Beyond: Two Souls sells over 1 million copies worldwide

Jun 27, 2012
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What was Heavy Rain's number after six month? Was it long tail that got them the 2.5m on that title?

I always was disappointed we didn't get more downloadable episodes from Heavy Rain because of how QD had to direct all its effort to Move integration.
Heavy Rain sales:

1 million sold after 1-2 months
1.5 million sold after 6 months
2 million sold after 12 months
3 million sold after 42 months (3.5 years)

AFAIK the $25 Move Edition re-release in Fall 2010 was responsible for hitting the 2 million milestone this fast.


Beyond sales:

1 million sold after 2.5 months (October 8th - December 23rd)


Numbers don't seem good at all.
This was pushed by Sony like it was one of their main flagship titles. It was bundled with PS3 & had a strong national TV advertising.

So it must have sold 500,000-ish in NA & 500,000 Worldwide.

For the push it was getting, it should have sold 3-4 million.
Hahahaha. Sony never expected God of War or Uncharted sales for a rather niche game that is also a new IP and exclusively features a female protagonist on a cover with no guns, boobs or ass. Sony expected 300k sales for Heavy Rain. For Beyond the most they probably hoped for was 2 million in the same 3 month period. They strongly advertised it, because they decided to release it in the busiest time of the year with two next gen consoles coming up. Marketing is kinda required, even for a niche game.
 
Jul 1, 2012
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I did not feel that the writing was incredibly terrible. There were definitely moments where it was overwrought or trite, but in general it was clear and lucid and not particularly remarkable in any way on a line-by-line basis. What did you feel was terrible about the writing?
You didn't roll your eyes at the closing chapter(s)? The
Nathan "twist"
was so ham fisted and amateurish.
 
Jun 27, 2012
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You didn't roll your eyes at the closing chapter(s)? The
Nathan "twist"
was so ham fisted and amateurish.
My reaction to that scene was "Yeah that makes sense".
I saw it coming once I noticed how weird Nathan reacted during the Condenser chapter where Jodie told him to never let them build another condenser ever again. As soon as they tease you with his daughter's death during the flashback in the Separation chapter I knew that he would go mad eventually and build another condenser at some point to try to bring his family back. Jodie saying to Cole that she thinks that something is wrong with Nathan was another dead giveaway during that scene. As soon as I saw how old, shitty and done he looked when you meet him again after the Norah chapter I knew what would happen. In total there are about 4 chapters foreshadowing it, 2 of them doing absolutely nothing else but that. The reveal itself came a little bit fast, but since the game never really portrays him as a villain, but instead as a lonely, insane and desperate man, I didn't have any problems with it. Overall I really liked the twist, especially since it made for an intense finale.


Where did he say this?
Nowhere. But we have many people here on GAF that know what Cage thinks and wants, so a source is not really necessary to make an argument about him.
 
Apr 14, 2009
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Glad to hear it's doing well. I'm going through it now and enjoying it so far. Still though, not really capturing me as much as Heavy Rain did even through its flaws and all. I hope they can continue to improve on their formula though.
 
Jul 30, 2007
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Doesnt need to be said, look at the Hollywood Talent he put together for this project.

This entire project looks ages ahead of Indigo Prophecy and miles ahead of Heavy Rain, probably thought Hollywood mainstream
Media would lash on and push it heavy,I bet even Sony thought it would to, didnt happen.
You are not making sense at all.
 
Oct 31, 2009
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things I didn't like about this game:

-Most actions being moved to the right analogue stick. It was interesting at first, but you soon realize that it dilutes the tension in scenarios because there are limited number of actions the game can throw at you versus the use of all the controller buttons in heavy rain. Since heavy rain used all the buttons for QTE's you were on the edge of your seat trying to anticipate what came next.
I think in the future they should use a hybrid of this system and the heavy rain system. The right stick system is still cool and feels natural in fights, but yeah the intensity was lessened for me.

-The way the story was presented. Did not like how it jumped around in a timeline. I understand the reasoning for that was explained in the end, but it still made for a broken experience. Made it hard to connect with characters (especially Jodie) when it keeps skipping to different stages of her life without context.

