|This article contains SPOILERS for the main story of CrossCode. Proceed at your own risk!|
However Evotars showcase a significant issue when being confronted with their origin, often plunging them in to mental breakdown which ultimately leads to severe malfunctions.
|-Encyclopedia general entry|
Origins of Evotars
Satoshi Sakai, while employed at Instatainment, was an engineer responsible for implementing the avatar controlling module. The module was based on a neural network that would study the player's own neural oscillations for a brief time, then use that information to allow the player to control their avatar simply by thought. This became known as the CrossCode.
Satoshi eventually discovered that the same neural network could be used to simulate several features of the brain - including perception, logical thinking, emotions, and even memories. After a short time, this code evolved into a fully-fledged A.I. that was capable of running an avatar without any human input, which Satoshi referred to as an Evotar.
Trouble With Instatainment
Satoshi was particularly excited by the development of Evotars and pitched the idea to the higher-ups at Instatainment, hoping to be allowed to develop the A.I. further to allow it to become fully autonomous. However, the company denied his request for further research, and made it clear that their only interest in the CrossCode was as a means for players to control avatars, and that they did not want any extra functionality added, particularly not the copying of memories.
Satoshi became frustrated enough by this rejection that he left Instatainment along with his sister Shizuka and Gautham, two of his fellow developers. Satoshi asked his friend and coworker Sergey to join them as well, but Sergey declined, stating that he found the idea too risky. Shortly after this point, Sergey lost contact with his three friends.
An Investor Appears
After leaving Instatainment, the three developers met a man who called himself Benedict Sidwell. He did not divulge much personal information and never met the three in person, but claimed to believe in their vision and offered his support. Sidwell provided the team with equipment, confidential specifications, and most importantly, a place within CrossWorlds to continue the research Instatainment had banned.
Originally, Evotar research continued at Sapphire Ridge, but was later moved to Vermillion Wasteland when it was determined more space was necessary. This area became known amongst the team as Evotarground. While Satoshi was never able to figure out how Sidwell managed it, Instatainment never investigated their activities or shut down their project.
Soon after the team moved to the Evotarground, Lea was created from Shizuka's avatar and became the first fully-functional Evotar.
Sidwell's True Intentions
The swift progress that was made on Evotars led to the natural question of what would be done with this new technology. Sidwell seemed to have a plan of his own and began requesting additional features be added to the Evotars, including the ability to extract the memories of their original players, if possible. It became clear that Sidwell intended to use the Evotars to gather intelligence from human players without arousing any suspicion or leaving a trace.
The system worked by applying a custom version of the CrossCode to the player, referred to as CrossCode 2.0. Much like the original CrossCode, it underwent a brief learning period of studying the player's brain, but went further than merely learning to interpret how the player would control their avatar and also gathered the personality, emotions, and memories of the original player. The original CrossCode could then be replaced, and the specialized version used to control a new Evotar. After a brief period roaming the Evotarground, the Evotar would then be able to regain its original memories, after which it could be used for information gathering.
While it was not possible to harvest memories directly from Evotars, they were found to be susceptible to the same kinds of interrogation techniques as real humans; however, those techniques could be applied to the A.I. Evotars without the same restraints that would apply to humans. Sidwell's intention was to have the team of three developers interrogate the Evotars to gain intelligence that could be sold on real-world black markets for a large profit.
Once Satoshi, Shizuka, and Gautham found out Sidwell's true motivations for supporting Evotar research, they protested, as they found it to be immoral. The team wanted to drop the project and walk away. Sidwell, however, made it clear that considering how many contracts they had broken with Instatainment after leaving the company, it would be unwise for them to consider taking it to the authorities, and that even if they did their "days would be numbered."
Satoshi, who suffered from heart disease and was thus less affected by Sidwell's threats, offered to create an Evotar copy of himself to continue his work with Sidwell on the condition that Shizuka would be released. While Satoshi did finish creating his Evotar shortly before his death, Sidwell did not keep his end of the bargain and continued his business with Shizuka remaining trapped within Sapphire Ridge in the game.
State of Evotars During CrossCode
During the events of CrossCode, the Evotarground is still active, and Sidwell's business is still in operation. It is also revealed that Sidwell convinced Gautham to move to the physical location of the Evotarground; this was not difficult to do, as Gautham was excited for a chance to see the worlds he was building in person, but meant that Gautham was more firmly under Sidwell's control.
The Evotarground has continued to escape Instatainment's notice, and is not obvious to the normal players as it is abandoned content that was never made an official part of the Playground. It is accessible from the main Playground via a hidden entrance near the Old Dojo in Sapphire Ridge.
The Evotar server is physically located in Vermillion Wasteland as well, at the top of the high tower known as Vermillion Dungeon. It is the host for all Evotars, with the exception of Lea. Access to the server is extremely limited, as an access key is required. An avatar attempting to approach the server without this key would trigger a self-destruct sequence. Remote administration of the server is also disabled, except for a command to delete all data currently stored on the server.
While helping to plan for storming Vermillion Wasteland, Satoshi reveals that Lea is in possession of the needed access key. He convinced Sidwell to give her the key by faking a malfunction within her systems, which Satoshi claimed could only be repaired by inspecting her side-by-side with the server. Sidwell did not allow Satoshi to take Lea to the server, but did grant her the key so that she could be near it safely, and worked remotely with Satoshi to attempt repairs.
Deeming the repairs impossible, Satoshi then convinced Sidwell to allow him to move Lea to his personal development server. At that point, Satoshi claimed Lea could not be repaired and was tasked with deleting her. Instead, he hid Lea within the game's database, inside an area of corrupted data he knew Sergey would be tasked with repairing, thus ensuring she could be found.
Evotars' Role in Storming Vermillion Wasteland
In order to get Lea to the server without Sidwell catching on and remotely wiping the data, Satoshi and Sergey devise a plan to use an old exploit to overload the server and cause it to crash, necessitating a reboot before it would respond to any further commands. The exploit involved gathering as many Evotars as could be found within Evotarground and subjecting them to a field effect that overwhelmed the server and successfully brought it down.
Despite these efforts, Sidwell revealed that his ability to destroy the data did not require him to have access to the Evotar server at all - due to its physical location within the game, accessing the Environment Server and removing the Instant Matter supporting the Evotar Server would cause it to fall and crash to the ground, causing irreparable damage. However, Gautham, who had become severely overburdened by the pressures put on him by maintaining Sidwell's business and the misery he was causing Evotars, blocked Sidwell's access to the Environment Server, allowing Lea to access the Evotar Server and secure its data.
The Future of Evotars
Once the Evotar data is secure, Sergey states that the safest thing to do is to keep all of the Evotars offline until and unless he is able to petition Instatainment to have Evotars officially reinstated within the game. As he had previously mentioned to Lea, his goal was to realize Satoshi's original vision for Evotars, which was to give them a proper place to live within CrossWorlds so that they no longer had to hide within the game.
In a post-credits scene, the members of the First Scholars guild are shown receiving a call from Sergey regarding the fate of Evotars after his meeting with Instatainment. Depending on whether or not the player has successfully completed an in-game event, Sergey will inform the guild that he has either failed or succeeded at convincing them to allow Evotars back into the game. Upcoming DLC is expected to further deal with the future of Evotars.