E3 2012: Beyond: Two Souls Impressions
So, we were onto the third conference at E3. Microsoft had played their hand and left us pretty underwhelmed, especially with a ten minute demo of ‘shoot shoot bang bang’ Black Ops 2. Ubisoft had a pretty impressive showing, ending with the announcement on Watch_Dogs, the GTA meets Syndicate Hybrid… and then along came Sony. Straight off the bat Sony caught my attention with the announcement of Quantic Dream’s next foray into the world of immersive storytelling, with Beyond: Two Souls.
Notice I didn’t refer to Beyond as a game; now, this has been a topic that has caused arguments in the video game world. With Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream created a masterpiece to some and an abomination to others. For me it was the finest experience I had on a console in 2010.
I play games to immerse myself in a new world where I watch and be a part of a story unfolding. Heavy Rain achieved that, throwing me into a dark world full of infant deaths, vengeance, serial killing and a father desperate to save his only child. With the Kara tech demo showed off not too long ago I had an inkling that Quantic Dream would show us a new project at E3, and they delivered.
Ellen Page of Juno fame shows her acting chops playing Jodie Holmes, a young lady who we find out has paranormal powers and who seems to be connected to an invisible entity; is it a ghost? A spirit? Not even Jodie knows. The story spans fifteen years of Jodie’s life, and it will be extremely interesting to see how that comes across as I can’t particularly remember such a large span of time being told in one game. According to David Cage of Quantic Dream, Beyond:Two Souls’ over arching theme is the relationship between life and death and what happens to us after we die. It’s a bold subject to try and capture in a story and get details across without it sounding like utter BS, but I have faith in the studio to pull it off.
Visually the ‘gameplay’ trailer shown off at E3 was stunning; I can’t say I have seen any better looking character models in any game on any console. The faces trump that of L.A Noire and the acting on show was phenomenal. It seems like there will be a nice blend of action and quiet talky scenes to get across the story and push it along through the fifteen years, and with Jodie having certain paranormal powers it will be interesting to see how action is handled. The reason at the beginning of this paragraph I wrote gameplay in inverted commas was because we didn’t actually see or find out any details of the gameplay itself.
Is it going to be like Heavy Rain, with contextual quick-time events, or will it revert into a more simple third-person perspective. Only time will tell, but I am excited to find out – personally I would be happy to have Heavy Rain mark 2; new story, new characters but the same control scheme. I don’t think that will happen mind you, David Cage is an innovator and I don’t think too much will stay the same.
Needless to say, Beyond: Two Souls is the title from E3 that has me buzzing the most for a couple of reasons; 1. It is Quantic Dream developing it and 2. It was unannounced. Yes I had an inkling something was going to be announced but this year it was extremely refreshing to be surprised by a game, considering most of the titles at E3 this year are things we saw last year or were announced a week before the show. I will be keeping a very, very close eye on this one and I think you should too.