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20/01/2007

Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain an emotional breakthrough

David cage Interview on Globe And Mail:

 

"Most video games only use very basic emotions, like fear, anger, power, and frustration," he notes, "but not the social emotions that appeared later during evolution like empathy, sadness, joy, pity, love, et cetera. These emotions are more complex to generate, but all other art forms managed to do it. I can see no reason why games should limit themselves to the same old basic ones."

 

All art forms are, he believes, "emotional roller-coasters". "The pleasure we feel watching a movie or reading a book comes from the different emotions we go through," he elaborates. "There is no doubt in my mind that games will follow the same direction and offer more interesting, emotionally involving experiences, with more meaning and depth. Fahrenheit, our last game, was our first try at exploring new solutions. We will go much further with Heavy Rain."

 

"Although we didn't plan for it to be shown, this trailer is indicative of the direction we will take regarding acting quality. The final quality of the game will be significantly higher, though. Also, this trailer is just a real-time non-interactive movie, where the game will be fully interactive, without cut scenes."

 

Cage is disappointed that some chose to focus on what wasn't achieved in the trailer, rather than what was. "A lot of writers also wrote that this trailer was one of the first to put a step out of the Uncanny Valley," he remarks. "I think this is really an outdated discussion. There is absolutely no doubt that we will very soon have highly emotional and believable synthetic human beings. The technology and expertise are now in reach, and we could touch it in this prototype. The exact problem is that the closer you get to realism, the more it has to be perfect because the least imperfection becomes shocking. If you raise the quality bar, you need to do it in a consistent way on all aspects, which is the current technical difficulty. There are still issues, but again, we feel we are not that far anymore."

 

As long as Quantic Dream is consistent with its emotional sophistication — i.e., its game design and character development are just as advanced as its technology — Cage doesn't think such complaints will arise again. "They'll have no difficulty accepting virtual actors, as long as we remain consistent. We still need to work on some aspects, because very few people found solutions to reach this level of detail in an acting performance. For some major publishers, emotion in games is limited to a smile on the face of a golfer when he did a nice drive. With our trailer, we had a girl talking for four minutes, looking straight into the camera, in a kitchen and going from a naïve attitude to smiles, tears, and anger. This is a different type of challenge."

 [ Globe And Mail ]

 

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