Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human studio Quantic Dream will no longer develop games exclusively for PlayStation platforms.
It follows a series of controversies for the studio, most notably the allegations of an unhealthy studio culture reported a year ago by a team of French journalists from Le Monde, Canard PC and Mediapart.
For its part, Quantic Dream labelled the extensive reports as a "smear" - and then quietly began suing the journalists who published the story.
Says it has been subjected to "unfounded attacks".
Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human developer Quantic Dream has released a new statement in response to allegations which appeared in several French publications last month that spoke of an unhealthy studio culture.
UPDATE 15TH JANUARY: This article previously translated a passage of a French report to say Guillaume de Fondaumière was accused of "pushing kisses" on staff at parties, but the translation is incorrect, as de Fondaumière himself later pointed out to me. After further consultation we have a more accurate translation. The accusation revolves around the common French greeting of air-kissing when two people meet. Guillaume de Fondaumière is accused of making more contact with his kisses than is considered appropriate.
David Cage speaks, plus exclusive assets from the game's files.
Yesterday, Eurogamer published images comparing the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 versions of Beyond: Two Souls, pointing out that the skin tone for the game's background Saudi characters appeared lighter in the newer version.
Built with PlayStation 4 specs in mind, Beyond: Two Souls' release on PS3 two years ago gave the console a bittersweet swansong. On the one hand, it struck a high standard in physically-based lighting and facial motion capture we had expected of PS4 titles going forward. But on the other, Sony's last-gen machine clearly struggled to sing to the engine's tune, struggling in both frame-rate and aspects of its visual execution. However this month, a PS4 remaster stealthily crept onto the PlayStation Store - at last giving us a full realisation of Quantic Dream's vision.
A healthy range of improvements are promised here, and Sony is keen to bullet-point upgrades to lighting, shadows, and new effects like motion blur and depth of field. Once all chapters are downloaded, the PS4 remaster tellingly takes up a total of 33GB, a marked increase over PS3's install size of 25GB - in part due to the inclusion of the 'Experiments' expansion. A new remixed mode is also added, allowing us to play through Jodie's story in chronological order, rather than the original mode's scattershot structure. One other touch we appreciate is a new stats screen after each mission, comparing your decision-making with other players online - helpfully revealing the variables at play.
But the main draw is this version's improved visuals over the PS3 original. PS4 runs at a 1080p resolution, though with an obvious caveat. Since this remaster runs at the same 2.35:1 aspect ratio used on PS3, the actual image being rendered on-screen is instead 1920x817. Similar to The Order: 1886, it gives the game a cinematic framing, but in truth, points to a means of reducing demands on PS3 hardware when it was first developed.
Quantic Dreams' narrative duo coming later this year.
Sony has finally confirmed that both Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls are coming to PlayStation 4, though it's still being miserly with the details. They're both confirmed for this year, and will be available individually digitally as well as a bundle that's both physical and digital, but there's little information beyond that.
David Cage has always said that one of the main aims of any given Quantic Dream game is to ellicit an emotional response from its players. If that's the case, does confusion count? Because love them or hate them, David Cage's games, from Omikron: The Nomad Soul to Beyond: Two Souls are certainly... unique.
In olden times, video games were all about collecting things, shooting things, or collecting things that made it easier to shoot other things. But modern video games are all about EMOTIONS, such as ANGER and CHILDBIRTH, as illustrated by PS3 exclusive Beyond: Two Souls.
Beyond: Two Souls has been formatted for screens it will never appear on. The entirety of this expansive, expensive paranormal thriller from French studio Quantic Dream is presented in the super-widescreen 'scope' film format, and shows between thick black bars on your TV set. Just like a movie.
It's possible that this has been done to make it easier for the PlayStation 3 to render the image. There are fewer pixels to draw between those black bars, after all, and Beyond is a technical tour de force that surely pushes this ageing machine as far as it will go. But it's hard not to see it as a stylistic choice, too. Those bars, used as "here comes the story bit" shorthand to frame cut-scenes in other games, are ever-present. Beyond is all story, and what you are experiencing is tacitly held to be bigger, grander, more epic and encompassing, than how you're experiencing it.
It's hardly a surprise. Writer and director David Cage is as obvious a proponent of the auteur theory as you can find in video games. His interviews and speeches are peppered with cinematic references - to Citizen Kane, to his idol Stanley Kubrick. Just like a movie, Beyond features performances by recognisable star actors, Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. Just like a movie, it was showcased at the Tribeca Film Festival. Just like a movie, you can sometimes see light and dust hit the lens of a camera which, in this case, isn't there.
David Cage, Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe all in attendance.
It's less than a week until the launch of Quantic Dream's decade-spanning spook-em-up adventure, Beyond: Two Souls, and the developer will be giving the game a movie-style red carpet premiere tonight at the Grand Rex theatre in Paris.
