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David Cage answers three questions about next-gen

ComputerMKII

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Translated from http://gamers.blogs.challenges.fr/archive/2013/11/26/david-cage-la-ps4-et-la-xbox-one-107812.html

David Cage, the PS4 and the Xbox One

For an article on the new generation console war to be published on Thursday, November 28 in the magazine, I asked three questions to David Cage - founder and boss of the Quantic Dream studio, which created the magnificent "Beyond: Two Souls", released on PS3 in october (Read: "Beyond: Two Souls, Beyond Video Games") Unfortunately, I couldn't use the answers in their entirety. I'm publishing them here because, in my opinion, they seem interesting in order to understand what's at stake with the new cycle starting with the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.


What is your point of view on the new cycle that's starting with the new generation of consoles? What makes it different from the previous one?

Every cycle is different, as we saw with the last cycle. While Sony had crushed the competition on the Playstation 2's cycle, the last cycle saw a rebalancing between the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, and, more importantly, the emergence of Nintendo's Wii, which no one saw coming. The next cycle will probably be very different as well. First of all - and that's no surprise, we're seeing a very significant increase in the consoles' power. Graphic quality and realism in games will therefore increase considerably. We also see that it's more and more about 'connected' consoles. The social dimension of games will also become more and more important. By the way, we expect consoles that are more open, to the mobile world in particular, with a systematic inclusion of tablets or phones as a "second screen".
However, it's hard to tell whether Sony or Microsoft (or someone else?) will win the cycle. The two manufacturers have visions which are apparently very different, although they also share some important points (such as the importance of the second screen).

Do these new machines reinforce the position you've taken - which some would call "atypical" in the video game industry?

It's a bit early to answer this question. What's unique about an atypical approach is that it doesn't lend itself to prediction easily - but it's also what makes it interesting... The video game market, in its overwhelming majority, still demands certain types of games mainly based on action or sports. Sometimes it happens that one game or another, almost by accident, manages to catch attention (which happened with Heavy Rain, for instance) but such a thing remains extremely marginal. To exist on the market with a game that doesn't rely on violence is an immense challenge for any studio. At Quantic Dream, we try to create experiences based on interactive stories and emotions, in order to attract a broader - and maybe more adult - audience towards video games. There are a lot of challenges to succeed in this endeavor, such as changing society's view on this new media, but also showing gamers it can be interesting to create experiences that are different than those they're familiar with. It's obviously an exciting challenge.

With Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls, you were able to exploit all the possibilities offered by the previous machines. What does the PS4 give you that you didn't have before?

The most obvious element is the increase in graphic quality and realism. We recently worked on a short film called "The Dark Sorcerer" which gives an idea of the visual improvement you can expect from the next generation. You get access to a level of subtlety - especially with animation and characters - that used to be out of reach. Video games have often been confronted to the "Uncanny Valley", the difficulty in representing realist characters in a credible manner. This console generation should allow us to leave this problem behind. The social dimenson, the efficient managing of digital content, the consoles' connectivity, the emergence of new technologies made possible by the machines' power, will contribute to open new possibilities and create new experiences for gamers.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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I didn't enjoy Beyond all that much, so I'm not really hyped for QD's next. However, I hope they concentrate more on actual gameplay in their next release. Their technology is absolutely amazing, but the writing is pretty poor and the game part of their games is a token footnote.
 

Zen

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I didn't enjoy Beyond all that much, so I'm not really hyped for QD's next. However, I hope they concentrate more on actual gameplay in their next release. Their technology is absolutely amazing, but the writing is pretty poor and the game part of their games is a token footnote.
It's unfortunate because the gameplay in Heavy Rain was simply amazing. That being the interaction between you and the controller. It was really that element along with the malleable narrative that made Heavy Rain work for so many people. Beyond has neither of these and suffers as a results.

Also people who say that the controls for Heavy Rain were poor really don't know what they're talking about.
 

ComputerMKII

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It's unfortunate because the gameplay in Heavy Rain was simply amazing. That being the interaction between you and the controller. It was really that element along with the malleable narrative that made Heavy Rain work for so many people. Beyond has neither of these and suffers as a results.

Also people who say that the controls for Heavy Rain were poor really don't know what they're talking about.
I don't know if the rest of the controls were good or bad, but tank controls was a terrible idea.
 

