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Beyond: Two Souls – David Cage Talks Quantic’s Supernatural Epic

Julien Bourey's Avatar + Posted by Julien Bourey on Nov 12, 2012 // Contributing Editor, SCEE

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There are few forthcoming PlayStation 3 titles that are quite so keenly anticipated as Beyond: Two Souls, the latest project from Quantic Dream – the idiosyncratic French developer behind acclaimed 2010 adventure Heavy Rain. Following the story of young Jodie Holmes (played by Hollywood starlet Ellen Page) and her mysterious supernatural companion, Aiden, it lit up E3 earlier this year with its stunning reveal trailer.

We’ve not heard too much since, so we caught up with Quantic’s founder, David Cage, at Paris Games Week for a quick progress update.

We’ve not heard too much about Beyond since its E3 reveal back in June. Is development going well?
David Cage: Development is going very well. Indeed, it’s nice to go to all these shows but we also have to make the game! We’re advancing – we’re now a few weeks off the alpha version. It’s always a very critical moment in the development of a game since it’s the first time all the game data is assembled in a complete version. This first version is often not very playable, but it’s the first time you can see the “complete” game as a whole. After that we’ll move onto the beta version, which is when the game really starts to look like the final version.

Just how different is the gameplay and user interface from your last title, Heavy Rain?
David Cage: The game is very different from Heavy Rain, probably much more than people can imagine. The first obvious difference is that there will be two characters to control: Jodie and this entity that is Aiden. We can do some really interesting things with Aiden: fly, walk through walls and interact with matter or characters in a rather peculiar way. What we showed at E3 was in fact a working version based on the same interface as Heavy Rain, but it is not the final interface of the game.

The first elements of gameplay shown were focused on action. What else can we expect?
David Cage: It’s a balance that will be a little different from Heavy Rain, where we really aiming for the atmosphere of a psychological thriller. Beyond, of course, will also have these components of emotion, depth of characters, strong moments, but there will also be a more epic, dramatic dimension.

All this will be part of a story with a logical narrative following the philosophy that each scene must be unique and different. Take the forest scene for example. This is the only scene like this in the game. We will have more epic scenes and other action scenes, but they will be radically different and have nothing to do with each other in terms of environment and the type of action involved.

Our goal is not to release a game that will just please the fans of Heavy Rain and that we could say, “Ah, yes, it’s like Heavy Rain but a little better”. The idea is really to surprise players and show them that we can actually go much further with the concept of Heavy Rain.

Do any elements of Beyond: Two Souls echo your personal life?
David Cage: Absolutely. It’s a phenomenon that I’ve had with Heavy Rain when I became a father and I discovered the unique relationship one can have with their child. On Beyond, I’m drawing on another experience – one that’s less pleasant – because I lost someone very close in my family. This is what started it all – the desire to imagine that there may be an “after”.

Beyond is, of course, about death. But it is also about more positive things, like growth, change and learning to accept ourselves as we are. With Beyond, I really wanted to create a trip – something epic, emotional, and strong that the player will remember long after the end of the game.

Have you had much time to keep an eye on the competition? What games have you been playing recently?
David Cage: I loved a game that has not been discussed much – for anyone who loved Heavy Rain and is seeking different games made ​​by authors trying to express something that goes beyond bam-bam-boom-boom, it really is a game to try. I found it amazing, surprising and deeply moving. You can feel that there is a real author behind it – someone who has something to say. It is a game that really touched me.

Have you ever considered tackling something like this – a smaller scale PSN title?
David Cage: I have a huge problem. Every time I start writing… everything I do turns into an incredible historical epic. It depresses the team – they say they will finally be able to make an “easy” game and at the end they don’t! I dream of being able to make a PSN game, but I couldn’t do it even if I really want to.

