Stigmas associated with games 'exaggerated' says Heavy Rain dev

Quantic Dream co-CEO says consumers generally don't agree that games cause addiction or lead to violence, calls on industry to make more meaningful games.

Quantic Dream co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumiere met with prolific Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio in 2004 to discuss whether or not the Titanic star would partner with the French studio for his first game. Ultimately, he declined over concerns of image and doubts that technology at the time could faithfully replicate his actions.

In the time since, Quantic Dream released Heavy Rain, a game that de Fondaumiere described during a New York City event on Saturday as a "tipping point" for Hollywood. He said this game has changed actors' mindsets about games from "Oh, it's kind of interesting. Yeah, I'd be tempted" To "Yeah, I want to be part of it."

"This is really a game that had an impact in Hollywood," de Fondaumiere said. "People are talking about [Heavy Rain] on good terms and saying 'this is a possible avenue now for talents to express themselves.'"

De Fondaumiere wouldn't say if he's held any additional meetings with DiCaprio since 2004, but explained that the stigmas attached to games--"they're addicting," "they lead to violence"--have been "exaggerated" and are generally not accepted by consumers at large.

"I think that things have evolved. I think people understand that some of the criticism that has been on gaming; the stigma that has been on gaming…has been exaggerated," de Fondaumiere said.

Still, he explained that games must go further and show the entertainment industry that games can convey messages with meaning.

He believes an example is Beyond: Two Souls, which features not only the voices, but also body movements, of actors like Ellen Page (Inception, Juno, Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, The Boondock Saints), Kadeem Hardison (A Different World), and Eric Winter (Days of Our Lives, The Mentalist), among others.

"There needs also to be projects, or products, if I may say so, that show that we’re doing something meaningful," he said. "I think that our responsibility as a medium is to be maybe a little bit more meaningful with what we're doing."

"I think that our responsibility as a medium is to be maybe a little bit more meaningful with what we're doing."

Still, some games are just supposed to be fun and not require gamers to think too much, de Fondaumiere said. There is a place for these types of games in the industry, but don't expect Quantic Dream to make an over-the-top shooter anytime soon.

"I think there are certain games that are just fun. And that’s great. When I come home, sometimes I just don’t want to think too much about anything. It's like watching an action film. Or playing an action game," he said. "What we're trying to do at Quantic is show that--we're not the only ones, of course--that there are a number of creators today that want to bring something more meaningful. And that's what interests us."

The stakes for Beyond: Two Souls are serious, according to de Fondaumiere. He explained that Quantic Dream has a responsibility to the industry at large to make sure the PlayStation 3 exclusive shines as brightly as it can because the future of the medium may depend on it.

"Not only do we have a responsibility towards our employees, our shareholders, Sony--who's financing this project--but to a certain degree I think also towards the industry to succeed," de Fondaumiere said. "I hope that we're going to show that Hollywood talent brings something. That these actors have an incredible talent and that they're going to raise the bar in terms of what you consider as being the benchmark for characterization."

"Whether the game sells or not, it's not irrelevant, it's important; but it's less important. I think the minimum is that there is a critical consensus that this is the way forward."

Beyond: Two Souls launches October 8.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

128 comments
moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

Developers have a serious rose tinted spectacles problem when it comes to Hollywood, as if recognition from movie directors and film stars is the be all and end all of artistic merit. Yet Hollywood itself is stuck in a creative rut with the majority of films based off either other media such as novels or comic books or old films. Games shouldn't be trying to persuade Hollywood that they are a worthwhile art form they should be proving it by creating games that demonstrate how much scope and range the interactive environment of a game brings. Managing to talk Hollywood actors into starring in your game is meaningless. When a game launches an actors career towards stardom and actors are queuing out the door and down the block to appear in your games then you can start bragging until then you're just begging.

rigbybot127
rigbybot127

I prefer when games utilize little-known (to unknown) voice-actors, such as GTA IV, which had no celebrity voice-acting at all outside of the radio. Video games have changed, and it's about time people start respecting them more.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Ok, am I the only one that doesn't understand the whole desire to use Hollywood actors for games? No offense to anyone from Hollywood or anything, but why should we care if they want to be a part of a game or not? There are plenty of seriously talented voice actors that have spent years perfecting their craft that can do just as good a job, if not better, as anybody from Hollywood does.

