Cage wants meaning over fun, to challenge minds not thumbs

Auteur intends to give Beyond players something they don't know they want

David Cage has spoken about his artistic intentions for Beyond: Two Souls, telling an interviewer that he is far more interested in meaning than fun and wants to challenge minds rather than dexterity.

Speaking to Edge about the forthcoming PS3 exclusive, Cage stuck to his creative guns when describing the project, reiterating his mission statement on games as a method of emotionally engaging story-telling.

"My goal is to surprise people, to give them something they want without knowing they want it," Cage told the magazine. "I want to create an emotional journey, a unique experience.

"I am not interested in giving them 'fun', I want to give them meaning; I don't want to challenge their thumbs, I want to challenge their minds."

Cage's position on the nature of the medium is well established, telling Develop earlier this year that there was too much violence in games - having previously called for more innovation and emotional engagement to preserve a 'dying' industry.

Cage's relentless pursuit of the artistry which many games find so elusive may earn him some good-natured mockery from gamers and developers alike, but the Quantic Dream founder is also a driving force behind technological improvements. Heavy Rain, Cage's highly emotional PS3 debut, was praised for it's stunning graphical fidelity, whilst Kara, the tech demo which used the engine which will power Beyond, set new standards for facial animation and realism.

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Latest comments (10)

Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News5 years ago
If he wants an emotional journey and meaningful themes, he needs to get better writers. Heavy Rain was interesting, but so full of plot holes and bad dialog that it had little to no impact at all.
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Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd5 years ago
I for one am glad there are creators going in this direction. It diversifies the medium and is a welcome break from murder.death.kill
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Hugo Trepanier Game Designer, Behaviour Interactive5 years ago
I'm looking forward to great storytelling in games, which is all too often missing. I don't need to kill the same enemies 350 times to enjoy it. But why make your unique experience available on only one platform?
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Charles Herold Wii Games Guide, about.com5 years ago
Well, I guess he's successful, because I played two of his games and neither one was much fun. They were also poorly plotted. I guess I should still check out Heavy Rain one of these days though; I feel like someday, he's going to really make a game as good as his games are in theory.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers5 years ago
Fun is all relative, but I had a blast with Heavy Rain. For all the serious talk, I don't think playing this game will be like trying to digest War & Peace - I should still be engaging to play even if it's heavy in its emotional tone.
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Sergio Rosa "Somewhat-Creative Director", Domaginarium5 years ago
"I don't want to challenge their thumbs," I think he's on the right track, then, because (according to what I've seen), Heavy Rain doesn't exactly challenge the player's skills.

On a more serious tone, I have never played Heavy Rain, and I will not play Beyond, if only because it's a PS3 exclusive. However, even if they were on the PC, maybe I wouldn't play them because I can't find the idea of watching a 10-hour interactive movie compelling enough. He's missing the part that having a story doesn't mean leaving gameplay behind. If he thinks his games are so unique because all games supposedly only challenge the players' thumbs, he needs to play more (a lot more), because I can think of many games that offer a good story without needing snap reflexes, compromising gameplay, or killing 200 dudes. The Longest Journey being one of them.
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Nick Sadler5 years ago
The man's a menace. Story has just as much place in modern titles as the Artwork - they're mechanisms to lubricate gameplay and keep progress varied. *I think* there has to be a balance of these ingredients - and not necessarily in equal amounts otherwise the player gets jarred out of the experience. Gameplay, Story (if present) and Artwork (visual art and Audio) have to be measured with one another in right amounts.

Artwork can afford to slip if the gameplay is exemplary. If the story slips, again, the gameplay has to rescue things. Fortunately for this guy - what he's skimping on is gameplay; in doing so, he's leeching the player's familiarity with the movie-watching experience - leading the player toward the belief that it's a Movie with added interactivity - not a GAME MINUS fun-to-use tools and abilities, or a designed, SKILL-based progression-structure.

You can't 'win' at Heavy Rain, nor can you impart your own style or flair through the tools and controls available (for me, the most important, yet transparent ingredient).

Games need stories like Chips need Vinegar: Too much vinegar destroys everything that's awesome about chips. With the amount of vinegar present in his kitchen (and his willfully arrogant passion to use pints of it) there's no reason for him to even try make perfect chips.

Let's not spoil things, eh?

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Nick Sadler on 1st August 2012 7:15am

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
I fully agree with Tameem; I welcome creators in the industry who push the boundaries and do things differently to their peers. Heavy Rain was a long way from perfect and I agree that some of the dialogue and delivery was poor, but I find it a lot more distinct and unique and memorable than a dozen FPSs or TPSs or generic adventure games I've played this gen. When I'm recommending PS3 games to folk it's always one of the first games I mention simply because there's almost nothing else out there with the same style and flavour as Heavy Rain, and that makes me glad development studios like Quantic Dream exist.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
I think a balance between both would be better. Im sorry, but even though i loved heavy rain, it wasnt really "ALL THAT". It was basically like watching a movie and you decided what happened, through too many quicktime events. But then you got games like call of duty and FPS in general, that Ive grown pretty sick of. So yeah, a balance between the two.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 1st August 2012 2:36pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
I prefer story presented through gameplay MUCH more than Cage's style of "I really wish I had made a movie instead."

Some examples of this are LIMBO, Portal, and Bioshock. I like the world to tell the story as I play, and not take the play out of my hands to walk me through the story. I actually think Cage really doesn't understand how to tell a good story at all in games (maybe not even in movies, but that's certainly his focus). Maybe Beyond will change my mind, but Heavy Rain failed to impress.
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