Interactive drama game isn't about your skills

REALISTIC: Actress Ellen Page lends her likeness and acting chops to the lead role in Beyond: Two Souls.


    Sep 11, 2013

    Interactive drama game isn't about your skills

    Games often challenge players' skills, but that's not the case for the "interactive drama" game Beyond: Two Souls, said Mr David Cage, its creative director and head of French video-game developer Quantic Dream.

    The moody game has Juno actress Ellen Page lending her likeness and acting chops to the lead role. My Paper spoke with Mr Cage, 44, who was in town on Monday, about the PlayStation 3 game.

    Beyond is aimed at gamers and non-gamers. Was there concern that the latter would find it too challenging?

    We didn't think of Beyond as a challenge. I know video games are, most of the time, about challenges and (gaming) skills. Beyond is a journey. It is (about) deciding what role to take and discovering different things on the way.

    It's not a series of obstacles that you need to (beat).

    Once you define the experience as a journey, being a gamer or non-gamer is not really an issue.

    What matters is what you feel when you play. And this is probably troubling and disorienting for some gamers, because it's not based on skills and how fast you can be with your thumbs (on a controller).

    Page's character has a ghost-like companion people can play as, too.

    Did the supernatural inspire you when making Beyond?

    Actually, the paranormal side in Beyond is much more a part of the background. The game is really about growing, learning, accepting who you are, death, mourning and what's on the other side.

    What's always difficult to explain with Beyond is that it is the life of a character. And, in a life, you can see many different things.

    So, there is one (scene) that...plays with horror in many ways. But it's just one scene. Another scene (is) a war scene, and it's only one scene. Each scene is different. But with gamers, they are so used to seeing one level of a game and saying, oh, that is what the game is about. In Beyond, it doesn't work that way.

    At a PlayStation 4 event in February, people interpreted what you said then as equating more polygons in graphics with more emotion. Did they misunderstand you?

    What I meant is that when technology evolves, we have access to more subtlety and more nuances. I've never said that technology would bring emotion. It is a tool and, the better the tool, the easier your job is to create emotion.

    At the end of the day, emotion is created by your script, by your actors, by gameplay, by the sound.

    Emotion is also not about realistic rendering. It's about many, many different things.


    Beyond: Two Souls will be on sale from Oct 8 for $69.90.