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 Heavy Rain  director tells game industry it's time to grow up
Heavy Rain director tells game industry it's time to grow up Exclusive
August 16, 2012 | By Christian Nutt

August 16, 2012 | By Christian Nutt
Comments
    82 comments
More: Console/PC, Design, Exclusive, Gamescom



"I mean, how many first person shooters can you make? ... There's a moment where we need to grow up."
- David Cage, director on Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls

In a new interview at Gamescom, the outspoken director of Heavy Rain talked to Gamasutra about his frustration with the industry and its refusal to move to more mature subject matter.

At the show, the developer showcased his studio's upcoming title, Beyond: Two Souls, an adventure game starring actress Ellen Page. The story follows the lead character's life from age 8 to age 23.

"I think we should have more courage in our industry and take more risks, because I think this is what the industry needs now. I mean, how many first person shooters can you make? How many monsters/aliens/zombies can you kill in games? There's a moment where we need to grow up. We need to grow up," Cage told Gamasutra.

"I often think that the industry suffers of the Peter Pan syndrome. It's the fact that we don't want to grow up, so we stay kids. But there is a moment where you need to grow up as an industry. And you cannot keep up with the Peter Pan syndrome. You need to grow. And I think this is the right time," he said.

The full interview with Cage will be live on Gamasutra in the near future.

Gamasutra is in Cologne, Germany this week covering GDC Europe and Gamescom. For more coverage, visit our official event page. (UBM TechWeb is parent to both Gamasutra and GDC events.)


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Comments


Jed Hubic
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So if I like StarCraft and Battlefield but thought I wasted my money on Heavy Rain I need to grow up?

Why does the industry need to "grow up"? Make whatever you want to make, the industry isn't stopping you, and if more people want Zombie games, don't blame the industry.

Shawn McCool
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Pretty much, yes. You need to grow up.

k s
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@anthony stagnation is a concern but that's not what cage is concerned with, he's more concerned with telling his stories which are very good.

E McNeill
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> "Make whatever you want to make, the industry isn't stopping you, and if more people want Zombie games, don't blame the industry."

Here's what I think Cage is thinking, and why you should give him more credit:

- More people want low-maturity fare only because that's what has been done, and that's what they already know they like.

- Most developers unquestioningly make low-maturity games because that's what they've always done and because that's what the market seems to demand.

- If developers are confronted with the industry's general immaturity, they might be inspired or shamed into greater ambition.

- If developers then start to make more mature art, players will follow them, and the industry will become stronger, larger, and better for us.

You might disagree with any of these subpoints, but I think Cage has a purpose in making this argument, and we shouldn't settle for what players already want.

james sadler
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I don't think he's saying the audience needs to grow up, just the developers. I agree with his comments, but disagree at the same time. I agree that I am getting tired of the countless military FPS games that all seem to use the same mechanics with slight variation around, but at the same time each of those games have completely different stories which go beyond the mechanic. If anything I think through this stagnation comes more focus on storytelling and other aspects to really disguise the redundant gameplay. Its really a better vehicle for telling a story than trying to come up with new mechanics that the audience has to acclimate to.

I loved the story and environment of Heavy Rain, but the gameplay was annoying and boring. If one doesn't want the player to focus on the playing aspect of a video game, make a movie. Its kinda strange that I would defend military FPS's and go against Cage, but maybe he hasn't played many of the titles he casts down (the mark of a poor game designer). I guess I just don't like "rockstar" game designers.

Paul Shirley
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@E McNeil:"- If developers then start to make more mature art, players will follow them, and the industry will become stronger, larger, and better for us."

...and over 100 years of movie making says: no they wont. You can make them, just don't expect many to come.

Brent Gulanowski
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I think too many are missing the forest for the trees. The urge to "grow up" can be interpreted in different ways. One alternative is to not only consider, but try out a larger variety of points of view and approaches. It's not necessarily an attack on combat-centric games or people who like them.

@Paul Shirley: Is box office the only indicator of value? I'm sure there are countless examples of products in different media, including art and not art, that had value but didn't achieve financial success in the market. Again, different points of view are what makes a mature mind able to perceive things in a multitude of ways.

John Smith
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Here is the problem with talking to the media...

They focus in on one thing you say in a whole interview and make that a headline. We can't even put it in context because the interview isn't published yet.

It comes down to link bait - make your headline confrontational, more people click.

Think long and hard about what you say during any interview because the press is going to do their best to make you look like a (insert profanity here)

Adam Bishop
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"...and over 100 years of movie making says: no they wont. You can make them, just don't expect many to come."

Here are some reasonably "mature" films that have won Best Picture at the Oscars since the turn of the century along with how much money they made:

A Beautiful Mind ($313 million)
Million Dollar Baby ($216 million)
Crash ($98 million)
The Departed ($289 million) (does contain a fair amount of violence, but is also very smartly written and acted)
No Country For Old Men ($171 million)
Slumdog Millionaire ($377 million)
The King's Speech ($414 million)
The Artist ($133 million)

True, none of those reached the level of another Oscar winner - Return of the King ($1.1 billion). But there's clearly a *very* big audience for well crafted, intelligent films and you can find plenty of other examples if you go further back.