Kosma

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I just played the demo of Beyond and now I can wait for it to be a tenner.

It's something I want to experience, but the QTE's and the gameplay are really off putting.

I remember playing their game on PC (Fahrenheit) and it was really good adventuring until some aliens invaded an office and it became a qte fest. Quit right there.

He could really learn from Walking Dead about how to incorporate slight action sequences into his games.
 

matrix-cat

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It's unfortunate because the gameplay in Heavy Rain was simply amazing. That being the interaction between you and the controller. It was really that element along with the malleable narrative that made Heavy Rain work for so many people. Beyond has neither of these and suffers as a results.

Also people who say that the controls for Heavy Rain were poor really don't know what they're talking about.
Totally agree. Heavy Rain had a great feeling of connection between player and character, which Beyond totally lacks. I feel like my presence was hardly even necessary in Beyond, and in turn that really lessened any investment I had with what was going on in the game.
 

Yager

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It's unfortunate because the gameplay in Heavy Rain was simply amazing. That being the interaction between you and the controller. It was really that element along with the malleable narrative that made Heavy Rain work for so many people. Beyond has neither of these and suffers as a results.

Also people who say that the controls for Heavy Rain were poor really don't know what they're talking about.
Yeah, about that...

I've always thought that QD's games are interesting froom the point that they're trying to do something different, but in the end their product is pretty mediocre as a game. I hope that with next-gen they'll work more in game mechanics rather than "more realistic" graphics.
 

Morzak

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Totally agree. Heavy Rain had a great feeling of connection between player and character, which Beyond totally lacks. I feel like my presence was hardly even necessary in Beyond, and in turn that really lessened any investment I had with what was going on in the game.
The problem aren't that much the controls but the way you interact with the world in Beyond, in HR you at least felt you could do different things and interact with the world in a believable way, Beyond is basically follow that white marker, I didn't even bother to finish Beyond but played HR more then once. The controls themselves in HR where pretty bad though, Tank controls are just stupid.
 

Prine

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I played Beyond for about 10 minutes, and not played since. Only because im trying to finish GTA5 first.

But i love Heavy Rain and a supporter of David Cage vision of merging cinema with videogames, hope to see some great things from QD on PS4.
 

jonnyp

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I remember playing their game on PC (Fahrenheit) and it was really good adventuring until some aliens invaded an office and it became a qte fest. Quit right there.

.
Haha, that's exactly where I quit as well.
 

matrix-cat

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The controls themselves in HR where pretty bad though, Tank controls are just stupid.
Yeah, I think Cage feels that every aspect of a game has to be artsy and creative, which just results in needlessly obtuse control schemes. HR's movement controls were ridiculous, but Beyond's aren't much better, unfortunately. The reason you had to 'drive' a character with R2 in Heavy Rain was so to compensate for the fixed camera angles (so you wouldn't be pushing the stick in the wrong direction when the shot changed), but in Beyond they gave you free control with the left stick but kept the fixed camera. Except now you can sometimes move it around a little bit, and sometimes you can move it around a lot, but make sure you don't move the camera while standing next to something you can interact with because some genius mapped both of those functions to the right stick.

I imagine Quantic Dream probably got a lot of negative feedback for Heavy Rain's controls, but unfortunately they decided against improving them in favour of cutting out any real semblance of interactivity for Beyond.
 

Acquiescence

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It's unfortunate because the gameplay in Heavy Rain was simply amazing. That being the interaction between you and the controller. It was really that element along with the malleable narrative that made Heavy Rain work for so many people. Beyond has neither of these and suffers as a results.

Also people who say that the controls for Heavy Rain were poor really don't know what they're talking about.
I really mirror this post. I was the biggest Quantic Dream fanboy after Heavy Rain, but boy did Cage and Co. drop the ball with Beyond. I thought Heavy Rain straddled a good balance between game and interactive movie but Beyond went too far in the direction of the latter. Substituting context-heavy QTE inputs for a flick of the right stick in the direction of whichever way Jodie was moving just wasn't involving or engaging, and the amount of things you could interactive with in the environment was so streamlined compared to Heavy Rain that it felt on rails the majority of the time. You couple that with a story that lacked any tension or intrigue and you have a pretty spectacular failure.

