The Pocket Gamer Report: Singing in the (Heavy) Rain

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The Pocket Gamer Report: Singing in the (Heavy) Rain

Heavy Rain creator David Cage needs to realize the industry takes baby-steps, not giant leaps.

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What a stupid, mean, small piece. Yeah, who the fuck cares about quality, it's all about the sales. Why should a game designer try to make "citizen kane" when the #10 best selling movie of all times is "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace". Here comes another Halo.

Who cares about art? about living a life of creation and productivity? about taking chances and pushing limitations?

Hooray for fucking mediocrity.

asiepshtain:
What a stupid, mean, small piece. Yeah, who the fuck cares about quality, it's all about the sales. Why should a game designer try to make "citizen kane" when the #10 best selling movie of all times is "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace". Here comes another Halo.

Who cares about art? about living a life of creation and productivity? about taking chances and pushing limitations?

Hooray for fucking mediocrity.

I think you're missing the point of the article. It's not decrying what David Cage is trying to do- in fact, it seems to support Heavy Rain's attempts at breaking the mold- but we have to be realistic here; professional video-game production is far too expensive a process to be too heavily experimental. High production costs and low unit sales means your company goes out of business and you don't get to make revolutionary games anymore.

Now, if gamers as a whole supported the revolutionary games people like Cage put out, things would be different. I personally would love to see Heavy Rain become gaming's parallel to Slumdog Millionaire. Unfortunately, all you have to do is compare numbers- Modern Warfare 2 sold six times as many copies in its first day as Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy did total- to see what the unwashed masses prefer.

Gamers have shown time and time again that they don't want reinventions or revolutions; instead what they want is refinements and they cling to the familiar.

Thats somewhat condescending, I for one love it when people try new things in games, as do many people I know.
First step of connecting with your audience is not patronizing it.

Well put. No matter how much gamers bleat on about wanting things which are new and innovative, when someone actually gives it to us we shun it for being not enough like other things we like to play.

Fahrenheit was different, it was something new, it had a different way of telling the story, a different method of control, and it was hated. No one is exempt from this.

So... are any of those mythical beasts that hate Fahrenheit here, per chance?
I'm curious what is there to hate about it.

I think we should give te guy some credit, as at least he is TRYING to make something original, innstead of more "me too" games we see out there. If the game turns out to be good, than it'll sell, and pay for itself, simple. It can be strange and still sell, those things don't exclude one another.

First off, David Cage is a horrible subject for this article. He's only got one other mediocre title under his belt and that was about as fun as playing Night Trap.
David Cage's only really innovation is his ability to be a pretentious frog, despite the lack of real creativity. He's the equivalent of an indie movie director who makes an incomprehensible art film and then bashes Hollywood because he's not rich and famous.

Besides his "games" are barely games. It's like Dreamfall with titties.

All that assuming that Heavy Rain is indeed "new". But, personally, I fail to see any significant differences from Fahrenheit. Its quick time and context-sensitive actions all over again.

I really liked Fahrenheit, it was different and did a rare thing in making me give a damn about the characters (up until it went batshit crazy that is).

Back to the actual article, I would have to agree with how Heavy Rain isn't going to change much and it'll probably be met with OK sales (nothing that will encourage publishers to fund similar games) but that doesn't mean it shouldn't exist. Personally, I would prefer more games that tried to do something different.

Heavy Rain isn't exactly a new concept either, it's looking to be just a better version of Fahrenheit, which was based around the blending of two already long standing mediums (movies and video games).

The article could do better by listing other games that have tried to reinvent the way we look at games but then flopped instead of listing games that are popular, noticing their similarities to older games, and proclaiming that it proves that gamers don't want something different.

Not to sounds like a ZP fan boy but seriously when it comes down to it we the gamers are to blame for the lack of originality in the current market. We all flock to games we consider "safe" and games that attempt to break the mold like Fahrenheit get kicked under the rug like a red-headed step child.

We all cling to Halo,God of war, Final Fantasy, ...etc. Then games like these that try something new lose out because there is no profit in trying something new with out a lot of luck. We are all guilty of this too some degree. If we the gamers truly want to see new types of games break out in the market then we need to be wiling to fork over the money to purchase them and show there is some profit in trying something new.