Are you ever tempted to try your hand at shooting a movie?
David Cage: Quite honestly this is something that I do not feel capable of, and it’s not something I’m looking for right now, despite the few opportunities I have had. I’m happy to do what I do in video games. I’m not here by chance – it’s been 15 years since I chose to be in this environment. And even after 15 years, I do it with great pleasure, happiness and passion. To get up, go to work and to be with my extraordinarily talented team – year after year it still amazes me!

Do you have a message for prospective players of Beyond? How would you like them to approach the game?
David Cage: I think there should be no preparation for Beyond. You must go into the game trying to learn as little as possible!

Like other game creators, I wish I could say nothing and show nothing, and put a plain black cover on the shelves so that players start the game completely blank, with no information from trailers. This is something that is obviously not possible, unfortunately!

For people who trust us and who loved Heavy Rain – we will surprise you, we will give you something you expect without even knowing that you were expecting it! I think it will be a real experience. We believe in it and we’re working hard for it. We are really surprised every day to see the game being born on the screens; it’s a real treat and a real surprise. I hope it has the same effect on the players.

//Add Your Own

38 Comments

1

+ Betorro on November 12th, 2012 at 7:07 am said:

I want this game SOOOOO BAD.


2

+ DaiLing on November 12th, 2012 at 7:20 am said:

…So what was the game to try?
I think I read and re-read that section about 3 times thinking I somehow skipped it but I’m pretty sure it is missing.


3

+ Andrehfeijoh on November 12th, 2012 at 7:30 am said:

@2

same here, i got curious now!

about the interview, i might do what David want: this is already on my list to buy, day one, so i’ll try not to read, watch anything from the game, previews, trailers, teaser, first impressions…

this was kinda what i did with Heavy Rain, and i do not regret!


4

+ Undrey on November 12th, 2012 at 7:34 am said:

@2 L0L Me too :D

This game looks great! Might buy it if it comes out at the right time.


5

+ dragonmagician on November 12th, 2012 at 7:36 am said:

Hmm…they either cut off the part where he names the game, or he didn’t even name the game at all. But based on the next question, it is a PSN game; probably something like Journey or The Unfinished Swan?


6

+ Ryumoau on November 12th, 2012 at 7:42 am said:

i have little confidence in this game. I found both Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy incredibly underwhelming. The best i could see this game doing for me, is a rental from gamefly.


7

+ Logical_Dolphin on November 12th, 2012 at 7:44 am said:

What is this game that David liked so much that hasn’t been discussed much? I would really like to know…


8

+ nbnt on November 12th, 2012 at 7:46 am said:

Guys the game he liked is Papo & Yo, you can see it in the EU blog, don’t know why it’s missing here.


9

+ DaiLing on November 12th, 2012 at 7:46 am said:

@5 I was thinking it might have been The Unfinished Swan but Like Journey it did get a fair amount of publicity

Without a doubt I will be buying beyond, though I do wonder if we are only at Alpha will it end up being shifted to the next generation of PS console?

Either way I am sure it will be worth the wait!


10

+ Godchild1020 on November 12th, 2012 at 7:54 am said:

I love Heavy Rain and had a blast playing with the Move. I’m sure I will love Beyond: Two Souls as well, day one just like Heavy Rain.

Will you ever go back to Heavy Rain to complete the DLC for the other characters and do a re-release? And will there be room for support post release of Beyond: Two Souls?


11

+ Berae on November 12th, 2012 at 8:16 am said:

Cant wait for that game!


12

+ mockduck on November 12th, 2012 at 8:17 am said:

Cannot wait to play this, loved Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain.


13

+ swisstylez on November 12th, 2012 at 8:25 am said:

I love the ways he makes games, they are always surprising, because his games are not like others, and I’m really looking forward to this one..


14

+ MarinoBrea on November 12th, 2012 at 8:50 am said:

His answer about which games he’s been playing was so vague…it only furthers the notion this guy really doesn’t play any games, wow. It kind of annoys me every time he’s asked about games or he talks about games of today in general he always refers to action, explosions and shooting. There are tons of games that are much more than mindless action and shooting, and they sell quite well. The most popular game is all about shooting (COD), and then there’s GTA and other clones, but there’s a vast library of titles that don’t follow the “hollywood-action flick” formula and are very popular and successful, I just wish someone would tell this guy to play some actual games for once, if only to stop embarrassing himself on the matter.

