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Beyond: How Quantic Dream's next game goes further than Heavy Rain

David Cage takes on life, death and what's in between...

This article originally appeared in PSM3 magazine.

Following 2010's murder mystery Heavy Rain, there's been huge excitement about what French developers Quantic Dream would do next. Whatever it was, we expected it to push both gaming technology and our own emotions even further into the unexplored territory opened up by Ethan Mars' tragic story.

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When we saw their incredible-looking tech demo Kara in March this year, it looked like everything we'd hoped for. In it, we see a female android assembled from electronic parts and then marked for destruction because she's developed pesky self-awareness. By the time E3 2012 came round, everyone was a little bit excited to see what Quantic Dream would unveil as their next game. Whatever it was, it was certainly going to be emotional.

What we got was Beyond: Two Souls. In a couple of trailers and an exclusive behind-closed-doors demo, we meet Jodie Holmes - played by genuine superstar Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) - who, thanks to the fact that she's been saddled with a spare soul since birth, has access to a variety of psychic abilities. Naturally the authorities are keen to capture her, but the same powers that make her valuable (including telekinesis, telepathy and possession) also make her difficult to corner and hold on to.

There are two main modes of control in the game. Jodie moves much like the protagonists in Heavy Rain: she's steered with one stick and a variety of context-sensitive commands appear next to things she can interact with. Of course, the harder a movement is, the more complex the inputs get: opening a door is easier than, say, clambering up a wet cliff-face. (Remember the finger-straining agony of guiding Ethan through a glass-strewn tunnel?)

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