PS3 News: Is Heavy Rain The Start Of An "Intellectual" Genre? - PS3 News

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Is Heavy Rain The Start Of An "Intellectual" Genre?

First of all, I'd like to clarify a few things: firstly, I'm not implying that if you're not interested in Heavy Rain, you're some sort of braindead loser. Secondly, I'm not implying that people who play God of War III won't find Heavy Rain appealing (I certainly want to play both). I'm merely looking at the nature of the game in question, and presenting a theory that may or may not hold water. I accept that from the start.

Being a lifelong role-playing fan, I'm always intrigued by the concept of video games that push the envelope in terms of storytelling. This is why I adore the Metal Gear Solid series, for example, and I'm always keeping an eye on how the industry continues to advance in the literary aspect of this interactive hobby. I'm not going to say that games have any chance of approaching other entertainment mediums that rely more heavily upon the written word, like books (duh) and movies. But hey, as the latter has been slipping lately, and I take a deeper look at games like Heavy Rain, I'm beginning to wonder if one day, a video game plot may eclipse that of a solid, well-written movie. Who knows? But the point is, as Heavy Rain seems to be introducing new ideas and expanding on current ideas, I'm beginning to wonder if it will mark the beginning of a genre I'd like to call, "Intellectual."

Perhaps that's too arrogant or presumptuous, especially considering I haven't played this title yet. But after completing the preview and hearing the latest from Quantic Dream, there are several points of interest: first up, we eliminate the traditional yet age-old concept of the "Game Over." Essentially, all we're looking at are a series of branching storylines that we will follow depending on our actions, but we're not forced into any one set path. In addition, we take another step by letting the player fail in a certain task and instead of simply trying again, we simply see something new. This is the primary reason why we should have a completely different experience the second time around. It reminds me of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books we had when we were kids; "if you want to go into the cave, turn to page 32." Remember? This appears to take that idea and puts it into virtual form.

But the bottom line is that if the story - or in this case, stories - don't come together and don't interest the player, the game fails in its goal. It may be the very first video game that doesn't rely solely on the gameplay to drive it forward, although we could make a similar argument for Indigo Prophecy. Thing is, we've made decisions in games before (like several RPGs), but this is a whole different thing, and the story and plot will be the central focus of Heavy Rain. Almost by default, this means you will have to use your brain more to appreciate the product. I don't wish to alienate people who will claim otherwise, but let's face up to facts: you're going to have a good bit more in the way of brain activity when you read a book than when you play a video game. ...well, provided the book isn't "chick lit" and the game isn't MGS4. Then it might be the other way 'round.

But the point is that when we focus more on our minds than our fingers, the experience will change accordingly. Hence, it's very possible that Heavy Rain may help to usher in a new "branch" of gaming (yeah, see what I did there?) that we haven't seen before.

Related Game(s): Heavy Rain

6/7/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (37 posts)

Gogaku
Sunday, June 07, 2009 @ 11:28:18 PM
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I'm very excited about Heavy Rain, I loved Indigo Prophecy (is that what it was called? I was living in Europe when I played it so i know it under the name "Fahrenheit"), the story was very cool, and I loved the decision making part of the game. The only thing that got a little boring after a while was the "Press X, press O, etc." - type of gameplay. I really was intrigued by it at the beginning of the game, but as it progressed I found out that it didn't really post much of a big challenge. I really hope that Heavy Rain will use that type of gameplay in a more progressive way, and switch it up a little bit throughout the game. If they do that, and the story is as thorough and interesting as it seems, this game will probably be one of my favorite games!

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LegendaryWolfeh
Sunday, June 07, 2009 @ 11:31:51 PM
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Lol I loved those books =) Some of the Goosebumps did that I think, like the one in the carnival and stuff, I'd always cheat and keep my hand on the pages I liked. Wonder if we can cheat in this game and save where we like =P

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Sol
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 4:58:56 AM

I heard it used an autosave type feature, I wonder if they will let you do that...

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AntDC
Sunday, June 07, 2009 @ 11:32:33 PM
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I agree with you in terms of console games, but the "Intellectual" game has been around for decades on the PC. Games such as Zork, Myst, and Grim Fandango on the PC do most of what you've described above ("first up, we eliminate the traditional yet age-old concept of the "Game Over." ... we're looking at are a series of branching storylines ... we're not forced into any one set path ...It reminds me of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books we had when we were kids; "if you want to go into the cave, turn to page 32.".)