A S
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We need to stop this simplistic categorizing of games. And also the equally simplistic comparions with other media (notably films). There is space for Heavy Rain, and also for CoD. If people don't like CoD, don't play it, or even better make the game you think should be made. The market will give you feedback on your ideas.

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k s
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I really don't like david cage, the guy has an attitude issue and he seems more interested in making films then games. Story should never take precedence over gameplay in games. Gameplay is the core of video games, without it you don't have a game.

E McNeill
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True, but that's not what he's arguing, at least *here*. And he's right that the industry could stand to make more mature art. I see why you might object to his tone, but let's not dismiss him just for that. He's contributed a lot already.

Jose Striedinger
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Gameplay is in the core of video games true but, it doesn't mean it should be just "something" that adds the "fun" in the game. I believe this goes beyond that having a good story. You are right, if ALL you have is a good story then go make a movie or something. I really don't know the answer but, I believe there's no "need" to grow up.

For example games like Braid aren't precisely funny neither have an "amazing" story yet is was ridiculously succesful, and I believe is that both the gameplay and the universe of the game are unified to create a very UNIQUE experience. That's the key, create unique experiences, and there's just tons of ways of doing that.

P.S : I don't like him either, he's kind of arrogant!

Christian Nutt
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Disagree. He's not more interested in making films than games; it's a reductive way to look at Heavy Rain. Heavy Rain is a game where all interactions with the world have the same weight; even if they aren't as mechanically satisfying / nuanced / complex as, say, the combat interactions in a well-made shooter, they're a LOT broader and more varied, and tie into the narrative.

Also, as Jorg Friedrich (Spec Ops: the Line) pointed out in his GDC Europe talk this week, the things Heavy Rain made you do were not the same as the things that the character Ethan Mars would have done if he were the protagonist in a movie (e.g. cutting off your finger.) They were calculated for interactivity.

http://gamasutra.com/view/news/175843/The_rules_SpecOps_The_Line_
broke__to_make_its_story_matter.php

k s
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@Jose I'm generally in agreement with you. I look for and develop games that offer an enjoyable experience.

P.S. : I tried braid and didn't get what the big deal was, it was just a 2D platformer which I don't care for (I prefer 3D platformers).

Alex Belzer
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You do realize that making games that aren't hyper-masculine power fantasies could also possibly not have traditional narrative. The way David Cage is approaching mature content IS through story, but there ARE other ways. However, to the point: the problem is the market is saturated with too much pulp entertainment--there are pitifully few options for meaningful, relevant experiences for adults who play video games.

You might not care for these titles, but you might also not care for Jim Jarmusch. Doesn't mean there should only be Michael Bay action movies. Otherwise, why don't we all just never think or feel anything ever again?

Alex Belzer
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Just thought I should clarify that I'm not actually trying to compare David Cage to Jim Jarmusch ;)

And for all his intentions, David Cage is just as guilty of perpetuating pulp entertainment, in his own way.... Not trying to put him on a pedestal. But he IS doing something, and I think we should celebrate growth and progress, not embrace stagnation.

John Smith
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It's starting to feel like two or three "YOU'RE DOING IT ALL WRONG" articles a day.

I guess I can understand with the slipping revenues.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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I think its a classic human coping mechanism, that to reduce the anguish over the choices we make, we criticize the different choices others made, dismissing the notion that there are many valid path.

Reynald francois
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Funnily enough, that same David Cage in an ITW alongside Eric Viennot quite some time ago (late 2011 I think) had the question "What are in your opinion the best games of 2010?" asked to them.
He was already in the process of working on B:TS, and his answers were pretty much spot on the "grow up" part: Call of Duty: MW & PES.

I'm always having a hard time to fathom dichotomy among creators. "Do as I say, not as I do", ey?

Is the argument where the games industry "is young" or we need to "grow up" still valid? I mean, come on, for every "Little Miss Sunshine" there are ten "Expandables". Also, slapping half a dozen movie scenes you liked in one game sequence neither makes for a "grown up" approach of the media.

We've already having games that go further than the shooting part, and, admittedly in the indie circles more often than not, there are many games that reach beyond "telling and into "feeling".

What we're missing the most, I fear, is a recognition of sorts; especially self-recognition.

Rob Wright
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I find this ironic, since I bought Heavy Rain with the expectation of getting a mature story with a rich narrative, but was subjecting to a good hour of mindless button-mashing, the objectives of which were making coffee, carrying groceries, and setting the dinner tablet. If that's what Cage believes is "growing up," then put me in the Peter Pan camp...

Rick Kolesar
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David has to remember there is a huge risk at trying something different (like your job). Plenty of studios have closed because they tried something new and many developers are not financially in the position to take that risk. Sad but true. Developers have families and need to put food on the table.

While you may be quick to blame publishers, they need to make money and they look at what people are buying. End of story. We need to look towards the small/indie studios that are using Kickstarter and Indie Fund to fund their games and have the freedom to make something different. They will push the game industry in that direction. Once the publishers see those games are selling over a million copies, they will have hard data saying "Yes, we can fund these none traditionally game now because people are buying".

I agree with David Cage because he is also backing his words with his actions. Love or hate their game, Quantic Dream is trying to do something different.

E McNeill
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I'm kinda stunned by the hostility in the comments so far. I get why you might disagree with Cage or take umbrage at his tone, but don't you think that games still have a ton of room to grow? Shouldn't we be ambitious? And isn't this a valid direction for pursuing that ambition?

