Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond Jody

Is it a game? Is it interactive fiction? These are the questions that inevitably surround a David Cage release. It happened with Heavy Rain and again with Beyond: Two Souls. It’s clearly a game, but is it fun and worth your time? That’s the question and the purpose of this review.

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Cage Fight: Grow Up, Gamers

Beyond: Two Souls

Time for Did You See This Wednesday!

Never one to stray from a controversial comment, David Cage, creator of Heavy Rain and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls for the PS3, caused quite a stir at the DICE summit with some of his remarks regarding the direction he feels the game industry needs to go if it wants to evolve as an art form. Calling it a “Peter Pan-complex”, Cage pointed out that the vast majority of games are made for teens and children and the industry should strive to tackle more mature themes and not just a mature shooter, but expand mechanics beyond jumping, punching and shooting. Basically: maturity doesn’t equal violence.

Cage sat down with Chris Kohler of for an extensive follow-up interview. The interview is worth reading Getting to the crux of the matter, Kohler asks Cage what are the consequences of the game industry not growing up and his answer is surprising in its reasonableness: Continue reading Cage Fight: Grow Up, Gamers

David Cage Talks Beyond: Two Souls and Release Hype

Beyond Two Souls

Heavy Rain creator David Cage has sometimes over-promised and under delivered. Of course, he’s nowhere near the level of Molyneux in that regard. In fact, he doesn’t even want to say too much about Beyond: Two Souls because he wants people to experience the game with no preconceptions or ideas about what the game is going to be like.

Here’s a bit from Cage’s recent interview with Playstation EU:

I think there should be no preparation for Beyond. You must go into the game trying to learn as little as possible!

Like other game creators, I wish I could say nothing and show nothing, and put a plain black cover on the shelves so that players start the game completely blank, with no information from trailers. This is something that is obviously not possible, unfortunately!

It’s interesting to me how many game creators really desire this pure kind of experience — and how impossible of a dream it is in a day when video game marketing machines dictate everything in the industry. The funny thing is, as much as gamers want that same kind of secrecy, that same ability to play a game with no idea what they’re getting into, we also demand previews, trailers and details galore, in order to make sure our money is being well spent.

So what do you guys think about this issue? Do you wish more creators could release games with less information about them? I mean, sure, there’s always the argument that you could avoid trailers, stay away from previews, etc — but at a certain point it’s hard to avoid everything, particularly when so much information is available, and so much of it not even indicative of the final product. Give us your opinions in the comments. Go!

Source – Playstation EU

Project KARA Demo Shows Off the Uncanny Valley

Have we reached the Uncanny Valley yet, gentlemen? The place where robots or animation start to get creepy, because of the way they mimic life but happen to be just off? Who knows, but some of the results on the way there are interesting to watch.

Quantic Dream, creators of Heavy Rain, just debuted a new tech demo at GDC this week known as Project KARA, the story of a robot/AI that accidentally becomes self aware during production. Unlike their last project, KARA was created by use of full performance motion capture, rather than separate body/facial animation capture. The quality of the performance is rather impressive (even if the writing always isn’t) in this piece – and what’s more impressive is that all of this is being handled in real time through the PS3.

Cage has noted that this isn’t tied to a specific project at all, but rather a demonstration of where they’d like to go with their next project. What do you guys think of this short? Uncanny Valley territory? Impressive? Lame? Go!

Quantic Dream Surprised, and also Encouraged, by Heavy Rain’s Success

HEAVYRAINGamesCom is happening this week in Germany, which is yet another awesome convention that we didn’t get to go to. I hear that flights to Europe are pretty expensive, however, so maybe that’s for the best. At any rate, we can expect to see a lot more delicious info about up coming games in addition to all the usual interesting interviews and quotes that come out of these big events.

Take this talk given by Quantic Dream’s David Cage for example. If you’re unfamiliar with the studio, they recently put out Heavy Rain, a different sort of animal by video game standards. Sony put a lot of money behind the game, but even the studio was expecting a flop. Heavy Rain was received rather well, and had pretty good sales number to boot, so David Cage has decreed that gamers are ready for “new paradigms”.

What he means by that is for the last 25-odd years, all we’ve been doing is killing, racing, and hopping on platforms. He feels that violent games are very narrow in their emotional scope, and games like Heavy Rain have a broader impact. He goes on to add this little snippet:

“Games should be art and not toys, if you are uncomfortable with the word ‘art’, then ‘entertainment’ is fine. Toys are disposable, art is poignant,”

Very interesting perspective from David Cage, to say the least. While I think games can function as both a toy and as an art form, I know this is also one of these divisive things that people love to talk about. What do you think or Cage’s statement? Was Heavy Rain a one-off, or will we see similar games in the future?


Review: Heavy Rain

Heavy RainIn these parts and others, there is often the discussion of video games as a storytelling medium, and how it fares compared to its brethren such as films, books and the like. More often than not, gamers expect video game stories to be an afterthought, a means to an end, with the “end” being a fun game with engaging gameplay. The story simply serves as the vehicle by which you move from Level 1 to Level 2, the reason you are shooting/whipping/jumping to your next goal.

Quantic Dreams’ flagship title, Heavy Rain, promises something different. On the heels of the well received Indigo Prophecy from 2005, the studio set out to top their original interactive storytelling with a tale more realistic, lifelike and ultimately emotionally engrossing. So, how does the PS3 exclusive fare in this regard? Does it change the way we experience a story in this medium with all of the weight of a towering thunderhead? Or is it simply, and I can’t resist this awful pun, a light drizzle? Ahem. Let’s move on.
Continue reading Review: Heavy Rain