So Disco Elysium is an RPG, yes? And you have to solve a murder, because you’re a cop. Except you also can’t remember anything whatsoever, including your own name or where you badge and gun are (how are you supposed to hand them over to your chief when you break the rules to get results??) or even, initially, that you’re a cop.
This creates the blank slate, on which you can paint the kind of cop you are. Blank ish, anyway — you’re still a middle aged, overweight, late stage alcoholic man, but by gosh you can choose how that man solves crimes and views the world. At EGX this year, developers Helen Hindpere and Robert Kurvitz talked about how they wanted people to really get into the role play — to buy a pack of cigarettes, and smoke one every day in the same place at the same time, because that’s a ritual their character has. I developed a ritual. But it wasn’t as cool as smoking a lone cigarette, gazing off into the distance with a thousand yard stare. My obsession was not philosophical or well thought out, and it didn’t even really make sense. But let me tell you about my cockroaches.