pidow
pidow

People not getting along with one another causes violence, racism, hate, dislike,miss trust and the likes are the problems.  War, how come it is not band?  War is the largest form of violence, yet they go on.  People who think they are better than other's. more money, so-called power, causes violence.  Their are many factors that causes violence that are real world, not video games...how many video protagonist killed someone?.  Now how many nut jobs killed someone?  Its time to do the math, real world vs make believe, and put this to rest once and for all.

SoreBastard
SoreBastard

People seem to think that video games cause violence because you participate in the violent acts committed in some games. However, it's no different than watching Rambo and fantasizing about killing terrorists, or watching Oliver Stones' Natural Born Killers whose premise glorifies the acts of crazed sociopaths. I consider both to be simulations of sorts. Currently violent video games are the present day scapegoat for all the worlds problems, making any anti-violent-game advocates the modern day book burners.

nate1222
nate1222

While I agree with de Fondaumiere, I also acknowledge that many gamers' attitudes of 'Gimme my power fantasy NOW!' ain't gonna change anytime soon. I'm a 37 year old gamer, been gaming as a hobby since I was 14, and I encounter people with arrested adolescence more than I care to. Fortunately, due to my age and retro leanings, I mostly game with people 25+ who're functional adults.

And Hollywood's perception ain't likely to change much either. Now that Hollywood is competing with games for consumer dollars, some of them see games as a threat -more commercially than artistically.

Aria1368
Aria1368

David Cage is truly a genius in game industry ... 

ViskiJack
ViskiJack

I don't like film actors in games Nathan Drake is what i want.If they put some asshole like Nathan Filion instead of the guy that played him i would not play that game.Realism like in Beyond is nice but that is not a true game it's like the Walking Dead with nice visuals.Why spend money on realism when you can spend it on explosions  and actual game play not stills.Nobody tells you that it's to much to have realism and detail and a 3D environment that game would gave 200 GB and would take 5 years to make and would last  4 hours.It;s a nice experiment but not an actual model for anything.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

I think this game will be awesome, really hope the game sells well.

hadlee73
hadlee73

I wonder whether the regular voice actors in "Beyond: Two Souls", when partnered with Ellen Page and/or Willem Dafoe for a scene, then realize "Oh, so that's why I can only get voice work these days"? :P

syler4815162342
syler4815162342

I like David Cage and His Games are Great In Terms of Story and Cinematic, but you can not call It a True Game, doing a Sequence of Mocap Animations! you have to let the player, Interact with the world! this type of games are like you are playing a movie! This New Tomb Rider kept a good balance between Cinematic and Gameplay or Bioshcok Infinite, David Cage should fallow this way more, let the players actually Interact with the Environment not just fallowing a series of buttons, Since Fahrenheit until now He Is doing this! but less In Beyond Souls! the Key Is to mixing Cinematic with Dynamic real time Gameplay, Like above games I mentioned, not by using pre recorded animations If so then What's the Different between Movies and Games! In my opinion L.A Noire did a better job for this type of games! you could drive, shoot, not every scene was like movie!

fbgbdk4
fbgbdk4

Ok, I want a To The Moon movie version.

cornbredx
cornbredx

When mentioning Willem Dafoe and what hes been in, if you don't list Platoon you are doing him a disservice. Ok, I'm just getting old =P

Anyway, for once I agree with something to come out of Quantic Dream. They're incredibly arrogant and pretentious but with this they have a point.

Still... their games have not proven they know how to do this or will even be very good at it. As much as I enjoy their past games, their games are still not much more then Dragon's Lair. They have not evolved very much. Heavy Rain for example had really bad controls (among other things). I mean I appreciate what they are trying to do, but you cant just make one thing work and call it a success. You have to make the game play as good as you make the story. The animation as good as the acting. Then maybe you can say video games are almost on par with movies.