-Forced relationship with Ryan. The most jarring aspect of the game imo. You're supposed to go from hating him and wanting to beat the shit out of him in one scene but then be in love with him the next. I refused/rejected the guy on three separate story beats and the game still forced a kiss scene on me. Ugh. There was no context to the relationship, no reason why Jodie would like him.

things I liked:

-Fucking around with Aiden. This aspect of the game was really fun. Screwing with other people, using the different powers Aiden has, helping Jodie, etc. There was a strong sense of freedom and exploration when you control him in certain scenarios.

-Scenes playing out different based on how you play. The biggest reason why I love these games. You'd be amazed by how many alternate options there are when playing through the game. Also love how it has different endings, and you have a clear choice of what you want that ending to be.

-Stealth sections. These were very interesting and also freeing gameplay points. You had various choices on how to approach situations, and how to deal with enemies. As oppose to a specific sequence of actions that you complete with QTEs or the right stick (which still have their place and are fun in their own right).

-Some of the scenarios and environments. There were some really interesting moments in the game where the environment became your playground, and you could make a variety of things happen with the help of Aiden. Other than that there were just some really cool scenes like horse riding or the more sci fi focused sections (underwater was godly).


-Visual and audio presentation. I think everyone can agree on this. The soundtrack for this game is bloody amazing, and the graphics are some of the best I've ever seen. In some of the scenes it was seriously unbelievable how good the game looked.

===================

I have a feeling QD's PS4 game will be something special :)
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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You didn't roll your eyes at the closing chapter(s)? The
Nathan "twist"
was so ham fisted and amateurish.
The performance is hammy, but the "twist"--which is not a twist at all, it's completely foreshadowed and very explicitly relevant to the order they show you the vignettes in (relevant scenes: the first condenser, Jodie and the music box, the scene immediately preceding that scene where you see how wrecked Nathan is, the arrest/capture scene)--seemed fine to me. It's definitely a pretty common trope. It's not something that I was in awe of, and I don't think it's the strongest element of the game. But I also didn't roll my eyes, no.
 
Apr 27, 2008
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I did not feel that the writing was incredibly terrible. There were definitely moments where it was overwrought or trite, but in general it was clear and lucid and not particularly remarkable in any way on a line-by-line basis. What did you feel was terrible about the writing?
Incredibly terrible might have been too hyperbolic. But it's only to make a point of the fact that this game is supposed to rely so much on its narrative elements and the execution of them, yet Cage & Co. are apparently unable to avoid making the experience cringeworthy. Much of the dialogue seemed clunky and heavy-handed to me, resulting in a lot of eye-rolling moments. Concurrently, there wasn't much subtlety in conveying character motivations & feelings, thematic ideas, plot progression, and explanation of events, etc. Like people have already mentioned elsewhere, the narrative came across as a low-budget TV film à la ScyFy or what have you. Add to the fact that some of the characters were bordering on offensively over-used stereotypes (spiritual natives, homeless people with heart of gold, mad scientist, war-hungry military general, evil step dad, and so forth) and that not much research had gone into specific areas of some of the locations (read Erik Kain's assessment of the narrative in the game). Finally, the storytelling was simplistic and extremely heavy-handed at many points throughout the game with incredibly convenient "events" to make sure the plot moves forward in the proper, but frankly unbelievable to me, succession of events.

One could probably argue that the writing successfully served its purpose (superficial blockbuster action drama), but I still think we need to call a spade a spade.

EDIT: To use an example of how obvious and simplistic QD try to convey their ideas: In the homeless level, when you go around the street to find some money for food, you come across a couple that explicitly states: "Honey, I don't know whether to eat burger or pizza. It's *such* a hard decision to make." - it's like being beat over the head with what QD was going for in that particular scenario. They might as well just have had a video of David Cage showing up on the screen telling you that being poor is tough living and people are comparatively worse off than others.
 
Jun 13, 2012
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Incredibly terrible might have been too hyperbolic. But it's only to make a point of the fact that this game is supposed to rely so much on its narrative elements and the execution of them, yet Cage & Co. are apparently unable to avoid making the experience cringeworthy. Much of the dialogue seemed clunky and heavy-handed to me, resulting in a lot of eye-rolling moments. Concurrently, there wasn't much subtlety in conveying character motivations & feelings, thematic ideas, plot progression, and explanation of events, etc. Like people have already mentioned elsewhere, the narrative came across as a low-budget TV film à la ScyFy or what have you. Add to the fact that some of the characters were bordering on offensively over-used stereotypes (spiritual natives, homeless people with heart of gold, mad scientist, war-hungry military general, evil step dad, and so forth) and that not much research had gone into specific areas of some of the locations (read Erik Kain's assessment of the narrative in the game). Finally, the storytelling was simplistic and extremely heavy-handed at many points throughout the game with incredibly convenient "events" to make sure the plot moves forward in the proper, but frankly unbelievable to me, succession of events.

