- "...My name is Nilin Cartier-Wells. I am a memory hunter. I can know everything about you. And I can make you believe whatever I want. This is my gift. My legacy."
- —Nilin Cartier-Wells
Nilin Cartier-Wells is the daughter of Scylla and Charles Cartier-Wells and the granddaughter of Antoine Cartier-Wells. A Memory hunter, Nilin was once affiliated with the Errorist Movement, extremists who wanted to destroy the Memorize corporation. Nilin wields the unique ability to remix the memories of sensen users, an ability she learned from her father.
Nilin was presumably born in 2059 to parents Scylla and Charles Cartier-Wells, prior to their rise as the corporate leaders of Memorize.
Nilin was raised in a relatively comfortable environment with her parents, but was never given the opportunity to know her grandfather, Antoine Cartier-Wells, founder of Memorize, while she was still a child. However, despite her privileged life, Nilin grew up lonely for a grand majority of her childhood, neglected by her parents who were consumed by their work.
Sometime during 2064, Nilin accompanied her mother on a shopping trip for her birthday. An overexcited Nilin attempted to reach for her birthday present, Jax, from the backseat, ignoring her mother's requests to remain still in the backseat. Though her mother activated the child safety locks, Scylla was distracted by her attempt to chide her daughter and failed to notice an oncoming vehicle.
Scylla's car was t-boned by another vehicle, Scylla's leg was severely damaged, but Nilin escaped with minor injuries (a cut on her head and top lip). Scylla blamed Nilin for the accident and grew distant from her family. A despondent Nilin took her mother's words to heart and her father decided to use her as test subject for his attempt to remixing. When he succeeded in remixing his daughter's memories, Nilin no longer remembered why her mother hated her or her Jax toy.
At some point in time, an upset Nilin wandered in the Conception Cube's memory servers and came into contact with the heart of the Conception Cube. The transference of her memories somehow triggered sentience in the A.I., H3O ("Humanity 3.0"), whose first memories were of Nilin crying. Nilin grew up lonely. She had no friends beyond her toy Jax.
Nilin the Memory Hunter
Charles taught Nilin how to remix memories despite Scylla's objections against the practice itself after it was used to manipulate Nilin's memories. In 2078, Nilin fell into the criminal element of Neo-Paris and chose to become a memory hunter. She used her remixing abilities to create a reputation for herself among other memory hunters who eventually considered her the best among them. Even rivals such as Kid X-Mas, who quit memory hunting illegally for fame and fortune, harbored nothing but respect for her talents. Nilin's infamy in Neo-Paris was such that even her grandfather was impressed by her reputation.
In 2080, Nilin accompanied her father down into Slum 404 located in Deep Paris. She was presumably unaware that the man her father met with to discuss his remix breakthrough was in fact her grandfather, Antoine. Venturing back down into Deep Paris, Nilin wandered Slum 404 until she found the Leaking Brain.
There she met the owner of the establishment, Headache Tommy. Headache Tommy noted that Nilin "looked lost" and decided to befriend her. Somewhere down the line of their friendship, he told her about the Errorist Movement. From there Nilin came into contact with Edge, the founder of the Errorist movement and carry out missions against her family's corporation and S.A.B.R.E. Force, compounding her infamy gained as a memory hunter.
Events of Remember Me Cubed (2080)
Out on an assignment to sabotage Memorize, Nilin is framed for the stabbing of a man that was originally a target assigned to her the Errorists. Realizing that there are gaps in her memory, Nilin flees the scene when a man in a black suit fingers her for the murder of the man.
Entering a elevator she evades detection for a moment and returns to the outside to observe the crowd from higher ground. From there, she proceeded to remix the memories of several people in the crowd, giving them conflicting accounts of what actually happened despite being unsure herself.
She follows the man that framed her for the man's murder and attempted to remix his memories, but some occurs wherein she loses more of her memories of the moment and she is attacked from behind by the man. The two fight inside and outside a construct of the Ego Room. When Nilin attempts to remix his memories again, she is taken by surprise by a second assailant. She is taken into custody and questioned about what she did to the memories of the people in the crowd. Though she is uncertain about her reality, Nilin manages to truck the man and wipes his memory of the encounter and escapes.
Events of The Pandora Archive (2082)
Assassinating Frank Forlan (2084)
Edge assigned Nilin with the task of "stopping" Frank Forlan before he was officially sworn as the new commander of the S.A.B.R.E. Force. Locating his office, Nilin remixed his memories so that he believed he killed his wife, Alexia Forlan. After she witnessed him commit suicide, she evaded arrest and headed for her safe house. S.A.B.R.E. Force managed to find her and she was arrested.
Events of Remember Me (2084)
Escaping the Bastille
When Nilin regains consciousnesses, she is in the process of being wiped of her memories. She has no memory of what is going on. However, when prompted about her name, she responded in the affirmative, "Nilin". Fearful of her knowledge and capabilities, Quaid order her memory be wiped completely clean. Disoriented, Nilin followed instructions that guided her to a line of other prisoners waiting to be wiped of their memories. Before any further harm can come to her, she is rescued with the guidance of Edge.
Hacking into the Bastille's systems, he caused an electrical malfunction that allowed her to slip out of the guarded section of the Bastille undetected. She inevitably perused by a Zorn who detected her trespassing in the unauthorized section of the prison. Edge guided her out danger. Reluctantly, she followed his orders and climbed into a coffin that would take her out of the prison and into Slum Sector 404. During the transit, Edge filled her on the broad details of what happened before her memory was wiped.
Nilin's escape from the Bastille reflected poorly on the facility and its governer. Angered by the events that passed, Madame ordered a 300,000.00 euros[note 1] bounty on Nilin's head and contacted Olga Sedova to carry out the bounty.
After her escape from prison, Nilin travels through the Slum 404, attempting, but failing to avoid encounters with the Leapers, that populate the Deep Paris region. She is lead to the Leaking Brain by Edge and she reunited with Headache Tommy.
He provided Nilin her hunt glove and "combat skin" from her safe house after her arrest, and elaborated further on the situation with the Errorists and Memorize. As she dressed herself, Headache Tommy began to warn her about the bounty on her head and Olga Sedova when she was ambushed from behind by the bounty hunter, who'd been scoping out the area prior to Nilin's arrival.
Headache Tommy attempted to help her, but was rendered unconscious by Olga. As she prepared to kill Nilin, Nilin used her glove and remixed her memories. She manipulated Olga's memories that she remembered her husband David Sedova was murdered by Sebastian Quaid during attempt to treat his decaying mental state. Convinced that Memorize is her enemy, Olga helps Nilin enter the Saint-Michel District undetected.
Following Edge's instruction, she met with amateur memory hunter named Bad Request. Using memories he allowed her to access with permission, she located architect Kaori Sheridan and stole the memories concerning the Saint-Michel Dam. As she was relaying the completition of her assignment to Edge, they lost communication with each other. Scaling the rooftops, she barely has time to contact Edge again before she is confronted by Kid X-Mas. Declaring her defeated, Kid X-Mas broadcast their rooftop fight across Neo-Paris. However, he was eventually bested Nilin who stole his spammer weapon as a reward. Reconnected with Edge, she provided him the code from Sheridan. Shortly thereafter, he used the information to sabotage the dam and flood Mid Paris.
Returning to the Bastille
Nilin troubled by the actions of Edge, continued onward back into Slum 404, unsure the actions of the Errorists against the Neo-Paris middle class were justified. Reuniting with Headache Tommy, she was armed with his invention, the Junk Bolt, which she used to clear out the Leaper infestation destroying Tommy's business and blocking her path into the sewers. Before descending into the sewers, Tommy warned her to be careful of the "storm brewing" ahead of her.
During travels into the sewer, she was contacted by her "biggest fan", Bad Request, who'd helped her gain access to Kaori Sheridan. As he congratulated her and Edge on panic they stirred up Mid Paris, he cut their communication short, stating he'd been "made". Traveling deeper into the sewers, Nilin eventually found her way into the Metro where she confronted her next target: Johnny Greenteeth.
Terrified by the sight of Greenteeth, Nilin attempts him from entering the train car. She manages to fight off several Leapers before stealing the memories of Greenth. The train derails and crashes. Nilin survived the crash with minor injuries, but Greenteeth escaped. Using Greenteeth's memories she traveled the drained pathways of the surrounding damn to the sewer entrance into La Bastille.
Before she could enter, her path was cut off by a Zorn. She manages to fight the Zorn off and enters the sewer. Fighting through the Bastille she encountered one of her captors, Vaughn, who she incapacitates in order to gain further access into the prison. Her journey is further complicated when the Madame learns of her attack on Vaughn and the other prison guards.
