We talk to David Cage about the games he likes and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls.
In the humming PlayStation media demo area I got the awesome opportunity to sit down for a couple of minutes with David Cage, head of Quantic Dream, creators of Heavy Rain and the new title, Beyond: Two Souls (whose trailer everyone can't stop talking about here at E3).
In many ways it was difficult to talk much about the upcoming game, as the trailer didn't do much to give away the story itself, or the gameplay. (If you haven't yet seen the trailer, take a look here.) That said, it was great to talk a bit about the type of games David enjoys, what it was like for Ellen Page to work on the project, and also his own influences and feelings about Beyond.
David told me that Ellen was always the #1 name on his list. She had an incredibly open mind to the development process, and considering her varied repertoire, he knew she would be open to all sorts of different types of projects. As part of the development, she recorded 12 - 15 hours of content, which was very physical and quite difficult. He pointed out that on a recording set, there's no costume, no set, nothing to riff off. As a result the most difficult part for her was getting into the emotional state required for the scene.
Occasionally however, David had up to six actors all on stage at once, which enabled them to feed off each other emotionally. I can't say for sure whether this was the case with the demo we watched, but even though Jodie (Ellen's character) doesn't say much, the expressions on her face, and the increasing frustration that you can see the cop experiencing when she doesn't respond to his enquiries, made for a really powerful trailer.
Later, we spoke about "standard games", and the preoccupation that so many games have with the adrenaline-fueled experience, all explosions and close combat (of which there has definitely been a lot this year). While David admitted this is of course an entirely valid sort of game to play, it doesn't really have the appeal for him at the age of 43, compared to the sorts of games he liked to play when he was 15.
Instead, he's far more interested in pursuing interactivity, and the emotional journey in a game medium. He said the hardest task for him was to make players forget that they are playing a video game. But it's not as if his intent is to manipulate the player; for David, much of the inspiration for his games come from his own experiences.
Just as becoming a father made him contemplate the father-son dynamic, so crucial to Ethan Mars' character in Heavy Rain, some of the inspiration for Beyond came from David recently losing someone close to him. In thinking about their death he said he wondered a great deal about what is on the other side for us, and in many ways Jodie's experience with this spiritual being (that as yet we don't know that much about) has come out of this.
Finally, when we talked about the mysterious trailer that was so emotionally laden (yet revealed almost nothing about the game itself), David said he is particularly interested in using silence in games, primarily because most games are just all about the constant noise. The trailer is powerful and intense, and the emotional moment is heightened without any distraction of the swelling of strings or other dramatic manipulation.
While details on gameplay and story aren't clear, it's obvious after talking to David Cage that players of Beyond: Two Souls have as much of an intensely emotional experience in store for them as they did for Heavy Rain.
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