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View Full Version : Genome editing and repercussions on genetic memories



Xangr8
07-13-2017, 10:03 AM
If you've been out of the loop, genetic modification is a relatively recent development in biotechnology and related fields of biology. And it's been predicted to be the next big thing which entails a lot of possibilities: eradicating numerous diseases by the use of CRISPR, 'customising' a foetus before it's born, and many other genetic enhancements.

So, this just got me thinking about the in-universe narrative and gameplay possibilities by altering the genetic memories present in the DNA and altering past itself, in essence. This doesn't sound too farfetched as the writers have explored the possibility of baised record of events and memories from the ancestor's point. How do you feel about this possibility and other possible paths this plot device may open. Thoughts? Speculation?

cawatrooper9
07-13-2017, 02:41 PM
Sounds like something Abstergo would do...

I could totally see something like this happening, though. We've already seen Abstergo try to "edit" history by slightly more rudimentary means (basically, taking an Assassin's memories and editing them with the best parts cut out, like a Snyder movie). This would be a little more advanced, but it could be a fun idea to play with.

And clearly, if stuff like Liberation or Rogue is any indication, Abstergo is indeed sensitive about how the historical Templars have been portrayed.

SixKeys
07-13-2017, 08:36 PM
Hmm, interesting topic.

I can see this kind of approach working if they wanted to play with having dialogue trees and players' actions having consequences. The "choose your own adventure" mechanic could be explained with Rebecca or whoever saying:
"Wait, looks like the genetic memory has been tampered with here. Some data seems to be missing. Just try to work through it, focus on what your ancestor would have done.
*player makes a choice*
Ah, that's better. Your synchronization levels are back to normal."

That could lead to a feeling of uncertainty in the present. For example, if the MD protagonist finds out through their ancestor's memories that there's an Apple hidden in, say, Poland, is it guaranteed to be there or was a false memory planted there by Templars to mislead the assassins? If so, where are the real memories? And are there clues to spot the "fake" memories from legitimate ones? Is it possible to uncover the true memories in time so that the ending of the game is changed? Instead of walking into a trap, you search for the true story which allows the assassins to figure out the Templar plot. Like a mixture between ACB's glyphs which led to a crucial meeting with Subject 16 and Liberation's Erudito hacks.

Xangr8
07-15-2017, 10:00 PM
Hmm, interesting topic.

I can see this kind of approach working if they wanted to play with having dialogue trees and players' actions having consequences. The "choose your own adventure" mechanic could be explained with Rebecca or whoever saying:
"Wait, looks like the genetic memory has been tampered with here. Some data seems to be missing. Just try to work through it, focus on what your ancestor would have done.
*player makes a choice*
Ah, that's better. Your synchronization levels are back to normal."

That could lead to a feeling of uncertainty in the present. For example, if the MD protagonist finds out through their ancestor's memories that there's an Apple hidden in, say, Poland, is it guaranteed to be there or was a false memory planted there by Templars to mislead the assassins? If so, where are the real memories? And are there clues to spot the "fake" memories from legitimate ones? Is it possible to uncover the true memories in time so that the ending of the game is changed? Instead of walking into a trap, you search for the true story which allows the assassins to figure out the Templar plot. Like a mixture between ACB's glyphs which led to a crucial meeting with Subject 16 and Liberation's Erudito hacks.

That sounds like a really interesting take on the concept.Though, I'm not sure how dialogue options could work with the series, but I think it would be a nice fit if executed correctly.

wvstolzing
07-16-2017, 12:16 AM
They might introduce a twist like this ... though I prefer that they don't. "Genetic memories" don't make any sense to begin with -- and it really stretches my 'suspension of disbelief' as it is. The DNA contains information, but not of the 'story-with-a-beginning-and-an-end' sort.

I think writers are led to such aberrations, because the popular conception of the DNA is something like "formula/blueprint that precisely spells out the WHATNESS/ESSENCE of a living being". AC adds a fantastical twist to this: The 'whatness' of anything must involve its complete history as well (e.g., I am the exact being that I am, given everthing that has happened to me); so this formula must involve full-motion recordings of the life stories of all its contributors.

Even if all its weird presuppositions were correct, that idea would still fail, since the # of contributors to one's DNA (that is, one's ancestors) grows exponentially (2 to the power of number of generations removed); so, roughly, from a century ago, a person has 16 ancestors (parents of great-grandparents) -- from 2 centuries ago, 128 -- from 3 centuries ago, 1024 ... and the numbers are getting out of hand already. Do all of these contribute full-motion recordings? Some of them? Which ones?

The DNA is nothing like a spelling out of something's unique 'whatness', however; it's a collection of tiny little building plans for proteins that are shared across living beings -- in various species, they find different expressions, resulting, rougly, in body parts with different functions. Gene A that contributes to the shape of a fly's somethingorother gets applied a different number of times, to result in a human being's somethingelseorother, and so on. You could say that a system of recipes, and recipes to apply recipes could be considered the 'essence' of a living being -- but then we'd be changing the meanings of our terms. Essence understood as 'recipes and instructions for their application' isn't the same thing as a complete snapshot of all the properties of that thing.

So it simply doesn't make sense that the DNA should contain narratives. And, by the way, triple-helix DNA can't exist, and it can't be combined with double-helix DNA. The historical/modern day portions in AC should've had something else bridging them. We can kind of suspend our disbelief in that fantastical conception of 'genetic memories', AT LEAST TO SOME EXTENT, because we're kind of aware of the possibility, at least, of such an alternative (perhaps the modern day heroes are simply researching the life of an illustrious ancestor like archeologists). So we excuse the aberrations and move on with the adventure.

With stuff like ghosts (... yeah, I know; but that's not how the 'bleeding effect' works, dammit) appearing to Aguilar and talking to him, or Minerva being able to pinpoint Desmond (... recently repeated with respect to Consus & Charlotte) they're really dabbling with insinuations of the supernatural. I hope they don't go any further.

SixKeys
07-16-2017, 04:02 AM
That sounds like a really interesting take on the concept.Though, I'm not sure how dialogue options could work with the series, but I think it would be a nice fit if executed correctly.

Not necessarily dialogue options, I'm more thinking of the kind of choices they're already toying with in Origins, like being able to choose whether Bayek spares his gladiator opponent or kills him. I can see this kind of thing working with more substantial choices that actually affect the story, Witcher-style. Not the big, historical events, obviously, but something like choosing whether to stop to help a farmer whose house is burning, while in a hurry to catch up to a target. If you don't help, it might lead to the fire spreading to several houses and you will have to live with the deaths of several innocent people on your conscience.

I can picture cases where the outcome is known but not the chain of events that led there. For example Rebecca saying: "The memory is fuzzy here. It looks like your ancestor was able to locate a Piece of Eden, but we don't know how he got that information. Let's see if we can find out."
If you chose to pursue your target (like a henchman to the main villain, not a real historical target), the village would burn down but the assassin would catch up to the henchman who would reveal crucial information with his dying breath. If you chose to help the farmer, you would lose the chance to kill the henchman, but the farmer would survive, and out of gratitude he shares the same information that the henchman would have given. So either way you end up with information that progresses the story, the difference is only how you got there.

I know I use this example all the time, but once again I'm thinking of the memory from Brotherhood where you chase the priest into a tower and can trigger an optional cut scene. No matter which way you choose to kill him, the end result is the same: the priest dies and Ezio gains his key. The only uncertainty is whether he canonically dropped the priest from a balcony or not.

crusader_prophet
07-16-2017, 08:47 PM
Bishop already said in Syndicate or Unity, can't remember, that the Templars are not just trying to access ancestor's memories, they are trying to change the past!

RVSage
07-19-2017, 09:16 PM
This would be interesting, then again if they get into that, they would add, a big complex layer of Time itself

What are consequences of disturbing a time stream? Will the holder of the gene , which was used to manipulate the past be affected?

I feel if they go this route, they could bring some, interesting concepts of time streams/ multiverses e.t.c. Could be great in the right direction i feel