on my shoulder again.
We'll get a name for this guy later, but I generally like to refer to him as Furry Outsider.
Terribly sorry for earlier. Our meeting seems to have been cut short. Perhaps you desired to return to Earth. After all -- the universe bends to you, now. Am I that frightening? Either way, I sense conflict within you. You think what happened earlier was a dream.
Yet now, your "dream" stands before you. I am real, the Ark is real. And the power you have? Well yes -- it's real, too. I am not here to lecture you anymore. Your words and actions are your own. As is the power I have given you.
However. You -will- be asked to help me. You are not receiving this power for free. But I will let you run free for today. When I see you again tonight? I will tell you -everything-. And then, your journey will begin.
This game is going to kill me.