French game developer Quantic Dream has never made secret its ambitions to bring true narrative meaning to video games. 2005's intriguing Indigo Prophecy (a.k.a. Fahrenheit) expressed the direction that the studio wanted to take, and with the upcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive Heavy Rain, the studio hopes to take its philosophy on narrative and video games even further.
Guillaume de Fondaumiere, co-CEO of the studio, told Gamasutra what he hoped Quantic Dream would accomplish with Heavy Rain. "I think that the most important goal for us is to show that video games can be more than just shooting, driving -- that games can be meaningful," he said.
"We really think games can be more than that; they can be a true form of cultural expression, like movies or books. So I think we, as a developer, feel that what we did is successful if people, even just slightly, change their mind about video games and think, 'Yeah. Actually, a game can be as meaningful as a movie.'"
Comparing a video game to a movie can be troublesome territory. The unique advantage of interactive entertainment is that it's not passive as movies are. Players are actively participating in video games. de Foundaumiere is confident that Heavy Rain will take advantage of the interactive aspects of gaming, and even embraces the tarnished term "interactive movie."
"The best short-form definition we found [for Heavy Rain] was 'interactive movie,' which is a double-edged sword quite simply because it reminds people of those games at the early '90s when you were basically in a movie and you had the choice between going to the left or opening the door to the right -- which of course Heavy Rain is absolutely not."
"But to a certain degree, it is an interactive experience in which your actions have consequences on the story, and, because it's so cinematic, I guess calling it an 'interactive movie' is probably the proper definition."
For more from de Fondaumiere and his views on creating a cinematic game with meaningful, interactive narrative, read the full Gamasutra feature, available now.