Christian Nutt
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The suggestion that things should change brings out the worst in people. It seems to be human nature.

E McNeill
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Well, you get my vote in favor of this kind of message, even when I disagree with the specifics. Better to strive than to wallow.

Nou Phabmixay
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I'm not surprised by the hostility. Though I don't know why the hostility is there.

I am however delighted by your comment.

Ara Shirinian
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Without commenting on the tone of the other comments:

I don't think it's sheer suggestion of change that is upsetting, nor the idea that we have room to grow or should be ambitious.

Rather, he _appears_ to completely discredit/absurdly reduce some of the most beautiful dynamics games can and have yet produced by not acknowledging that they can be anything more than expositions of their thematic skins. Much in a similar way to how one can absurdly reduce writing a novel to "pressing buttons" or composing music on a computer to "clicking on things." It smacks a little bit of the chess champion telling the martial arts champion to "grow up," even though both styles of activity are deep and worthy of pursuit.

Or like when Brendan McNamara told the industry that we needed to "grow up" when he was making The Getaway, presumably by eschewing accurate and clear feedback systems for magical growing/shrinking bloodstains on the back of the main character as a better/more intelligent life meter display method.

A naive study of street fighter, or even mortal kombat could result in the view that it's just people beating each other up. Childish. But those who play at expert level access something much deeper, more meaningful, and no longer play at all for visual appearances. At that level it's a lot more like chess, which nobody thinks is childish.

I hope David Cage can appreciate what games like that can offer beyond first-inspection appearances.

A S
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@E McNeill: It's the vapidity and implicit arrogance of it. Games have a ton of room to grow yes - but this guy is saying games should grow in the way he personally believes is correct. There is nothing wrong with liking MW, or with liking Heavy Rain. But assigning subjective criteria and then claiming FPS is "immature" (implicit in what he says) is where it becomes a problem.

However he gets a pass because he's actually doing it and following up on what he says, and so the world will give him feedback on whether he has it right or not.

E McNeill
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Ara: Now that's an intelligent dissent! Reminds me of Eric Zimmerman's talk at GDC.

I agree, and my own games are often abstract and theme-less. But we could still ask for the industry to strive for more even if we're just talking about mechanics. The design of systems can be nuanced or simplistic, austere or indulgent, meaningful or trite, evocative or confining.

I also think that story can be a very powerful and interesting component of these systems. So even though I agree with you that the elevation of story over all is way too reductive, I give him credit for at least wanting to push the medium forward.


A S: I don't think it's pure arrogance, but yeah, his perspective seems pretty narrow (see the response to Ara above). I just think that defending the status quo is a poor response; we should point to another way forward instead.

Bob Stevens
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"The suggestion that things should change brings out the worst in people. It seems to be human nature."

The problem isn't pursuing new directions, the problem is calling the current one immature for no reason. Cage has gone on record saying that he doesn't care if his games are fun, which is great for him. But many of the rest of us are pretty invested in making products that are fun. Different priorities isn't a measure of maturity, so telling people to grow up in this case just makes him a cock. (But to be fair, it's hard to judge completely when you've gone and selected the most controversial quote in a much larger interview and stuck it in huge bold print. Enjoy your hits.)

David Navarro
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"Shouldn't we be ambitious?"

I don't think anybody has a problem with developers being ambitious. Our problem, or at least mine, is with someone like David Cage jumping on a high horse and telling *others* how to run their business.

Personally, I played Omikron, and I think that's enough David Cage for any one lifetime...

Daniel Saner
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I think people misunderstand Cage's position. He's criticising the state of the industry, not single titles, as being immature. There's a world of a difference in there. As someone mentioned further up, he himself selected some issue of Call of Duty as one of his personal favourites.

He's not blaming the industry for producing a certain kind of game, but for producing *almost exclusively* that kind of game (speaking in mainstream market terms). Everyone is allowed to enjoy what they like and disregard what they don't like. The problem he sees, and on which point I agree with him, is that there's *not* something for everybody. Almost all mainstream games target the male 18-25 market. No wonder the demographics don't diversify, and female or 40+ players are largely to be found in the segment of casual and social network games. They deserve involved big-budget productions too, and I'm sure they'd go for them if they were made, as a few exceptions have already indicated.

There's nothing wrong with a game being immature. I wouldn't want to miss the occasional mindless shooter. But my horizon is broader than that, and I also want games with diversity, meaning, emotion, and intellectual challenge. In film, the sort has found its niche and lands the occasional crossover hit. In video games, it's all left to the indies (who often do a great job, don't get me wrong). That's what Cage is on about. Not less shooters, but more diversity.

Thomas Baltzer
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I'll take David Cage seriously as soon as he produces a video game.

Brent Gulanowski
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Disingenuous use of inverse of the argument from authority. But clever.

How many game critics do you read who never made a game?

Thomas Baltzer
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Actually I enjoyed Heavy Rain, I was just being a snarky jerk.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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Heavy Rain was very enjoyable, but I think you hit the nail on the head by drawing attention to the lexicon. As a game, it was pretty terrible. Even as a movie it was forgettable. But as it was, it moves the boundaries of entertainment forward in a way few titles can, and provided a fresh experience that hid the weak parts.

