We don't know much about amnesia, but we do know that one of the biggest risk factors seems to be staring in a game. Everything from role-playing games like Final Fantasy and the Tales of series, to the sinister Zero Escape visual novels, to farming/life sim hybrid Rune Factory; all have an amnesiac or two, and that's just off the top of our head. Now comes another game to join the ranks of the forgetful protagonists - Yesterday Origins, a point and click adventure from our friends at Microids, and sequel to 2012's Yesterday.
Set in the present day,Yesterday Origins follows the troubled life of John Yesterday, a guy who cannot die. The unfortunate result of a ritual foisted on him by the Spanish Inquisition some 500 years ago, John has been made immortal, so whenever he dies, he comes back to life as if nothing had happened - but there's one catch. An imperfect process, his memories get wiped each and every time he regenerates, leaving him with no knowledge of his past. Together with his also immortal partner Pauline, they set out on a quest to locate a mysterious artefact that will allow them to repeat the ritual and fix John's memory loss once and for all - provided he can find a way to master his amnesia in the interim.
A point and click-style adventure game from the folks behind Runaway, most of your time in Yesterday Origins will be spent solving puzzles - whether it's trying to wrangle an important titbit of information from a reluctant character or scratching your head over a particularly tricky problem. Like most point and click games, there'll be a lot of combing areas for potentially useful items, and combining them in unusual ways to solve puzzles and progress, all wrapped up in a story that covers adult topics and "saucy dialogue", with a healthy dose of black humour to round it all off.
During the opening hours of the game, we find John of 500 years ago locked in a prison cell with his only companions a corpse and a pig - but not just any pig; a "murderous swine" accused of sacrilegious acts. John meanwhile has been accused of being a sorcerer, doomed to be tortured into confession by a brutish, grumpy guard - and it falls to you to try and work out how to get him out of the predicament. A conversation with the guard reveals the pig' mauled a priest to death when he caught a whiff of his blood, and that the prison guard in particular finds the pig's continued squeals rather annoying, prompting him to hurl his tankard at the cell door in anger - two seemingly random facts that will prove invaluable in solving the puzzle. Likewise, the fact we somehow have a rather venomous frog in our inventory will come in handy too.
The first step in our escape attempt - or indeed, with any point and click-style puzzle - is to do a sweep of the cell for anything that might come in handy. Examining the corpse in the corner, young John decides it actually bears a striking resemblance (bar the whole "not being alive" thing, naturally), with the exception of the face, while in a totally unrelated coincidence, examining the frog reveals its skin apparently also carries a poison that causes its victims to hallucinate and see ghostly visions. Also in the cell, you have the dying embers of a fire, a pig with a taste for blood and a spiky torture device. By combining these seemingly disparate items, we should hopefully be able to leave our cell unscathed, beginning with taking out the guard...
Of course, being the nice guys we are, we don't want to kill the guard, just mess with his head a little, and our hallucinogenic pocket frog could be just the ticket - if we can figure out a way to get the guard to ingest its poisonous skin secretions. Now, you may remember that, time the pig makes a racket, our jail guard hurls his tankard into our cell in rage, retrieving it a few minutes later for another round of drinks. So, we need to make this little piggy squeal. Much to the disgust of 15th Century PETA, the easiest way to do this is with a red hot poker from the fire - one squeal and one grumpy guard later, a mug is chucked our way. But we hadn't anticipated quite how protective the guard would be of his tankard - as it turns out, he seems to have eyes in the back of his head, and yells at us whenever we make a move to pick it up, which means we need another approach. Fortunately, we just happen to have a near-identical tankard in our inventory, and after wiping our froggy friend around the rim of it, we manage to pull a quick switcheroo. The guard takes a swig and BAM!, ghostly visions start terrorising the poor guy, leaving us to puzzle the rest of our way out of the cell in peace.
With the guard's mind scrambled, it's time for stage two of our escape plan - faking our own death with the help of a corpse and a blood-thirsty pig, obviously. You remember that corpse from earlier? Its face may not match you, but with a guard high on frog juice, and Porky McSausageface doing his best to chow down on it, no-one will be able to tell either. A proven killer, we can use his thirst for blood to our advantage - a combination of a spiked torture vice thing, a cloth and John's poor arm give us a rag soaked with his blood; just the thing to drive our killer swine crazy. Place the cloth over the corpse's questionable face, release the pig and throw in a few screams and you can convince the hallucinating guard of your untimely demise, letting you escape unnoticed in the resulting panic.
Moving on slightly, we met up with John in a monastery, several years after his initial escape, but before he officially became immortal. For undisclosed reasons, John wants to spy on another monk - but first, he needs to fix a broken periscope before he can get into proper stalker mode. This, of course, is where you come in, as developer Pendulo knows all point and click players have practised stalking someone at one point or another... Missing the mirror at the bottom, a key part of the periscope, you need to try and cobble together some kind of substitute before you can proceed. Fortunately, a conveniently-sized metal plaque sits at the bottom of a font in the hall, and with the aid of a chisel John can prise it out of it's resting place, before polishing it up on a wheel, et voila - a handy replacement mirror. Of course, not all the puzzles will be quite so simple...
To mix things up, and add an extra layer of complexity to the puzzles, the folks behind Yesterday Origins have added a new 'Intention' system. Now, whenever you try to solve a puzzle, you need to explain (from a multiple choice list) why you're doing what you're doing, to check you're on the right path - and stop you trying to combine everything in your inventory with everything else out of desperation. On one hand, it'll make sure you're following the logic for each step a la Sherlock Holmes' deduction boards, but on the other it could throw you off if your thought process is drastically different to the game's predetermined ones - we'll be interested to know precisely how it works in the full game!
You'll be able to join John on his amnesiac quest in just over a month's time, when Yesterday Origins hits the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC on the 13th October. In the meantime, why not check out the latest trailer below: