Microsoft Turned Down ‘Heavy Rain’

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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!”

Fiv5 Five Heavy Rain Developer Next Game

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

TAGS: Heavy Rain, Microsoft, PS3, Quantic Dream, Sony, Xbox 360

  • TaboriHK

    I finally played this game after getting a PS3 a few months ago and it was hands down one of the worst games I’ve ever played. Microsoft didn’t lose much in my opinion.

    • Marcos

      Seriously? Wow. I’m pretty sure you’re going to be part of a pretty exclusive club.

    • dan

      Gameplay was incredibly repetitive, so I can see what you’re saying from one point of view. It’s like a massive registry of every conceivable use of QTE.

      On the other hand, I think the narrative was incredible. Positively one of the most involved stories I’ve ever played.

    • Josh Calkins

      Fair enough to not enjoy it, but to say it was one of the worst games suggests that not only was it not to your taste but it’s also obvious to you that no one should attempt to enjoy such trash. That I take exception to, because as easy as it is to imagine folks who would hate the game, it is obviously a work of tremendous artistic merit that will thrill the right audience in ways no other game has. I loved it, but would not reccomend it to all people by any means. I found The Godfather boring, but never claimed it was a terrible movie. (Actually, I loved it, once I grew up…)

  • Blackguy9886

    Heavy Rain was an amazing game that had a great story and game play. I hope that Sony and Quantic Dream will continue to work together to bring cinematic games to the consumers in the future.

  • 1015

    Honestly, Quantic Dreams makes interactive movies, not “games,” they shouldn’t really be called that, it’s misleading. I appreciate Quantic Dreams and their efforts to make great stories, but they haven’t really made a story that interests me yet. Heavy Rain was more of a horror thing, and Beyond: Two Souls is more a supernatural ghost thing. I want something like a spy thriller or a The Killing-esque mystery. I know that doesn’t sound like the most original premise in the world, call me old-fashioned, but I have a feeling Quantic Dream could put a good spin on it.

    • dan

      Am curious how you came to the conclusion that Heavy Rain is a horror title.

  • Melvin B. Benson V

    Yes the game really hit me hard and has become one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had in a game.

    The worst Microsoft game that ultimately is the most offensive is Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

  • Josh Calkins

    I recall pondering whether or not to give cold medicine to my child, wondering if his abduction would be inevitable and a virulent cold might identify a possible suspect… One hell of a creepy game! The only thing I can compare it to is the Quantic Dream Xbox game Indigo Prophecy, which was similarly structured yet more bizzare and less grim. It’s available for 360 download if anyone is willing to play a last gen game…

    As for the controversy, wont it be nice when the industry has truly grown up and is not confined by this nebulous and erroneous presumption of being a kid’s domain? Why the hell did the “Hot Coffee” scandal even register as interesting? Why isn’t there a functional solution for releasing a game aimed at adults exclusively? Just like the film industry we have to leap to “A for Adult”, which is the equivalent of X more than NC17, none of which will got published, distributed or sold, much less given a real budget. The system is busted and absurd. When is the last time someone said that a book or film could not or should not delve into sensitive subjects? Fanatics will always complain, but the general population seems to get the idea that this is one of the functions of art, to probe the taboo and provocative, and it is one of the rights of adulthood to choose freely amongst the offerings. You don’t have a right to restrict my topics of conversation, but by putting no middle ground between R rated content and potentially despicable smut, you effectively kill any project that can’t pretend to adhere to mainstream levels of acceptability. Imagine if the internet was policed down to a PG 13 level by economic forces. People would be insensed by the outrageous limitations on content. Despite the people in this industry who push the envelope, this is really a somewhat depressing and pathetic era to be stuck in.