She manages to avoid the brain drainer and uses an empty prison cell set on maintenance mode to travel deeper into the prison. When Nilin reached the interrogation block, she learned of Bad Request's capture. Nilin steals Madame's memories, unaware the Madame allowed her to and followed her to the Bastille's server room using her remembranes. However, upon reaching the elevator was attacked by several latched remembranes of S.A.B.R.E. Force prison guards.
Entering the main server room, Nilin fronted Madame inside her specially created Ego Room. Using the Spammer, Nilin overloaded Madame's senwall and used the Force Spammer to sabotage the server. The memories of the Bastille's prisoners were returned to them, inciting a riot. When Nilin's memories were restored it was only partial, leading Edge to speculate that they may have been relocated elsewhere. Nonetheless, she was overwhelmed by the memory of her crime: convincing Frank Forlan to kill himself.
Rediscovering the Truth
Made uneasy by actions she only recently remembered, Nilin began to distrust Edge and his convictions against Memorize and the Reconversion Project. Despite the good that came with liberating the imprisoned Errorists, Nilin was no longer certain that following Edge's instruction was the right thing to do.
Reentering the flooded environment of Mid Paris, Nilin headed for Memorize's head office to find Scylla Cartier-Wells, the face of Memorize. Using the riots caused by the Errorists and the panic created by the Leapers to her advantage, Nilin manages to reach the head office only to find the building on lock down. Edge instructed that she find Gabriel Trace, an "eccentric and very dangerous" S.A.B.R.E. Force captain. As Edge prepared to perform an Aug-lock on his location, Trace appeared before her piloting a Kaizer.
Nilin was forced to run from the man as he opened fire on her using the gunship's turrets. Nilin scaled the rooftops in an attempt to evade Trace's gunfire, but was forced into the apartments. Eventually she returned to the rooftops. Using his blindspots to her advantage, she climbed to the top of another rooftop and leapt onto his gunship. She stole his memories and returned to the head office front.
Using Trace's remembrane, she decrypted his riddle and gained access to the Memorize head office interior. Upon locating Scylla in her office, she proceeded to remix her memories.
However, in the process of making Scylla believe she was responsible for the crash that injured her leg, Nilin learned she was her and Charles's daughter. A modified Scylla forgave Nilin, blaming herself for what happened, unaware she'd been remixed. Realizing her daughter would be caught, Scylla allowed Nilin to escape.
Destroying the Bastille
Feeling betrayed and manipulated by Edge, Nilin refused to placidly cooperate with him after learning the truth about her past and connection to Memorize. However, she obliged his plans to return to the Bastille in the name of rescuing Bad Request. Traveling back down into the Bastille, Nilin headed below the prison structure where she had been taken during her arrest.
Retrieving Bad Request's Pick-Socket, Nilin continued onward through the Bastille underground until she found Bad Request, almost 27% into the Reconversion Project process. After fighting off a group of Leapers and S.A.B.R.E. Force prison guards, Nilin realized that Quaid was inserting his own psyche into the minds of Leaper and Bastille prisoners with the intent to control them.
Using a prison cell as transport, she located Bad Request and stole his memories. Following the remembranes that chronicled his torture under Quaid, Nilin traveled down the very same halls she escaped from earlier on when she was arrested.
Nilin located the doctor in-transit the same time Johnny Greenteeth appeared and began to attack prison guards. Nilin followed after Greenteeth and Quaid and squared off against the guards meant to protect Quaid. Before she search Quaid, he opened the ground doors of the sanitation pits with the intention to kill Nilin. However, he was thrown down into the pit to his death by Greenteeth who attacked him from behind.
Nilin unable to reach the surface she climbed down to the bottom. There she found a barely conscious Bad Request. Johnny Greenteeth appeared to her, havng made it to the bottom by another means, and set the Bastille on self-destruction as a means of making himself, Nilin and the now dead Quaid pay for their part in the manipulation of memories supported by Memorize.
Nilin fought Greenteeth, but was barely able to wear him down. When it appeared he would best her, she was saved by Bad Request who tried to strangle Greenteeth from behind. Greenteeth beat Bad Request to death, Nilin overloaded his memories but was unable to stop the self-destruct of the Bastille. Climbing into a coffin, she escaped the Bastille before it was destroyed.
Determined to stop Memorize once and for all, Nilin heads for Mnemopolis Tower located in High Paris. Olga Sedova drops her off Bay 06 of the tower and tells her to make Memorize "implode" with the promise of drinking in her husband's name once Nilin's job was done. Looking for way into the tower she spots Gabriel Trace in the middle of appeared to be a mental breakdown.
