There Is Gameplay in Beyond: Two Souls

E3 2012: "Direct control" is David Cage's favourite phrase when describing his latest cinematic oeuvre.

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Beyond: Two Souls made quite an impression at Sony's E3 2012 press conference, but there was one question on every GameSpot editor's lips--what's it like to play? While we didn't get to answer that directly at our behind-closed-doors appointment, we got a decent second-best--more than 40 minutes of gameplay shown off by the game's creator, David Cage. The section took place some way into the game and showed off drama, action, and even driving.

Ellen Page plays the main character, Jodie Holmes.

In Beyond, Ellen Page stars as Jodie Holmes, a girl with a link to an invisible entity she calls Aiden (pronounced "eye-den" by Jodie). She doesn't know whether it's a spirit or a ghost, but ever since she was a kid, she's had this connection. The game will take place over 15 years of Jodie's life, and we're not sure why at this stage, but Jodie gets into trouble with the law and becomes a fugitive, which is where we find her at the beginning of the E3 demo.

Both Jodie and Aiden are playable characters in Beyond: Two Souls. The demo starts with Jodie trying to sleep on the train, so you get to control Aiden and cause some mischief. You can fly around the train using Sixaxis motion controls, which causes fellow passengers to get a chill. You can even interact with objects using the two thumbsticks, such as knocking over a coffee cup or pulling down a rucksack from the overhead rack. The latter is particularly useful when police officers board the train, because you need to wake Jodie so she can make her escape.

In the first instance of what David Cage called "direct control," the person playing the demo was able to control Jodie's movements, while Heavy Rain-style button prompts popped up when she needed to open doors or dodge obstacles. Aiden helps Jodie break through a hatch in the ceiling of the bathroom and onto the roof of the train, where she avoids police officers and occasionally beats them up, before launching herself off the train. Thankfully, she's protected by a shield provided by Aiden, although she still lands battered and bruised in the forest below.

Jodie ends the demo with a threat to the surviving police officer.

From there, Jodie makes her way through the forest in an effort to escape the police. It's a tense and confusing few minutes of gameplay--it's not obvious which way you have to go, and the police constantly seem to be closing in. Eventually, she comes across three patrolling officers who are in possession of a car and a motorbike. Aiden is able to possess one of the officers and then make him drive the car back and forth into the roadside barriers, distracting the two other officers. Jodie then jumps on the bike and makes her escape, leading to a short vehicular chase, with Cage once again emphasising the "direct control" on offer.

The final section we saw had Jodie arriving in a town besieged by even more cops, at which point Aiden was really let off the leash. He went round turning over cars, possessing snipers and opening fire on fellow officers, and even throwing a grenade into a nearby petrol station. After all the ensuing destruction, she threatens one of the injured cops with the line we'd seen from the trailer: "Tell them to leave me the fuck alone, because next time, I'll kill everyone."

At the end of the demo, we were able to glean some interesting facts from David Cage about the production of the game. We found out that the Kara tech demo was made last year as a proof of concept for the facial animation tech that would ultimately be used in Beyond. Ellen Page also came on board a week before E3 last year, when Cage pitched the project to her as "like four movies or something." There's no plan for a Vita version of the game, nor has Move support been confirmed, although Cage claims the team has been working on using the latter tech in the game. Beyond will also have a branching storyline--not 26 different endings like in Heavy Rain, but you will still have major decisions to make that will affect the outcome of the game.

Beyond has split opinion among some editors at GameSpot, but the reaction has been mostly positive, especially from those who enjoyed Heavy Rain. There's no doubt from the demo that Beyond will be more action-based than Cage's previous game--as the man himself says, "Whereas Heavy Rain was close to something like Seven, Beyond is different in style and tone and genre."