I guess Heavy Rain is another example of pushing the envelope for adventure games. I guess now that console gaming, in particular with the PS3, has an older install base, games like this can happen and sell decently because they are primarily aimed at that older audience. Just like how adventure games on the PC in the 80s and early 90s and throughout were aimed at adults, as they were the main and almost only audience that had computers. Anyway I've gone into a bit of a rant, I guess what I'm trying to say is this is all part of the cycle, the kids who grew up with PS1/2 are now older and interested in games like this, and game developers have recognised this. Well that's how I sorta see it.

I can't wait for Heavy Rain, and I hope it's successful so they make more games like it in the future. It's games like this that are the reason I went with PS3.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 12:30:08 AM

I've played the games you're talking about and they weren't half as innovative as you're making them out to be. They may have had multiple endings and different ways to solve problems, but in retrospect, there wasn't much of anything special there. I know the PCers love to stick to the adventure genre as an example of how much "smarter" that PC software was, but it was all blown out of proportion.

I'm not saying the adventure games weren't the start of something, but I don't recall many "amazing" storylines in those games. They were more of a novelty than anything; they never really consisted of fully realized concepts, as much as I wanted them to.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 6/8/2009 12:32:27 AM

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Reccaman18
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 12:39:19 AM

Myst is nothing more than a puzzle game. I hated it with a passion.

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AntDC
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:01:17 AM

@ Ben Dutka,
Of course in retrospect the games don't look to flash, but you couldn't honestly say that at the time they weren't considered innovative? "but I don't recall many "amazing" storylines in those games." I'd recommend Grim Fandango or Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within for adventure games in the 90s with great story lines, and trust me there are plenty of them. But I agree with you about Heavy Rain, it's truly pushing the envelope in more ways then one. And will probably make these other adventure games pale in comparison, which is expected. I'm just trying to make the point that these games could be considered "intellectual".

@Reccaman18
Well that's your opinion, which is fair enough. I guess it comes down to what games you grew up with and personal likes.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:18:04 AM

They were certainly innovative, but more in the execution than the concept. For instance, there were old text adventures before those adventure games, and it was the same idea...only in visual form.

I'm just saying that sometimes we forget how certain old games don't QUITE hold up to scrutiny over extended periods of time. ;)

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AntDC
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:42:56 AM

True, but it was that change that was groundbreaking to the genre, just like how Heavy Rain is going to bring groundbreaking change to the genre of adventure/mystery. Or even just in general.

"I'm just saying that sometimes we forget how certain old games don't QUITE hold up to scrutiny over extended periods of time. ;)"
You couldn't be more right. I popped in Driver 2 the other day just for a bit of nostalgia to experience one of my favourite PS1 games ever, which I thought was amazing at the time, only to be disappointed with almost every aspect of it. Not to mention the 7 metre draw distance :)

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SarahPalinMILF
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 6:11:40 AM

I hated Myst...could never beat it...

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Mornelithe
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 2:56:29 PM

I was always a big fan of The 7th Guest and the 11th Hour, myself. Played a ton of the first Myst, I beat it but...wasn't really my type. My brother, on the other hand, has conquered every single one of them. Pages...and pages of notes. LoL.

They are allot of fun though, games that require you to really work for the solutions. Either through obsessive attention to detail, or mind bender puzzles that can take exceptional amounts of time to figure out the right pattern or movement etc..

Should be interesting, I'm definitely starting to get an idea of what they're trying to do, I really hope they pull it off.


Morne

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Qwarktast1c
Sunday, June 07, 2009 @ 11:49:12 PM
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this game looks very interesting

now this is seriously a game that fulfills the promise that u'll get different results from different people

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karneli lll
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 12:32:15 AM
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Unfortunately, games have entered the commerical phase,there's a heavy chance that games will never overtake movies

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Reccaman18
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 12:40:07 AM

But so long as there is a slim chance, anything can happen ;)

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karneli lll
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:17:08 AM

Yeah, there's also a slim chance that ms will stop the halo milking...

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King James
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:55:18 AM

LOL

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CH1N00K
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 11:00:58 AM

In the sales side of it, hasn't games already taken over films? I think as it becomes more commercial, you will see them easily overtake film. More and more people are growing up on video game systems.

When you read a book or watch a movie, the ones that suck you in are the ones that make you develop a sense of what the characters are going through. You try to relate to them. What better way to relate to a character then actually playing them?

Soon you won't just watch a movie, or just play a game..You'll become immersed in real-time interactive entertainment...or something like that.


Last edited by CH1N00K on 6/8/2009 11:04:48 AM

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BikerSaint
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:08:48 AM
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I see this game's concept as being a great thing!
You play it 20 different times, & end up with 20 different story modes.