PlayStation 3 exclusive Beyond: Two Souls is censored in Europe, Sony has confirmed.
Two changes were made to the game for the European version, amounting to about 5-10 seconds of gameplay that's been "edited slightly" to be "in-line" with a PEGI 16 rating, Sony's Ross Alexander wrote on the EU PlayStation Blog.
Alexander explained the decision: "For Beyond we wanted to make the game available to as many people as possible, hence applying for a PEGI 16 rating," he said.
Quantic Dream's head on his quest for cinematic games.
David Cage used his GDC Europe session earlier today to assess and explain Quantic Dream's approach to cinematic games, and to look towards a future where photorealism becomes closer and where algorithms could replicate the directing styles of auteurs such as Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles.
Beyond: Two Souls comes out in the UK on Friday, 11th October 2013, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe confirmed to Eurogamer.
VideoGamer.com spotted the release date in a telly advert for PlayStation 3's upcoming releases. Beyond, from David Cage's studio Quantic Dream, comes out in the US a few days earlier on 8th October.
Sony is keen to highlight the PS3's impressive 2013 line-up of exclusives amid the attention-grabbing PlayStation 4 launch. In addition to Beyond there's Naughty Dog's The Last of Us, Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 6 and Sony Japan curios Rain and The Puppeteer to look forward to.
"Stop thinking that innovation rhymes with unprofitable."
Quantic Dream's Guillaume de Fondaumiere revealed to a Digital Dragons audience in Poland today that PlayStation 3 exclusive Heavy Rain cost just €16.7 million to make - even with all those emotional polygons stuffed in.
Plus: PlayStation 4! Bullet time! Americo-centrism!
"PlayStation 4? It's pink," says David Cage. "It's shaped like a tower and it's about one metre high."
Say what you like about the Quantic Dream boss (lots of people do, mainly on Neogaf), you can't fault the man's linguistic skills. It's one thing to be good enough at a foreign language to be able say you like tennis and listening to records. It's another to be capable of banging on about epic, innovative and emotional interactive narrative experiences for a full 40 minutes. However, only the truly fluent can pull off sarcasm.
Plus: no Move or 3D for Beyond, says Quantic Dream boss.
Quantic Dream boss Guillaume de Fondaumière has revealed the studio is already working on its first PlayStation 4 title - even though its next PS3 game, Beyond: Two Souls, isn't out till October.
Fondaumière said the PS4 offering will be a story- and character-driven game in the Quantic Dream style. However, he added, "Innovation is part of our DNA. We've never duplicated ourselves. We never clone ourselves or other people's projects; we always try to create unique experiences.
"For us, a new console is another reason to try and innovate. What is certain is that whatever we're working on on PS4 is not going to resemble what we're doing on PS3... We're going to try and reinvent ourselves."
New IPs, we're told, aren't really feasible at the tail-end of a generation, so it's heartening to sit down and discover that a sizeable part of the games industry is sticking its tongues out at the likes of Yves Guillemot and Peter Moore; 2013's looking like it's going to be an absolutely stellar year for Actual New Games.
With 2012 already a smudged headline on yesterday's newspaper, it's time to get excited, all over again, for the next twelve months and the incredible games they are sure to bring. There are some amazing-looking games due out this year, including Grand Theft Auto 5, BioShock Infinite, Beyond, The Last of Us and more. And with the next-generation of consoles set to explode onto the scene, proper brand new games are surely not far behind. Hopefully.
Yesterday Sony launched a new PS3. Today we find out why.
Yesterday Sony launched a new, lighter, slimmer PlayStation 3 just in time for Christmas. The PlayStation 3 super slim, or the super duper slim as Bertie called it during our live report of Sony's Tokyo Game Show press conference last week, comes in two flavours in the UK: a mammoth 500GB edition (out now) and a teeny tiny 12GB edition (out 12th October). Sony doesn't set the price of its hardware in the UK (more on that later), but shops are live now with their offers (GAME has the exclusive on the PS3 500GB FIFA 13 bundle for £250).
But why has Sony revised the PS3 hardware yet again? And let's not forget the PS Vita, which by all accounts has sold terribly since its February launch. How's that doing? When will Sony cut the price? And what about those bigger memory cards? And where's 3D gaming gone? Sony used to love that. Now it's on the down-low. And what about the Wii U? How will Nintendo's new console impact PlayStation?
Armed with these questions we spoke with Sony UK boss Fergal Gara at Eurogamer Expo to get answers.
Mega-publisher Electronic Arts has excused its current sequel-laden line-up by saying there's a lack of "reward" for launching new game IPs this late in the console generation.
EA Labels president Frank Gibeau admitted that the drought of actual new games would continue until new hardware arrived.
