LOS ANGELES — Heavy Rain is the very definition of a sleeper. While most of the focus was on The Beatles Rock Band, and Assassin’s Creed 2, and some of the well-hyped sequels discussed at E3 this year, one of the best playable games at the expo was Heavy Rain.
Heavy Rain is the latest work of cinematic adventure by French developer Quantic Dream, the studio behind Indigo Prophecy, the best adventure game of the 21st century so far.
I first heard that Quantic Dream was collaborating with Sony for a PlayStation 3 exclusive about a few years ago, and I pushed my contacts at Sony Computer Entertainment America for answers, only to come up empty. So I forgot about the game for a while, and going into E3 I really didn’t have it on my mind.
Then I saw this cinematic, dramatic, dark, dreary, realistic adventure game being demoed at Sony’s booth, up some stairs, above the audience, appointment only.
So I played through a demo of Heavy Rain, which is currently in the alpha stage of development.
The game is definitely dark and mature. It combines exploration with cinematic, and instead of drawing your machine gun and blasting everyone in sight, you have to make conscious decisions and make certain movements with the controller or push certain buttons with split second reflexes to determine gameplay.
I died three times before getting past the first few minutes. After getting the hang of it, it was easy to see how decisions and even simple conversation points could dramatically change the story.
Controls are unique. It’s not a shooter or a fighting game, so buttons usually used for firing a weapon or punching or kicking are open. Thus, you actually use a trigger button to move your character forward. It actually feels strangely natural.
The entire game is voice acted and very well animated with lots of detail and ambiance.
When it was over, I told Sony’s Alex Armour that the game reminded me of a PC title called Indigo Prophecy. He smiled and said “yeah, it’s the same studio. The CEO is right over there. Do you want to talk to him?”
Read the next page for an interview with Guillaume de Fondaumiere, the Co-CEO and executive producer of Quantic Dream