I would actually argue some games have gotten close, but Quantic Dream isn't the one to have developed those games. It's good they are pushing for innovation, but their breed of QTE has not yet convinced me they'll get there first, as much as they want to. With the state of the video game industry these days, I am not even sure the money will be around long enough for that to become a thing, but you never know.

I say this fully agreeing that they do some really amazing work with animation. Animation is really the only thing they do really well, and that still comes with the caveat "for a video game."

frylock616
frylock616

So....whats so meaningful about Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls?

CincoToes
CincoToes

Hurr, I want dumb ass gaems, I don't wanna think.

svaubel
svaubel

Too much Damage Control. Sounds like this guy is really trying to justify QTE's and games that try to be movies.

There is going to be an article by the end of the year "Beyond misses crazy high sales expectations"

Kingjames11
Kingjames11

Hollywood and the word "meaningful" in the same article. That's like putting turd and gourmet together. Too funny, all these clowns lately with their big statements about the industry. Here's a clue:  make a game that's fun to play and then add your "meaning" if so inclined. That way, even if your game doesn't mean shit to anyone, at least it will be fun to play. After all, that is why people play video games, isn't it? The fun? 

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I don't know if Heavy Rain was more "meaningful" to me than MW2; I am not a father, and I don't know anyone who's lost a sibling due to parental negligence. I do know that my gaming would feel less without QD (and MW). I think QD is already being appreciated by those who both can and want to appreciate it; I am in it for the experience. Although I am angered by those who disguise "I hate it" with "your game sucks," I agree that there has too many statements justifying Beyond: Two Souls instead of statements on the actual game. Or maybe the media is asking too many of those questions... Anyway, if you have to explain why people should enjoy your game, you've already failed, but every game fails for some audience.

Cowboy-Bebop
Cowboy-Bebop

Who the heck give these people a mic. It seems almost daily these guys have something to say. Give the mic back to Cliff. At least he was entertaining.

crazeon
crazeon

How much to development costs go up when you pay for voice acting from Hollywood stars? This doesn't help the issue of games being too costly to produce these days.

Albelnox0
Albelnox0

Does anyone here even remember David and Quantic's first game Omikron the Nomad Soul?

Daian
Daian

Lets just wait for the damn game to be out and THEN bitch about it if it sucks.

Vodoo
Vodoo

I swear, Quantic Dream loves mentioning that they have Ellen Page, a "C" actor, in their game. Every time they say something to the media they feel the need to get all giggly over Ellen Page being in their game. Yes, David Gage, we know she's in your artsy-fartsy game and we don't give a shit. 

Jasbro
Jasbro

Quantic Dream co-CEO calls on industry to make more meaningful games. 

Hmm, hows about you actually make a game first instead of an interactive movie.

Willie_d7
Willie_d7

I wonder if Willem Dafoe gets bummed when he sees his "Boondock Saints" listed as his 2nd most popular credit? Or maybe he just clips his Discman to his belt and goes to his happy place?

On a side note, it's nice to see Kadeem Hardison is still alive although surely his thesp'in credits from "Drive" deserved a shoutout. RIP Brittany Murphy!!!

korvus
korvus

Gotta appreciate a guy that can pat his own back, kiss himself and still give an interview at the same time. I'm jealous!

darkling_692
darkling_692

@Valen_Ca It's not about the quallity of the actors but their reputation. It's like a way to prove that videogames are on another league now.

eddieham13
eddieham13

@pidow You forget that a large portion of the worlds population is unfortunately ignorant and in generally not very smart.

I think there is some truth to Dysgenics and some form of child birth control needs to be enforced. Perhaps a minimum level of intelligence or something less "bad" and make it so people with criminal offences cant have children.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@nate1222 The studios might see games as a threat, but the actors probably don't.  Lots of game developers criss-cross with other industries.


And on your earlier point, there are more and more of us gaming geezers around now.  We have market share, dammit!