It's a shame, because now it means I'm not excited for QD have to offer on the PS4 now, but merely sceptical. Cage seems to have a flair for comedy going by that Dark Sorcerer tech demo, so I think he should take some major influence from old-school LucasArts and make a game set in that DS world, but with gameplay in the vein of those point & click adventure games. Take a break from pushing the interactive movie agenda and make something a bit more traditional. Something with PUZZLES! And an INVENTORY! And ITEMS THAT YOU CAN COMBINE!

Totally agree. Heavy Rain had a great feeling of connection between player and character, which Beyond totally lacks. I feel like my presence was hardly even necessary in Beyond, and in turn that really lessened any investment I had with what was going on in the game.
.
 

nelsonroyale

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I much prefered Beyond to Heavy Rain overall. I agree that HR had more individual choice in scenes, which I was disappointed weren't in Beyond. But I liked the Aiden mechanic in Beyond and the interplay between the two. Coupled with the fact that Beyond was just incredible in terms of presentation and cinematography. Can't wait to see what they have got next.
 

Mistouze

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OH YES. AND A COMBO SYSTEM PLZ.

Seriously, at worst it feels like David Cage is trying to do a better written Dragon's Lair and at best it feels like he want to reinvent the visual novel genre. Something has got to give if he wants to shake things up. A good writer understanding the strength of videogames could help for example.
 

matrix-cat

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I couldn't disagree more. Heavy Rain has almost no gameplay depth whatsoever.
There's no depth because there's no single control scheme that you internalise at the beginning of the game, but the game's still engaging and challenging. The difference is that instead of the shooting/punching/whatevering you'd be doing in your standard shooter/puncher/whateverer, you're doing opening a door/towelling your butt/changing a baby/whatever the particular scene calls for. Some of it's pretentious nonsense, but some of it's also pretty interesting. The thing I like about Heavy Rain's control overall is that they tried to connect you to the character you were playing as, even if it was in a very abstract way. If something's difficult for the character, it's going to be difficult for the player, which is more than I can say for an awful lot of traditionally-controlled games. And Beyond, for that matter. I've forgotten so many once-in-a-lifetime feats I've pulled off in other games simply by holding my left analogue stick forward, but I'll never forget the utter finger torture of that junkyard fight in Heavy Rain.

Like I said, I think Quantic Dream needs to drastically rethink a lot of their ideas when it comes to gameplay, but I also think there's a lot of really great stuff in Heavy Rain. And I think it's a real shame they just dropped everything for Beyond, because I was really looking forward to what they did next.
 

dragonbane

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He could really learn from Walking Dead about how to incorporate slight action sequences into his games.
Please no. The action scenes in TWD are the worst. Simple boring QTEs with game overs. TWAU is much better already, but Beyond and Heavy Rain are still superior. In Beyond they just went overboard with them a bit too much, less is key.


The problem aren't that much the controls but the way you interact with the world in Beyond, in HR you at least felt you could do different things and interact with the world in a believable way, Beyond is basically follow that white marker, I didn't even bother to finish Beyond but played HR more then once. The controls themselves in HR where pretty bad though, Tank controls are just stupid.
Too bad, the ending is awesome. Don't really know what you mean with "follow the white marker" though. You can interact with the world in Beyond in a lot of ways too, although these sections are more limited compared to HR I agree. Probably because there are more wider sections in Beyond, while HR mostly takes place inside a house or small apartment with a lot of interactive elements. In an open desert like in Beyond you are obviously more limited by design xD


It's a shame, because now it means I'm not excited for QD have to offer on the PS4 now, but merely sceptical. Cage seems to have a flair for comedy going by that Dark Sorcerer tech demo, so I think he should take some major influence from old-school LucasArts and make a game set in that DS world
I feel sorry for you. That's a real shame. Wish I could share my love for Beyond with you. Going by an insider who heavily teased Beyond before it was unveiled, his next game is going to be sci-fi and loosely based on the Kara tech demo. Job postings on their website seem to confirm that. It might incorporate humorous elements as well, but I mostly expect something influenced by open world design or Blade Runner.

but with gameplay in the vein of those point & click adventure games. Take a break from pushing the interactive movie agenda and make something a bit more traditional. Something with PUZZLES! And an INVENTORY! And ITEMS THAT YOU CAN COMBINE!
You know just as well as me that this will never happen ;)