However, he maintained his mental faculties long enough to order the S.A.B.R.E. Force detail under his control to attack her. Nilin fends them off then heads for the 103d Floor to prevent Trace from reaching the main security post. When she reaches him, he is ambushed from behind by a group of Mourners who steal parts of his memory.
Nilin is only able to gain fragments of his memory and thus had to confront the two Mourners in order to get the complete memory. Afterward, Nilin follows Trace's remembranes to unlock the security posts that would allow her inside the Conception Cube.
She followed the path down into the Conception Cube and was confronted by her father, who was surrounded by memories of her childhood. Reluctantly, Nilin enters his mind and convinces Charles that he killed his daughter instead of remixing her memories of the Crash.
However, instead of allowing him to believe she was dead, she confronted him not moments after and pleaded with him to fix the damage caused by Memorize. Charles does not concede to his daughter's wishes until Scylla appears and convinces him as well. Together husband and wife allow their daughter into the central server.
Speaking with Edge, Nilin followed her remembrane and recounted her loneliness as a child. Reaching the heart of the server Nilin realizes Edge and H3O are the same person. Edge/H3O begs Nilin to put an end to his misery or die if she refuses. Frightened, Nilin enters his Ego Room and confronts the physical manifestation of H3O. Amid H3O's taunts, Nilin destroys his Pain Cubes. Before she lands the killing below, she apologizes to Edge/H3O for what she's about to do. Edge/H3O thanks her and is destroyed shortly thereafter.
Following the death of Edge/H3O, the memories of everyone who used the Sensen technology were released and returned to them. Nilin vowed to help the world heal from the damages caused by Memorize and her grandfather's remixing technology.
Nilin is rather sarcastic, as seen when she makes comments, puns, and jokes throughout her journey. She is rebellious and tends to talk back, most often to Edge when communicating during missions, displaying her cautiousness in trusting him. As the story progresses, she develops guilt, as seen when recollecting her murder of Frank Forlan, and restraint, particularly when interacting with her family.
Nilin is a capable and versatile martial artist. Following her escape from the Bastille prison, she recalls only basic combat moves, which she uses to fight the Leapers in Slum 404. As time progresses, memories of more advanced techniques return to her.
Nilin's other abilities also revolve around her Sensen implant. She is able affect her surrounding environment through different tools that can be obtained from foes or recalled as her memory gradually returns. While the combat uses of the Sensen are practical, the remixing capability is controversial. A large part of the controversy stems from the fact that memory alteration has been a key tool involved in several crimes, including murder.
Nilin is also an experienced climber and uses this skill to traverse various structures to reach her goals.
DevelopmentNilin was conceived by Jean-Maxime Moris, the creative director of Remember Me. When asked in an interview why the team took the decision to make the protagonist of the game a woman, Moris stated: "It was not a decision. It was something that just felt right from the beginning. It's one of those things that we never looked at from a pure, cold marketing perspective because that would have endangered the consistency of the whole game." He also stated that he wanted to portray Nilin's private and romantic life at one point, and that making the character male might also entail making him gay, which would have presented its own problems.
Another reason behind the character's gender was that they were building the story to be "much more about emotion, intimacy, identity, and the way technology would intersect those." This was designed to contrast with the traditional cyberpunk theme of transhumanism, so that it "just felt like the other side of the coin, the yin and the yang, and it just made sense to us that it would be a female character." The creators wanted Nilin to stand out, so they crafted her as having a mixed ethnic origin. This meant that the character was difficult to market, as many publishers felt that a mixed race, female character would not sell as well as the stereotypical male protagonist.
Michel Koch, the game's so-art director, said that the team wished to "create a believable character grounded in the now, but with the addition of strong sci-fi and cyberpunk characteristics. We wanted her to feel real and slightly casual, so [the team] tried to avoid as much as we could the overly sexy approach." This resolution made the character problematic to design, as many early designs seemed too unrealistic. He also admitted that Nilin shared superficial similarities with Lisbeth Salander, the primary protagonist of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series. He stated that the team wanted to take a similar approach, wishing to make Nilin a strong, independent character.
The character went through several redesigns during the game's development. While Remember Me still revolved around the idea of global warming, she was dressed in a transparent cape similar to costumes seen in Blade Runner. As the game's theme changed to one of memory, the design also changed. The second main iteration of Nilin's design was designed to look more like a spy, including carrying a briefcase. A third design was created later on, but was considered too close to the character designs in the Mass Effect series. Her final design was meant to reflect a realistic evolution of then-current styles, such as including a leather jacket and jeans.
