All games are cultural expression, says Heavy Rain dev

Quantic Dream co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumiere says he sees no reason why games should be left out of games-as-art discussion.

Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream has weighed in on the "are games art?" discussion. Speaking during the Digital Dragons conference last week attended by Gamasutra, Quantic Dream co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumiere said games should be considered in the conversation just like other recognized forms of art.

"To me, all games are a form of cultural expression," de Fondaumiere said. "I see no reason why games should be treated differently than any type of literature or any type of movie. I think that more and more video games are becoming artful, and are becoming a form of art that should be recognized next to the others."

To back up his claim, de Fondaumiere pointed to the growing number of "authors" in the industry today, including Rayman creator Michel Ancel, Journey developer Jenova Chen, and others. At the end of the day, de Fondaumiere believes if games are widely recognized as art, the industry stands to grow.

"But does it really matter. Do we really care? Do we need to be formally recognized as art? I think it matters," he said. "I think this recognition also brings to a certain degree new business opportunities."

"Today I can say I'm a game producer. This sense of pride is important because we need to lure new people to this industry," he added. "I've been trying to work with Hollywood talent for years now, probably about 15 years. Up until recently, each time I was talking to agents or talents, they would say, 'We don't do games, sorry. You have to understand--violence, addiction--it's bad for our image.'"

Quantic Dream's next project, Beyond: Two Souls, launches October 8 exclusively for PlayStation 3.

Written By

Want the latest news about Heavy Rain?

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain

Discussion

143 comments
DarthLod
DarthLod

Its a game. Not a propaganda piece.

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

Video Games: Art or Fart, I love 'em !!! 

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

I take my hat off to Quantic Dream and what they are attempting (and succeeding) to do, blurring the lines between good story + good game and giving emotional depth and charge to an experience while still maintaining accessibility and not just a quictime event bore. More developers should take note of what they are doing imo, as it makes for a very very worthwhile purchase and a definitive one to watch as soon as they announce something new. I look forward to much more from them, and say don't dismiss their efforts too quickly.

aRealCoolGuy
aRealCoolGuy

If Lil Wayne's music and the 'Scary Movie' parody films are considered art then I don't see why games would not be. Being "art" is not necessarily a stamp of quality.. Yeah, there are a lot of mindless and violent "button-mashers" out there but there are also beautiful, significant and immersive titles just as there are truckloads of garbage rappers out there and then you got great musicians like McCartney and Hendrix... I actually consider games a higher level of art for the simple fact of the immersion and personal customisation that (I feel) makes them much more entertaining than a Hollywood flick.

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

Art is a very sketchy and blurry thing. There is no one true answer, it was ambiguous to begin with and nowadays serves more as a prestige than it does for quality.

I believe that any craft that requires skill and a personal style that channels the creator's emotions and style is art. I believe anything that is being expressed in an honest manner is art.

But I don't think art always == quality. Because it doesn't.

As a person down in the comments said, you can literally poop on a canvas and have it be called art. It's still feces smeared on a canvas, though.

I honestly hate how people who draw and make music are called "artists" and everyone else isn't.

Music and Drawing are ancient crafts, but they require no more skill and passion than developing games or making movies does. It's just a stigma and a linguistic tendency.

vivalatour
vivalatour

this has all brought out the the women in me and I had to drop my pants to see if I had a complete transformation from being a guy , well it's looks as if I am still a guy so why do I feel like a women ?  I hear voices voices they of french men no no they are of french women ?

Sardinar
Sardinar

Well, politicians blamed rock'n'roll for a shooting, a musical art-form. They did the same to video games.

Games are no exception to this, an interactive electronic art-form. 

sexyeyes79
sexyeyes79

Art is an expression of an individuals perception on whatever they imagine.  If you can relate to that and enjoy their creation, that's  great.  It is a great feeling to feel accepted and appreciated for your expressions.  To put someone down who enjoys that artists creation is ignorant.  Art comes in many forms and I am personally glad there are different perceptions on what is considered art.  It would be a pretty damn boring world if everyone had the same views.

forcefactor13
forcefactor13

Limbo, Journey, Bioshock Infinite... those are artful games. Just like movies, some games are just cheap entertainment with no important story, but others are really amazing works of ART. I agree that they should be recognized as such, instead of being considered a silly or wasteful pastime as many hoity-toit art people seem to believe they are.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

Games can now have deeper story than ever but still ... even if it needs artist to make it doesn't make it art ... I think that the moment you have to sell it it can't be art anymore because your artistic voice will be corrupted by the desire that it will sell well enough ... so you'll make sacrifice to make it appealling.