ForceofNature9
ForceofNature9

@Kingjames11 

If game developers thought that  way then all we'd get are mindless shooters on the market. Who would want that...?

jecomans
jecomans

@Unfallen_Satan I think it's also a method of maintaining minimal coverage for QD and B:2S this far from release without ever having to give away spoilers they don't want to. The first time you experience a QD game it is really best to have as little idea what's going to happen as possible. 

mlcarter815
mlcarter815

@Vodoo A woman who was nominated as best actress for the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA, and the Screen Actors Guild is a C actor?

Kingjames11
Kingjames11

@Vodoo I like Ellen Page, but yeah, you're right. I don't really buy games because Ellen Page is in them. Put a star-studded cast of Oscar winning actors in whatever game you want, but if the game sucks, nobody will buy it. 

You know what games I do buy? 

 Fun ones. Go figure.

GamezMk
GamezMk

@Vodoo Not that they should do it at all, it gets annoying really fast, but they'd be better off mentioning Willem Dafoe.

jecomans
jecomans

@Jasbro Or why not broaden your definition of what a game is? Many people (you didn't exactly) criticize games like Heavy Rain because they feel they're not in control. But at least in Heavy Rain you do actually control the plot to a large extent, where in most games you follow blindly to the end of the linear narrative and the only 'control' you had was shooting some people. 

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@darkling_692 @Valen_Ca Darkling's got it.  If art movie actors want to be in games then it rubs some of the "art" off.  It nudges the gaming industry closer to legitimate art form if they are openly collaborating with people already acknowledged to be talented artists in their own, more established industry.

pidow
pidow

@eddieham13 @pidow What about those who slip through the cracks....are aided by other to carry out their wishes, how are they stopped?.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@ForceofNature9 @Kingjames11 force you are an idiot, shooters are not the only games that are fun. Mario is not a shooter, Zelda is not a shooter, Minecraft is not a shooter, Dark Souls is not a shooter etc etc etc etc

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@jecomans I completely agree with you on keeping the mystery of QD games prior to playing. Although I worry maintaining awareness for QD and B:2S the current way will do more harm than good, but your reasoning makes sense.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@Kingjames11@VodooSome people are motivated by different things.  He says pretty clearly here he's not trying to make a game that's just fun.  And he's not trying to sell a ton of copies as he says at the very end.  The company as led by David and Guillaume is attempting to change and broaden the definition of video games.  

Had you ever heard of _any_ of the actors in Heavy Rain?  I'm betting not.  Now he's got two actors you've heard of.  Next up, maybe DiCaprio.  If Quantic can convince Hollywood that games are an artistic medium worth participating in then it changes the landscape of games.  In an amusing, stereotypically French way they are and fighting for an idea.  And I would guess they don't particularly care if they capture a huge market of gamers as long as they don't lose money and they prove their point.

ForceofNature9
ForceofNature9

@stan_boyd @ForceofNature9 @Kingjames11 

You obviously missed the sarcasm in my post.

Anyway "fun" is subjective. Any game, including Heavy Rain or the Walking Dead can be fun. I actually rarely find shooters fun ironically. I also don't really consider Dark Souls to be "fun".

jecomans
jecomans

@Unfallen_Satan Whatever his reasoning he does seem to annoy alot of people on gaming sites, whom would be the vast majority of players who hear what he says. Although I heard it as a rumour, Cage hasn't specifically said how much more 'gameplay' is in this compared to HR, which I think is the one piece of information that might convince people who aren't QD fans already to change their minds about the game.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@stan_boyd @jimrhurst @Kingjames11 @Vodoo That's a real risk...  The cost to make these things just keeps skyrocketing.  But its all what you are willing to pay for.  There are a lot of good voice actors you've never seen onscreen, and they are far more affordable.  

 You probably can't even make Mass Effect with celebrities because its too many lines of dialog.  But I could see them doing it with GTA.  The sales are so large they could afford it and the story doesn't have nearly as many lines or branching options as the big RPGs.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@jimrhurst @Kingjames11 @Vodoo yeah, and next they will rise the price of games up to 100$ so they can cover the costs of the expensive actors playing the roles. DiCaprio costs big bucks. Maybe for the next Tomb Raider they can get Julia Roberts to play Lara, it will prob only cost about 30 million bucks to hire her.