Tapping my foot here.


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Beyond: Two Souls And How It Shows Evolution

With talks on the internet of where the industry is currently headed, it's hard to imagine where exactly we're heading. A year ago I was convinced virtual reality would be the next step, but it seems this new generation is more about social interaction and media expansion. From Wii U's Miiverse to Sony's online interaction innovations, console gaming seems to be stepping into territory more so about interaction than changing how we play.

However, the industry is not without its skeptics. I follow a handful of personalities online and often hear their thoughts on the continuing trends of the game industry. RazorFist for instance, a youtube personality with an intricate vocabulary as long as his hair, believes that we are currently seeing a video game crash, citing the multiple closings of various studios both small and large as well as the possible end to console gaming as we know it.

Furthermore, there's ReviewTechUSA, a neutrally and brutally honest tech-head who speaks about news articles pertaining to video games for both consoles and computers. He believes that gaming is moving toward the favor of the smartphone market, citing the growing similarities between smartphones and their functionality with TVs and their multimedia services as well as how cheap it is to buy/sell them when compared to consoles.

RazorFist may be right about the crash and ReviewTechUSA may be right about smartphones becoming the new lead platforms in console gaming. Who can say for sure?

This brings me to my ultimate point. Today I've seen the trailer for Beyond: Two Souls, the new title for PS3 by Quantic Dream, the makers of Heavy Rain.

Needless to say, I was very impressed by it. Since their "Kara" demo, I've been particularly impressed with Quantic Dream's evolving motion capture technology. In a similar vain to James Cameron's Avatar, the focus of this title is about making characters based upon real life actors (such as the lead role filled by Ellen Page or the newly revealed supporting role filled by Willem Dafoe).

While I did express concern in my previous blog about redundancy with art styles in the upcoming generation, I feel this trailer showed an element of uniqueness in that respect. The trailer presented many light and dark color schemes and a variety of interesting looking environments for the player to explore. Furthermore, Quantic Dream seems to be succeeding in its effort to make games far more cinematic than they ever have been before. Should I even mention how intriguing the story is to me? If there was a PS3 game to play at the end of its lifespan (aside from The Last of Us, that is), it's this one.

Despite its critics, I felt their first venture in this realm, Heavy Rain, was a flawed but fun experience. With multiple endings and an interesting take on failure and the end of a playable character's life, the game had some very interesting ideas that, in my opinion, made the flaws more easily overlooked.

It's nice to see Quantic Dream expanding on this and showing not only what their tech is capable of, but the ever growing development on console games. Comparing Beyond to Heavy Rain is like comparing Halo 4 to Halo 3; despite being on the same system, there are distinct differences (not to mention improvements) on how the games look both graphically an stylistically.

I feel that unique experiences like these will keep traditional gaming consoles in the limelight in the game industry. So while Apple/Android smartphones continue to appeal to a more casual crowd, developers like Quantic Dream will continue to fill that more 'core' void that those smartphone platforms simply cannot satisfy if only for the time being.

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Donnieboi1633d ago (Edited 1633d ago )

RazorFist is funny as hell. I been watching his stuff since the beginning. He should have his own review column, for real! I don't agree with half of his reviews (he's not a big fan of Metal gear games--and I am a Huge fan of MGS), but he's still funny and has good points.

OT: I also think Beyond will be great. It still has that heavy "movie" feel, but that's okay. I may not always agree with Cage's views on the industry, but I welcome another one of his brilliantly narrated games.

PopRocks3591633d ago

It's the same with me and RF. I don't agree with many of the things he says, but he brings good points to the table and more importantly says things that make me think about the topics he speaks out about.

I really appreciated Heavy Rain's narrative as well, even if the acting was a little hammy at times. I don't doubt that Beyond will more than likely surpass all of that.

Godmars2901633d ago (Edited 1633d ago )

Second link shows as private.

Yes, RF comes off as being too puritan "sometimes" but I agree with him about the crash. Really it needs to happen.

PopRocks3591633d ago

Yeah, sorry about that. Went to check if the link was broken and it seems the video I linked has indeed been taken off of public viewing.

It might indeed. The industry is headed into uncharted waters and who knows what will happen. I'm not sure about RF's assessment that we are already in a crash, but I guess we will see.

zerocrossing1633d ago

I don't see these kinds of games as "evolution" it seems more like degradation to me. When gameplay is taking a backseat to "emotion" driven cut scenes in the style of a movie, and control is limited to forced linear events and QTE's, how can we honestly call them games anymore?.

