When the lights go back up, Cage immediately seems worried he might have oversold the action side. "After seeing that presentation it's challenging for me to tell you this game is about emotion," he says, "but actually that is the case... It's organic, it's different, it's diverse." Key to creating both creating the emotional element Cage is hoping for, and the the level of interactivity players will be seeking, is the relationship between Page's character, Jodie, and her ethereal companion Aiden.
Quite what Aiden is hasn't been made clear yet, presumably because the answer to that question is wrapped up in Beyond's overarching theme, of what lies beyond death. (No one ever seems so worried about what lies before life, do they?) Certainly on at least one occasion Cage refers to Aiden as a ghost, but what he definitely isn't is a pet, or an ability to be activated like bullet time. Aiden is an entity who has been with Jodie since birth (the game covers 15 years of her life, from innocent young girl to understandably angsty teenager) and is a character in his own right, powerful and prone to fits of jealousy.
How Aiden manifests himself in the game is as a glowing stream of particles reaching into the screen. It looks a bit like controlling the watery snake from The Abyss. People and objects you can interact with will glow, and you should pay particular attention to the colour of the aura around humans.
Blue is standard, but those who shimmer red can be shocked, potentially to death, while orange means that a person can be possessed. In one instance Aiden takes control of a cop, whose eyes roll up white to show he's under control, and then uses him to create a diversion by smashing his patrol car into those of his colleague, enabling Jodie to slip past a roadblock.
Sometimes Aiden will be released by a particular event in the game, such as when Jodie finds herself cornered by enough SWAT officers to arrest God, while at other times the player will be able to choose when to call upon his supernatural assistance. In the demo we first see her rent-a-spook in action while Jodie is asleep on a train.
Aiden noodles around for a bit before trolling one of the passengers by knocking his coffee over. When the train is boarded by the law - at this point Jodie is already a wanted young slightly boyish woman - Aiden has to find a way to wake her up. The example we see involves knocking her bag from the rack above onto her head, but Cage tells us there are several other solutions. So far, so Quantic.
But where the game diverges slightly from its predecessors is in how the action sequences work. It's impossible to judge without having the pad in your hands, but Cage insists players will have far greater control of characters' movement, particularly during chases and fights. So rather than being effectively locked on rails when Jodie is being hounded through the forest (literally, by hounds), the player has conventional control over her direction.
The obvious question, particularly given the art resource requirements of building environments in Quantic games, is what that extra control actually gives you. From what we could see the areas in which you were able to exercise this extra control were still relatively confined. A case of being locked to a slightly wider rail, perhaps? Again, for the sceptics the proof will be in the playing. But for those fans already sold on Heavy Rain's style of gameplay, it can only be a further improvement.