David Cage Reflects On Heavy Rain’s BAFTA Success And Discusses Quantic Dream’s Next Project

At Wednesday’s Video Game BAFTAs, PS3 exclusive interactive drama Heavy Rain scooped the awards for technical innovation, original music and story. As soon as the ceremony finished, I braved the media room – which was a scrum fiercer than anything at this year’s Six Nations – to grab an interview with David Cage, Heavy Rain’s writer and director.

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What are your initial feelings after collecting three BAFTA awards this evening?

I’m very proud to have collected three awards. We came here with no expectations and I’m proud for my team who all worked so hard during those three years of development. I’m also proud for Sony, because they took a big gamble on this game and showed faith and support throughout, which not all publishers would have done.

Which is the most gratifying to you personally: winning awards, critical acclaim or lots of sales?

Definitely sales, and not because of the money. When you create games, you don’t create them for journalists or awards panels; you create them for real people – for gamers. To have nearly two million people paying good money to play Heavy Rain is a really great feeling for me.

Which of tonight’s awards is the most pleasing?

I’m proud of all of them but, from a personal point of view, it has to be best story. I worked so hard on this aspect of the game, inventing rules for the world; trying to be creative and emotional while all the time thinking about the technical aspects like structure and the different variables that were necessary to make it all work. I spent a year writing for 12 to 15 hours a day and there have been many personal sacrifices. As I said on-stage, I want to dedicate this all to my family, especially my two sons, who I didn’t see much of during that time but they shared my passion.

Heavy Rain

Can the auteur theory be applied to games, with development teams getting bigger all the time?

It must be applied to games – there is no other way. If this industry wants to mature and evolve then we need to talk about emotions and work on stories that appeal to all people, not just hardcore gamers between the ages of 15 and 17. We have a much wider market out there just waiting to interact if we can go to them with the right ideas.

I know no good stories written by 50 people. A story is something emotional; something personal that you want to share and it is strongly linked to your own life and experiences. We need auteurs and the biggest problem in this industry is that we don’t trust them – we trust programmers instead. Auteurs are scary because they come back with ideas, but that is exactly what this industry should be about.

Is this recognition of Heavy Rain the culmination of your work on Fahrenheit?

We are working with a young medium and there is no pre-existing language with which to tell an interactive story. Everyone needs to learn and I’ve had 15 years of learning, starting with Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Nobody knew what the story was about in that game because it was so messy and poorly told, but then I had the chance to work on Fahrenheit and the story was kind of OK for two-thirds of the game, but got a bit messy at the end. So I progressed some more as a writer and, with Heavy Rain, I feel that there were many stories in there and they were all good from start to finish.

Heavy Rain is the result of those 15 years of fighting and struggling with this new language. Receiving this award is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career but I don’t see it as an achievement, more like the first step – it’s like I’ve finally got something that works. Now, I can build on it and continue learning. I’m a student and I’m still at the beginning.

For our next project we’re going to build on what we have discovered with Heavy Rain. We own this genre of Interactive Drama and we want to show that Heavy Rain was not a coincidence; it is something that makes sense and we can build on it.

At the same time, we will not make a sequel and I made that very clear from the beginning, regardless of whether the game was a success or a failure, because I wanted to show that this is a new genre that you can use to tell any kind of story, in any style.

We’re going to be exploring a different direction, which will still be very dark and still for adults, but completely different to Heavy Rain. Our challenge is to satisfy our fans, and also surprise them.

25 Comments
3 Author replies

Great interview James.

Well done Quantic! And well deserved! I still think back to the game once in a while because it made such a big impression. Still listen to the soundtrack regularly too!

Can’t wait to find out about their new project! Although Heavy Rain was great, I’d love to see something even more dynamical. Also, maybe a bit less interactive cut-scene and some more game play.

Argh, I’m sounding way to negative now. Great great game!

kingofscotland 18 March, 2011 @ 16:57
3

Good Interview James, and congratulations to all at Quantic.

It was by far and away my GOTY and to date is the only Platinum Trophy I have, think I did about 7 playthroughs.

look forward to their next projects

James Gallagher 18 March, 2011 @ 18:09
3.1

I think I’m going to go for another run very soon, probably with Move this time.

So long as he keeps developing on PS3. David Cage is like Peter Moleyneux, except he actually delivers.

AaronSOLDIER 18 March, 2011 @ 17:06
5

What 4 said.

6

What 4 & 5 said.
Loved Heavy Rain. Loved the story, characters & score and Im so pleased it done so well. I had it platinumed in a week and still go back to it sometimes. I was a little disappointed that we didnt get more dlc to be honest. But all credit to Quantic Dream, all awards were well deserved.
I’ll be looking forward to David Cages next project. Not so much QTE stuff this time though eh?

7

Your not lieing there. Omikron: The Nomad Soul, I had not a clue what it was about – I think I enjoyed it though.

almighty-slayer 18 March, 2011 @ 17:23
8

Nice interview James, and once again well done to Quantic Dream :)

Well deserved Quantic Dream, HR was easily in my Top 3 for last year and was disappointed we couldn’t get more DLC episodes for it :(

Also can’t wait for the next Interactive Drama, and hopefully it’ll open the eyes of other developers into making some too, as we need more :p.

