David Cage has insisted that he's "not a frustrated movie director" as he outlined the work that's gone into capturing performances for his forthcoming PlayStation 3 action game Beyond: Two Souls.
Cage's games with his company French developer Quantic Dream - which include Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain - offer experiences that have been criticized in some quarters for their reliance on cinematic conventions.
"I'm not a frustrated movie director," Cage told an audience at Gamescom in an open Q&A session. "That's really not why I'm here. I love this medium, and I'm genuinely passionate about this new medium being born and that's growing every day, and I just want to be part of it.
"At the same time, I'm really not into having 30-minute cut-scenes in a game, and you're just showing films. If you played Heavy Rain, there are very few cut-scenes and very few moments where you don't have control. I'm interested in you can tell the story through interactivity, and how you can be an actor in the experience."
Cage was showing off Beyond: Two Souls, a game that utilizes Hollywood talent in the form of Ellen Page. It's using performance capture - a system that goes beyond traditional motion capture by recording facial motions and vocal performances at the same time as capturing body movements. It's a system that has been used by James Cameron for Avatar and Peter Jackson for Tintin.
Hollywood processes and talent suggests Hollywood budgets, though Cage insisted it's coming in at a reasonable cost. "The amazing thing is that it's incredibly cheap," quipped Cage.
"Actually, we shot for about 12 months, which is a very long period of time. Sometimes you shoot a scene on day one, and the next part of the scene will be in a month. So you need to be consistent. Budgetwise, the production schedule is for around three years, which isn't crazy. And regarding the development budget, it's not public but it's nothing crazy. We try to be very clever about how we produce this thing, and we try to be very effective.
"It's a triple-A title with a triple-A budget. It's not much more than Heavy Rain, but for much higher quality."
Cage also insisted that Ellen Page didn't demand the kind of fee that's usually attached to Hollywood films - even when it's taken into account that the amount of work she's contributed to Beyond is the equivalent of four movies.
"We go to Hollywood on a very regular basis," said Cage. "We talk to actors and we talk to directors. What we discovered in Hollywood is that there are three categories of people. The first category are the people who don't give a shit about games, but that's less and less people.
"The second category are the people who are saying that games are great - they've heard about Halo and the amount of money that made in a weekend, and that sounds like a very exciting thing. How much money do you have, they ask. And usually that's when we stop the dialogue - money's part of it, but it shouldn't be the main motivation, because otherwise we know the collaboration's going to fail.
"The third category are the people who are generally interested - they understand that this is something new, something they've never done before and something that has incredible potential in the future to express different types of emotions in a different way. These people are adventurers, and Ellen is one of them. I was really fortunate in my career, because with Omikron I worked with David Bowie and this worked like that."