Why Is Heavy Rain Misunderstood?
The concept isn't new, but perhaps due to the advanced technology we currently enjoy, the basic goal of a game like Heavy Rain gets lost amidst the technical analysis and discussion.
I just didn't realize that avid gamers could misunderstand the intent. We've defended Quantic Dream's project before, and recently produced an editorial pondering the idea of an "intellectual genre," although it seems that such an effort fell on deaf ears. A new - and heavily misguided - article has arisen, accusing the developers of perking the ears of the media with nothing more than "smoke and mirrors." In all honesty, we had no idea someone could make such a grave error, as we had assumed that Heavy Rain's gameplay and appeal had already been revealed. The premise of the aforementioned article is that the title in question only has fantastic visuals going for it, and that it simply isn't enough in the eyes of gamers. They talk about an 8-10 hour game failing to give us the appropriate bang for our buck, and question the gameplay mechanics (albeit indirectly). As the article has gained plenty of attention around the Internet, we feel it's necessary to issue a crucial clarification on this matter.
Heavy Rain's primary focus is on the storyline and characters. We will be seeing an intricate plot from a variety of different viewpoints, and depending on the actions we make, the story will change significantly. Therefore, no two play-throughs will be the same, which immediately puts a crimp in the "only 8-10 hour" argument. Now, some people believe stories don't really have a place in video games; one of them is game guru David Jaffe, who has said in the past that complex storylines and video games just don't mix. The man gets all the respect in the world from us, but we have to disagree with him on this topic. Personally, I believe we can go an awfully long way with with storytelling in this interactive hobby, and masters like Hideo Kojima have already taken gigantic strides. Heavy Rain is trying to be a pioneer in this particular realm, and succeed or fail, we should certainly applaud Quantic Dream for the effort. The gameplay doesn't take precedence; the atmosphere, character development, and writing take the limelight, and while I realize this may be difficult for some gamers to understand, this is nevertheless the case.
So please, don't go and accuse of a developer of trying to "fool" consumers with a flashy visual display when neither the graphics or gameplay represent the focal point of the production. Clearly, the author has never played Indigo Prophecy and hasn't done a whole lot of research on Quantic Dream's promising title. For him and for anyone else who remain confused, even after reading this, we humbly point you in the direction of our up-to-date preview. It may not be your cup of tea, but one should at least understand what the game is about.
Related Game(s): Heavy Rain
7/15/2009 Ben Dutka