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Visual Novel / Eliza

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Eliza is a Visual Novel released on Steam in August of 2019.

The game begins with Evelyn beginning her new job as a proxy for Eliza, an AI counselling program. Her role is to serve as a human intermediary for the program, by effectively reading its answers out loud while wearing a headset. It's quickly revealed that she was part of the team who developed the program before dropping off the grid three years before. Before long, she's back in contact with all her old colleagues (all of whom reacted to the events that led her to drop out of society in their own way), and has to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life.


In addition to being fully voice acted, the game's split between a typical visual novel style, and more linear "therapy" segments, where Evelyn does her job as a proxy, and dialogue options are limited to the script Eliza feeds her.

This game contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Broken Bird: Evelyn begins the game as one. In addition to still being traumatised by finding her friend Damian dead of an overwork induced heart attack three years ago, she's respected for her work and even serves as a mentor to some of the characters. One ending even sees her decide to become a therapist, to help as many people as she can on a more individual level.
  • Cyberpunk: The impact of AIs on modern life, lots of philosophy and self reflection, rain and a Seattle setting. It's cyberpunk all right.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Damian's death served as one for Nora, since it caused her to leave the tech industry and become an anti-corporate musician. Evelyn's a more downplayed example, since she was more burnt out and traumatised than outright cynical.
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  • Deus Est Machina: Discussed, but never actually suggested seriously (there's never any hints that Eliza's anything more than a more advanced version of its namesake). One character even compares Eliza to a kami, since its "corpus" is effectively a massive amount of data collected from therapy sessions.
  • Dirty Old Man: Former Skandha engineer Soren Lloyd-Rose is infamous for hitting on female employees.
  • Diegetic Interface: The augmented reality display used by Eliza counselors.
  • Electronic Music: Nora is a friend of Evelyn's who specializes in this as an artistic endeavor.
  • Ensign Newbie: Erlend is the new chief Eliza engineer, fresh from college and prone to pondering the morality of using AI.
  • Famed in Story: Evelyn gets recognised as the creator of Eliza a few times and several characters are trying to court her into joining their team. She even gets an email from someone whose career she inspired towards the end of the game.
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  • Gameplay and Story Integration: During the therapy segments, the player's still free to choose dialogue options, but the only "choice" is the output from Eliza. As you'd expect, you can eventually go off script when Evelyn decides to give it a shot.
  • The Generation Gap: Former Skandha manager and Eliza patient Mark is a Grumpy Middle-Aged Man who shows contempt for recent graduates who he perceives as averse to hardship.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Averted with Hariman, who manages to go on a date with the object of his affections in spite of already being in a relationship himself.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Soren's self-loathing does not help out in his business endeavors or personal relationships.
  • Heroic BSoD: Evelyn's spent 3 years in one by the start of the game. She doesn't give much detail, but apparently spent most of it working in a book shop.
  • Meaningful Name: Eliza's named after...ELIZA. One of the earliest AI chat programs.
  • Multiple Endings: Based on who Evelyn chooses to follow at the end or if she chooses to leave it all behind.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Eliza branch manager Rae is affable, and enjoys baking cookies for the office (even inviting Evelyn over to help at one point). At one point she recounts (with pride) the story of how she stepped in to protect a subordinate from an overly aggressive client.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Being a grad student in English, Hariman indulges in this quite a bit.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Rainier authorizes the use of Eliza's Transparency Mode on Soren, revealing details without the latter's consent.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Both Rainier and Soren believe that greater AI involvement in psychology benefits humanity, either by bringing about The Singularity or creating an end to human suffering.

Thank you for speaking with Eliza, your personal counselling partner.

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