To me everything that once considered art is now just a product to sell, like fast food. You consume it, you throw it in the trash can and you resume your search for filling that huge gap in your soul.

I'm a musician and after many studies and years of playing, I can't consider it "art" anymore, in fact it never been art ... it always been about entertainment ... it is just that music from the past was way more complex than what is sold now so it is "art".

Pawfalcon
Pawfalcon

Modern games can obviously be put in the art category. Not to say every game deserves to be in a museum of course, but some DO. How is this even an argument?

Aengelus
Aengelus

Some games can could be classified as "art", Shadow of the Colossus and Ico being good examples, but not every game can fall into this category. After all, gaming is entertainment and that's what a lot of games are, just entertainment. 

benelori
benelori

'We don't do games, sorry. You have to understand--violence, addiction--it's bad for our image.'

Violence and addiction? o.O...in what way do movie enthusiasts differ from game enthusiasts? At the core of the term, they both dedicate large amount of time to what they like? Is that addiction? Really?

And the violence thing...that's just ridiculously hypocritical -_-; 

00LiteYear
00LiteYear

It should be considered art. There is a director, an art director, a director of photography. 

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@LeMeAtOm we must of played very different copies of heavy rain if you say its not just a quicktime event bore. the heavy rain I played was almost nothing but boring quicktime events and the only thing that made the game somewhat tolerable was the story. 

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

@Sardinar im so glad you didnt bring up the whole violence in video games and life imitating art argument.... oh wait, whoops

benelori
benelori

@sexyeyes79 

Agreed and it's not like Hollywood artists are completely against this. We've repeatedly seen actors playing roles in video games too. And as games become more popular, the number of people who will think it's an artform will increase, since I think the public's opinion is what's important here, and devs should place their pride in that.

MrGeezer
MrGeezer

@forcefactor13 

You're confusing "art" with "quality". Being art doesn't mean it isn't crap. I can literally take a dump on a dead jellyfish and call that art. 

Of course, you might say "just because you call it art doesn't make it art!" And I'd say, "wrong." If it's not art, then PROVE IT. You can't. Just about anyone can call what they do "art" and there isn't a damn thing anyone can do to prove that they are charlatans. The very definition of art is so unclear that even today there are a $***load of ARTISTS who can't even tell you what art is (I'm gonna include myself in that category). For just about every criteria you can think of for something being "art", one can find a counterexample (that even if YOU don't think is art, is at least generally accepted as being art). 

And that's the thing...people have this need to see themselves as "artists", as if "making art" is some sign of prestige. And it isn't, because MOST art is utter crap. Anyone can make art, you don't need a degree or certification. There almost no universally accepted standards, and a hell of a lot of "art" is specifically made in order to challenge current conventions.

If you're in the business of making games, just make the best games you can make. If you are into photography, just make the best photographs you can make. If you're into sculpture, just make the best sculptures you can make. That's the job of the "artist". Whether or not it's "art" is irrelevant. Fifty years down the road, no one's going to care if it's "art", they're just going to care if it's "relevant" or if it "isn't shitty". Regardless of whether or not Tetris is "art", anyone can look at it and see that it's one of the greatest games ever made. It does what it is supposed to do, it does it pretty much perfectly, and that's all that needs to be said about it. What does it do? What does it say? What purpose does it serve, what is its value? Those are the only questions that matter. The question of whether or not it's "art" is completely irrelevant.

Angel_Grigorov
Angel_Grigorov

@Coco_pierrot  Most of the game developers try to create meaningful stories and charachters, and vision. But they struggle. The richest franchises (everybody knows them) Happen to be constant grinds. Halo CoD, WoW, Starcraft, GTA (whatever). So they just make sequels while Creative studious struggle and fight to promt something innovative and unique between the storm of yearly sequels and whenever they succeed in that already hard task, their games are thouroughly criticised.