I really hope this game & storyline is done well, & that the game is an overwhelming success!!!!!!

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karneli lll
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:15:47 AM
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Hoping they pull an indigo prophesy ending where only the background changes

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karneli lll
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:38:04 PM

(no edit button)that should be 'hoping they DONT...'

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Doosharm
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 1:42:31 AM
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I honestly haven't looked into Heavy Rain much besides what I read here, but it reminds me, in concept at least, of Shadow of Destiny for the PS2. Has anyone else ever played that game?

There were no weapons, no fighting, nothing in the least bit "action-y" but it was still by far one of my favorite PS2 games. It was one of the only games that I ever cared to get all of the different endings for because each one told you a slightly different story, all of which I found interesting. If Heavy Rain is anything at all like Shadow of Destiny I'll want a copy for sure.

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AntDC
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 2:33:21 AM

That game is brilliant. One of my favourite PS2 games ever. From what I've heard Heavy Rain will build upon that premise. I can't wait.

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King James
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 2:02:52 AM
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I'm on board for Heavy Rain. I thought it would release this year, making it my "Most Anticipated PS3 Exclusive of 2009". But its releasing next year and can't hold that same title against games like GoW3, GT5, FF13 Versus, FF14.

Nevertheless, Heavy Rain seems like a game I will never get tired of playing until I see every ending, every scene, every consequence to every choice.

Also, I think Heavy Rain could be the 1st title to be popular among women & men around the 18-35 age demographic (if marketed well, of course). After all, we all like a good story.

Last edited by King James on 6/8/2009 2:03:04 AM

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Scarecrow
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 2:27:19 AM
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I don't know Ben. I'm a very visual kind of guy. Books put me to sleep, all of them! Unless they have art/pictures in them.

And movies just don't do it anymore. I think movies might be the only thing which could challenge games, in my opinion.

Heavy Rain is a whole new beast, I see this game as being one of the "next-gen" defining games. We've gone through co-op play, to 3D games, to deeper 3D games, and now we're at fully realized games in every aspect. I think this is one of those games which will capture what game can be.

The best story this gen is hands down MGS4's. So will be fun to see what storiesssss this game tells.

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OriginalSin
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 2:32:16 AM
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I think that games in general are becoming more diverse and a lot "deeper" that what they use to be.

I think it's mostly because of the new generation of P.C's and consoles. Before the medium they had to their disposal was great at the time but it didn't allow developers to really get into the story telling of a game as they could in books and movies. Back then they had 8bit cartridges or whatever which didn't leave them with any room to work with never mind being able to tell a story in a deeper sense as they could in movies and books...

But that's why I think the shift is happen more and more as the generations keep growing. I mean face it people don't really read as much as they use to, unless they are hardcore book readers.... Movies struggle to get that same dept as they are running out of time to get their point/story across.... I mean how often do you get a movie that is 2-3 ours long. People don't always enjoy sitting down and watching a movie for that long, and even a smaller group of that percentage actually keep track of the story...

Games however now have the upper hand I think... Say the average action game is between 5-8 hours, and we still tend to label them as short. then we get the games that can go on for anything from 8-80 hours depending on what you play and how you play that game...

But even a game that is 6-8 hours have significantly more time to their disposal to get their message/story across... Movies don't. Games always have you interacting with the story or "living" the story movies just play it out in front of you, but you are not part of the story or characters at all.

I think right now it's a tie between books and gaming.... But the perfect fusion between the two isn't far off... I just hope that people will never completely put away their books as the human mind and imagination is still the best platform there will ever be...

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OriginalSin
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 2:39:31 AM
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Oh btw I'm not saying all movies are crap and that movies are dying... They are still a great form of entertainment, but the true gems only come along once in a while. The rest you must purely see as a form of entertainment and relaxation... what they might lack in story telling they definitely make up for in visual effects, gore and nudity.... hehehe.... face it gaming breast just doesn't hold a candle to the real thing.... Don't care who you are or what you do.... And if anyone disagrees with me on that you probably never had the pleasure of handling real ones EVER....

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BikerSaint
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 2:03:04 PM

@CH1N00K
Well, for me, I stopped going to movies a few years back.

I got so f8Cking tired of tired of the exborhbint ticket price mark ups, only to find out the the movie was all hype, and mediocre at best
.
And then having to threaten a few ignorant moviegoers too, yakking it up with their friends all during the show, or trying to show thier (non)intellect by shouting out about the future plot in the movie, or constantly on their cell phones.

Any more, these days I just hit my local hospital's thrift shop and pick up the latest 10 to 20 VHS movies for 50 cents each, or DVD's and even some video games once in a while for $3 each. I can relax & watch them at my own pace in a more mellow setting.