It is clear to me that there are areas beyond ludicity that are worth expanding in, but what should we do about the phrasing "video game"? Expand it so it covers more ground or simply popularize a new phrase for interactive entertainment that is more narrative or experiential and less about "winning"?

Michael DeFazio
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think "we" are growing up, just not in the way Cage wants us to or expect us to.

i appreciate Cage tries new things (i.e. the "infusion" of story in games) but he is either willfully ignorant or just trying to get attention imho.

the market dictates the direction of products (games are no exception). if there was a huge market for his brand of story in games we would see heavy rain sell many-millions and, as a side-effect many companies/publishers would follow suit and make more "story based" games rather than "first person dude-bro alien-kill fests".

cage has done a good job of communicating/differentiating his brand of storytelling from others and i think the media has done a good job of promoting his "cause", i just don't think (at this point in time) the market really "wants" games that are that heavy on exposition else the market would abide.

meanwhile he should be happy that (as an industry) we have evolved as much as we have, perhaps he is a man ahead of his time, but at present he just comes across with an arrogant attitude that "people are stupid for not appreciating my form of art"

Brent Gulanowski
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What is with attributing ego and self-serving motives to everybody who takes a chance saying how they really feel? Jesus Christ, people, if your opinion is valid, so is theirs.

"The market" is NOT the only director of how games (products) get made. The market is full of undiscovered niches just dying for products (and creators) to fill them. The only way to find those undiscovered niches is by going exploring in new ways along untrodden paths.

The market is a kind of space, in which there is an unlimited number of potential games (or any product). We explore this space by travelling it, but unless you travel in a lot of different directions (or lots of different people each travel in one of many different directions), you will never explore more than a tiny fraction of even the space you could reach if you went in other directions.

I strongly urge anyone who wants a more modern and complex view of economics and markets to read the outstanding book "The Origin of Wealth" by Eric Beinhocker. It's a revelation. And the things that game developers can learn from, or be inspired by, in that book are countless and priceless.

Michael DeFazio
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@Brent

"What is with attributing ego and self-serving motives to everybody who takes a chance saying how they really feel?"

i'm all for people expressing themselves, but also realize he really isn't trying to enlighten anyone with these statements. hes been tooting his own horn for quite some time... it is the very definition of "Self serving":

http://www.edge-online.com/features/david-cage-kara-cinema-and-fu
ture-games
"This industry has been about shooting monsters for 20 years, and there are so many other things we can do."

... no it hasn't been (about shooting monsters for 20 years), perhaps you are referring to some "popular games" but that doesn't mean noone is innovating...he seems like he is the ONLY person innovating, everyone else is doing nothing but the same.

http://www.industrygamers.com/news/heavy-rains-david-cage-says-qu
antic-dream-created-interactive-storytelling/
"We created the genre. We own the genre, and we want to show that Heavy Rain was not a coincidence or a lucky shot - that it was really something that makes sense and that we can build on,”

http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/01/beyond-two-souls-emotional
-sucker-punch
David Cage says innovation in video game narrative is something “the industry desperately needs.”

what new enlightenments can you take away from his message? what "value" do you get from reading his opinion? it's really only a self-serving opinion... my argument is that the industry has and is evolving (look at the huge amount of innovation in the last 15 years) and yet he only wants to focus on his interests... which is fine, but don't:
1) assume noone else is doing anything innovative because they innovate in a way that does not appeal to you
2) expect people are going to mature by making sweeping generalizations (we are all infantile game players a la Peter Pan, and not mature enough to appreciate his games or brand of storytelling)

Adam Bishop
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"the market dictates the direction of products (games are no exception)."

Given constantly declining revenues and studio closures, isn't the market dictating that all the cookie cutter shooters we're getting really *is* a problem?

Michael DeFazio
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Hey Adam,

"...constantly declining revenues and studio closures, isn't the market dictating that all the cookie cutter shooters we're getting really *is* a problem"

perhaps, but at the moment shooters seem to be where AAA studios ARE making money... you don't see any of the studios behind these games slowing down or closing : Halo, Cod, Battlefield, Gears, Crysis, Borderlands... (fyi i play none of these in case you are wondering.)

please understand i am by no means endorsing a "shooter only" future, just commenting that in today's market (like it or not) AAA shooters have reached mass-market appeal, and people buy 'em... the popularity of "interactive narratives" has not reached this pinnacle, and while i appreciate the innovations mr. cage brings to the market, i don't think it is "mature" to call people "immature" for liking what is popular because they tell stories in a different way than what mr. cage feels is optimal.

Tont Voles
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I agree.

Take this quote:

"We created the genre. We own the genre, and we want to show that Heavy Rain was not a coincidence or a lucky shot - that it was really something that makes sense and that we can build on,”

This says so much about Cage's attitude to his work. I don't see a great deal of difference between Heavy Rain and the 90s CD-ROM pre-rendered adventures in terms of what they are as interactive designs, nor do I think there's any major progression in story and narrative from things like the old Infocom adventures. Either he's willfully ignoring them to promote himself, or he's just willfully ignorant.

