Soaked to the bone in narrative inconsistencies and Quick-Time sequences, Heavy Rain nevertheless achieved something of a cult following back when it was released in February of 2010. Structured around the hunt for the so-called Origami murderer – a kidnapper and killer of children – Quantic Dream‘s interactive adventure turned plenty of heads upon launch, earning no end of accolades for its powerful and realistic take on the seldom-gamed themes of grief, guilt and loss.
That such a prickly, potentially controversial narrative escaped the gaze of attention-seeking interest groups must now be considered something of a minor miracle. It isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine an uninformed figurehead attacking the game as a ‘kidnapping simulator,’ where players earn points for unspeakably evil crimes. Yet, this was the very real fear behind Microsoft’s decision to pass on the celebrated title.
Speaking at this year’s BAFTA video gaming lecture on Tuesday, Quantic Dream’s Lead Designer David Cage revealed the reasoning behind his title’s eventual move to PS3-exclusivity.
“We were pitching Heavy Rain to different publishers, including Sony, and we went to Microsoft. We had a very long talk and […] they really wanted to do something with us. [However] They got scared by the fact that Heavy Rain was about kids being kidnapped, and they said, ‘This is an issue, we want to change it’. Well, we could have kidnapped cats, it would be a different experience!”
Given the comparatively niche appeal of the title, it’s unsurprising that Microsoft chose to dispute this one element in particular. For all of their positive interest in the studio, Heavy Rain‘s major theme remains an inherently difficult sell, and one with the potential to blow up in its backers faces, if not treated with proper respect.
To Cage’s credit, he remains understanding of Microsoft’s stance, stating:
“Microsoft is a great company; I’m not complaining or criticizing […] They were scared of the scandal and scared of what people may write and what people may think. ‘Oh, this is a developer and the publisher making games about a child getting kidnapped.’”
As regards Sony, Cage makes the point that Quantic was quick to downplay any similar issues when approaching the Japanese giant, choosing instead to focus upon the project’s emotional core. Though the designer isn’t clear over which company was approach first, it’s certainly possible that Sony benefited from a more nuanced pitch following Cage’s unsuccessful meeting with Microsoft.
Did Heavy Rain‘s storyline resonate with you? Which video game is the most scandalous and/or offensive title in Microsoft’s library? Where should Quantic Dream take their unique gameplay formula next? Have your say in the comments below.
Quantic Dream’s next title Beyond: Two Souls will be released on October 8th 2013 (US) & October 11th (EU) for the PlayStation 3 platform.
Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.
Source: Digital Spy