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Heavy Rain's David Cage

The interactive dramatist on reviews, future plans, orange juice and mud.
EurogamerI went straight from playing Heavy Rain to watching a film and I was struck that the pace of the storytelling is quite different. Obviously, Heavy Rain is a much longer experience, and it's paced more like a TV mini-series. But do you think there's a place for using the style and technology you've come up with for Heavy Rain for telling shorter, more contained narratives?
David Cage

Of course, of course! I mean, more than just developing another game with Heavy Rain we tried to develop a format. We tried to create a language that would allow us to tell any type of story of any length. But tomorrow, using exactly the same interface and the same writing technique, we could have a comedy. We could create a tragedy.

Maybe my fantasy is one day to create a story from Shakespeare using this format, which I think would be a huge challenge but would be very interesting. How could we play with an existing tragedy from Shakespeare, how could we add variations and give controls to the player? It would be a very interesting exercise.

But at the same time we could do a short movie that would be maybe 30 minutes long... or you could do a TV series, you could have an hour delivered weekly. There is no limit to what you can do because we invented a language to tell stories in general.

EurogamerWhat do you personally want to do next? Do you want to continue developing this format that you've created for Heavy Rain, or do you want to do something completely different?
David Cage

Both. I'm interested in triggering emotions in this interactive medium, this is exactly what I believe is my mission. But maybe in different forms: I know one thing for sure, it's that Heavy Rain is the end of my personal trilogy trying to tell the same type of stories with serial killers and stuff, in the thriller genre.

I'm really happy I've done so because I wanted to have a very codified genre that I can really play with, I know where the boundaries are, it's really well defined for me and for everybody and at the same time I can try to play and learn within this space. Now I think I'm grown up enough to say, OK, let's expand the space and try to see what else I can do with what I've learned.

EurogamerDo you think there's a scope for making interactive drama for more than one player?
David Cage

Oh! Yes. Yes, I think it's possible and I think this is the next challenge. And that would be fascinating. It's incredibly challenging. When I saw the efforts that were needed just to make a single-player experience work on Heavy Rain, I have an idea of what it's going to take to make a multiplayer one, but that would be very exciting.

EurogamerWill your next project be a PS3 exclusive, and if so would you use 3D or motion control?
David Cage

[long pause] We are interested in both. In 3D and motion control. The very first game design of Heavy Rain was based on a motion controller, actually, that we designed ourselves. We wanted to use the Dual Shock and clip a plastic part on it with three little lights that would be detected by the EyeToy. That was four years back, so we suggested the design to Sony but it was not feasible at the time, so we agreed to go back to Dual Shock.

But we've had an interest in motion control for a very long time, and all of Heavy Rain's interface is really designed around motion. So we have a lot of interest in this motion controller, we start to play with it, and yeah, we definitely want to do something with it.

Now, is it going to be a PlayStation 3 exclusive? Well, that really depends on the publisher of Quantic Dream's next game. If it's Sony again, yeah no doubt it's going to be exclusive.

EurogamerHow many copies do you think you need to sell for this to be a success? Or is that not how you measure success?
David Cage

I keep my benchmarks for myself until they are reached. So I can tell you that my benchmark for critics was 90 per cent. I thought that that was the limit where you can say, OK, I'm understood and I achieved what I promised. And, yeah, we're around there.

EurogamerThat seems quite high.
David Cage

Well, you know, the bad thing is that Fahrenheit got 85, which was high, and I consider that Heavy Rain is much better than Fahrenheit was at the time. And I think that with this kind of experience, it's difficult to say it's kind of average... if Heavy Rain received 85 per cent you wouldn't have the impact [snaps fingers] that you need to convince people to try. This is a new genre. They need to be convinced by very high reviews.

And again, I think this game is very important for the industry. It's not just about Quantic Dream and Sony and David Cage, it's about asking the market, are you interested in experiences that are for a mature audience based on storytelling and triggering more complex emotions? Yes or no? If the answer from the market is yes, it's going to open doors to others and there will be many very creative people who will maybe come up with better ideas, but at least publishers will open the door to them.

But if the game doesn't sell, it's going to close doors to everybody and for a long time. It's going to take years before someone tries something creative again. So I think it's an important game. I often say that buying Heavy Rain is a political act. It's a way of voting. Vote for what you want this industry to be in the coming years. Do you want it to be just trolls and goblins and zombies? Then don't buy it.

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Oli Welsh


Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.


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