The Rogue Wolf:

Unfortunately, all you have to do is compare numbers- Modern Warfare 2 sold six times as many copies in its first day as Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy did total- to see what the unwashed masses prefer.

You're right and yet, from my point of view, completely wrong. The fact that MW2 will sell twenty thousand times more copies then Fahrenheit has nothing to do with which one is better. The fact that McDonalds will sell more food then Ferran AdriÓ ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferran_Adri%C3%A0 ) by a factor of a few millions does not mean that McDonalds makes better food.

Linking quality and therefore the act of pursuing that quality to how well it will sell is what dropped the red curtain of rage in front of my eyes with this article.

Edit: Link is now fixed

asiepshtain:

The Rogue Wolf:

Unfortunately, all you have to do is compare numbers- Modern Warfare 2 sold six times as many copies in its first day as Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy did total- to see what the unwashed masses prefer.

You're right and yet, from my point of view, completely wrong. The fact that MW2 will sell twenty thousand times more copies then Fahrenheit has nothing to do with which one is better. The fact that McDonalds will sell more food then Ferran AdriÓ ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferran_Adri%C3%A0) by a factor of a few millions does not mean that McDonalds makes better food.

Linking quality and therefore the act of pursuing that quality to how well it will sell is what dropped the red curtain of rage in front of my eyes with this article.

I'm not arguing with you on that point, believe me. The issue is that the professional creation of video games is, at its base, a business- and for businesses, sales = success. There's a certain level of pragmatism required here.

It's my view that it'll be the independent game makers who really push the envelope. Without all the financial pressure that professional developers face, they'll be far more free to experiment and do things "just to see if they work". It's kind of sad that this is the case, if you ask me, but until there's a fundamental shift in demand... well. We're going to see a lot more McDonald's franchises than Ferran AdriÓ ones.

Which is a shame, because I'm reading that Wiki article and now I'm getting hungry.

asiepshtain:

The Rogue Wolf:

Unfortunately, all you have to do is compare numbers- Modern Warfare 2 sold six times as many copies in its first day as Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy did total- to see what the unwashed masses prefer.

You're right and yet, from my point of view, completely wrong. The fact that MW2 will sell twenty thousand times more copies then Fahrenheit has nothing to do with which one is better. The fact that McDonalds will sell more food then Ferran AdriÓ ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferran_Adri%C3%A0) by a factor of a few millions does not mean that McDonalds makes better food.

Linking quality and therefore the act of pursuing that quality to how well it will sell is what dropped the red curtain of rage in front of my eyes with this article.

You are absolutely correct. Developers often don't have the resources to take more than one shot, their game has to be hit or miss, many cases being miss. Look at Psychonauts. Great game, but a "sleeper hit", because we were too busy inhaling massive amounts of dick. Mainstream titles often pop up and keep coming back, because their devs have the resources to keep going, whereas some fantastic games have no sequels and are quickly forgotton.

I may have strayed a bit off-topic, but my point is that games like CoD:MW2 sell like bat-shit crazy because they have a reputation and everyone is familiar with them. The quality of these mainstream games can be debatable. Whereas great games that are one-game-only-no-sequels-sorry don't sell well because there have no reputation. Sure you can look at the reviews, but can you trust them? Bias lives everywhere. Customer reviews? Too many fanboys giving out perfect scores too easily, too many trolls determined to make good things seem like shit. Word of mouth is truly the only source of fair opinions, but that just doesn't exist for sleeper hits.

Oh, and your link is broken.

This game may not set the industry on fire, and it may not change the world, but it has the opportunity to change a number of things in video games. If you want, you can even think about this as a concept car that goes straight to production. Most people probably won't buy it, but everyone is interested in it. Many of it's cool features may not be perfected yet. However, everyone after that will take parts of the car that they could improve on and add them to their own products.

This could be like bringing in a scrap heap of technology from the future. Everyone thinks it's cool, but no one quite knows what to do with *all* of it. So they take bits and pieces, and soon the medium starts to progress and change.

I don't see a loss for anyone if this game is even half as good as I think it will be. If I'm around my PS3 when this comes out, I will buy it.

The Rogue Wolf:
The issue is that the professional creation of video games is, at its base, a business

And here we come to the heart of the matter, Making video games isn't a business. Selling video games is, distrbuting games is, Making them isn't.

