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Interview: David Cage on why Beyond isn't another Heavy Rain

"Much more exploration," promises Quantic Dream boss in massive, must-read Q&A

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In Beyond you will have a mix of different types of areas. You will have a lot of exploration. There are many things that you will see and discover, and I think people will be surprised by the size of some areas and how detailed they can be, even though they are much, much bigger.

Zoom

So, kind of following on from that, how did you approach this from a writing perspective? What kind of lessons did you take from Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit in terms of the way you make scenes work? And how has you philosophy changed since Heavy Rain?

I wouldn't say the philosophy has changed since Heavy Rain. It's a different story in a different style and a different genre, with a different balance of action and narrative and adventure. And it's just a different flavour, and I think improved in all areas. We will talk properly about the technology at some point, because that also improves the way it's filmed. But the idea is not to create another videogame, that plays like a videogame and looks like a videogame, where you got, you know, a character in cycles that moves like this. We want to create something that's fully organic, in a matter of animations but also in a matter of storytelling.

Can you expand on that?

So we tried to create something completely different where it becomes an emotional journey; where you leave with this character and you start your life, you spend time with them, you share how she feels, and your actions with her will have consequences. But you will also discover this entity, about what's on the other side, because this game is really about what's on the other side. This game is about death, it's about what will happen to us after we die. And depending on how you play, this is something Jodie may or may not discover.

Zoom

How has your approach to scripting changed for Beyond?

What I tried to create is a story in which you feel you are free, and in which you feel that each time you do something there is a logical consequence to your actions. So this is how I feel. Now, what's new compared to Heavy Rain? Is there a sandbox aspect to it, where it's less driven. It's a little bit more open. It's not the case all the time, but what I tried to create is the illusion. Every time you forget that this is videogame with a programmer and in pixels, then (claps hands) I'll be happy. I'll make you forget that this is a game. I want you just to forget about everything and just be with Jodie.

So again, what is tricky for me is to tell you about these themes and tell you about emotions. We need to start with something, and starting with an action scene, which is probably the most unexpected thing from Quantic Dream, we just wanted to see how what we learned about narrative, about cinematography, could be applied to an action sequence. Could we really create the sense that this is a manhunt? That you need to run for your life, that you have dogs on you, and you have cops, but also (we wanted to create) a strange feeling of this tiny girl who seems so fragile and vulnerable, who has real power in her. This is all. These are some of the themes that we wanted to talk about.

Zoom

You talk about the young character, but what about Aiden? Do we switch characters?

Sometimes the story triggers the fact that, yeah, you need to be Aiden. But sometimes you can switch. Most of the time you can switch. What I want to say is that Jodie evolves through time, but Aiden also changes. His personality will change depending on what you did - and you'll want to establish this relationship.

What about the relationship between the two? Can they talk to each other?

You know, I've always been fascinated by people talking to no-one, to an invisible friend. I think there's something really weird about this. This is where the idea came from with Jodie.

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