Brent Gulanowski
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I think it is evidence that frustration is seeping out of some people (both creators and players, though the latter may not get as much attention), that there are too few opportunities to approach games in different ways. For the players, it's a limited breadth of variety to choose from. For the designers, it's limited access to budgets needed to make games that people will notice. Maybe those designers are too used to having too much money, and need to demonstrate what they can do with less. That's how it works in other creative fields. If you want to take bigger risks, you have to make smaller bets.

I think it would be better if more large companies placed more smaller, riskier bets. I worry that there is too much burden being placed on indie devs, who might not get the chance to work with established people while making those risk-taking, ground-breaking games. It would make for a healthier ecosystem, and give new game designers and developers more opportunities to explore and innovate, instead of having to face such a yawning chasm of safe and predictable on one side, and risky and innovative and lonely and broke on the other. Too much talent might be withering away, but who could even tell? (I'm a total outsider, though, so fuck me, what do I know?)

I hope more established designers break out and build new small and medium-sized studios, and do more to help mentor new developers. And don't immediately sell out to the monsters if they succeed. What about what Peter Molyneux is doing? I hope it inspires other people, and doesn't turn out to be a financial failure—or at least that the creative wins make it worth it. Also, more companies like Valve when it was young and scrappy. But, yes, less combat! There must be challenging and exciting things to do in games other than shooting and stabbing. Combat has been done to (I never tire of saying it) death. Yes, it's OK to re-imagine the work of the past in the context of today, but surely, there must be something else to explore.

David Navarro
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"For the players, it's a limited breadth of variety to choose from."

Quite the opposite - there's a nearly infinite variety of game types to choose from. Cage is just bitter that people appear to be choosing the "wrong" things.

Joe Zachery
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While I agree with some of his thoughts. It seems people ideas on making games grow up. Is taking away the actually control form players, and make games more into QTE movies. I'm sorry I would rather play 24 hours a day on Nuketown. Than to play 1 hour of Heavy Rain. I want the control, and want to play the game. Not watch something that is just a HD version of Dragon Lairs.

R G
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FPS are not the problem. Innovation is.

And one could argue that Cage doesn't necessarily make games, more like interactive stories. I loved Heavy Rain, but I can't say that I pick it up a lot to play.

Yes, having multiple Call of Duties, Battlefields, and other FPS games dominate the market sucks overall when promising games get canned. But, you can't blame the industry as a whole. There's clearly a demand for the games, and hey....the consumer is always right.

Daniel Saner
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Depends on what you're looking for. No one ever dictated that something has to have a certain level of interactivity to be called a video game. Why do we play them? For the fun and experience, or for the number and frequency of buttons we push? There's personal preferences in there, I know enough people who would never play anything but button-mashing shoot'em-ups and beat'em-ups. Bot no group has the authority to define what is a video game, and what isn't.

Sometimes I like to play a video game for the "interactive action". But other times I like to play a video game for similar reasons that make me want to read a book or watch a film. The format and interactivity of games has a lot ot bring to the table in those areas as well.

That's why in principle I really dislike the term [video] game, because it implicitly restricts the media to things that have traditionally been called games, when in fact all that video games really have in common is the format they're delivered on. (I would prefer the term "interactive entertainment" if it weren't so unwieldy and pretentious). As I always say, people wouldn't criticise a newspaper for being a bad novel just because they both come on paper. But that, in essence, is what people do every time they criticise Heavy Rain for not being Call of Duty, or Call of Duty for not being Heavy Rain.

Nathan Zufelt
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Please have Cage describe what he means by "Mature Theme's" before we tear eachother apart over it.

Does he want more Crime/Political Drama? More adult relationships and nudity/sex? Or does he just dislike pop culture based fantasy/sci-fi?

Shin Hean Kung
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Agree. Mature theme is just too ambiguous. If he talking about develop more game tackle around controversial topic, IMO, that what game industry need right now. It is sad to hear somebody said video game are meant for kid/teenager and we shouldn't talk about it in video games. Video games have more potential than that.

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Sergio Rosa
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I like the idea of pushing different kinds of stories and all that, but he forgets/ignores he's making games, not movies. Maybe he could take more risks himself on his own projects, like maybe adding a little big more "game" to his "games" so they grow out of the "press the right button" paradigm? I mean, "how many QTE games can you make?" There's a moment where Cage himself also needs to grow up.

Stanley de Bruyn
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True, I like the TV series " The walking dead". It's survival horror drama. It got a game. A point and click QTE game. Fixed choices. point and click does kill emergion. I don't like this kind of gameplay or lack of it. To the theme.

It remind me of that heavy rain demo with move I played. Well not my thing.

But there comes a other game with Daryl and merle centerd a survival FPS.
Didn't play DayZ mod of ARMA2 wich would be more my thing. I expect it wil be more or less like that mod.

Innovation would be. A sandbox FPS game where you interact with voice interaction to NPC call them ALP Artifical living people. No multi fix choice menu but just speak and interact like you would in reallife. A game that could read gamers face expresions so emotion are part of the input tonation of speak. These ALP have of course decent depth and have facial expresion abilities.
Games are interacting medium with doesn't go wel with fixed storys. It abuse the medium its using the medium not to its potentional.
Game and story is : You game to make your uniek story.

Well there are huge hurdle to tackle this. AI at its current state is problematic. But I talking on Artificial life. Not simple beings but persons. Wich could be a bridge to far. At least in extreem need of funding for R&D. To reach something believable.

