GDC Europe: Quantic Dream studio boss says the market is ready for emotionally-sensitive titles

Cage: Games should be art, not toys

Sony did not expect the PS3 exclusive title Heavy Rain to be as successful as it was, claims the game’s writer and director David Cage.

Addressing a packed crowd at this year’s Game Developers Conference Europe, Cage explained that the Heavy Rain’s commercial success was a foretoken to a maturing games market that ready for new paradigms.

”Today we are a very conservative industry,” he said.

“Few take risks. The game industry is technologically innovative, but not conceptually innovative. But I think the market is ready for new paradigms. I think the industry is ready for new ideas.”

The polemic PS3 title Heavy Rain – a game which saw the studio win two Develop Awards this year – was described by Cage as a breath of fresh air for game-playing adults.

”Games are today based on violent actions,” he said. “They are defined by what you see and what you destroy. You always do the same things whether you drive or shoot or jump on platforms. They are based on the same rules [that have existed] for 25 years.

Cage said that the majority of today’s games are based on similar emotions; adrenaline stress, frustration, competition.

”And few games try to explore the wide range of emotions out there,” he said.

Presenting a characteristic image of a lacerated zombie NPC, Cage said that all games “are pretty much the same things, and this [violence] targets a young audience.”

Cage described much of Heavy Rain’s competition of shop shelves as popcorn action movies.

“That’s not necessarily a problem, but [with those types of action games] you lose out on all the emotions. What do you learn, what do you feel?”

He went on to describe Heavy Rain as a game centred on love and sacrifice – two themes the game regularly drew praise for – despite occasional criticisms of the game’s script and plot.

”Games should be art and not toys,” he concluded. “If you are uncomfortable with the word ‘art’, then ‘entertainment’ is fine.

”Toys are disposable, art is poignant.”

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