One could probably argue that the writing successfully served its purpose (superficial blockbuster action drama), but I still think we need to call a spade a spade.

EDIT: To use an example of how obvious and simplistic QD try to convey their ideas: In the homeless level, when you go around the street to find some money for food, you come across a couple that explicitly states: "Honey, I don't know whether to eat burger or pizza. It's *such* a hard decision to make." - it's like being beat over the head with what QD was going for in that particular scenario. They might as well just have had a video of David Cage showing up on the screen telling you that being poor is tough living and people are comparatively worse off than others.
Can people enjoy pulp fiction? Does a game's story have to be 'good', even one that relies on story heavily to be successful?

At the end of the day, videogames are entertainment and the only thing a game has to do is entertain its audience. There are plenty of people that enjoyed both HR & Beyond, ergo successful games.
 
Sep 4, 2011
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Good for QD. One developer I want to support but change my mind the last second. I hope they can perfect their craft on PS4, I'm glad they are using multiple writers for the story that should definitely help. More meaningful choices throughout would be a welcome too. Just please make the game out of the Kara demo.
 
Jun 27, 2012
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I did not feel that the writing was incredibly terrible. There were definitely moments where it was overwrought or trite, but in general it was clear and lucid and not particularly remarkable in any way on a line-by-line basis. What did you feel was terrible about the writing?
As far as I have seen Lime pays an incredible amount of attention to each little detail and takes issues with even the smallest line. For example he/she posted this in the OT:

The Condenser chapter really takes a complete nosedive in terms of level of writing and storytelling.

"Jodie: "Don't worry, I'm not going to die today""

and

Dead soldier: "Don't go in there - you will die!"

and

Flashback cutscene: *scientist explicitly explains the concept of the wormhole or whatever during the fucking sudden emergency breakthrough between the worlds*


I really want to like this game and there are some nice moments scattered throughout the experience so far, but sometimes you get these little shitballs in your well-presented and technically gorgeous meal.
Now, I have zero issues with any of this and can't even imagine how anyone could, but Lime played the game, wanted to like it and still has these feelings. If you already have issues with this stuff, I could definitely see why he/she thinks that the writing is mediocre/bad overall. Some people are just harder to please than others, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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But it's only to make a point of the fact that this game is supposed to rely so much on its narrative elements and the execution of them, yet Cage & Co. are apparently unable to avoid making the experience cringeworthy.
I didn't really find it cringeworthy. I agree that the plot has a sort of destined or teleological sense to it, which results in things maybe fitting together a little too conveniently. But I think some of that is a commentary on the limited amount of agency Jodie had in her earlier life--almost none of the game's content takes place once Jodie has full control over her situation, and almost immediately it is denied to her again.

Add to the fact that some of the characters were bordering on offensively over-used stereotypes (spiritual natives, homeless people with heart of gold, mad scientist, war-hungry military general, evil step dad, and so forth) and that not much research had gone into specific areas of some of the locations (read Erik Kain's assessment of the narrative in the game). Finally, the storytelling was simplistic and extremely heavy-handed at many points throughout the game with incredibly convenient "events" to make sure the plot moves forward in the proper, but frankly unbelievable to me, succession of events.
The evil step-dad isn't evil if you don't make choices that make it clear Jodie feels he's evil.

I think your emphasis here is that a game that portrays issues surrounding social justice should do so in a fitting way. I'm making that assumption based on what I know of your posting elsewhere and by reading between the lines of the issues you identified. I say the following as a critical and interested observer who values diversity and who has a strong draw towards issues relating to human dignity.