In the mean time I have lot of gameplay fun with BF3.
With bit of egosoft X3 inbetween

Thomas Baltzer
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Now that I think on it, doesn't every medium have this problem? Whether we're talking film, tv, books, or music, the uninspired drivel is what tends to connect with the masses (i.e. Twilight, Transformers, Kardashians, Katy Perry, etc), so why would it be any different with video games? Fluff will sell and anything heady will struggle.

Daniel Saner
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You're probably right that we tend to have a too pessimistic view of things. I think it's less of a problem for books and music which are cheaper to produce, but in areas like games, film, and TV where you need big budgets to stay on top, it's right. Looking at more intelligent film, it's mostly independent studios with a few crossover hits and the occasional foray by a major. Games have a healthy indie scene, the occasional one makes it big, and big publishers aren't as anti-diversity as it might sometimes seem.

"Drivel reaches the masses," and I think it's pretty understandable why. Making a game more intellectually challenging will bore those who just want to relax and enjoy, social commentary is bound to offend some groups of people, creativity and innovation will alienate those with different tastes—you have to make such choices to produce something that will become really special to a certain group of people, but its qualities will scare off many others. Mainstream media is designed to the lowest common denominator. It won't become a cult classic held dear by fervent fans, but it's designed to offend as few as possible

Nou Phabmixay
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There's new footage of the gameplay in Beyond: Two Souls from Gamescom 2012 just in case anybody wants to update their argument from Heavy Rain.

Keith Nemitz
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I'll bet every one posting here can name several games that they felt were solidly mature in their content. There are many mature games you can play, right now. Let's offer them up, instead of arguing over terms. Each will have their own set. How will they overlap? Here are some old games, to remind that mature games aren't new: Myst. A Mind Forever Voyaging. Loom. Planescape: Torment. Police Quest. Bureaucracy. Passage.

wes bogdan
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The problem is ever since doom the shooters have been the template and the driving force behing everything sure i'd rather play many games with "stories" than you become the character and here's some light story to be peppered in but it's mostly about the graphics,arena's,physics and now multiplayer.

Are f.p.s bad not really they help hone your reflexes /killer instinct however anything from jack,ratchet,sly xenoblade,blue dragon,valkyria chronicles or the world ends with you has almost 100% more story and really the story driven shooters are bioshock,mass effect and uncharted not that i won't be getting halo 4 but gears or killzone hang enough story to support the intense action when the characters are deeper and you care what happens in uncharted which has danger,humor and exciting set pieces + there's no better play as indiana jones game series out there.

Third person @ least shows a character you can see which helps the story arc even chief is shown in 3rd person for the story and while you can see dom and marcus is still feels like a f.p.s story.

I believe humor is just as important as suspense ,terror of the unknown/seen and much more than sheer bullets or violence which again isn't much of a story without so much as a villans monologe "this is why i did it etc".

I believe borderlands has tons more character due to it's cartoonish look if it had run with the uber real early graphics it would've been lost in the croud and we wouldn't have a borderlands 2 that almost certain.

Have shooters brought us this far yes can they continue unchanged without fading to black no.

What would you rather play the most gourgus looking but hollow shooter or something that looks very good like uncharted 1 which has :drama,laughs,characters who interact like humans with each other and a very good indy modern story?!!

Things started with platformers moved to fighting and then shooting but somewhere along the line games developed stories deep enough to care about so i doubt f.p.s will remain king of the hill much longer without drastic changes.

Stanley de Bruyn
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The problem is lots of people just don't like drama or dramatic stuf. It's to dark. Some like that. That there are lot of drama on TV and film. But also the aktion humor fun stuff other people like a lot.
I am 40+ gamer and like shooters where the key thing is to shoot something in a cool manner.
And we like it. The reason some plinking with real guns. I like Doom as my memory recall it has something to do with that double barreld shotgun. Hate Quake2 because wandering around in a cleared level for a missed key. It's a game braker. I had enough of that, no more IDsoft. Until thate latest. Did know Rage is different so give them a second chance. And wel the reason I played out Rage. Is because the shooting part of the game is realy good.

So I think the way the industry is going FPS will stay. The problem is this. Games get more expensive to make and with that higher risk for investment and in need of larger market. It comes with the ever gaining computer power. Making game content the clasical way need a evergrowing art producing work force.

Sure there are several milion gamers screeming for more indepth story driven games. But multimilion gamers on each platform having lot of schooting fun. Where some care for bit story some like to see bit more and some realy don't care about story but just want to shoot all day long.

The way i see it. A mature industry is commercial driven wich follows marketing on what is in demand. Wich is suply what is in demand. by measuring previous sales figures. Mature is the handle a game project in a professional way. Like a Producer and manager keep the gamedesigner on track within budged.
This dev is more the kind of dev but also gamer wich want to make those games that he also would realy play.

Well off cource I would rather make the game I would play. Then working for The Man. Some corporate suits. And only a few are in posistion that they have the commercial funding to do there own thing. Most are limited by independand scene and there low budgeds.

