Heavy Rain Gameplay Demo is Really Depressing

| 19 Oct 2009 13:26

Quantic Dream co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumiere shows off some heavy stuff the player will have to deal with in Heavy Rain.

(Warning: Spoilers!)

The above video, shot for Japanese audiences but with handy English subtitles, features Quantic Dream boss playing through two scenes from the upcoming Heavy Rain, a game that defies genre pigeonholing. (seriously, what are we calling it now? Interactive Adventure? Choose-Your-Own-Quicktime-Event? Hideo Kojima's Dream Genre?) There are some minor spoilers, so watch - and read - at your own risk.

The first of the two, called "Father and Son," puts us in the shoes of successful architect Ethan Mars after a tragic car accident that claims the life of one of his two sons. (Spoiler Alert: You just read a spoiler!) It's unclear what exactly happened to his wife in the scene in question, but Ethan can choose to either take care of his son, spend time with him, and make him do his homework, or - for example - retire to his study where he can feel sorry for himself.

De Fondaumiere stressed the impact and consequences of the character's decisions, noting that choices can come back to bite you several scenes down the road. If Ethan becomes a deadbeat dad who withdraws into a shell following the accident, obviously things will be different than if he spent time with his other son - but this same approach will apparently apply to minor choices too, like whether he shoos his son off to do his homework now or lets him procrastinate.

I'm not going to deny that Heavy Rain is a spectacular (and spectacular-looking) piece of storytelling tech, but there's still one question in my mind: Will it be any fun to play? The investigation and fight scenes that we've seen thus far seem like they could be interesting and engaging, but it strikes me that a scene like this - very depressing, very emotionally charged, where you're essentially playing a guy going through the trials and tribulations of life - might not go over so well with the vast majority of gamers. Everybody has real-life problems of their own: Why do they want to have to deal with the problems of a fictional character in a game?

That's where I'm getting hung up on Heavy Rain thus far. Maybe I'll be wrong, but it would be a shame for a title with so much work going into it to ultimately end up as something that appeals only to a very small niche.

(Via Eurogamer)

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