Heavy Rain creator David Cage says his games don’t sell well in the U.S. because American marketers aren’t interested in anything that doesn’t include guns and guts.
David Cage doesn’t make “normal” games. By that, I mean that a David Cage game isn’t likely to feature a bulked-up meathead packing enough heat to knock over the legitimately elected government of Guatemala. Instead, he produces fare like Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain, none of which were what you’d call smash hits in the U.S. market. In Cage’s mind, the problem isn’t the games, or the gamers, but the marketing departments.
“The U.S. always have problems with my games, to be honest. Nomad Soul was the first to have issues over there. We were asked to change the name over there, so it was called Omikron: The Nomad Soul, but there was still no confidence that it would sell well in the States, so it wasn’t supported,” Cage said in an interview with Develop.
“The games I make don’t include a gun,” he continued. “Very often, American marketing departments have a problem with this. They have this image of their market being gun-loving rednecks. It’s completely wrong.”
Two of Cage’s games were actually renamed for U.S. release: Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Quantic Dream’s first game, was released in Europe as simply The Nomad Soul, while Indigo Prophecy, which Cage described as a “fucking stupid name,” is better known to non-American gamers as Fahrenheit.
The U.S. videogame industry is very conservative, Cage said, and marketing departments like ideas that are simple and familiar. Story-based games, on the other hand, and particularly those with challenging stories about this like child abduction, don’t get nearly the same level of commitment.
It’s a valid point, even if it does come across as a bit of a cop-out. It’s a fact of life that a Heavy Rain is never going outsell a Gears 3, but that fact unquestionably keeps marketing departments from really getting behind unconventional products and, as often as not, bungling the effort when they do. Yet he still has faith that persistence will, eventually, pay off.
“The only way to solve this is to keep at it; game after game, get more trust,” he said. “Show them how successful you are, and hope that eventually they, and the whole industry, will turn around.”