You must have felt there should be another chapter after the Satoru route, like the game was leading to something bigger. If we dig through the game’s files, we can actually see that a third route was planned. The following comes from one of the game’s debug menus:
プロローグ Prologue ココロ編 Kokoro Chapter サトル編 Satoru Chapter セルフ編 SELF Chapter 視点切り替え Change point of view 戻る Return
Choosing “SELF chapter” results in the following jab at the player:
Inubushi: Where is SELF?
Satoru: That’s the one question that I can’t answer.
Satoru: The very thought of That Guy is annoying, you see.
There is also a debug shortcut:
セルフ編の最初から Start from “SELF chapter” セルフ編エンド直前から Start just before “SELF chapter” ending
So what happened?
In the Visual Fan Book Interviews, Nakazawa reveals that Remember11 was not originally part of the Infinity series, but the company decided to continue the series after the success of Ever17:
At that time, it was necessary to expand the company’s strategic “Infinity” series, but there was no time to create a new project from scratch, so I reluctantly made use of an existing project. It was easier said than done, and it took many meetings to get there. After the company made its decision, I spent a considerable amount of time with [Uchikoshi] to rework the story to fit the series. We might have spent the same effort if we just remade it from scratch. It’s rather ironic (bitter smile).
In a 2020 interview with the producer Ichikawa Hisayoshi, he confirmed that Remember11 had a third chapter. The game was taking twice as long to create as other games and the company had to rush it out in its current state. There were plans to release a sequel, but the material for chapter 3 would need to be heavily rewritten to make it work on its own. In the end, they felt they wouldn’t be able to make it captivating enough.
There are reports of disagreements between Uchikoshi and Nakazawa. Quoting the Wikipedia article about Remember11:
Development was troubled by creative differences between Nakazawa and Uchikoshi; Nakazawa was unhappy with Uchikoshi’s idea for the game’s ending, and had a different ending in mind, which they were having disagreements over. They also did not have the time to write everything that they had wanted, so they ended up with an ending that Uchikoshi described as only being half-finished. At the time of the game’s release, a sequel was planned, which would have included a conclusion to the game’s story. In 2013, Uchikoshi looked back on the game, saying that while he would have liked to rewrite some portions of the scenario that he felt were boring or that did not advance the story much, he would not have changed or added anything in terms of the content of the game; he felt that his ending was still in the story, and still felt happy with it.
What this tells us is that Uchikoshi was satisfied with the game ending as a revenge story, but Nakazawa still had more to say.
How did Nakazawa envision the SELF Chapter?
If I had to guess what Nakazawa wanted to include, it would be:
- All this stuff that we discussed (identity of Alpha, Sayaka’s death, the Yukidoh Plan, SELF)
- Backstory for each character
- The acceptance of all archetypes, to fully understand one’s self and become whole
Nakazawa may have disagreed with Uchikoshi about the final message and how to deliver it. Setting up that final message would slow down the story as we learn more about each character. It may also kill some of the mystery vibe. Uchikoshi loves to end things with a bang, while Nakazawa really likes to explain things. We see that in the titles they produced after Rememeber11.
They may have also disagreed about the true nature of SELF. It’s easy to imagine SELF is actually a baby, waiting to be born into the world. Maybe SELF is a mentally disturbed patient looking inwards. The story could be about self-loathing, the inevitability of death, and the rejection of parts of the self. Or it could be one about the miracle of life and learning to accept yourself completely. There’s many ways they could have disagreed.
Personally, I’ve got a feeling Nakazawa wanted to create something like this (Warning: I/O spoilers).
The Realm of Pure Speculation
We’ve done quite a bit of digging to reach this point and I’m afraid we’ve exhausted what the game and supplementary material tell us. Where do we go from here?
That’s for you to decide. One of the ideas in Infinity is interpretation. The player is free to speculate and imagine and come up with their own answers.
What’s the answer I came up with? It sound ridiculous, but it goes something like this: After Satoru fell from the tower, DMT flooded his brain as a result of being on the verge of death. He begins to hallucinate the events of Remember11 from a detached perspective known as “SELF”. Everyone in the story is part of Satoru’s dying dream, and so they are a part of “SELF”. Ultimately, SELF will “awaken” into its true identity, which is the Satoru laying at the bottom of the tower. Depending on what you prefer, it could be a tragedy where he perishes, or a happy ending where he learns to forgive himself. Personally, I like a good tragedy.
But I cannot substantiate any of that. It’s pure fan fiction, and I’m aware of that. Perhaps you’ve got a scenario you prefer.
The Chapter We Wrote
In the end, each person that played the game and thought about it has written their own version of the “SELF chapter”. I’ve presented you the one that makes sense to me, but maybe you disagree. In that case, I encourage you to think about it, discuss it with people and come to your own conclusion.
Or maybe you’re disappointed that none of this was conveyed in the game and feel an otherwise great experience was ruined by an incomplete ending.
In any case, that’s how the events of Remember11 have unfolded. I was initially very upset with the ending, but I’ve learned to appreciate it with time and hold it in high regard now.
Regardless of how you feel, thanks for reading!