The homeless chapter, in my opinion, was a successful execution on a concept. If you approach it knowing that the author's obvious intent was to portray that while homeless, people are stripped of a lot of dignity, treated poorly, and forced to make a choice from a very poor set of options, I mean if you are charitable about what the author is trying to convey, I think it works. The reasoning behind the variety of homeless characters--and I agree that the way the game deals with these AFTER the homeless chapter is pretty eye-rolly--is to illustrate the sorts of people who end up homeless. People dealing with mental illness. People who lose their job and are failed by the system. People escaping abusive or harmful life-situations. I think that's pretty representative, to be honest, given the structural causes of homelessness in America. I don't recall the line you mention, and obviously the scene isn't perfect (I thought the young toughs filming their bum fighting was a over-the-top way of portraying the callous indifference and dehumanizing way people address the homeless), but I think enough of it works that I would consider it a strong execution. Additionally, it's a theme rarely if ever address in games.

I believe if you were playing an art-game made by an individual who self-identified as homeless or displaced or was drawing from personal experience, knowing the author's intent would frame that game in such a way that you would approach the material more generously than you do here.

The Navajo scene is comparatively weaker in its written content. I don't think it was minstrelly. I am white, I am not of native descent, and certainly I am open to hear someone with more direct experience responding to how they see the portrayal. I didn't see elements of "noble savage" or "white man's burden" tropes in the scene. I think the scene basically involves Jodie's coming to terms with herself--the native ancestry seemed secondary to this. While the exact symbols used, and words, and possibly even the accents probably weren't true to life (I didn't check the actors cast to know whether they cast actors of native descent or whitewashed it, this is probably an interesting thing to follow up on), I think the general thematic elements of belief in a spirit world, strong connections through ancestors, connection to and stewardship of nature, significance of hallowed ground and burial sites are common to indigenous peoples of the world. I don't think it was done in a hokey or cliche "Chief Big Bear channels the Grandfather Wolf" nonsense way.

The supernatural elements in the Navajo chapter were less strong but I'm not a big fan of supernatural content more generally and while the rest of the game's supernatural elements were considered from a basically materialist approach to reality this one scene made it a bit too, I dunno, a bit too hokey. I gave up on Phoenix Wright 2 because the traditional Japanese ghost/spirit elements were pretty dumb to me. I also feel the pacing in the Navajo chapter was a little slow.

The treatment of the ethics of war after the Somalia chapter is pretty poor, the dialogue in the plane is pretty bad. That's one of the game's weak points.
 
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(I didn't check the actors cast to know whether they cast actors of native descent or whitewashed it, this is probably an interesting thing to follow up on).
Cory (the youngest brother) and the grandmother never talk in Navajo, so they only have one actor. Cory is voiced by a French actor who has multiple roles in every QD game like Jesus dude in HR, voice in the Kara tech demo, Jimmy in Homeless and Cory in Navajo in Beyond. Same for the grandmother who is acted by an American actress living in France. She plays Carla in Indigo Prophecy, Madison in the Taxidermist scene in HR and Norah and the grandmother in Beyond.

They used 2 actors each for Paul and Jay. One actor of native descent doing the Navajo voice only and providing the face, the other one doing all the English parts and the mo-cap. The latter are Americans and were flown in for the mo-cap, but they don't seem to be of native descent. I'm not sure if they even have an accent in the game, if so it's probably not accurate. At least what is said in Navajo seems to be correct, as I know from comments on forums and YouTube that all the other languages like Arabian and Mandarin are presented correctly.
 
Jan 16, 2012
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Well, that's nice to hear, I guess. While I liked Heavy Rain more than this, I'm glad to see that it's selling well.

-Forced relationship with Ryan. The most jarring aspect of the game imo. You're supposed to go from hating him and wanting to beat the shit out of him in one scene but then be in love with him the next. I refused/rejected the guy on three separate story beats and the game still forced a kiss scene on me. Ugh. There was no context to the relationship, no reason why Jodie would like him.
Yeah, I also disliked this crap. That's bad writing, right there.

There were sequences, though, like the whole homeless thing that were amazingly executed. I don't know precisely why, but that sequence really stands out whenever I think of the game.
 

Zen

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Jun 24, 2005
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Well, that's nice to hear, I guess. While I liked Heavy Rain more than this, I'm glad to see that it's selling well.


Yeah, I also disliked this crap. That's bad writing, right there.

