GC: Heavy Rain Interview

Interview: Are you ready for innovation, asks Quantic

Heavy Rain: The Origami Killer is so important that its success, or failure, could have significant repercussions for the entire games industry. That's according to Quantic Dream co-CEO, Guillaume de Fondaumiere. Can Heavy Rain live up to the hype then? Here's what the boss thinks...

You've revealed two new characters, including private detective Scott Shelby who visits a shop to question the owner. Please tell us why you chose to demonstrate this scene.

De Fondaumiere: I like this scene very much because it outlines one of the key features of the game - the fact that you can really shape the story with your actions. So your actions have consequences on the story.

Some consequences have a limited repercussion on the story - like just on that one particular scene, the way it plays out is different. In some scenes, you may or may not gain some evidence. In other scenes you may or may not engage in certain relationships. In others, your life's at stake and you can die.

Those are only a few examples of how your action - not just physical actions, it can be something you say - can affect the story, and how in Heavy Rain, each journey is your own journey.

This is something that's very important to us and this is why we wanted to show you this scene which features a variety of possibilities. You can try to speak with the robber, and calm him down. On the other hand you might search for anything in the shop you can grab and just knock him down. You can also decide not to intervene. And if you do that, the shop keeper is going to be shot.

How do you feel about the 'QTE game' criticisms of Heavy Rain?

De Fondaumiere: I think they're unfair. I think the QTE's we have in our game are very different from the ones even in Shenmue, which I also think was a great game. First of all it's not really about success of failure. It's about unfolding animations and being in control. It's about immediately seeing the outcome of your decisions.

As you will have seen, sometimes you can fail at a particular moment, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to lose your character. The story continues and unfolds regardless, and so in that regard I think we have a QTE system that I would call a 'next-gen QTE system'. It's powerful and it really enables us to offer such a huge variety of actions that other games simply can't offer.

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Heavy Rain's the only game where you can shoot, drive, kickbox, dance - you can do all those things because of this very smart mechanic. The other thing I would like to say is that Heavy Rain is entirely in real-time 3D, and you're always controlling your character. It's about exploration and dialogue. So the QTE part is a relatively small part of the game.

All the trailers - that's me playing it. Everything we've shown so far, each screen, is all actions that you actually do. So it's one of the more interactive games that I've seen in many years. There are 68 different scenes, 58 different settings, each offering contextual actions. So I think that when people play the game, I hope they'll be surprised by the scope of the project and by the huge variety of actions. QTEs are just one tool that we use.

The game was originally slated for a late 2009 release. Now it's down for 2010. What are the reasons for that delay?

De Fondaumiere: There are two reasons. The first and most important thing that lead us to take this decision jointly with Sony was the fact that I don't think that such an innovative game like Heavy Rain and a new franchise should be released at the end of the year in the crowded period when everyone's releasing there games - the Call of Duty 16 and Guitar Hero 12. I've seen reports of EA CEO John Riccitiello saying we have to stop releasing all these games during the Christmas period, new franchises in particular. It doesn't make sense.

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