The fact that a product is sold does not make it's creation a business. Imagine I'm an artist, I draw pictures, I hang the pictures in my house and that is it. Does the fact that other artists sell their paintings imply that me painting is a business act? I think not.

Games won't become art, they are art. Like all other art they are bought and sold, this does not diminsh thier value as art. However, looking at them as nothing but business, and creating them accordingly, not to be great but to sell. That, my friend, does diminsh thier value, and the value of this entire new field of creation we like to call game design.

p.s.
Everything stated here is my opinion and my opinion only, take it as that.

tmujir955:

Oh, and your link is broken.

Fixed.
Thanks for the heads up.

I seem to remember another recent Pocket Gamer article that had a poorly supported opinion as well.

This article is basically saying that radically different games are less likely to be accepted by the masses and no matter how much acclaim Heavy Rain potentially receives, it won't matter unless it's a financial success.

Wow. Did a former publisher write this all by himself?

I disagree: I'd like to see David Cage take a few giant leaps... back to the conventional.

David Cage's problem is simple: He doesn't like games. He's in love with film. Note the way he described himself as a director for Farenheit; the way he shamefully calls Heavy Rain "not a game". No, we can't make anything so gauche!

And the problem is that his non-games suffer for his pretention. Believe it or not, standard gaming controls (eg. A button jumps, second thumbstick controls the camera) have evolved for good reasons: They work well. But, of course, David Cage wouldn't hear of this. Farenheit had one scene I particularly remember that was killed by his refusal to just let his games be games -- You're trapped in a parking lot, with cars trying to run you down. You have to duck between cars, cling to pillars, and make your way for the door.

Can you imagine how unbelievably cool that would have been had it not just been reduced to a cut-scene? Instead, it was the same gameplay over and over. Press button now. Move stick in correct direction now. Rinse, lather, repeat.

And he is wrong. He thinks gaming hasn't DONE high emotive, powerful work before. Really? Silent Hill was a study in fear. Ico explored friendship and trust. Even good old Mario has been a work of joy, painted in bright colors and bouncy action.

If gaming is going to advance, we need genuine artists. But critics need to be able to sift out those true artists (Fumito Ueda, Clint Hocking come to mind) from the pretentious chaff like David Cage.

i never tried Fahrenheit, but i am deffinetly considering grabing heavy rain, whenever it comes out!

BlindChance:
-snip-

Those are good points. While I do not share your dislike for Cage, I recognize that his contribution to videogames is not about gameplay, its about storytelling. His games are about telling a story worthy of a good film, while keeping the player enganged in a way that is not possible with movies. Fahrenheit was a failure since it often amounted to replaying quicktime events over and over again until you overcame them and the story could continute. Heavy Rain fixes this problem by having death as a possible outcome without having a game over.

No, Cage is not an innovator when it comes to game mechanics. His games are about using gameplay to tell a story, while most other games use story as a vehicle for the gameplay.
There are too few developers who truly deeply cares about telling a story in games, and that's why Cage is important.

Farenheit was amazing. It was so tense and different from anything I've played before. I'll be buying Heavy Rain as soon as it comes out. I don't see why everyones hating on it without playing a game like it - unless hating on PS3 exclusives is what you guys came to do, just like most of the Uncharted 2 haters who went by Yahtzee's review. Most of them with Gamertags on their profile, might I add...

dreamtime:

BlindChance:
-snip-

Those are good points. While I do not share your dislike for Cage, I recognize that his contribution to videogames is not about gameplay, its about storytelling.

Which I can respect. I'm actually becoming more and more convinced, though, that plot-based storytelling (which is Cage's main vehicle) is actually a poor place for videogames as art to go. I'm more interested in gaming as experiential, as something more abstract than a fully plotted story. When I said Fumito Ueda and Clint Hocking as artists, I was picking deliberately as opposing figures to Cage. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus both have very threadbare plots, but they explore their themes of friendship and corruptive nature of violence wholly, and are (to my mind) much deeper than anything Farenheit had to offer. Far Cry 2 is, to my mind, the most under-appreciated game of recent years as a horrifying study of violence. But it made most of its points by avoiding telling the story, by refusing to provide a neat narrative that excuses its violence.

Cage might make an excellent film-maker. It's clearly where he derives the vast majority of his inspiration. But I am unconvinced he will ever make a great game.

I admire what he's trying to do. I never even knew Indigo Prophecy existed back in 2005, but I just finished it the other day after picking it up off Steam for 4 bucks and it's an exciting genre to say the least, It wasn't overly long but I kept glued to the game from start to finish, wanting to find out the mysteries behind it, I felt for the characters and I was able to drive the story however I want.

I have high hopes for Heavy Rain. This kind of gaming is basically a new genre in my opinion, it's not an adventure game, or adventure-RPG, it's something completely different.

BlindChance:
I disagree: I'd like to see David Cage take a few giant leaps... back to the conventional.

David Cage's problem is simple: He doesn't like games. He's in love with film. Note the way he described himself as a director for Farenheit; the way he shamefully calls Heavy Rain "not a game". No, we can't make anything so gauche!

And the problem is that his non-games suffer for his pretention. Believe it or not, standard gaming controls (eg. A button jumps, second thumbstick controls the camera) have evolved for good reasons: They work well. But, of course, David Cage wouldn't hear of this. Farenheit had one scene I particularly remember that was killed by his refusal to just let his games be games -- You're trapped in a parking lot, with cars trying to run you down. You have to duck between cars, cling to pillars, and make your way for the door.

Can you imagine how unbelievably cool that would have been had it not just been reduced to a cut-scene? Instead, it was the same gameplay over and over. Press button now. Move stick in correct direction now. Rinse, lather, repeat.

And he is wrong. He thinks gaming hasn't DONE high emotive, powerful work before. Really? Silent Hill was a study in fear. Ico explored friendship and trust. Even good old Mario has been a work of joy, painted in bright colors and bouncy action.

If gaming is going to advance, we need genuine artists. But critics need to be able to sift out those true artists (Fumito Ueda, Clint Hocking come to mind) from the pretentious chaff like David Cage.

The quicktime events in Indigo Prophecy are probably one of the hardest I've done, you have to be much quicker then God of War, or any other game that utilizes it.

I do agree on the controls thing, I see no reason that the triggers need to move characters, the Joystick is there for a reason, it's also the most fluid. I'm hoping Heavy Rain has an option to change the controls, I found out IP did and I was able to rebind the movement keys to WASD, and the game was a lot more enjoyable then.

Yeah, I have to agree. Heavy Rain is definitively something that is not a game, because it focus on a storyline, in a way that no other games do. Yup, no other games, at all, I'm certain.

I stand by my position that games will actually be worthy of that 'eight art' nomenclature when they stop aping movies' storytelling and accept that gameplay is the thing they have, and that ignoring it is like a moviemaker ignoring that he can show things visually on his movie, only ten thousand times worse.

Games that are radically different are difficult to sell to a mainstream audience and instead become cult hits, which is wonderful for a game's street cred, but not so good for a publisher worried about its investment. There's no Sundance festival for gaming, no Hugo or Nebula awards for games to win, no New York Times bestseller list, the only mark of excellence a game has is its review scores, and more importantly, unit sales.

Good point. We need some of those.

The issue of his "innovating too fast" is honestly besides the point. What David Cage actually needs to do first is understand that a choose your own adventure book that moves is not a video game.

You won't believe that but Fahrenheit still sits in the top ten list of 50% of my friends.
So, I'm going to defend that game at all costs.
Yes, it is not a game, it's an interactive movie, a very good interactive movie. However, decent reviews? That's weird. The Russian gaming journal "Igromania" that I respect a lot gave it a 9.0 and GOTY 2005.
Without games like Fahrenheit that at least try something new (regardless of their commercial success) the industry will move at a snail's pace.

What Cage fails to realise is that videogame will not be reinvented all at once; instead it will evolve as new titles refine genre elements and introduce new ideas. Gamers have shown time and time again that they don't want reinventions or revolutions; instead what they want is refinements and they cling to the familiar.

yeah i disagree with that im all up for trying out the reinventions the problem is there far and few between and when they do arrive if they dont go well other projects go back to a safe route instead

we dont cling to the familiar its what were given sequel among sequel which really could be construed as a Xpak for the original in most cases(MW2 L4D2 ) sure theres a couple of new features but modders can do that as well

Fahrenheit was awesome and fahrenheit was aweful. The storytelling was aweful and it was awesome.

