"I don’t want the game to have something to say, because I don’t see myself delivering a message to people."
- Quantic Dream chief David Cage, speaking to Kotaku about the messages (or lack thereof) in the studio's upcoming game Detroit: Become Human.
Some of the Quantic Dream team are at E3 in Los Angeles this week showcasing Detroit: Become Human, the studio's upcoming PlayStation 4 game about a near-future Detroit where androids, built for servitude, are beginning to resist.
It appears to be a narrative-driven game that touches on a lot of politically-charged themes (freedom, representation, resistance, etc), so devs might be surprised to see interviews with studio head David Cage rising out of E3 with strong themes of noncommittal.
"The story I’m telling is really about androids,” Cage said during a chat with Kotaku. “They’re discovering emotions and wanting to be free. If people want to see parallels with this or that, that’s fine with me. But my story’s about androids who want to be free."
Cage was speaking after demonstrating a riotous scene that's reportedly quite binary: players make choices that see their character protesting either violently or non-violently. When pressed on this point, he suggested that the scene was unique and much more binary than the rest of the game ("the complexity emerges from the broader story arc and not just this scene"), adding that he would prefer not to think of the game as a vector for a specific message.
"I don’t want the game to have something to say, because I don’t see myself delivering a message to people,” Cage said. "But I’m definitely interested in asking questions to the player. Questions that are meaningful and that resonate with him as a person and a citizen."
That's an interesting position to take given that many devs these days would argue it's effectively impossible to make a game that doesn't convey some sort of message. However, it's well in line with Cage's historical tendency to talk about his work in terms of storytelling and emotional engagement, rather than what it might be "about."
That said, in 2012 he did open up to Gamasutra about his creative process and what his contributions to a previous game, Heavy Rain, were about.
"I spend a year writing this stuff. It's one year of my life doing this from morning to night, non-stop, for a year," he said. "And I put a lot of myself. I'm not talking about me -- I'm talking about what I feel, what I think. Heavy Rain was really about me becoming a father, and all the fears that go with it."