Big Ideas: Video Games According to David Cage
August 27, 2012 Page 5 of 5
There's been a lot of discussion -- and we've had this discussion -- about people who wouldn't be attracted to games finding Heavy Rain appealing. But have you ever thought about changing the opinion of people who already play games to have a broader palette of the things they'll find interesting?
DC: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. That's very important to me, because I think that many more people could have enjoyed Heavy Rain, but just didn't give it a chance because they thought it was not a game for them, which really was not the case. I think that Heavy Rain was a game for pretty much anyone, if your expectation from a game is not just to get adrenaline.
If all you're interested in when you play a game is just shooting and destroying things, and feeling this tension and this frustration, then, yeah, Heavy Rain is not the game for you. But if you have an open mind, and you want to give it a chance and try something different, then Heavy Rain could really surprise you. And it's even more the case with Beyond, I think.
Do you think that there is an unmet demand for different types of games right now on the market, and do you see that through the success of Heavy Rain?
DC: Oh, yeah. I'm convinced of that. You're can have different approaches to the market. You can already give people a better version of the game that worked last year. That's one way of doing this. Or you can try to give people something they don't expect.
The thing is that, if you just give people what they expect, I think you're not doing your job as a creative person. You're just a marketing guy. Your job as a creative person is to give people what they don't expect -- or what they expect, without knowing that this is what they want. But your goal as a creative person is to surprise people all the time, and give them something different.
So, when you look at the market at the moment, you can see more of the same, fair enough, and a few people trying different things. I mean, recently, there's been Journey, for example, which was a very huge surprise. It was a very unexpected game in many ways, not entering into any genre, really, but it was very new, very creative, very original, and very successful. There are the guys working on The Walking Dead, right now, which is a different approach to narrative storytelling, and is also interesting in a way.
So, yeah, I think we should have more courage in our industry, and take more risks, because I think this is what the industry needs now. I mean, how many first person shooters can you make? How many monsters slash aliens slash zombies can you kill in games? There's a moment where we need to grow up. We need to grow up.
I often think that the industry suffers of the Peter Pan syndrome. It's the fact that we don't want to grow up, so we stay kids. But there is a moment where you need to grow up as an industry. And you cannot keep up with the Peter Pan syndrome. At some point you need to grow. I think this is the right time.
Have you spoken to other developers about your opinion, or had any exchange of ideas?
DC: Sure! All the time! What's been fantastic with Heavy Rain is the reaction of the industry. I was just amazed and incredibly pleased to hear people like Peter Molyneux, or Warren Spector, or Fumito Ueda, or Jenova Chen talking about Heavy Rain, and their experience, and how they enjoyed it. It's an honor, because these guys are incredibly talented and clever. So, yeah, we would talk all the time. All the time. I have talked a lot with Stig [Asmussen], also, who was working on God of War, and it's a very interesting discussion all the time. Very interesting.
What kind of discussions do you have with Stig?
DC: Oh, these are private discussions.
Sure. I understand that. I meant in the sense that you can't so easily see the connection between God of War and Heavy Rain. But Alex Evans from Media Molecule, said that, surprisingly, he's learned a lot by talking to Naughty Dog, and you wouldn't see a lot of overlap there. So I was just wondering if you have learned things that we wouldn't expect from your colleagues.
DC: Well, what I learned was that they had interest in what we were doing, which was a big surprise, because we always felt like we were a little bit outside the industry in many ways. And actually, the warm feedback we received said, "No, you're part of the family. We are interested in what you do." Yeah.
I felt many times people saying, "I wish we could do what you do," which was really a surprise, because I thought that what game creators were actually doing [was what they wanted]. Actually, no, they felt they had to do certain things, because they thought that's what the market was expecting.
Do you think the Peter Pan syndrome you described, then, is not just an internal thing within developers, but it's external pressure on them, more or less?
DC: Of course it's external pressure. If you asked developers, they all have incredible ideas. There are tons of very talented people in this industry, but what you see these days is that when people cannot express them in the game space, sometimes they just leave the game space and go into films, or into movies, or do whatever.
So I think it's our responsibility in the games industry to make sure that creative people have a space where they can have these ideas. It's interesting to see indie developers these days, because I think there's a lot of creativity with indie developers because they have this space of freedom where they can try new ideas, and I think they are the future of the industry.
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