I also got the same problem. I do like FPS games. But it not the only genre I play. Space roaming exploring games. Wich is more a niche market. That the kind of game i would want to make. Of cource I look at games in critical way and think about how would I do it. wich choices I would make. Also for FPS games.

tony oakden
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I'm a bit sick of hearing this "game's need to grow up" thing over and over again. Why do they need to grow up? Haven't they alreayd grown up in a lot of places? Isn't there already a great range of titles aimed at all age groups and taste? Also this argument that games need to be more like films and TV is flawed otherwise those media wouldn't still be producing vacuous action, horror, tean comedies etc etc alongside intelligent, deep, arthouse cinema that gets made. Really I think it's time for people, developers and press, to live and let live. In the words of the Jam "The public gets what the public wants, but I don't get what society wants!".

Russ Menapace
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Grownups are boring pretty much by definition. No thanks.

Daniel Miller
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Games are fast becoming like comic books.
Even the loftiest attempt to be mature has failed miserably in most cases.
Heavy Rain was a good example of what CAN be done with a mature premise, but it's still really slow paced and the story is more of a B movie than a great, mature drama.

We need a Kubrick in '68 or a Noe in '03.
We desperately need a Malick or a Lynch or a Kieslowski or a Jodorowsky.
We have none of that.
We have a bunch of Michael Bays and a whole lot of Chris Nolans and James Camerons.
There is no art to what they do, there is only spectacle.
It's, in a plain word, boring.

I have yet to be truly rocked by a game premise the same way I am by a good film, book or song.
Will that change? Hopefully.
If not I guess I'll continue to do what I do now and be truly impressed by a single game every 10 or so years and laugh off the rest of them.

Also, real grown ups are not boring, but grown ups who CAN'T GROW UP sure the fuck are.

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John Flush
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As long as 'grow up' doesn't imply only making only "M" rated games then I agree. I hate to see so many people mistake maturity for swearing and sex.

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Tyler Shogren
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Video game design requires technical skill (from experience) like no other medium. Video games do not generally have a director that can control every aspect of the final product.

All that aside, I'm looking forward to Jon Blow's new game, The Witness. (If nothing else.)

Also, thanks to the "Heavy Rain director" for spurring intelligent discussion.

Stanley de Bruyn
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I disagree, so the game industry needs to grow up? Well the problem with that it state industry. So commercial. Bussness. suply vs demand. Due to computers get more powerfull and can prosces more complicated content. Making content heavy games very expensive. So suply what is not in demand is very risky. The problem is games needs huge investments so those that do invest needs proof of demand. So wat sells. FPS shooters. Even COD one year cycle shows how huge this demand is. Even with some competition.

So what he want is forget company continuity and take excesive risk. Make what you as dev want to make regardles if there is market for. Well I dont call that be part of the game industy. But more be part of the art scene. As modern art. Creative Art focused. The bussness is then secondary.
one problem investment. Well don't expect big investment from commercial driven publishers. So need to be independant. wich means self funding and so limited.

I also think there is a middle way. Independant scene using Kickstarter. With small fundings you can suply nice markets. The way I see it. the massmarket are FPS genre. Where huge funded triple A budged work.

I played the Heavy rain demo with sony move. I know what kind of gamer I am. But it sound new. So i tried it. As gameplay it a desaster.
Grow up as gamers must be forced with emotional drama heavy stories. With some forced interaction slapped on it. I believe there are other mediums much better fitting this. Drama emotional focus.

Flim where the ladies tent to cry. Soap TV series. Oh lot of Oscars etc there.

Games. Games is a medium where story is optional. And be story heavy can be done.
But the right way is using the game medium as it it. So grow up and using it as a interaction heavy mediem where the game makes his own story and no gamer got the same.

what wrong is put mutiple choice menu in front of gamer make a choice like Mass effect. So that you can call it non liniar. In movies you can branch to. Like alternative ends. The difference is the choice is made before you start the movie. In game they do it right at the branching point. It is nice that you can call it lineair. But the gameplay is lineair between the branches. Very much like movie medium.

So you get those sandbox free roam game. but then they slam in there story like quest or missions but linearity in freedom.

Also there is also this. why do gamers game. Seeking emotional drama in games, maybe some.

But i think more like this.
Chalange.
Competision Online play
Escaping reality.
Simulating dangerous jobs like soldier.
Play with friend cooperating play.

FPS games offer this. Suplied in spades to demand.

But I do like other genres to wich a mis some big titles in.

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Duong Nguyen
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There are developers willing to take on the hard stories or topics (Destineer was one), but the publishers this generation are too timid thus the glut of sequels and copycat games. I don't expect this to change, it's a mindset at the top and they only think of themselves are "entertainers" so that's all they will ever be.

Look to the movie industry, how do controversial movies get made? They are funded by high risk publishing houses who specialize in these kind of films, the more topical and controversial actually the higher chances for their films success. There doesn't exist such a analogous publisher on the game side. Due to a series of consolidation over the years these publishing houses have lost all identity. They all make the same types of games now, all risk averse, catering to the lowest common denominator etc.

That's going to change of course with digital distribution and the advent of affordable middleware indies will start to tackle these topics. There is a momentum building, people want to evolve games beyond just entertainment. Thus the constant articles of "games as art"..

Daniel Saner
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Here's hoping. I do hope that the Indie successes will lead to more diversity in bigger publishing houses though. After all the "content over presentation", there's something to be said about a professionally and, yes, expensively produced and polished top-tier title. Competent technics, professional writing and voice acting, things like that can add a lot to an already great game experience.

