The Taxidermist DLC Commentary
I was thinking about doing a review for the first downloadable piece of content for Heavy Rain - called, “The Taxidermist” – but I decided it’s unnecessary. It’s the same game, which I’ve already reviewed and it’s only one episode. However, at the same time, I think it’s definitely worth talking about, if only because after a good long time away from the game, I find myself once again loving Quantic Dream’s awesome and groundbreaking title.
For the record, this is only the first episode in a series of planned downloadable expansions for the game; the developers say they plan to release one extra episode for each of the main characters in the game. First on tap is journalist Madison Paige who, while pretty and apparently intelligent, likes to get herself into sticky situations. At the start of “The Taxidermist” – essentially a prequel – she is on the trail of the Origami Killer, and she has a tip that a creepy taxidermist might be the culprit. So, she heads to his house to get some answers and when she finds that he isn’t home, she decides to find a way in and do some snooping. Admirable and brave for an investigative journalist but once she discovers the nasty secret that lurks within, she immediately regrets such a bold endeavor. Obviously, your goal is to sneak around and see what you can discover but at some point, the taxidermist returns.
Now, depending on what you’ve done when he comes back, you could be in some hot water. First of all, you’ll be stuck on the landing with the creaky floorboards (unless you’re on the ground floor or in the garage; a situation I haven’t placed myself in yet) and secondly, any signs of your passing will be noticed. So if you couldn’t catch the stuffed eagle in time, or you left the refrigerator or the cabinets open, he’ll suspect an intruder and at that point, you can either hide or run. But there are other possible scenarios as well; if you’re stealthy and leave no signs of your existence behind, and you’re out of eyesight (and earshot) when he comes back, he’ll go about his business. Maybe you should just get the hell out. Maybe you should use that phone you saw in the bedroom. Maybe you should confront him…or maybe not. The point is, as you’ve come to expect with Heavy Rain, there are any number of options available to you, and you’ll have to play “The Taxidermist” through several times.
Upon completing it, you’ll see that you’ve seen one of five possible outcomes for the scenario. They’ll even tell you the names of each of the five endings you could attain, so that’s plenty of incentive to keep trying for them all. So while it’s true that it’ll only take 10-15 minutes to go through once, fans of the game will most certainly go through it at least a few times, meaning that this piece of DLC ultimately adds well over an hour of extra play time to the story. However, I would like to add that this episode isn’t new, at least in terms of development. When Heavy Rain first debuted several years ago, we saw three or four amazing screenshots and a video that showed us gameplay. That trailer, which wowed everyone at the Games Convention in Leipzig back in 2008, shows you “The Taxidermist.” Therefore, the team must’ve decided to cut this scene from the game but I do not believe they did this to get some premium DLC. I think it’s plain that such a scene really doesn’t fit well with the game’s storyline; it’s sort of out of left field and I think any good editor would’ve cut it.
By the way, Sam Douglas, the voice of Scott Shelby, lends his voice to the taxidermist. That’s why you’re saying to yourself, “damn, he sounds familiar.” And lastly, if you find the chainsaw with Madison when being chased and you succeed, she will do something to him that….oh dear God…the freak deserves it but it’ll make any man wince. Damn, girl.
3/23/2010 Ben Dutka