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Gaming industry “will die if it doesn’t try more to be innovative” says Quantic Dream boss

by Ethan Powers on July 6, 2012

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Two years ago, David Cage and Quantic Dream released a title that truly bridged the gap between cinematic and gaming narrative. Heavy Rain remains not only a marvel of storytelling that is magnificently blended with the action and player reaction required of a video game, it stands as one of the most important games of our era. Quantic Dream hopes to build upon that success and legacy with Beyond: Two Souls, unveiled this year at E3. The developer is clearly looking to develop off of Heavy Rain‘s blueprint while continuing to implement elements of the film industry, evidenced by the fact that actress Ellen Page will “star” in the lead role of Julie Holmes. William Dafoe is also reported to be involved with the project to some degree. As much as Quantic Dream continues to strive for innovation within an industry that increasingly seems to be stifled creatively, creator David Cage believes that the if the industry does not attempt to do the same, it will cease to exist.

Speaking to GamesIndustry, Cage cited the PS3 indie-hit Journey as a particular example of gaming innovation executed well, and stated his belief that the industry as a whole needs to follow suit if it’s to survive:

“The last game I really enjoyed was Journey, for example. Journey was amazing. It has nothing to do with what I’m doing. But it’s not so much about storytelling. It’s about emotion. It’s about trying something different. I mean this industry will die if it doesn’t try more to be innovative and to come up with new ideas and to talk a bit more – not necessarily serious, but deeper things at some point. It’s great that you can shoot at monsters, and that’s great and it will always be there and it will always be successful, but at the same time, what about giving the choice to people? Give them different options. So if they like that they find it, but if they want something deeper and interactive, they can find that too.”

He continued by questioning the business decision on the part of some developers and publishers to continue to release the same, re-hashed genre clones:

“I think this industry needs more games like Journey because it’s a breath of fresh air; this is necessary in any medium. How many first person shooters can we create per year? How many can we play per year? How many of them will be successful? Even from a business point of view, does it make any sense? I’m not sure.”

When asked about whether he thought the concept of the “uncanny valley” (theory which states that when imitations of humanoids look and act almost like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers who can easily spot the differences between real organics and replicas) would always be an issue with hyper-reality and motion-capture within games, Cage vigorously defended his team’s approach to creating games that strafe the line between virtual and actual reality, noting Quantic Dream’s impressive “Kara” demo as an example:

“If they can do it now in movies, no doubt we’ll do it sometime. Whether it’s going to be in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 7 years – I don’t know, but we’ll get there, I have no doubt. In my mind, and this is totally subjective – I think that Kara is the first step out of the uncanny valley. Is it perfect? No, in no way. But I think that for the first time – well, again this is me – it’s the first time I watched something and said, ‘I forgot for a second that she was not real.'”

Check out the stirring, almost frightening “Kara” demo below as well as the debut E3 2012 trailer for Beyond: Two Souls.

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