I still haven't played through all of Heavy Rain, because the parts I played were so corny, hamfisted and hackneyed that I couldn't go on. A red balloon slowly floating into the sky to symbolize the death of a child? Seriously? Is this a lame-ass, art school film project, or a videogame? And don't get me started on the tedium. The only thing I did enjoy about the game is the unintentionally funny voice acting. Still, even that was done better in other games. Shenmue immediately comes to mind.
That's why it comes as such a surprise to me that the game's creator, David Cage, thinks that his studio "invented a genre" and that his studio "own(s) the genre" thanks to Heavy Rain. Wait, isn't Heavy Rain just one long QTE; a form of interactive storytelling that (by my recollection) has been around since Shenmue?
I don't know why this quote has me so surprised. It stands to reason that one of the most overrated, over-zealously worshiped game of recent memory was created by a guy who has a similar level of exaggerated appreciation for his own work.
Here's the full quote from Mr. Cage:
"We created the genre. We own the genre, and we want to show that Heavy Rain was not a coincidence or a lucky shot - that it was really something that makes sense and that we can build on.
"But at the same time I didn’t want to make a sequel. I made that very clear before knowing whether the game would be a success or a failure, because I want to show that it’s really a genre. Which means that you can use a similar drama to tell any type of story in any genre and in any style.
"So, we are going to explore different directions. Still very dark, still for adults, but completely different from Heavy Rain. We want to satisfy our fans, but we want to surprise them too. That’s our challenge."
I have no doubt that whatever David Cage comes up with next, it will do very well, because he has developed a cultish following that worships everything he does. I've met many of these people in my time at Dtoid. A lot of them work in the print and TV sectors of the gaming press. They are generally the types of people that prefer film to gaming, but ended up being "stuck" writing about games. I get the sense that they're just dying for the day when games are as respected as movies in the eyes of the mainstream public, and that they view Heavy Rain, and games like it, as the path to get there.
Basically, they don't care about games. They care about their agenda, which is seeing games (and therefore, their careers in the gaming press) get to the level that movies are at in terms of cultural acceptance.
I think it goes without saying that I think the less of these people there are making games, writing about games, and playing games, the better for gaming as a medium. We're never going to get anywhere if we're constantly playing catch up to movies. Games have to transcend movies, on the their own merits, before non-gamers start taking the medium seriously.
That's assuming we even care what non-gamers think.
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