If you play just the first two scenes 5 times in a row, you get the impression that this is an extremely well crafted, semi-linear experience that tells a compelling story.

You see that doing things different in the first scene changes the experience in the second scene. You experience that you have options. You experience that the game moves forward regardless of what and how you choose your escape route. If you mess up, however, it's game over and you try again, so that you get that sense of danger and you have to take the game serious.

If you play just the final scene even just twice, you're going to get finger cramps and suspension of disbelief cramps.

It's nice that there are multiple endings but less nice that the entire game did little to even introduce the antagonists to you (but the raven! you saw the raven motif!). The end game shows that as a marketing ploy, they put much more effort in the start of the game than at the end. In an interview Cage explained that the experience taught him that the end is also important. Wow. Really?

We'll see how heavy rain is but this article nailed it: gamers love refined experiences. Contrary to a movie, enjoying a game does not depend as heavily on its storytellig, meaning same ground can be retreaded if done better.

And mr. Cage, I hope that next time you focus on all the game. Still loved playing most of it. The identification scene was surprising and cool ("don't look at the game box, don't look a the game box.").

I don't agree with this at all. This "baby steps" thing seems almost to be games industry doctrine but it is terrible bullshit as far as I am concerned. The thing is, how it works is that the people who are buying games want one thing but the people who are making them want another so they sneak a little of what they like into the game, tell all the journalists how exciting this little subversion is and 5 people on a forum get excited about it.

My opinion is that you should give people what they are paying for or go off on your own and do what you really want to do. Don't try and sell me a false bill of goods then tell me how what you actually gave me is better but I am too stupid to realise how much better it is.

I respect David Cage for coming out and trying to be honest about what he is making before I decide whether I want to purchase it. He failed a little with Fahrenheit where the rest of the game failed to live up to the demo of the first level, but he didn't try to sell it as an FPS or tactical RPG.

While I am not so much in the favour of making "interactive movies" I do think Cage is good in that things like this will give the industry a kick in the arse to try new things (hopefully), the industry doesnt have to take baby steps and move at a snails pace, people need to try new things and push the envelope otherwise it stagnates, if Video Games are ever going to be accepted as a true art form, we need to experiment to get our Citizen Cane of gaming, and thus the industry will be richer for it, High Art video gaming isn't a bad thing, it just needs to be explored better.

It seems like Heavy Rain is getting a pretty good response from core gamers like myself (If I had a PS3, I'd have already pre-ordered this).

At best, Heavy Rain will be the meteor that changes the face of gaming for generations to come.

At worst, It'll flop and scare developers to not go that direction.

Georgeman:
All that assuming that Heavy Rain is indeed "new". But, personally, I fail to see any significant differences from Fahrenheit. Its quick time and context-sensitive actions all over again.

With a new graphic interface

The Rogue Wolf:

asiepshtain:
What a stupid, mean, small piece. Yeah, who the fuck cares about quality, it's all about the sales. Why should a game designer try to make "citizen kane" when the #10 best selling movie of all times is "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace". Here comes another Halo.

Who cares about art? about living a life of creation and productivity? about taking chances and pushing limitations?

Hooray for fucking mediocrity.

I think you're missing the point of the article. It's not decrying what David Cage is trying to do- in fact, it seems to support Heavy Rain's attempts at breaking the mold- but we have to be realistic here; professional video-game production is far too expensive a process to be too heavily experimental. High production costs and low unit sales means your company goes out of business and you don't get to make revolutionary games anymore.

Now, if gamers as a whole supported the revolutionary games people like Cage put out, things would be different. I personally would love to see Heavy Rain become gaming's parallel to Slumdog Millionaire. Unfortunately, all you have to do is compare numbers- Modern Warfare 2 sold six times as many copies in its first day as Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy did total- to see what the unwashed masses prefer.

Ur both wrong, David Cage and pals like making story games and saying that they are revolutionizing gaming to get the game sold. He may be an artist but he still constantly worries about whether or not his game will sell because frankly if it doesn't do well then no other publisher will touch his work and he's out of a job.

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