“A great idea, but unfortunately one not fully realised,” was how Alex closed his 7/10 review of Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain way back in February 2010. Well now the team are back with another chance to push the boundaries of interactive fiction with Beyond: Two Souls, a new PS3 exclusive due for release some time in 2013. So what’s new?
Beyond's movie poster-style artwork speaks volumes about Quantic Dream's cinematic aspirations.
Quantic Dream founder and CEO David Cage says that above anything else, Beyond is about death, a topic fans of Heavy Rain and the studio’s Atari-published PS2 title Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy if you’re from the ‘States) will know is clearly close to the writer/director’s heart. The game’s producer has also hinted that players will discover not only plenty about themselves and mortality, but also even “what lies beyond” – suggesting perhaps that Aiden might be something from the other side…
Also a continuing theme for the Beyond team is the conveyance of emotion. Between experiments with direct motion capture in L.A. Noire and the more artistic style seen in Halo 4 or Uncharted 3, they have their work cut out for them to stay on top of that field, but the footage we’ve so far seen from the game is impressive to say the least. Last year’s Kara tech demo showed which direction QD was headed, but seeing it working in real time rather than a pre-rendered video is something quite different. With the facial animation technology and the emphasis on death, expect Beyond to get more than a little teary.
As Alex said, while Heavy Rain may not have been all that polished (and with some awful voice acting in particular), it was something very unique, and that it won a whole bunch of end-of-year awards despite its issues and its February release suggests that it really struck a chord with a lot of people. Beyond may not have the same mass appeal as God of War: Ascension or The Last of Us, but for fans of interactive drama, of Quantic Dream and Heavy Rain, and of that something a little bit different and a little bit special that Sony seem to be pretty good at supporting, it’s definitely shaping up to be one of the highlights of 2013.
Beyond: Two Souls is due for a release exclusively on PS3 sometime in the first half of 2013.
Join us tomorrow to see which game makes it to number five!