There were sequences, though, like the whole homeless thing that were amazingly executed. I don't know precisely why, but that sequence really stands out whenever I think of the game.
I think part of the reason for it is that it's very emotionally intense and raw, something that we can all relate to on a very human level. It also have the most condensed and apparent malleability of any chapter in the entire game where most of our choices are in service of a goal or objective (not like when you're just playing as a child much earlier in the game). It also doesn't hurt that our mentor character for this chapter is Stan, probably one of the most well acted and easiest characters to feel pathos for of any of the side characters.

I think I'm going to go back and replay the game in a linear progressions (I'm not entirely sure that the non linear model was something that was envisioned from the very start). I'll be looking forward to the homeless segment.
 
Dec 1, 2013
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That's pretty cool news if the game was profitable. The game seemed to get a lot less marketing than Heavy Rain which hopefully helped. I haven't bought any of QD's games but I've enjoyed watching streams of them. While the premises for their past games haven't made me want to buy them (though I'll probably get Beyond when it's $20) I do appreciate that they are doing something different. I really liked their Kara tech demo and would have definitely payed $60 for a full game. I love androids and the kind of themes stories with them have.
 
Apr 18, 2011
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The budget was only ~30 million. For an game that's in an alternative genre, 1 million is very respectable.
Since when is 30 millions a small budget? It's already more than the average AAA budget I think (Uncharted 2 had a budget of $20 millions for example).

1 million sales is more than respectable for Beyond, and I expect the game to do more in the coming months (and to eventually turn in profit).

I really enjoyed the game. It has a lot of weaknesses, but it's a good experience, so it's well deserved.
 
Jun 27, 2012
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Damn, still can't believe sometimes that this shit was on Ps3. Very impressive effect overall. Next PS4 game will have a team of writers and I can't even imagine how the visuals will look overall if Dark Sorcerer is any indication, so I hope I can be on the next hype train with you guys. :D
That would be something else, to have Amir0x on the hype train for a QD game. But hey, I would certainly welcome it :D The writing will definitely be better given that two well educated and experienced American writers are working on the game for about 2 years now with the addition of Cage's own writing getting better from game to game (albeit slowly). Now that he is getting proper feedback from actual writers instead of just his own team can only mean good things too. I just hope it will be good enough for you.



It also doesn't hurt that our mentor character for this chapter is Stan, probably one of the most well acted and easiest characters to feel pathos for of any of the side characters.
Yeah Stan was good shit. Probably my favourite character in the game apart from Jodie and also the reason I chose a very particular ending which made me very happy to see him again. Very well acted indeed.
 
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Since when is 30 millions a small budget? It's already more than the average AAA budget I think (Uncharted 2 had a budget of $20 millions for example).

1 million sales is more than respectable for Beyond, and I expect the game to do more in the coming months (and to eventually turn in profit).

I really enjoyed the game. It has a lot of weaknesses, but it's a good experience, so it's well deserved.
Uncharted 2 was the last ND game that was that low. Uncharted 3 and TLoU were both more expensive than Beyond. Most big AAA games last year were actually, which is why there is this sentiment that $27M is relatively reasonable.
 
Oct 22, 2006
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This thread inspired me to start up my copy i got for Christmas, and holy crap this is amazing. Fucking GAF and the reviews killed my hype even though i loved Heavy Rain, but 2 hours in and this is some impressive stuff. Visuals are better than next-gen shit and the character acting is like leagues better than Heavy Rain.

I love it so far. And i genuinely feel the way they handle some of the slow-down action movements is actually kinda cool. They freeze things and they look totally badass before your about to knock someone out. Still though, i play adventure games so im not always looking for deep gameplay.
 
Sep 30, 2013
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Damn, still can't believe sometimes that this shit was on Ps3. Very impressive effect overall. Next PS4 game will have a team of writers and I can't even imagine how the visuals will look overall if Dark Sorcerer is any indication, so I hope I can be on the next hype train with you guys. :D
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it better look amazing if it doesn't have hordes of enemies and their AI routines using up all the processing budget, as well as all the effects from all of their guns and explosions, plus larger environments etc.

Telltale's games should be just an anomaly. How their games can look and run worse than PS2 games while doing 1/10th as much is quite pathetic. Quantic Dream deserve the praise, but at the same time it should be expected from a big studio making a system exclusive.
 
Oct 22, 2006
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Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it better look amazing if it doesn't have hordes of enemies and their AI routines using up all the processing budget, as well as all the effects from all of their guns and explosions, plus larger environments etc.

