When completing a chapter in Detroit: Become Human, players are met with an intricate flowchart screen. The chart shows a narrative path, highlighting every major and minor decision, while also showcasing the paths players didn’t take. In developer Quantic Dream’s previous titles, most notably Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, these delicate story breakdowns were not offered. According to David Cage, this was a mistake in hindsight.
Cage briefly discussed his thoughts on the matter during a talk at Gamelab Barcelona, alongside A Way Out’s Creative Director, Josef Fares. While addressing the effects streaming has on game sales, Cage made note of the importance of replayability. In the past, it seems players may not have been so keen to return to something like Heavy Rain, as they were likely not aware of all they’d missed. This changed with Detroit, as the studio decided players should “know all of the things that go on behind the curtain.” Providing additional details on alternate paths, then, made replayability far more appealing. Cage explained,
What’s interesting on Detroit is that we managed to make people replay, so they could see all of the different branches–which is quite rare in a narrative game. We achieved this because we showed all of the branches and the variations of the story.
With regards to Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, Cage admitted that keeping the alternate paths of those titles hidden was probably “not a good decision. Maybe hiding everything from the player is not a good thing. Detroit was a better compromise, because it was about showing part of what you missed, and that played a major role in the success of the game.”
Cage continued, explaining that Quantic Dream hopes at least a third of players are able to experience every narrative branch in the experience. “Branches [that nobody ever sees] don’t exist. We’re trying to make sure that at least 30% of people see all of the branches, and that is pretty much the statistic that we had.”
Does this mean Quantic Dream’s next game will employ the same approach? This much is not yet clear, especially since the studio has yet to detail what its plans are moving forward. Whatever the new project is, it won’t be a PlayStation exclusive. From here on, Quantic Dream titles will be multiplatform.
Detroit Become Human Flowchart Fixed Quantic Dream Replayability Issues