Nilin is voiced by Welsh actress Kezia Burrows. When people took to forums online criticizing her performance at the game's reveal, Moris commented that "I don't mind the criticism. It's constructive and I definitely listen to it." He decided to use the feedback to judge how the performance could be refined. The game's composer, Olivier Deriviere, created multiple musical themes for Nilin, designing each track so as to include cues related to her. The theme that actually bore her name, 'Nilin the Memory Hunter', was scattered in pieces throughout the game's score, mirroring Nilin's journey to recover and restore her memory.
Nilin has received mixed reviews from gaming sites. The review for Edge was very positive, calling Nilin "a powerhouse of a protagonist, instantly likable and remaining self-aware throughout. She’s a beguiling mix of strength and sensitivity, sarcasm and fire, external certainty and internal conflict, despite a few cheesy lines and missteps." Game Informer's Ben Reeves called Nilin "a capable warrior and memory hunter", but stated that she "[didn't] to have much of a personality of her own". GameTrailers' Justin Speer commented that Nilin "treats the insanity of the world around her with unwavering seriousness." Polygon's Arthur Gies called Nilin one of Remember Mes "greatest strengths". Gamespot's Kevin VanOrd cited the character as the most memorable section of the game, calling her resolute, conflicted, and all too human, making her a terrific escort through this beautiful and underutilized world." He also praised Burrow's performance in the role. Eurogamer's Tomb Bramwell called Nilin a "compelling lead", saying that despite rough writing "whenever the game takes her out of a fight and has her fiddling with memories or talking to grown-ups, there's a good bit of heart and pathos." In an article concerning her, Kotaku's Evan Narcisse praised the fact that Nilin did not have racial stereotypes attached to her character, and that her quest in the game was not driven by an ethnic-derived social situation.
In contrast, VideoGamer.com's Nick Akerman was highly critical of Nilin's role in the game, saying that she was a "damsel in distress and sacrificial lamb for a greater good that will only aid a capitalistic dystopia produced by the science of men. It’s a step back for females in games, as while deemed capable enough of fighting against France’s underbelly, Nilin does so in a narrative that is apparently beyond her intellectual capability; even though she's shown to be more than smart enough to work it all out." Destructoid's Jim Sterling was also quite critical, calling her "as bad as, if not worse, than many of the villains", and finding her unexplored darker side in the face of her heroic portrayal "immensely troubling." Complex called Nilin "one of the most poorly written characters of the year (whom in very Crofitan fashion does an emotional 180 from simpering victim to inexorable killing machine in about five minutes)." Brenna Hillier of VG247, in an article concerning the character as a whole, praised the idea behind Nilin and the potential for the game to break many conventions surrounding female characters in the medium. However she also felt that the character was let down by the expectations of the industry and much of what was done to promote the game and character, and that following a man's instructions throughout much of the game weakened her independent image.
- Nilin's name is a palindrome. Even when spelled backward, it remains unchanged.
- Nilin could also be a play on the word "Nil", meaning "zero" or "nothing".
- As a result of her parentage (Ethiopian, South Asian and white), Nilin is a Black character of Mixed Heritage[note 2]
- According to the Mnesist Memory, Nilin was arrested Spring 2084. According to Episode 1 and Remember Me Signature Series Strategy Guide, the events of Remember Me take place during September 17 of 2084, suggesting Nilin may have been incarcerated for several months and not a day.
- In Episode 6, Nilin makes a joke about Bad Request being her "secret brother". Later Bad Request refers to her as his "lost sister", and Nilin responds in kind by calling him "brother". Whether either of them meant literal relation or comradeship is never made clear.
- Nilin's serial number during her lock up in the Bastille was #84-178.
- ↑ approx. 390,283.07 USD
- ↑ CVG: Remember Me’s lead character is a mixed-race female, which stands out against the crowd of white male heroes. There’s a sense that publishers attach risk to anything other than white male leads. At any stage in development, did you feel you needed to change the lead character’s appearance?
Jean-Maxime Moris: No, we wanted Nilin to stand out. I think these sort of issues become self-fulfilling prophesies; people saying that only white males sell so then everyone only does white males. If you start believing these things, you get your head inside this cold marketing strategy that you cannot get your head around. It becomes a pretty fucking racist and misogynistic way of thinking about lead characters.