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Cage: We didn't expect Heavy Rain to succeed

By Matt Martin

Mon 16 Aug 2010 12:50pm GMT / 8:50am EDT / 5:50am PDT

"Publishers don't, in general, have balls," says Quantic Dream CEO

Heavy Rain director David Cage has said that publisher Sony and his own studio Quantic Dream did not expect the game to be a commercial success.

The ambitious title was released earlier in the year, and after more than four years in the making, represented Cage's attempt to create a new, innovative game for an adult audience.

"Heavy Rain is a commercial success and that's not something Sony or Quantic Dream expected, to be honest," Cage said in a packed session at GDC Europe.

The gamble of creating an adult game favouring emotion and storytelling over violence has paid off - Heavy Rain sold 600,000 copies in its first two weeks on sale, sold four-times the predicted amount in the US market, has passed worldwide sales of 1.5 million to date, "and we hope to reach 2 million soon," said Cage.

Heavy Rain

Quantic Dream's latest title was four years in the making.

He explained that for a developer working on original products, it's essential that communication and intent are clear to the publisher, as they'll be unable to compare it to other games if it's truly original.

"You need to be clear with your publisher. It was a game that came together very late," said Cage. "If I showed you the alpha [build] you would kill the game. It looked ugly. Many publishers would have killed it. The game comes together very late and you need to communicate with your publisher because he doesn't have any reference."

Cage urged developers at GDC Europe today to hold on to their creative vision and create new products for the games business, especially for a adult audience that he believes is hugely untapped.

"My advice is to make something new. If there is not a very strong barrier to what you do, don't do it. Try to find something that is really unique because this is the best business proposal. Have balls, be courageous, not adventurous, be crazy, not insane, be creative, not lunatic."

"Publishers in general don't have balls. You need to come with a new idea and give them reason to trust you."

He concluded: "Stop making games for kids. Adult is a huge, untapped market - there is almost nothing for adults, I'm not talking about casual or family games. There is a real market based on sophisticated values. See yourself as a creator, not a toy-maker. Ignore the rules."

From Recommendations by Taboola


Cage iterated further on his previous speech last year in Cologne prior to production of Heavy Rain.
It was a good lecture and frank talk. Not too heavy, scattered with good humour and ended with a frank note about life being a AO rated world.

Lets see some more AO games please, indeed!

Posted:6 years ago


Joe Bognar Junior PR Manager, Techland

100 2 0.0
True. At the time of the release, I worked at GAME. The first day... *pause* (and again) THE FIRST DAY(!) we were sold out of Heavy Rain! It was crazy. We didn't have stock for at least another week.
This I believe just shows the marketing excellence and the creative, designe efforts behind the game. I personally haven't played it but have seen people playing it and was amazed whereas I was extremely sceptic about it at the first time I'd heard about it.
I would certainly put Heavy Rain up to the shelf right next to Mirror's Edge.
More creative games with new stories with meaningful sequels, prequels... etc please!

Posted:6 years ago


Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
"He concluded: "Stop making games for kids. Adult is a huge, untapped market - there is almost nothing for adults, I'm not talking about casual or family games. There is a real market based on sophisticated values. See yourself as a creator, not a toy-maker. Ignore the rules." "

/Standing ovation.

Well put. I really enjoyed Heavy Rain; it wasn't perfect but the plot and atmosphere kept me going through, and I loved the feeling of playing something that felt innovative and unique. I'm glad to see it was commercially successful, and hopefully it will teach Sony and other publishers that taking a chance on something outside the 'norm' can be beneficial and really resonate with a mature audience.

It's a shame the DLC was canned, but I look forward to whatever QD are developing next.

Posted:6 years ago


Victor Perez CEO, Games GI

64 0 0.0
Plas, Plas.... perfect description of business games...

This is a business for people with balls (from attitude point of view, lady welcome ;)

Posted:6 years ago


Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

962 187 0.2
Hence proving that generally, publishers really need to get a clue. :P

Posted:6 years ago

This talk ties in nicely with Warren Spectors talk about Players to experience and be part of teh creative storytelling process. Rather than a didactic Developer knows best, or a custom experience - games should broaden our horizons to engage the player, to be able to tell their own unique stories, to be in the driving seat whilst as developers we just help facilitate this creation thus being two equal partners in a joint storytelling/listening experience.

Posted:6 years ago


Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

962 187 0.2
I agree, the idea of a game is to engage with the audience (it is still isn't it?) and feeding their stories they love is the way forward.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kingman Cheng on 16th August 2010 3:31pm

Posted:6 years ago


Private Industry

1,176 183 0.2
Jep great game and good to see it was selling well and maybe they get a nice surge again once Move comes out and the Move enabled version. For me it was a day one purchase right from the first announcement since I really liked Fahrenheit.

Let`s see what they come up with next, wouldn`t mind another adventure type game like Fahrenheit or Heavy Rain.

Posted:6 years ago

From the way David Cage was mentioning, he said he had to make the loathed choice to have him be known as a brand, to obtain creative freedom. Thus he would be be compelled to make a Heavy rain 2,3,4 but hopefully bring on board the gaming audience onto each iterative project - Adult Only :)

Posted:6 years ago


Private Industry

1,176 183 0.2
If it would be like Final Fantasy with no connection between the games it could work.

Maybe Quantic Dreams should get the Dexter license and make a game based on the character. :)

Posted:6 years ago


Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,522 3,225 1.3
While the content was served to an underserved market, it helped greatly that the graphics were heavily touted since 2006. This game grew a fanbase from The Casting - the teaser trailer from E3 2006 - that showcased the graphic fidelity and character emotional range they were targeting.

I personally observed countless communications on those 2 aspects for the 4 years until release. Mostly expressing enthusiasm specifically for the graphics. Pages and pages of debate just the quality of the eyes alone.

There is definitely a market for mature themed titles. That mature, not M. Huge difference and such a contradiction in itself. But it helps to grab their attention visually just the same. I dare say had The Casting never been released or the graphic fidelity not been at the level it was, the game would have flopped badly. The success of the title is a culmination of many factors...not just the thematic ones.

Posted:6 years ago


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