Last month, a group of roughly 35 journalists from around the world came to visit Quantic Dream. Following our first presentation of Heavy Rain in Leipzig in August, we wanted to be able to share our passion for the game and reveal in particular how such a massive project comes to life. When you play a game such as this, it is difficult to really understand how much effort goes into its production. Our hope was that through such a visit, we might be able to educate gamers a bit more on how a game is crafted and how important artistic direction is to ensure a consistent experience from the first to the last minute.
Following a quick tour of our studio, David Cage, Quantic’s CEO and creative director on Heavy Rain, gathered media in our motion capture studio located on the ground floor of our building. We had decided to present them the complete production process, from game design and initial concept art up until the final integration of all elements within one scene in real-time. The presentation lasted roughly two hours, in particular because we had prepared a number of making-of type videos and real-time code on PS3 illustrating the different steps of 3D set production, actor casting, 3D character creation, and Virtual Actor performance. At the end, we explored together a never before shown scene of the game live on PLAYSTATION 3 in which all elements had been put together.
I think the most fascinating aspect of Heavy Rain is the fact that more than 250 people are contributing to its making, all of which are working under the artistic supervision of David Cage, His attention to detail is really fascinating…I am sitting in the back of our studio while he is passionately talking about our project. More than anyone else in the team, Heavy Rain is his baby. For the past two and a half years, I can clearly feel how proud he is to show how his vision is coming to life.
For the end of the tour, we had prepared a little surprise for our guests: to practice live on stage and become a Virtual Actor in the game. We equipped two journalists with body suits and reflectors. The stage had been dressed with set elements: a door, two chairs, one table, a cupboard. David briefed the two journalists on the scene, explaining to each of them what their role were, the starting point of the scene, and what they were supposed to say and play.
Once fully equipped the two casually entered the stage. The rest of the crowd had assembled around the set, in a similar casual fashion. However, when David started to use his firm directing voice to ask for silence and pronounced the first syllabus of the typical movie-style check-up words “ready to roll. Rolling and….ACTION” we virtually felt the attention of our journalists-turned-actors spinning from vaguely alert to 100% focused. The crowd was holding its breath, as all assembled immediately sensed the change. David had decided to shoot the scene in three distinct steps. The first shot was repeated twice as David gave more direction to its actors after initial takes. The second and third shots however were played exactly how David had envisioned them. Our actors were “in their roles” and did actually play quite professionally. A big round of applause followed the last “…and CUT” words of David at the end of the third shot.
This concluded the presentation and the rest of the tour was spent answering interviews or casually discussing with the journalists what they had seen before.
When the game was unveiled at Games Convention in Leipzig, we were obviously delighted at what a great response we received. With the event that day, we wanted to take the unique opportunity to let journalists and gamers around the world take a look behind the scenes at how Heavy Rain is made. It is a very special feeling to see at the precise moment when everything comes together and is being assembled to create what we believe will be a unique interactive experience. We hope that we were able to communicate how much innovation and artistic effort goes into its production and look forward to showing you more of the actual game in the coming months.