During the Tribeca Film Festival Quantic Dream unveiled a new trailer for their upcoming PS3 exclusive title, Beyond: Two Souls. Not only does this trailer give you a piece of what to expect from the game’s story, but also where and even more importantly when it will be taking place. Showing the life of Jodie Holmes from start to what potentially may be the finish. The trailer certainly speaks for itself in terms of the sheer magnitude of the emotion and seriousness of this new game.
If you aren’t familiar with Quantic Dream and their work, you should get familiar. David Cage is the mastermind behind it all and has probably one of the greatest artistic visions, and talent to show it off, of this generation. Many people say games rot the mind, waste of time, non artistic, and many more. Obviously those people don’t play too many games and have never played one of David Cage’s games. He strives to create emotion in video games and he creates a hell of a lot of it too. You don’t just press buttons and go along with XYZ story, you feel and painfully decide to do action or another. With his last work, Heavy Rain on the PS3, you had to make some tough choices. Nothing is cut-and-dry in that game and even the little details will matter.
Another amazing feat Cage has done is acquiring real recognizable actors with immense talent. Ellen Page is very somber and can portray a great array of emotion. Not to mention Willem Dafoe can be so very expressive and carries a unique style. Sure there have been games to incorporate actors/actresses before, but not to this degree. It’s basically like they were cast in a film due to their likeness in the game and how they create and become the characters themselves. Also gaming has never been so widely recognized lately with multiple nominations where games where thought to not belong such as Civilization IV winning in 2010 and Journey being nominated just recently. While Beyond may not sell like Call of Duty, it will certainly appeal to a larger crowd due to the recognition of talent. I’m not saying more games need to have well known actors/actresses; what I’m saying is games need to provide more quality talent in writing and acting. There are plenty of games that have outstanding story and voice acting. To name one, Star Wars: The Old Republic which holds the record for most lines of dialogue recorded and has top talent voice actors such as Nolan North, David Hayter, Kari Wahlgren, and Kath Soucie just to name a few. Gaming needs to be recognized and it takes developers like Quantic Dream to do that.
Emotion in movies used to have to be portrayed by a character’s actions and facial expressions when it was soundless with a black and white picture. Now camera’s have amazing pixel counts and focusing technology and can capture sound nearly flawlessly that all they have to do is hope the actors can get the desired emotion across. However, video games have had it much harder than any other form of entertainment. Books even had it easier! Books have long detailed descriptions of the actions and it essentially puts that image into your head and allows you to picture it with your own imagination. Games don’t have a script for you to read at home, you play a game and watch it play out and you pick up the pieces of what the game designer has tried to implement. Sometimes though, a gamer doesn’t notice everything and they’ll miss out that even though a character is obviously meant to attack this guy, but that the character feels bad about it and does it because they have to survive instead of the player just wanting to beat up another person. What I’m saying is games have evolved in not only graphical potential, but in story telling potential. The Mass Effect series from BioWare told and intertwined an amazing story across multiple titles and it made you feel compassion, hatred, and accomplishment. Quantic Dream’s previous title, Heavy Rain, told the story of a man looking for his son and you played out this search and made some difficult decisions that a lot of people in real life would really question. Not to spoil too much, but there was a section of the game where you had to cut off a body part for more information about your son. In actuality I imagine many parents would do anything for their children, but could you do it? Even in a video game could you do? That is when you know a game has made you feel. When you question your actions and wonder if you, or who you want your character to be, will do this.
Now if you are wondering how this game will actually be played it will be a lot of story telling involved. For the most part you have quick time events like pressing buttons while something is happening as a response to actions happening to the character. This could be casual conversation, running away from the police, searching for things, or even doing a 1 on 4 person brawl. It won’t be fast paced in most areas, but I’m sure there are some sections of the game that will definitely have you on the edge of your seat. If you played Heavy Rain it will be almost exactly like the same experience. Using all aspects of the controller, even the six-axis controls, to do the actions in the game.
Also released was a 35 minute gameplay demo of the game. It isn’t 100% back to back in the game for 35 minutes, it blacks out in some areas to advance time. I started watching and cannot stop looking away. The characters draw you in and you have this curiosity of what Jodie will do next. It starts off with Jodie almost dead, and you can’t help but root for her and hope she keeps on going. Granted she does, but still not in the best condition. The soul that Jodie is connected to hasn’t been detailed too much before and you’ll finally get to see how it will be playing a part in the gameplay itself. You can navigate it yourself, get people’s attention, knock some stuff around, and even disable pieces of technology. Although this demo does show off some child birth and has plenty of swearing so may be NSFW… If you are looking forward to this title, make sure you reserve it to get some of the DLC for free which will be some additional scenes from the game along with a steel case. It is slated for October 8, 2013 in North America and retailing at $59.99 and I’m certain will stand out among the shooters and other action titles releasing then.