Telltale's games should be just an anomaly. How their games can look and run worse than PS2 games while doing 1/10th as much is quite pathetic. Quantic Dream deserve the praise, but at the same time it should be expected from a big studio making a system exclusive.
When it comes to the cinematic quality of some of the scenes in the game i dont think its right to say any of that stuff should be expected because honestly its in the top tier of execution and the attention to detail certainly isnt a requirement to tell a story.
 
Jun 22, 2011
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Since when is 30 millions a small budget? It's already more than the average AAA budget I think (Uncharted 2 had a budget of $20 millions for example).

1 million sales is more than respectable for Beyond, and I expect the game to do more in the coming months (and to eventually turn in profit).

I really enjoyed the game. It has a lot of weaknesses, but it's a good experience, so it's well deserved.
Its not low, but it is average. Also Uncharted 2 was like 2009, budgets have been on the rise at a pretty high rate.
 

Zen

Banned
Jun 24, 2005
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Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it better look amazing if it doesn't have hordes of enemies and their AI routines using up all the processing budget, as well as all the effects from all of their guns and explosions, plus larger environments etc.

Telltale's games should be just an anomaly. How their games can look and run worse than PS2 games while doing 1/10th as much is quite pathetic. Quantic Dream deserve the praise, but at the same time it should be expected from a big studio making a system exclusive.
It's one thing to have that graphics budget, it's another thing to use it as well as QD does to realize their vision. The work put into the art, and how they end up looking on screen shouldn't be sold short just because it's a narrative heavy game.

Telltale games, sure the engine is dated, but the legacy of the engine is quite dated at this point, and they want to run on as many platforms and configurations as possible.
 
Aug 7, 2012
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Yup. Gorgeous game.
You know what, I can't wait to see what QD does on PS4.

Damn, still can't believe sometimes that this shit was on Ps3. Very impressive effect overall. Next PS4 game will have a team of writers and I can't even imagine how the visuals will look overall if Dark Sorcerer is any indication, so I hope I can be on the next hype train with you guys. :D
Wait really has this been confirmed?

Is there hope?

I want to believe.
 

Creaking

He touched the black heart of a mod
May 17, 2013
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Cool!

Do the controls become any more interesting than they are in the demo though? I don't mean like a fully fledged third person scheme or anything, but from what I played of Beyond, I thought Heavy Rain did the controls for cinematic interactions better. The shaking prompts and difficult tasks being difficult to pull off on the controller kind of helped draw me in-- so much so that I sometimes felt too exhausted to keep going during a session, even though I wanted to. With Beyond, it seemed like a lot of stick-flicking and very little else. The Aiden bits were pretty cool though.
 
Apr 27, 2008
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I didn't really find it cringeworthy. I agree that the plot has a sort of destined or teleological sense to it, which results in things maybe fitting together a little too conveniently. But I think some of that is a commentary on the limited amount of agency Jodie had in her earlier life--almost none of the game's content takes place once Jodie has full control over her situation, and almost immediately it is denied to her again.
You didn't cringe during some of these parts? (rreposting some examples that I posted elsewhere)

I was thinking of events or moments in the game that pissed me off because of their stupidity:

  • The way Jodie finds out that she actually killed the fucking democratically elected president in Somalia was through a goddamn random news bulletin in the helicopter. Apparently she has no idea about basic stuff in the country she is operating in. Really convenient, huh?
  • That one guy yelling SHIASAMA at the sky after a character death. I was thinking of:
  • You gave me a book as a birthday? A fucking book?
  • Homeless people with Hearts of Gold
  • Adoption Dad is a cartoonish one-dimensional villain
  • Who the fuck carries wounded soldiers like they're little children?
  • Despite being trained as a fucking CIA agent or having superpowers, Jodie can't take care of herself when she becomes homeless
  • Nathan's sudden character development. He is a compassionate, understanding guardian until the end, despite the fact that he was in contact with his dead wife and daughter back when Jodie was 5 years old. Like Shelby before him, it's just too convenient character development.
  • Noble Savages and the complete disregard of Navajo identity and culture. Erik Kain explains:
    The Navajo family members are the silliest sort of “noble savages” dressed up in a thin veneer of modernity. The Navajo culture is almost entirely ignored.

    At one point, Cage gives us a flashback of tepees burning, despite the fact that the Navajo never lived in tepees.

    The elder of the two sons looks more Italian than American Indian, and both boys sound lily white. No trace of the extremely distinct Navajo accent can be heard—and this is a family living deep in the middle of nowhere. The boys speak Navajo, something that’s pretty rare these days among younger generations.

    There’s even a moment where the boys take Jodie to a place “no white man’s ever been before” which, honestly, is just the worst sort of nonsense. As if the American government hasn’t been all over indigenous lands. No, in Cage’s bizarre vision of the American Indian, it’s all mysticism and horses and Jodie the white savior.

I think the worst offender of the above is probably the news bulletin in the helicopter. Why doesn't Jodie know basic everyday knowledge about the country she is operating in? Has she never read a newspaper? Did she even bother to go on Wikipedia? It's just lazy and stupid storytelling, imo.
The evil step-dad isn't evil if you don't make choices that make it clear Jodie feels he's evil.
How so? I don't think I've experienced that particular part.

I think your emphasis here is that a game that portrays issues surrounding social justice should do so in a fitting way. I'm making that assumption based on what I know of your posting elsewhere and by reading between the lines of the issues you identified. I say the following as a critical and interested observer who values diversity and who has a strong draw towards issues relating to human dignity.
I can understand your assumption, but this isn't the case concerning to Beyond. The writing quality is not associated with issues of marginalization or diversity as such. (the mentioning of stereotypes doesn't rest on any sort of egalitarian or recognitional premises in my criticism, but rather revolves around over-used stereotypes, if that is what made you make that particular assumption)

The homeless chapter, in my opinion, was a successful execution on a concept. If you approach it knowing that the author's obvious intent was to portray that while homeless, people are stripped of a lot of dignity, treated poorly, and forced to make a choice from a very poor set of options, I mean if you are charitable about what the author is trying to convey, I think it works.
Definitely, it's a pretty straightforward execution and presentation of it and it achieves what it sets out to do. And I do not want to criticize the chapter as a concept at all - the example I posted was just a tiny, tiny little piece of dialogue to illustrate how poor the storytelling and execution of themes can be handled by QD.

The chapter itself (although it was one of the best in the game) is incredibly straightforward without much subtlety and nuances in its execution. So the subject matter is definitely commendable and at the very least decent, but it is flawed (or incredibly basic) in how it goes around to tackling these issues

The reasoning behind the variety of homeless characters--and I agree that the way the game deals with these AFTER the homeless chapter is pretty eye-rolly--is to illustrate the sorts of people who end up homeless. People dealing with mental illness. People who lose their job and are failed by the system. People escaping abusive or harmful life-situations. I think that's pretty representative, to be honest, given the structural causes of homelessness in America. I don't recall the line you mention, and obviously the scene isn't perfect (I thought the young toughs filming their bum fighting was a over-the-top way of portraying the callous indifference and dehumanizing way people address the homeless), but I think enough of it works that I would consider it a strong execution.
Maybe it's because where I come from, that particular type of depiction of social inequality between classes belonged in left-oriented children cartoons, so a lot of the stuff in the Homeless chapter in Beyond came across as simple and obvious.

Additionally, it's a theme rarely if ever address in games.
I completely agree - see also my post earlier on why I think it is a good thing that the game didn't completely bomb.

The Navajo scene is comparatively weaker in its written content. I don't think it was minstrelly. I am white, I am not of native descent, and certainly I am open to hear someone with more direct experience responding to how they see the portrayal. I didn't see elements of "noble savage" or "white man's burden" tropes in the scene.
It isn't noble savage or white man's burden stereotype we are talking about, but the Magical Native American. It's a pretty common one and therefore I also consider it to be lazy character writing.

I think the general thematic elements of belief in a spirit world, strong connections through ancestors, connection to and stewardship of nature, significance of hallowed ground and burial sites are common to indigenous peoples of the world. I don't think it was done in a hokey or cliche "Chief Big Bear channels the Grandfather Wolf" nonsense way.
Whether or not it is common to indigenous peoples of the world, the fact of the matter is that it's an over-used and therefore tired cliché. See also the posted link above for some negative connotations with the stereotype.

The treatment of the ethics of war after the Somalia chapter is pretty poor, the dialogue in the plane is pretty bad. That's one of the game's weak points.
Yeah, the dialogue in the plan (or helicopter?) might have been the worst for me. The hilariously dumb convenient TV news segment on Somalia about presidential elections were just too much for me and it really made me sour on the game's writing.

In any case, Stump, we are mainly talking about specific in regards to the game's quality or lack thereof, in its writing. If we went through a more detailed discussion on each chapter, I personally think there'd be plenty of examples that illustrate the need for some professional assistance with the writing at QD's offices. And I really want QD's game to be creatively and financially successful, as they are the ones given the incredibly unique chance (and large budget and marketing!) to make high-production games that aren't necessarily based on shooting or killing people. So to see them fail when it comes to one of the most important aspect of their games is incredibly frustrating.
 
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Wait really has this been confirmed?

Is there hope?

I want to believe.
YES
QD's next game on PS4 will be written by a team of 3. Two writers were hired in 2012 and work on-site. Cage will be writing as well, but mostly the concept design and general ideas.

Here they are:






Plus a couple of interviews where Cage talks about this:

VideoGamesZone in August 2012 said:
But at the moment we start to change things at the studio and I currently work on creating a team of writers. Pretty much like the writing rooms in TV series, where there is a showrunner, a guy having the vision, but at the same time, doesn't write everything. There is a team of talented people with him, bringing their talent, their ideas and helping to write.

This is what I currently build. So hopefully my next game won't be written entirely by myself [laughs].
http://www.videogameszone.de/Beyond...-Souls-David-Cage-Gamescom-Interview-1018341/


VideoGamer in August 2012 said:
DC: But to answer your question, the evolution of the format, the evolution of the studio, requires that more people become capable of writing this kind of stuff. I'm very interested in what's going on with TV series, where's the showrunner and a team of writers, writing in the same direction. And this is actually what I'm building at our studio right now.

Q: You're moving towards a TV-like setup?

DC: Yeah, where I could continue to have the vision and the ideas - I have ideas for the next four or five games. This is what I love and I really enjoy but at the same time, instead of me spending a year away from the studio writing the damn thing, I could work for the team - people who could be more talented than I am, and bring in new ideas that I've not thought of - and work together in creating this thing. So, we're starting on this right now.
http://www.videogamer.com/ps3/heavy_rain/news/david_cage_i_remember_how_scared_we_were.html


Destructoid in April 2013 said:
"David has so many ideas that Quantic Dream doesn’t have enough resources to put all of these ideas into games," Fondaumière said. "Our job is to turn these ideas into projects. So we are trying to attract talent: script writers, directors, photographers. That’s currently what we are working on. It’s challenging but a very interesting process."

Cage is now joined by two other writers in script writing Quantic Dream's PS4 game in development. The results are "very positive" Fondaumière said.
http://www.destructoid.com/this-is-not-an-article-about-david-cage-252639.phtml
 
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Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it better look amazing if it doesn't have hordes of enemies and their AI routines using up all the processing budget, as well as all the effects from all of their guns and explosions, plus larger environments etc.

Telltale's games should be just an anomaly. How their games can look and run worse than PS2 games while doing 1/10th as much is quite pathetic. Quantic Dream deserve the praise, but at the same time it should be expected from a big studio making a system exclusive.
Well I understand what you're saying, that technically these scenes aren't actually pushing that much, but the key to a good visual direction is understanding the limitations of your engine and exploiting it to produce the most effective image possible. In other words, if you know your engine looks and runs beautifully when there are a maximum of five people no screen, but starts to run like shit if you put more, then you will design your game so that you rarely if ever need more than five people on screen at once.

Quantic Dream so effectively works around the limitations of the PS3 and their engine that the effect is that it's often amazing to think it IS just on PS3. I mean I know why it does work, and so do you. But that's like complaining that in a movie it's not really that impressive because the director didn't really recreate the whole town, they just built a small set and CG'd the rest. The overall effect is what matters, as far as I'm concerned :)

Wait really has this been confirmed?

Is there hope?

I want to believe.
Yessir. David Cage and Quantic Dream have a unique vision and I think it's fascinating to analyze their titles, but for me to love them, I am hopeful a team of writers finally puts them on the right track. And that's been confirmed for their next game, as dragonbane pointed out. It has to be an improvement, I think. And Beyond showed at least they could hire competent actors to perform the scenes as well.