About the music, unfortunately it has become an ambient sound. Something to accompany everyday life. That is not art. Entertainment as a whole has become like the street cleaners or sanitairs - a job to entertain in the background for the sake of comfortability of consumers.

Sakuban
Sakuban

@Coco_pierrot stop talking about art like its never been made for money dumbfuck. Do you think Leonardo didnt paint all those church paintings for money? or do you think Mozart is not appreciated by the majority in his age? Art can be made to gain money moron. Your argument about art is only a part of movement called romanticisim, you ignorant naive dumbfuck.

Ledah
Ledah

@Coco_pierrot Even Hideo Kojima doesn't consider video games as a form of art, and I have to say that I agree. I love games, but calling them art is stretching it, that doesn't mean we can't fully enjoy them or give them praise when they deserve it.

Greyfeld
Greyfeld

@Coco_pierrot That's like saying The Godfather wasn't a work of art, just because they sold tickets to see it in the theater, and resold it for home media centers.

jecomans
jecomans

@Aengelus I think it must be all or nothing. I don't believe you should start splitting whether Bioshock is art but Call of Duty isn't. Then Casablanca is but Battle: Los Angeles isn't. How can you compare the Sistine Chapel to some post-modern dross an say the latter is art? 

CommodoreRaslin
CommodoreRaslin

How can you not see the difference?

People who watch movies generally are finished when the movie is over. People who play games can be stuck playing them for hours or days.

And the difference between movie violence and video game violence relates back to how that violence is brought about. When you see violence in a movie that is an entirely passive process. But in a video game more often than not it is the player who is the impetus behind the violence.

Greyfeld
Greyfeld

@benelori It may be more the current controversy surrounding video games, rather than their personal beliefs on them.

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

@stan_boyd @LeMeAtOm to dismiss the likes of heavy rain as nothing but boring quicktime events is akin to calling space invaders an on the rails limited appeal shooter or pac man a mind numbing repetitive maze game with little or no replayability.   You're obviously missing the real appeal of the game. if the interactive portions of the game over shadowed the experience that badly then it wouldnt have had any favourable reviews surely?  (even GS gave it an 8.5!)

CommodoreRaslin
CommodoreRaslin

Just because you call something art doesn't mean it actually is art.

The intent and purpose behind the creation is really what makes something art.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

@Sakuban You didn't understand, I don't consider anything to be Art if you seek money for it. You'll obviously change what you wanted to do to please the person who pay you ... how can you really make Art if people have expectation, demand so you have to satisfy them in order to make money ! This isn't rt this is selling a service !!!

if you can't disagree and expain it respecully, then you are dumber than I am. No need to insult and say shit, but I guess that since I obviously hurt your little feeling you had to act tough

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

@Ledah Exacly ! I don't need videogames to be considered art to be enjoyable ... like I know the music that I like to listen to isn't artat all, just mindless entertaining

Aengelus
Aengelus

@jecomans @Aengelus It's all a matter of opinion anyway. Technically, anything that can be interpreted in different ways can be considered art. Music is considered art but I don't think many people would put the works of Niki Minaj and Justin Bieber on the same level as Beethoven. 

benelori
benelori

@CommodoreRaslin 

Of course there are differences, because they are two different types of entertainment, that's why I was referring to the core of the term. People who play games can be stuck playing games, because they want to finish the content they paid for, that's just normal. In terms of time, they are more akin to TV series. It's just that addiction is a very strong word and hints at having an ailment, and consuming media with enthusiasm is definitely not one. 

Of course there are exceptions of extremes, but they are on both sides.

And I grant you the violence point as far as differences go, however does it make a difference if I'm watching or I'm the one initiating it as a player? I mean it's clearly we are not the ones committing the violence, it's 2D or 3D representation of an in-game avatar. So as points of view go, they are really different, movies and video games, but as far as effects go, there's none. 

None of those Hollywood agents are required to involve themselves in a violent game, so perhaps the image problem is not really the issue here.

benelori
benelori

@Greyfeld @benelori 

It seemed to me, that he was talking about a larger period of time, not just about the current controversy. But with all shootings and killings, video games already got the stigma on them, and it will be hard or near impossible to get rid of it.