"If you look at the market dynamics: as much as there's a desire for new IP, the market doesn't reward new IP this late in the cycle; they end up doing okay, but not really breaking through," Gibeau explained to GamesIndustry.biz.
An enterprising AllGamesBeta journalist filmed a Beyond: Two Souls presentation at Gamescom. The result is seven minutes of gameplay footage (posted below) from Quantic Dream's exclusive new PlayStation 3 game, and the bonus tones of the game's French project lead, David Cage, speaking over the top.
Note, this gameplay has been seen before, by us, behind closed doors at E3. Ultimately, our Oli Welsh chose a different section of Beyond to write about at E3 - the part where heroine Jodie Holmes sits in a chair in a sheriff's office, all suspense and intrigue. Nonetheless, this newly filmed footage hasn't ever been shared with the public.
It shows Jodie Holmes escaping a lot of police. She falls off her motorbike, she's hurt, she's surrounded. But the police and special forces keep their distance - they know what she's capable of.
Can games do nuanced emotion like Brokeback Mountain yet?
2K Games boss Christoph Hartmann has gone and said something controversial. He's declared that only when games approach photorealistic graphics will they be able to broaden their genre-horizon and properly do nuanced emotion like Brokeback Mountain - rather than the Mission Impossible experiences we get today.
We pass judgement on the candidates from January and add a few to the list.
Back at the start of January, we wrote of our hope that 2012 would bring us more Actual New Games. As much as we like stuff like Diablo 3 (when we can play it), we also want games that "invent new styles and genres", as I said at the time.
"It is part of the role of a platform holder," insists Andrew House.
Sony was one of the few major publishers to launch brand new core IP at this year's E3 show, debuting Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls and showing more of Naughty Dog's The Last of Us.
Why, when perceived wisdom dictates that new IP has the best chance of success at the beginning of a console's life span, was it spending big on two risky new brands this late in the current hardware generation?
According to incoming PlayStation CEO Andrew House, Sony believes it's the duty of the platform holder to continue to offer new experiences and attempt to bring in new players.
Naughty Dog "didn't realise" she resembled the famous actor, says game director.
Naughty Dog has said that it's a "complete coincidence" that the studio changed the appearance of Ellie in The Last of Us after she was said to resemble Ellen Page - and before the actress was confirmed as the star of Beyond: Two Souls this week.
Both games are published by Sony - The Last of Us by Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Beyond by the European branch. Both are due to be released for PS3 next year.
"We didn't event know what was going on with that," The Last of Us' game director, Bruce Straley, told Eurogamer at E3. "We don't know what's going on with other games."
Digital Foundry's assessment of Quantic Dream's stunning achievements in real-time rendering.
Four gigabytes for 5.5 minutes of footage. When Sony delivers a video game trailer in Apple's ProRes intermediate format, it's great news for Digital Foundry, because we're seeing the game's visuals running in a virtually lossless state; a quality level pretty much on par with the code running locally. Every pixel, every shader, every filter - it's all there in a pristine, precision format - and like Patrick Stewart in Extras, we can see everything. Sony is inviting a higher level of scrutiny and it has confidence that Beyond: Two Souls will not fall short.
Both companies have new goals and the contrasts yesterday illustrated them.
That's Microsoft and Sony out of the way, then, and in immediate hindsight it's tempting to say that they opted for the same approach overall. Both conferences were relatively conservative affairs compared to the pageantry and showboating of previous years (apparently you don't know what you've got with a space poncho until it's gone), as both companies presumably played the strongest hand they could muster while keeping a lot in reserve for the inevitable unveiling of next-generation consoles in 2013. However, upon closer inspection there were a number of stark contrasts.
UPDATE: PlayStation Move compatible, single-player only.
UPDATE: Beyond: Two Souls will offer PlayStation Move compatibility, similar to Quantic Dream's predecessor Heavy Rain.
Beyond will be a single-player offline experience, a new press release has confirmed. The game is aiming for a PEGI 16 rating. It's genre is listed as "interactive drama" and will launch in "Q4" of the financial year (January to March 2013).
The veil has been lifted on David Cage and Quantic Dream's next game - and it looks like a return to the supernatural on a spectacular scale, with Hollywood star Ellen Page confirmed to be onboard for PlayStation 3 exclusive Beyond.
We see the first footage of Quantic Dream's paranormal thriller and talk to David Cage about directing Ellen Page.
Guillaume de Fondaumière looks nervous. He even sounds a bit nervous. The tall, easygoing Frenchman who heads up Paris' Quantic Dream studio is uncharacteristically stumbling over his words. His phone rings twice as he tries to address the room in a Santa Monica office block, eerily deserted on this Sunday afternoon. He fumbles with it, earning a tart comment from his partner in crime David Cage, writer-director of Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit.