The scene sure seems to be weighing in on protests and violence, but with all the subtlety of a brick through a window. Detroit is a game about a subjugated group asserting their humanity and trying to gain freedom from people who want to use them for service. Its hard not to draw parallels to slavery, racism and events going on around the world. Despite this, however, director David Cage told me that hes not trying to make a game with an overtly political message, nor is he heavily drawing on real world history or politics as influences.
The story Im telling is really about androids, he told me in an interview after the demo. Theyre discovering emotions and wanting to be free. If people want to see parallels with this or that, thats fine with me. But my storys about androids who want to be free.
Its the point of view of one of the two characters, he said. What I tried to do with this game is not be binary, not be black or white, or good or evil. Sometimes doing something bad can turn into something good, or vice versa. Theres usually more than one component [to situations in the game]. Theres the androids, theres the humans, theres the public, theres the media. Your own people, what will they think of what youre doing depending on how you do it, what you say about it to them, what you say to the humans? The situation is not binary. Its actually quite multifaceted.
And yet, this pivotal scene unfolded clunkily, relying on a binary meter to help convey a complex spectrum of ideas. I pointed that out to Cage, who explained that the scene will have more factors playing into it in the final game. [The meter] is a part of this unique scene, he said. What is difficult for us to explain is that this scene is the only scene in the entire game where you have this gameplay and this situation. Theres a lot happening. The complexity emerges from the broader story arc and not just this scene.
I dont want the game to have something to say, because I dont see myself delivering a message to people, he said. But Im definitely interested in asking questions to the player. Questions that are meaningful and that resonate with him as a person and a citizen. We live in a world thats full of hopes as well as fears. Fears about the present and also the future. Where are we going? Whats going to happen? I just want to ask these questions and see how people react.
I think this might be the most cowardly and incoherent interview I've ever seen with a story-based developer. Cage is obsessed with being an artist and... thinks that his games should say nothing? LMAO.
Note that Cage is obviously lying out of cowardice because last year he said this.
GamesBeat: As you alluded to, there have been a lot of stories about this subject, about androids and artificial life. Was it difficult to come up with a unique storyline here, where youre doing something original?
Cage: Not really, because my story isnt so much about A.I. and technology. I know it may sound a little abstract to say it that way, but the story isnt about that. Its about humans, emotions, feelings, and identity. I never felt I was telling that story in particular.