E3 2016: Detroit: Become Human Takes Quantic Dream’s Gaming Vision to New Heights

Quantic Dream has created cinematic gaming experiences that go far beyond what other games dare to. David Cage’s vision for gaming as a storytelling medium reached a high point in 2005 with the release of Indigo Prophecy on consoles. His prior effort, Omikron: The Nomd Soul’s reach exceeded its grasp, while IP received high marks – outside of some complaints about the controls. Since then, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls have stood tall as examples of Quantic Dream’s narrative-focused gameplay working wonderfully. Now, David Cage is back with Detroit: Beyond Human.

While Beyond: Two Souls featured a slew of famous names, Detroit aims for a lower-key cast. Detroit is a future-set world with androids and humans living together – but there is bitterness. Androids have taken many human jobs, and some of the androids kill themselves and act in an aggressive manner. The goal is to find out why this is happening and why. Cage stated at E3 that he’s tired of seeing human vs. android stories with humans always being the good guys, so we’ll get a lot of shades of grey here with moral choices that aren’t black and white.

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A single scene can have several different outcomes, and it all depends on how you move things along. Instead of having one branching path at one part in the story, you can have several different parts where the story can branch off in a different way depending on either small or large choices. There won’t be a game over state in this, like Quantic Dream’s other games. David Cage is against them because it leads to the player feeling like they’ve failed, and the goal is to always have the player make progress – just in a different way. A failure state will result in a logical consequence – whether that be death, punishment, or something minor.

David Cage chose to set the game in Detroit because of its history as an industrial giant that went through a decline and is experience a rebirth. He also respects its history with Motown and felt like its story of something reaching a great height and then falling would make for a natural narrative. Quantic Dream visited the city to get a feel for the city – something he knew they couldn’t do with a modern-day map function. They saw the plight with abandoned factories and wanted to capture the feeling of living in a real city.

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The narrative being told from the android’s point of view aims to change the nature of storytelling, and the goal is for it to shine a light on different aspects of life. Prejudice was touched on in E3 footage and that’s a subject we don’t usually see covered in gaming – but it’s treated seriously and used as a way to make you appreciate the characters. You’ll see what the androids have to endure just to go through their daily lives, and while their struggles will differ from a human – they will still have struggles. Much like Heavy Rain, players will be able to play as two different characters. Kara and Connor are two androids you can control, and the only announced playable characters so far. Detroit: Become Human is set for a PlayStation 4 release, but does not have a release window attached to it yet.