And at least I know my money is going to a worthy cause, helping the hospital lower the bills for those who couldn't do it themselves.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 3:09:42 AM
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I fully approve of this, infact i wish there were more like this.

As for saying true gems come every once and a while, you can say that with all forms of media. actually this is a very good month for film Revolutionar Road, Benjamin Button, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Che Part I&II, Milk and Slumdog Millionaire and The Reader are all going to be released on DVD this month. I t hasnt been that good for a long time.

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Qubex
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 4:19:21 AM
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Ben, I just don't know about this intellectual gaming genre. I guess I can only make up my own mind once I experience the game mechanic on offer and figure out how the puzzles work out... or rather get a feel of how this multiple ending-based mechanic works...

Its a good point though... how to define "intellectual" games... maybe all are intellectual to some degree... need half a brain to complete them...

Q!

"i am home"

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 4:32:53 AM
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I agree, i'm not sure if you'd call this genre 'intellectual' but 'Mature' At the moment if someone mentions 'Mature' in game context people naturally think of games such as GTA or Gears of War ones that are 18+ and contain alot of violence. but i think games like this define 'Mature' in a different light, to a more sophisticated level rather than offensive.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 6:49:15 AM
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Linger in Shadows and Flower are both just pretentious

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I_defenestrate
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 12:15:06 PM

I can see how you would say Linger in Shadows is pretentious, but Flower? Flower is way to innocent to be so.

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CH1N00K
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 10:56:49 AM
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I think as the video game genre becomes more competitive you're going to see more and more games that break out of the "mold" that exists now. It will have to or the whole industry will grow stale. This is going to make for more complex and meaningful story lines. If you had of told me years ago that someone would make a game out of "Dante's inferno" I would have laughed at you, because there were very few people I knew who actually took the time to read it. Now, it's on it's way. My english classes in school would have been a lot more interesting if someone had of made Hamlet into a video game. Or can you imagine Romeo and Juliet as a turf war sandbox type game a la GTA?

This industry is going to keep growing, I can't wait to see what the imaginations of the developers will unroll next. The writing is going to get better as more and more writer's realize the amount of money they can make in video games. The only problem is that when everyone catches on..there is also going to be a lot of crap that will be released as well...It will be up to us consumers to sift through it all.

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BeezleDrop
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 11:27:09 AM
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I would prefer Chubby Rain to pave the way for intellectual gaming but a great number of gamers aren't too into it. A greater number is just concerned with shooting someone in the face with any weapon they can.

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Deleted User
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 12:31:55 PM

I'm not so much concerned with shooting people in the face, but more into actually controlling a character and his actions in a fun way.

I look at gaming this way: I'm in it for the fun gameplay! If I end up getting a good story, then that's just a plus!

I used to love RPGs when I was younger, but I just cannot get into them anymore because they are too time consuming. I only have chances to play sporadically now.

Just making a character move around and pressing a series of QTE isn't my cup of tea. If it was a PSN game, I would totally scoop it up. But I cannot get myself to pay $60 for something like it.

I have Linger In Shadows and Flower, and they are interesting and fun (only Flower) in their own right.

I bet Heavy Rain will have a great story, but I'm sorry, I cannot spend $60 for a story if the game itself isn't fun. HOPEFULLY the game will be fun though, it just doesn't look that way from what I've seen.



Last edited by n/a on 6/8/2009 12:32:53 PM

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 12:45:12 PM
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Its not just a story though, its a fully interactive story and for the first time it seems we can actually say fully. Attempts in the past have been made to create a game where your actions define the story, Fable was advertised this way, though when it came to the ending you made a choice there an then and when you replayed the game, you went through the same process. Fallout 3 was the next step into really making the player go through an individual story, but even so, it was still based around the same events, just different options were open.

Heavy Rain will be different, if all four characters die the story wraps up. its not game over in the sense you've lost and have to try again, the actual game ends. watching the gameplay demonstration just now, i could see how if you slip up on one of the QTE events it can lead the story to different roots. I already play Farenheit over and over just going through different consequences in the same story, I can see Heavy Rain having gigantic replay value, i really think this could be the defintive game of this generation.

Heres Joystiq'd impression on the game, which is certasinly worth reading.

http://www.joystiq.com/2009/06/08/impressions-heavy-rain/

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Kangasfwa
Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 10:43:04 PM
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I would love to see more games like this. Let's hope this game sells well enough so everyone will copy it.

Seriously though, I love thought provoking stories. Metal Gear Solid has proved it can be done (several times already...).

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