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

@stan_boyd @LeMeAtOm where did i say you must agree with me or GS?  im just saying that in "my opinion" which happens to counter yours and i am also entitield too is that i feel you  miss the point or deeper meaning of the game because you are judging purely on game mechanic rather than experience. If you get off more on how your thumbs wiggle than how attached to the experience you have then that is your bag and i'll respect that, please feel free to read a book or watch a move instead, im not even trying to advocate.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@LeMeAtOm @stan_boyd So because GS gave Heavy Rain a good score I must like it? Does that mean I have to go buy call of duty and madden as well. Oh they gave too human a low score so I better toss it. How dare I have my own opinion of something. Heavy Rain was almost nothing but Quicktime Events, what made it good was its story, unfortunately that wasn't enough for me as I wanted to play a game, when I want a story I read a book or watch a movie.

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

@MrGeezer @CommodoreRaslin it's not about knowing the intent, it's about attempting to connect with the flow of the artists soul, soaking up the expression of their statement like a litmus on a draining board and pausing for a second to inhale the deeper connotation within that born forth from creative air.

MrGeezer
MrGeezer

@CommodoreRaslin  

Unfortunately, you don't know the intent unless you made it. It doesn't matter what the artist wanted it to be, it only matters what it is. 

And like I said, for just about any criteria for "purposes which prevent this from being art", you can find a counter-example. Someone below mentioned how Jackson Pollock's work isn't art. And the fact is, what he thinks doesn';t matter. He can think that Jackson Pollock "isn't an artist" until his brain explodes, but the fact of the matter is that Jackson Pollock is considered to be an artist and is actually a hell of a lot more relevant than many of the "real artists" out there. There ultimately comes a point where what you or I think doesn't matter. 

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

@Sakuban Hum, euh man ... you're arguing over something no one said ... I think you really take all this a little to seriously or personnal especially when you are the only one insulting others and curse to make your point accross.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

@The_Last_Paladi It always had monetary value and to me this is what corrupt Art and stop it from actually reaching its true potential

Sakuban
Sakuban

@The_Last_Paladi @Coco_pierrot @Sakuban Mozart you moron, people got in line to listen to his music in his age. And what about Andy Warhol? Salvador Dali or any play by Shakespeare, all of them made money, loved by the majority and appreciated in their age. If what you trying to say is directly "most of the pop medium in recent years is not a work of art", then at least you got a point. All other arguments you proposed including the relationship by the number of the people appreciating it or gaining money or art are irrevelant and dumb as fuck. You cant define the art or measure it by the data of the money or people appreciating it. And besides, defining art is not a branch of art, it's the branch of philosophy called aesthetics. I hope you learn something this time and dont comment like a dumb kid. Ciao.

The_Last_Paladi
The_Last_Paladi

@Coco_pierrot @Sakuban Hm, I think your view of art is mainly bias.  More often than not art has had a monetary value and people have brought it.  If your description is true then that would disqualify a lot of famous artists over time.  I think you should do a bit more comprehensive thinking on a subject matter like this before talking about it in the way you did.  By the way, could you give me an example of  the kind of art you describing made by someone famous?

nanorazor
nanorazor

@Aengelus @jecomans Yes but they are crappy art, like there are crappy music, Movies and etc. They are still art but only Crappy.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

@jecomans Discovering and old vinyl of Mozart played by an incredible orchestra will be less polished because they didn't have our technology ... the music is still of very high quality, need years of dedictation to play at the level required and the composer ... It is nothing like a very high polished turd that Beiber sell to young girls.

Aengelus
Aengelus

@jecomans @Aengelus You don't need to look at art to document human failure, history itself does that quite nicely. Hey, if you want to look at her music as art that is fine by me but I will never consider it anything more than mindless rubbish. Same thing with games, I will never look at Farmville or Just Dance as anything more than entertainment. I guess we will have to agree to disagree. 

jecomans
jecomans

@Aengelus Oh, definitely. But quality shouldn't affect whether it merits art status. And didn't Revour say ,'Bad art is more tragically beautiful than good art because it documents human failure'. So there you go, Minaj is tragically beautiful art. Excuse me whilst I vomit.