PopRocks3591632d ago

I'd argue that they are still interactive experiences and require a player to make the characters succeed and progress the story, like any conventional video game. It's just that in Heavy Rain, the player is offered less control in favor of a cinematic narrative. If you can appreciate the story (and I acknowledge that not everyone did) then the experience can still be rewarding in its own way.

zerocrossing1632d ago (Edited 1632d ago )

Well I can't say you're wrong with what you're saying, but just how much actual involvement is required on the players part before a game is no longer regarded as a game but as an interactive movie?

It is undeniable that Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two souls are walking a blurred line between a game and a cinematic experience, it is only natural then that there will be divide in opinions, especially when games have almost always been regarded as a primarily interactive medium where cut scenes are used to fill in the story between gameplay segments.

TuxedoMoon1632d ago (Edited 1632d ago )

Graphics > Gameplay

That kinda how I interpreted Heavy Rain, the demo for Kara, and Beyond: 2 souls. Playing Heavy Rain felt restrictive to the point where it was just like watching a movie. Personally, that restrictiveness took me out of the story completely. I just didn't care or feel involved in the story at all.

I whole heartily agree that this game isn't an evolution at all. The evolutionary leap for this sort of game happened with Shenmue, IMO. That game still has more gameplay and interactivity than Heavy Rain and still has a good story to follow. The level of interactivity shouldn't be a problem when it comes to story. There are several games out there that perfectly links gameplay and story together with no problems. Why can Quantic Dreams do the same? Instead of making an expensive Visual Novel, make a game? Mass Effect has multiple endings and whatnot, why not make the game like that (with consideration to the context of the game)?

I do believe that the level of interactivity does factor into how connected the player is to a game's story. The level of interactivity and involvement is an opinion though. Just cause I feel like a hero for beating a boss and saving the world through hardwork doesn't mean someone will feel that accomplished after their own journey through that certain game.

DigitalRaptor1632d ago (Edited 1632d ago )

because they are.

Not calling Beyond: Two Souls a game is the same as not calling Pong and Space Invaders games, because TECHNICALLY you have more choice and can do more in the gameplay space in Beyond than you can with either of those 2 classic games.

Not calling Beyond: Two Souls a game is the same as not calling Sam & Max and Monkey Island games, because those are just as iconic games as something like Far Cry 3 or Max Payne. No true gamer would question the validity of those point-and-click adventures.

And for the love of god, Beyond isn't QTE-driven. Cage has said this himself. It just sounds to me zerocrossing, that you've either never heard of the adventure genre, or you just have never explored it.

@ TuxedoMoon

Why can't Quantic Dream do the same? Hmmm I don't know... perhaps because they have millions of fans who enjoy playing what they create. Some of you peeps are so damn defensive, somehow worried that all games are going to turn into "interactive movies" that you'd rather they conform to be Shenmue or Mass Effect, or just become traditionally "fun" like GTA or Uncharted.

Frankly, I'm tired of conformity. It's a big industry and a big world. There's room for Quantic Dream, and there's room for whatever they decide to create.

"I whole heartily agree that this game isn't an evolution at all."

That's a blatant lie. It's an evolution of emotional performance and motion capture. It's an evolution of cinematic gameplay. It's an evolution of unique adventure gameplay. It's an evolution because it's doing things for its genre that haven't been done before, and it's forging its own path.

BitbyDeath1632d ago (Edited 1632d ago )

'forced linear events'

These games are anything but linear.
Linear is where you have the same path and same end.

Both Heavy Rain and Beyond deviate in story/path based on your actions.

I'd even go as far to argue that their aren't any other games ever created as open as QD games.

Even The Walking Dead and previous adventure games didn't have story branching in different directions based on your actions.

Can you name any?

BitbyDeath1632d ago

I have not played that game before so will have to take your word on it but point being these types of games are more open than most.

TechnicianTed1632d ago (Edited 1632d ago )

The Witcher 2 and Fallout come to mind. I'm sure there are many others.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1632d ago
Z5011632d ago

I'll keep it simple. look at Dragons Lair. Then look at Shenmue. Then look at QD latest game(s). Then SHOW me proof that the medium ISN'T evolving.... i'll wait

zerocrossing1632d ago

Sorry but Shenmue has way more actual player interaction going than anything I've seen in Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls.

Beyond: Two Souls isn't the evolution of gaming it's just the next logical step for point and click adventure games.

Z5011632d ago

"THE NEXT logical STEP FOR point and click adventure GAMES" Is that evolution or not?

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