I’m looking forward to this game, but I’d really like to know if you can “fail” in the game and die, and if there are as many diverging paths in the story like in Heavy Rain.


15

+ MakoSOLIDER on November 12th, 2012 at 8:55 am said:

The one game I think is similar to the playstyle of Heavy Rain is the Walking Dead…but that is discussed a lot so…I dunno


16

+ dragonmagician on November 12th, 2012 at 9:02 am said:

As @8 has mentioned, the game he is referring to is Papo & Yo; go to the EU PS blog to read the full article, which also includes a great looking poster for the game!


17

+ Skyfirel_10 on November 12th, 2012 at 9:04 am said:

I’m looking forward to this game. And also hoping that Heavy Rain becomes available at the the Playstation Store.


18

+ snakeeyes211 on November 12th, 2012 at 9:16 am said:

This is going to be one of those games that I just must own


19

+ digeythedog on November 12th, 2012 at 9:32 am said:

How about a PS Vita port? Jk :) I mean no offense by that. This will be a most have for me too.
Could you do an interview with media molcue on Tear Away?


20

+ mcbuttz78 on November 12th, 2012 at 10:00 am said:

well i hope they do one day make a psn title, alot of ways to build the brand and gaming brands on psn . It can serve it purpose for that. If they get a feel of throw away story, put that game on psn as a side story. guareentee tyou you see success.. let them make a small heavvy rain side story that leads to heavy rain 2 , I gureentee you you wil lsee sucess from it on psn..

I like the engine looks very nice , this engine and fox engine are breath taking.

Mcbuttz78
vp psn legionairee group


21

+ Satnamji on November 12th, 2012 at 10:05 am said:

I have Beyond pre-ordered, though I’ve never played Heavy Rain, as I’m not really into the true crime genre.

I agree with David Cage: I really hate knowing too much about a game before it comes out. I like to be surprised (unless I’m on the fence about getting it in the first place). But I’m so excited about this game, I feel I know too much already be reading these blogs and whatnot (I didn’t know about controlling this second character Aiden, until just now). I need to stop reading…and maybe check out Papa & Yo.


22

+ crazy_kracker1 on November 12th, 2012 at 11:40 am said:

I can’t wait for this game it will keep me up for hours till I have it beat.


23

+ theXsilentXchild on November 12th, 2012 at 1:05 pm said:

is it me or what… when i saw this on the front page without reading the title first did it look like a Justin Bieber game???


24

+ freshprincepbg on November 12th, 2012 at 1:36 pm said:

Gahhhh this and The Last of Us are my top 2 most anticipated games! Literally cannot wait!!


25

+ plaztiksyke on November 12th, 2012 at 2:27 pm said:

This is a day one purchase for me, because I am confident I won’t get screwed over by DLC purchases and “season passes”. I would *love* to see Indigo Prophecy (and Omikron: The Nomad Soul!) get a native PS3/Vita version.

I would loved to have seen more Heavy Rain episodes, especially as the FBI Agent. A spin-off about how he became an addict would be awesome.


26

+ PrinceofXIII on November 12th, 2012 at 2:32 pm said:

let’s see some more gameplay first :P


27

+ pickupdoctor on November 12th, 2012 at 3:50 pm said:

SOLD, I wish more developers attempted to do unique games. I want to be challenged, surprised, shocked.


28

+ Kchow23 on November 12th, 2012 at 3:53 pm said:

Some of the interview had parts cut off that shouldn’t have been such as the game that David Cage was impressed with.

