E3 06: Heavy Rain Impressions

We take a look at one of the more fascinatingly perplexing demos at Sony's PlayStation 3 display at E3 2006.

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LOS ANGELES--It's hard to nail down precisely what it is about the demo of developer Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain that makes it so beguiling. On display amid Sony's onslaught of PlayStation 3 demos at E3 2006, Hard Rain sits alone at a single video screen on the second floor of the display. The demo title card reads: "Hard Rain: The Casting," but this subtitle seems less indicative of anything relating to the game itself, but more to the fact that the demo itself is actually a "virtual actor" casting session. It's a very bizarre demo, but we'd expect nothing less from the developers of last year's best adventure game, Indigo Prophecy. Forgive us in advance for not being able to comment on the dialogue or audio of this demo, as the din of E3 made it impossible to make out anything but a few scattered words. We watched the demo from beginning to end, however, and played around with the few controllable elements that were available.

The demo begins with a blurry first-person shot of a woman standing in an innocuous white room. In the middle of the room sits a single stool. She walks over to it and sits down, and we realize that the first-person view is from the perspective of a camera man, filming a young actress as she auditions for a role, presumably for this game, Heavy Rain. The character model of the woman is rather striking. There's a great deal of facial detail, plenty of specific emotions and expressions, and very realistic movement of clothing, hair, and other ancillary details. It's quite realistic.

The woman gathers herself and begins to speak to the camera. Her tone immediately shifts to more serious. She talks and talks, and while she does so, the background completely switches from the innocuous white room to a kitchen. The woman carries on a conversation with the first-person-perspective character, going back and forth across the emotional spectrum. She goes from carrying on a pleasant conversation to exasperation to downright depression over the course of a couple of beats. Things get real, however, the moment she pulls a gun--a very realistically rendered gun, we might add! The woman puts the gun to her head, and begins to sob openly. Tears stream down her face as she pleads with the cameraman. Finally, a more spiteful look crosses her face, and the gun goes from her head to yours...er, the cameraman's. This goes on for a while, with her talking to you, clearly still upset while holding you at gunpoint. Finally, the background shifts back to the white room, and the video camera HUD returns; the woman smiles happily. Sheesh, we hope she got the part, after a display like that.

The really intriguing thing about the Heavy Rain demo is that purportedly, the whole thing was running in real time. Real-time facial expressions, real-time tears, real-time everything. Supporting this claim is the fact that you could kind of manipulate the demo renders. Specifically, you could totally change the color schemes of the scene at will. Sepia tone, black-and-white, night vision, and some other options were available, and simply cycling through them was possible with a single button press. The game was also supposedly running in 1080 HD quality, according to the tag at the bottom of the screen.

It's a real shame we couldn't get a better sense of the dialogue or story or anything to that effect from the demo of Heavy Rain, but seeing the technological possibilities of Quantic Dream's next project still have us very, very intrigued. Considering how unique a game Indigo Prophecy was, we hope for something similarly disarming this time around. We'll be sure to bring you more on Heavy Rain as it becomes available.

Discussion

27 comments
infamousdcgamer
infamousdcgamer

The technical capabilities sure sound impressive, but other than that I wouldn't expect anything big until we hear more about this game. I mean, not to douse everyone's hopes, but we don't even know who's making it.

CameosisJ
CameosisJ

there was a insider revealing at E3 that was supposedly very impressive

shockg2000
shockg2000

Yea this game look interesting even though we dont know the direction they are headed in with the title. People correct me if Im wrong, but there has been no new news about this game till this day. I wonder whats going on.

scrymonster
scrymonster

One thing that kept bothering me through the demon, they didn't render a shadow inside the girl's mouth...kept bugging me. It's always the little thing, you know.

alex1995191
alex1995191

bad acting, bad lip syncing, plastic graphics, what is this about crazy woman who think they have a gun

Yokuz1166
Yokuz1166

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whenwewerekings
whenwewerekings

i dont understand why anyone would ever call the ps3 inferior to xbox 360 after seeing these visiuals. pre rendered or not.. ( and this is not ) .. they are far better than any game ive plated on 360 ( and ive played them all ) RSX reality synthesizer babbbyyyy. mmm gimmeee more. hah.

getrealwithme
getrealwithme

Thats insane! I think I will retire to my padded room now....looks awesome!

LPH79
LPH79

Hmm...i'm not sure what to make of this trailer but it does look interesting. It could be worth looking out for in the future.

Crystall3d
Crystall3d

it s nice to know things can be done so well in ps3 but will it ever be worth the money.? WHole company alone working for that title and it was a dense detailed scene , but how the game , or th games, it will take years to make a game at that quality and the sales can never sustain such effort of developers... so alittle pessimistic here... ps: EA , your are a disease for all vgame industry.

Dogswithguns
Dogswithguns

I like this game already, I'd to see more of it tho, youknow the gameplay and everything else that is not so like a game play and what not that is so different about this game........is it even a game?

BangsLiekWhoa
BangsLiekWhoa

If its another Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy) I will be extremely happy. If its better (which it looks to be)...OMG!

conkertheduke88
conkertheduke88

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King_Louis51
King_Louis51

i hope to the almighty God that this comes out on XBox 360. I was entirely floored by Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy), and it is probably the best adventure game i've ever played. So i have very high expectations for this, especially as it's running on an enhanced version of the Fahrenheit engine. This tech demo truly stunned me... looks to have the same level of character depth and emotional impact that Fahrenheite displayed. I have no plans to get a PS3, so i'm just hoping Quantic Dream do the right thing and port this to the 360. So far, this is the ONLY PS3 exclusive that's interested me...

_Kallen_
_Kallen_

Woah @.@;,that was good.I'll definately be on the lookout for this when I get a ps3.

Hell-Fire21
Hell-Fire21

If they were running this on real-time PS3 hardware, Killzone 2 isn't fake. Anyway, I'm curious to see what this game is really about. Obviously it'll have emotional detail that even Metal Gear can bear even par against. This is gonna be interesting.

dorkod_x
dorkod_x

It looks so real.................it's scary.

wasabi2468
wasabi2468

"complete aww" --- lol but the demo looks amazing... i'm just left wondering where the heck this movie actually becomes a video game

the_sharko
the_sharko

Fahrenheit was an excellent game, albeit a little abrupt. I'm sure they'll have the same level of quaility with Heavy Rain. I just hope they make it multi format.

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

I just watched the vid, and this almost had me heart in my throat. Wow, just wow.

Leoknight86
Leoknight86

wow great acting...i wonder what the game is about...i almost feel afraid of ever becoming an a$$hole

doonbuggy17
doonbuggy17

thats pretty heavy but yeah i agree i watched the video and i was in complete aww I mean i would buy a PS3 to play this game.

jack_ace1
jack_ace1

Hi i am jack, at the first impression of the game HEAVY RAIN i was took by a surprise that they are realy creating a game like that. I don,t wan't to speculate but what i have come to think of the game is that,this and other games like this will make a new class of gameplay which will make us not only play the game but actualy be in the leed role of the game and even conversate with the A.I. of the game.The things i am say could be a false representation of the game and of the gameplay but if it comes to be true then the line between real and friction will become even narrower and may someday it wouldn't be there.