Although it released over a month ago, gamers are still talking about Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. Being labeled as the first “interactive drama”, Heavy Rain is already a strong contender for Game of the Year. The game’s designer and directer, David Cage, talked recently about how the success, both sales and review wise, is a good sign for the industry, and what the industry can take from the game.
Speaking to The Guardian, Cage attributed the success of the game to the gamers, who are yearning for originality in an otherwise stale industry.
“I always said that the success or failure of Heavy Rain would send a strong message to the game industry: if the game faced disappointing reviews and sales, it would mean that gamers are not interested in exploring different ways of interacting based on emotions and targeting an adult audience.
“As Heavy Rain is very positively received, I believe it clearly states that gamers are eager to play different types of games and that publishers should dare to take more risks and give more importance to creativity. I strongly believe that interactivity has the potential to become an art, it is just a matter of time.”
Cage went on to talk about why people were critical of the game, before it was even released.
“An analyst wrote that no matter how good Heavy Rain would be, it would not sell because gamers do not want to think when they play. I was really shocked by this idea, as if gamers were all stupid teenagers only interested in killing zombies in corridors.
“The commercial success of the game shows one thing: gamers are not who we thought they are. They are older, eager for something new, ready for more sophistication than what most games have to offer. The limits come from ourselves, game creators and publishers, but the market is now ready to see video games evolve to a more mature and meaningful media. As an industry, we should better understand that quickly and move accordingly if we want to continue to grow and expand our core audience.
“The amount of difficulties to create this type of experience is really significant, from the volume of script you need to write to the mass of Motion Capture and facial animations and graphics you need to produce, not mentioning the need for a new approach to interface.”
Finally, Cage talked about the creative process behind creating a work of art.
“Bringing meaning to this media is for me the biggest challenge: you don’t only need programmers with some cool lines of code anymore, but you also need talented authors having something to tell. The first movies were made by technicians building their own cameras.
“Movies became an art when technicians worked on the technique and artists took care of the content. I hope this is going to happen in a near future in the game industry. We have incredibly talented people that just need time, some space and trust to invent experiences no one has imagined before. It is just a matter of time.
“Technology and graphics are just tools to create emotions, nothing more. Some games sometimes seem to believe the tool is more important than the content”.
Heavy Rain is one of a handful of games which have received PlayStation LifeStyle’s prestigious 5/5 Editor’s Choice Award. The game is in stores now.