“David Cage: I loved a game that has not been discussed much – Papo & Yo, a PSN game that costs about €15. For anyone who loved Heavy Rain and is seeking different games made by authors trying to express something that goes beyond bam-bam-boom-boom, it really is a game to try. I found it amazing, surprising and deeply moving. You can feel that there is a real author behind it – someone who has something to say. It is a game that really touched me.”


29

+ Kchow23 on November 12th, 2012 at 3:53 pm said:

Overall, interesting interview and I wish they would put a date on it so I don’t have to read more :)


30

+ tampaBAY on November 12th, 2012 at 4:11 pm said:

Can’t wait for this game because I loved Heavy Rain plus Ellen Page is in this game.

Quick question when will Indigo Prophecy be put on PSN as a PS2 classic? I really want to play it.


31

+ lPHOENIXZEROl on November 12th, 2012 at 6:14 pm said:

Most important question should be whether the writing will be terribly flawed like everything else Cage has written or if he’s taken some writing classes since Heavy Rain.


32

+ Robbie_G_lrish on November 12th, 2012 at 7:21 pm said:

@31 I don’t think that it’s as bad as you’re making it out to be but my guess is that he would probably be a better writer in his actual language. The problem is then no one would play it.


33

+ JimmyNEUTRON413 on November 12th, 2012 at 11:26 pm said:

I am excited about this game…But a little nervous for it as well. Unfortunately, for a game to succeed and make money it has to sell an enormous amount of copies, and this is why so many companies are closing up shop or switching to psn style games… what I am trying to say is that I hope a game like Beyond, with a very different play style can still compete in the tough gaming market.


34

+ AizawaYuuichi on November 13th, 2012 at 4:13 am said:

Well Mr. Cage, I shall honor your desire. I’ve been completely hooked on your work since Heavy Rain, and your concept video, Kara, sealed the deal. After seeing the reveal trailer for Beyond: Two Souls, I went out and pre-ordered it as soon as it was in the store’s system. I won’t be looking at any other details or write-ups for this game. I want to be as thoroughly surprised as I was the first time I played through Heavy Rain. That was such an amazing experience.


35

+ JayCapo170 on November 13th, 2012 at 6:37 am said:

will black ops 2 be on the psn store


36

+ JROD0823 on November 13th, 2012 at 10:32 am said:

I agree with #30.

I missed out on buying Indigo Prophecy on PS2 because I wasn’t sure whether or not I would like it.

This generation has made great strides in that department though, with demos being available for most of the games released this generation.

I went from about a 40 game library combined between PS1 and PS2, to over 150 games between retail discs and SEN downloads for the PS3.

My only gripe is that for about the last year, demos for big games have been released weeks or months after the street release date, and I’m sure that I’m not the only person that has been burned on missing out on pre-order bonuses because they waited to play a demo version before spending their hard-earned money on a new experience.


37

+ lPHOENIXZEROl on November 13th, 2012 at 2:28 pm said:

@32 Robbie_G_lrish

I enjoyed HR and still need to get back for the plat but the spots of bad writing (and directing) can’t all be blamed on a language barrier, some dialog maybe (along with the actor issues) but plot holes and other issues, not so much. Many of the problems could have been fixed early on if Cage let someone with experience proof read the script, if his ego allowed it.

There were plot holes you could have driven a semi sideways through and the use of some of the worst, cheapest story telling tricks that even writers who over a weekend have to bang out scripts for those crappy made for Lifetime movies avoid like the plague. Not to mention character problems… I would give examples but I don’t want to post spoilers here. Plenty of examples can be found with a quick search.

I do wish people would stop putting him on a pedestal, give Cage and those who funded HR credit for taking the risk of making a “big budget” glorified P&C Graphic Adventure on a platform where GAs generally don’t exist outside Telltale Games. Give credit for the tech used but stop with the hype!

I am looking forward to B:TS and was captivated by the tech demo, just hope the writing is a lot better.


38

+ darkfighterk9999 on November 20th, 2012 at 12:06 pm said:

Man… We’ve gotta be briefed more about the upcoming release date! When it’ll be?


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