For most video game creators, “fun” is an essential element of everything they make. Most creators work long hours to convey fun to their (hopefully) widespread audiences and to have their work described as such. And in fact, most video game boxes would give a thesaurus entry for the three-letter noun/adjective a run for its money.
But as is well-known, there are most creators… and then there’s David Cage. The quixotic founder of Quantic Dream is renown for having his own industry prerogative – Cage already claimed that he doesn’t care if his games received as art – and his most recent title, 2010’s Heavy Rain, was hardly concerned with the popular tropes of fun, action, and all-out excitement (yet it still received a perfect score in our Heavy Rain review).
It’s not surprising, then, that Cage’s upcoming drama Beyond: Two Souls would exhibit a similar theme. We already know action has a more prominent role in the star-studded affair, but in a recent interview with Edge, Cage expressed a profound disinterest in plain-and-simple fun – he wants wants Beyond: Two Souls to “challenge the mind”:
“My goal is to surprise people, to give them something they want without knowing they want it. I want to create an emotional journey, a unique experience.
“I am not interested in giving them ‘fun’, I want to give them meaning; I don’t want to challenge their thumbs, I want to challenge their minds.”
And for David Cage himself, there’s personal reason why Beyond is less concerned with the ephemeral, and more with the spiritual, the emotionally-resonant: the game happens to be his direct response to the death of a close relative. How or in what way this shaped the narrative wasn’t delved into, understandably, but Cage hopes that the 15-year story arc of Jodie Holmes, Beyond’s protagonist, combined with groundbreaking technology and Ellen Page’s exhaustive motion capture work for the role, will generate an unparalleled bond between player and character. (Perhaps the feeling of two souls, if you will.)
Cage knows his approach is different, that it might not be for everyone. He’s not afraid to admit it. But in the end, pouring his vision – his soul into a game is what he truly values most:
“Maybe this is irrelevant or just overly ambitious. Maybe this is not what most people out there actually want. But this is the goal I set myself with Beyond: to create something different.”
Ranters, what do you think of David Cage’s focus for Beyond: Two Souls? Can “fun” still intersect with dramatic, emotional, meaningful, or, as Cage seems to be going for, spiritual?
Beyond: Two Souls releases in early 2013, exclusively for the PlayStation 3.
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