In just the last year us gamers have seen a major shift in the gaming industry as many developers shift towards more powerful story-telling. Well, over the weekend history was made as, for the first time ever, a platform-exclusive video game was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
“Beyond: Two Souls“, the latest from Developer Quantum Dream and David Cage, is “an emotionally charged interactive thriller starring Academy Award®-nominees Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. Jodie Holmes (Page) has always been a little different. Aided by scientist Nathan Dawkins (Dafoe), she discovers a connection to a mysterious entity, setting off a thrilling, globe-spanning journey to discover the truth about who she is.”
Sounds amazing right? Well take a look at this theatrical trailer they put together:
Wow, I mean… just WOW!
This looks like a legitimate blockbuster hollywood film, personally, I think this is exactly what the gaming community has been waiting for; a mature story with real actors, emotional connections, and all the rich complexity that a fantastic film brings. Even the camera angles are cinematic, everything is beautifully framed and the attention to focus and lighting would make even the snootiest film snob smile.
The thing that amazes me the most about this trailer is the quality of facial expressions. These advancements in facial rendering technologies are finally making gaming a recognized form of storytelling and not the childish distraction it was been regarded as, “Bioshock: Infinite” is a perfect example of this.
All of the discussions over how amazing the story was in “Bioshock: Infinite” took root in Elizabeth and how she felt like a real character. This is not entirely due to technology though. The writing plays a major role in this, and as a screenwriter and a gamer, this is what has me so excited about “Beyond: Two Souls”. It has recently been revealed that the script to the game, now keep in mind that that means just the story, not necessarily gameplay, is over 2,000 pages long. TWO THOUSAND PAGES! That is a huge, to put it in scale, for most films, a script translates to roughly a page a minute.
At the event at the Tribeca film Festival, David Cage, the director of the game, said that the story for the game is over 10 hours long. This game is going to be deep, but people are going to want to play it. Most of the time only 20% of people actually finish a game that they start, but about his last endeavor Cage said, ”For Heavy Rain for example–that was really story-driven–the figure was 75 per cent, and so because people wanted to see the end, they wanted to know what would happen next… all this was very important.”
This really shows the amount of attention and care that was put into the script and to be able to attract some great talent like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, you know that the story has got to be phenomenal.
As a special treat, Cage also revealed a whopping 30-minutes of gameplay footage for “Beyond: Two Souls” and I gotta say, I haven’t been this excited for a game since “Bioshock: Infinite”. Okay, I guess it hasn’t been that long, but it’s certainly a game worth getting excited for. We’re entering a brave new world of story-telling, so buckle-up, I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing this kind of quality out of games a lot in the future.