Middleware is a good keyword. I've been wondering for a long time when this is going to become more wide-spread. The video game business has, probably like no other industry before it, had an exceptionally long record of constantly re-inventing the wheel. Developers need time to design games, not write engines that are 95% prior art. That's probably one of the main reasons for the perceived lack of diversity. Involved game design takes resources, and it's hard to allocate them if investing them in technical aspects is seemingly more directly related to the sales of your end product.

Joshua Darlington
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Why are most blockbusters films PG13? Airplanes. You cant show R rated films on planes. So making an R rated film its like leaving money on the table. Sure there are exceptions like "Hangover" - but the studio wasnt expecting that film to blow up - which is why they gave the director such a sweet deal.

AAA RPGs have similar economics to studio film productions. If they made the games more mature, they target a smaller audience and are a bigger financial risk.

That's why mature high brow branching narratives should be executed as IF. Less budget. Less risk.

Justin Parker
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Very true. But sometimes taking a risk and trusting your gut, instead of staying in the lines and being safe what you have to do in this buisiness. If your not willing to take risks and break the metaphorical mold then don't expect to have a game that will stand out from the millions of other games now accessible to the masses. Mediocrity is safe, but at what cost?

Dan Jones
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I agree with Cage in the sense that I would like to see more games that push the boundaries of the subject matter that games can address, but I don't understand why he feels we would need to stop making shooters in order for that to happen.

I know it is dangerous to draw parallels between games and film, but bear with me for this analogy: You can make films that tackle any subject matter you want, without feeling threatened by the existence of films in a different genre. The Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry, Darren Aronofsky... Their films cover a wide range of subject matter, and do so in wildly different tones. Nobody had to tell Michael Bay to stop making explosion-filled summer blockbusters in order for those other guys to do their thing.

Cage wants to expand the territory covered by the games industry? Great! Me too! More power to anyone trying to do that. But there is always going to be an appetite for summer blockbusters, and there will always be an appetite for shooters. And that's okay.

Daniel Saner
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I think Cage's opinion is often misunderstood (and misrepresented) in that regard. He wants diversity, not to stop making mostly one kind of game to making mostly a different kind of game. He loves mindless shooters too, as he has stated in interviews before. It's not about telling the industry to stop producing those games, but making them realise that they're only a tiny segment in a big market of many possible directions.

His argument can probably be boiled down to: there should be something for everyone. Today, walk through a video game section in a store and it's still mostly targetted at males 18-30. We now have casual games and Facebook games, but the "core" games business hasn't really diversified.

Daniel Lokemoen
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So, a guy who wrote a cookie-cutter detective yarn where you use three controller buttons to open a car door thinks he knows where the future of gaming is going? Wait, let me get a pen so I can write down every word he says.

Dumb action games will probably live forever, but there's no doubt that there's room for games with more mature themes. If Cage thinks he's leading the way, though, he's deluded.

Movies are a great way to tell a story, videogames aren't. If videogames are going to mature as art and communication, videogame makers need to grow out of the insistence that games need a linear narrative, especially a narrative conveyed through dreary cutscenes and dialogue trees.

Daniel Saner
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I beg to differ. Video games can be an exceptional way of telling a story, and many have proven it. I also fail to see how an "interactive movie" has any less of a right to exist than a more interactive title. No one has the authority to decide what a film or a game are supposed to be and not be. Look at the (very successful) Japanese visual novel games, some of which don't even really include choice. Are the numerous fans of that kind of games wrong in liking them, because they deviate from some preconceived notion of jumping/driving/shooting mechanics?

Also, an involving and emotional narrative needs a certain degree of linearity. There are elements like characterisation, pacing and suspense that need, if you will, the tight grip of a good writer to work. I believe we're still in the very early phases of exploring how these elements can be combined with interactivity. But completely dynamic, emergent stories can not develop the same meaning and purpose.

Brandon O
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Some of the most "mature" games I have played has been on the Commodore 64. Trust me, there will never be another "Modem Wars" or "Bard's Tale I/II" ever again.

Tuukka Rinkinen
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Games are simply interactive entertainment with rules;
If you're able to follow the rules, it rewards you - if not, it punishes you.

Beyond that, the content can - and should - be absolutely anything.
Just remember that if you want to make a game, focus on the point of it: The game.

Some games have stories, while others have competitive challenge,
and whining about either one - or any other aspect in the non-game content - simply shows

how much YOU have growing up to do.

Games are games, and should be games, because that means they can be anything and

everything, if people just stop whining about them and focus on making them.

Joel Camp
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To be honest I agree with him. I am sick Modern Battle Field Ops Of Duty (insert number).

We need more games that take risks and innovate and actually have a point to them. Don't get me wrong I like a good shooter now and again but it seems like that is all the industry is looking at.

As a consumer what I see is that we are being bombarded with shooters without much variation between them and while these games get hyped up by the gaming press actual games that are trying to innovate and do something different get pushed to the side.

My 1 thing I have been looking for this year is NEW IP and I am happy to say we are starting to see it. Part of the reason I am looking forward to steam Greenlight. We the consumers will finally have a say (aside from our wallets).

Aaron Fowler
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I'm all for branching out, trying new things, and taking risks. With that said, the industry should make whatever it wants to make. If it wants to keep on making shooters, so be it. It will move on when it's ready.


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