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Cage defends Madison striptease scene

"I do whatever it takes to tell my story."

Quantic Dream's David Cage has defended the scene in Heavy Rain in which player-character Madison Paige strips for a nightclub owner, arguing that during its E3 showing it succeeded in its goal of making the player "uncomfortable".

During the scene, Madison discovers that the club owner only has eyes for the girls pole-dancing near to where he's sitting, and the player is given the option to retire to the restrooms to doll her up, before gyrating provocatively to catch his attention.

Having done so, Madison and the owner retire to a private room and she uses a weapon in her purse to extort information from him. However, in the choice-and-consequence world of Heavy Rain, things can go very wrong.

"It was received in a very interesting way. I think with this game we go from discovery to discovery," he told Eurogamer during gamescom last week. "We had a couple of people who felt uncomfortable watching the scene, which is perfect because this is exactly what we wanted.

"You can't pretend to trigger different types of emotions and just focus on adrenaline and fright and competition and frustration. You need to go through different emotions, and showing this scene in particular was for us a test to see if we can make people feel like Madison, having to get naked to do a striptease in front of this ugly guy, and obviously it worked because people felt very uncomfortable.

"You know, when we thought people would just enjoy getting her naked and have this teenage kind of feel, in fact no, they really felt like they were Madison and they felt very uneasy."

Asked whether videogames perhaps have to learn to walk before they can run when it comes to difficult adult events, particularly given the potential for the situation the scene describes to become sexually violent, Cage said that he would not censor himself in order to avoid controversy.

"If you want to do toys for kids with videogames, then you certainly shouldn't do that, but if you intend to do an adult experience for a mature audience, then there's nothing you can't do, and you should certainly not count on me to censor myself, and say I can't do this or don't want to do that because it's too sensitive or too controversial or whatever.

"I do whatever it takes to tell my story, and I hope people will enjoy it, but I'm not playing safe things here, I'm trying things, I'm exploring new ground, and I hope people will appreciate that."

Heavy Rain is due out exclusively for PlayStation 3 next year, and you'll be able to read our gamescom impressions early next week (yes, I've finally written it up!). In the meantime, check out our other gamescom stories about Cage's response to the question of quick-time events, or look in on our most recent hands-on preview with a wonky URL.