And James why did EA/Crytek delete the Crysis 2 blog post yesterday, was it because they pulled it from the store and didn’t want to be criticised? (Tell them I want Timesplitters 4 and a HD Collection as compensation ;) ).

James Gallagher 18 March, 2011 @ 18:11
9.1

No, it wasn’t that at all. I’m the only person that’s able to add or remove blog posts. At the end of the day, the post was about an event that is no longer taking place so there was no point it being there any more. Anyway, that’s that and please let’s not turn this post into a debate about all of that. Save it for the recap tomorrow!

10

I think more than anything it makes Sony and whoever happens to be paying the bill think it is worth the risk with these type of games.

Obviously a publisher / developer will be looking at the risk to reward ratio and this has worked out very well. Next time of game in this genre will be LA Noire and we will see how this continues.

The handhelds after all, have plenty of detective games but they can’t be anything like they are on the consoles.

Heavy Rain has many plot holes, some perhaps caused due the supernatural theme that was deleted during development.

It seems some other scenes are mising too that would link things together but as they are not present are plot holes.

Nice attempt but needed more work.

12

Here’s to the next project being another PS3-exclusive!

Shou_Kobayashi 18 March, 2011 @ 18:06
13

Quantic Dream’s next project is JAAAAAAASSOOOON – The Game.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist

James Gallagher 18 March, 2011 @ 18:33
13.1

Wonder what the control scheme would be like.

14

I think QD could do some very interesting things with the NGP. It provides a lot more ways to interact with the drama.

15

congrats

“I’m also proud for Sony, because they took a big gamble on this game and showed faith and support throughout, which not all publishers would have done.”

And this is one reason I would hate it to see Quantic Dream going Multiplattform.
I mean yes you can bring your games to a larger fanbase but Heavy Rain showed that it is very good just puplish on one console because this game sold nearly 2 million copies? this is freakin amazing for a exclusive game and for a game like Heavy Rain. So please Quantic Dream keep up the good work and hopefully just on Sony consoles.

I’d really loved more Chronicles… I know they were canceled in favor of the Move patch. But can’t help wonder how they’d have been…

cakeforme288 18 March, 2011 @ 22:09
18

I loved heavy rain, although more DLC would have been nice.
The only bad thing was that you cant make a sequel as it had soo many endings

19

Hopefully their next project will me a playstation exclusive!!!

20

Ради Heavy Rain я и купил PS3,но вскоре открыл для себя мир из проектов АААкласса LittleBigPlanet,GoW,GT,Uncharted…Так что спасибо Дэвиду Кейджу не только за его замечательный проект,но и за то что он открыл для меня замечательный мир PlayStation.

21

I hope next progect of Quanticdream been again only on playstation.Qd & Sony is a very good partnershiep!

22

David Cage, one of my favorite game creators/directors of all time. I really, really, enjoy the games you make. I have played Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain more times than you think.

I had about 12 playthroughs. I got bored after the first one but I wanted all the endings. I think that trophy was bugged for me as I did actually have all the endings stored on my game. Gave up.

The game itself is a good idea, but it’s so boring having to just watch while your characters do all the work.. then having random button prompts just to make you feel important to the games progress.

The first scene with Norman investigating the site was about the only chapter I liked, felt like the Bladerunner game for the pc having to find clues and stuff. Shame we couldn’t get hit by the train though or go back to crimescenes to see what you missed. A game having full control like that chapter and choosing what you actually say (like an RPG) not just what order it gets said would’ve been a better way to go. Could’ve still gone with an “Interactive Drama” genre with fights and basically all the other cutscenes. Maybe a dude is talking and he gets boring.. so you lunge your controller for...

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I had about 12 playthroughs. I got bored after the first one but I wanted all the endings. I think that trophy was bugged for me as I did actually have all the endings stored on my game. Gave up.

The game itself is a good idea, but it’s so boring having to just watch while your characters do all the work.. then having random button prompts just to make you feel important to the games progress.

The first scene with Norman investigating the site was about the only chapter I liked, felt like the Bladerunner game for the pc having to find clues and stuff. Shame we couldn’t get hit by the train though or go back to crimescenes to see what you missed. A game having full control like that chapter and choosing what you actually say (like an RPG) not just what order it gets said would’ve been a better way to go. Could’ve still gone with an “Interactive Drama” genre with fights and basically all the other cutscenes. Maybe a dude is talking and he gets boring.. so you lunge your controller forward and just knock him out? fun times.

Still, Interactive Dramas and RPGs are basically the same thing.. just with less gameplay and fun.

I still really hope that you will create a separate team that works on a generic story-telling framework built on these principles, and then encourage different directors to tell different stories with it. Remember that almost everyone reads books and/or watches movies, but not nearly everyone has the same taste.

Me personally I just don’t like dark tales. Specifically to Heavy Rain while the game is a genre I like, the premise of the story does not appeal to me much. Not only do I feel Dark, Horror and Violence are grossly overrepresented in the gaming business, but in this particular case I have a son of my own and these kinds of scenarios play out in my head enough by themselves (I hate Limbo for the same reason).

So why not do two completely different projects?

25

i bought the game on release and stopped playing for a while. got back to it recently and finished it in two sittings. great game to have in your collection

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