Discussion

89 comments
Borrizee
Borrizee

It has little to do with gaming these games,but I love it. It's another experience.

iluvOP
iluvOP

I was never too interested in this and now that I see how big of egoistical idiot David Cage is, I might just leave it on the shelf out of spite.

kingofmetal16
kingofmetal16

I am definitely pre-ordering this and the last of us! David Cage is probably one of the most clever game creators around today and certainly the most revolutionary. Can't wait, I'm so tense with excitement!

ps2fatboy
ps2fatboy

its always the way one game will have great story but u find it that your not in full control of the character,or vice versa ,either way im sure this game will make a big splash in the pool when it comes out

DevilD2005
DevilD2005

I saw the gameoplay demo, and while the preview looks great, i was unimpressed while watching the direct portions of how the game plays.

swyg
swyg

Eh, I might like these kinds of games if they had more control.  I like deep stories and incredible atmospheres in games, but only if they serve the purpose of complimenting great playability or controls.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

Beyond: the real reason Naughty Dog changed Ellie's face is because another game had the real Ellen Page. It all makes sense now.

Np_Pro
Np_Pro

Man, Ellen Page's presence in this game almost makes me want to play it, because she really is one of my favorite actresses, but I just don't care for Quantic Dream games. Like, I get that some people like them, but I find their attempts at gameplay to be worse make the game worse than if it were just one long movie. Its like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure in game form, and choose-your-own-adventures were always pretty bad.

harold317
harold317

Interactive movies were already made in the 90s on the SegaCD, back then everyone thought it sucked. People are digging them now just because of the hyper-realistic digital graphics...but back then these were made with actual live-action footage. Funny how we are kinda going backwards, hehe. R.I.P Modern Game Industry 1985-E3 2012.

DarthSithari
DarthSithari

So... Kara was just a test bed for THIS!? I mean that tech demo had more potential then... whatever this is, story wise anyway.

Sushiglutton
Sushiglutton

Frankly I'm a tiny bit disapointed. I don't like this supernatural direction at all. Also more action is a bad things. There are so many games for that. I was hoping they would have the courage to do none/very little action.

thetravman
thetravman

Dreams really like having their female protagonists to have very short hair.

whitejackel
whitejackel

 @marco1k1  she creeps you out cuz she is staring at you coldly and you can feel it thats how well they pulld off the facel animations and graphics O.o

whitejackel
whitejackel

i hope this go's (no pun intented) beyond heavy rain and delivers even more in depth game play and drive to draw you into the world and people that its about. Im really liking this kinda of gaming. with of course our good old normal gaming still around no need to bequeafe one to the other.

antoniobandino
antoniobandino

Man, I wish the Kara tech demo had been the plot for the new game but this looks great too.

Voice_of_Wisdom
Voice_of_Wisdom

this type of "game" is killing the industry. Gamers want games, not movies

zovice
zovice

I so wait to play it.

onewithtoenail7
onewithtoenail7

is anyone else kind of disturbed that we actually have to be told that a game has gameplay? i liked indigo prochecy/ farenheit, but that at least had fairly frequent choices to make that impacted how the story played out. i never played heavy rain, was it more or less linear? i dont know if would call either of them games, but hopefully Cage has learned from his past projects and this is more than a movie where you have to play simon says to get to the next scene. at least the supernatural elements seem to be woven into the story a lot more naturally; hopefully there wont be any equivalent to the infamous "zombie vs mayan dragonball Z fight from nowhere".

ptown58
ptown58

Game looks great , want to know some really scary stuff ? look up what Page is doing with Bee's.

Cant wait to see where games go in the next few years.

ptown58
ptown58

Trailer Park Boys ! ....... think it was her first gig.

Gorbenshore
Gorbenshore

This is a prime example that graphics are still relevant. With the emergence of "casual gamers" and their preference of gameplay over graphics, this game should serve as an example that good graphics + good gameplay > "who gives" graphics + good gameplay

CreMax90
CreMax90

Beyond really reminds me of ghost trick on DS, but in full HD realistic style.

marco1k1
marco1k1

Does that face at the top creep anyone else out?

 

Game's really are getting there graphically :P

akosyaini
akosyaini

 @Voice_of_Wisdom no its not!!! a lot of game including me like this kind of game. if you don't like this don't buy it when i come out.

AJC3317
AJC3317

 @Voice_of_Wisdomand mindless rehashes of call of duty every year aren't killing the industry? games like this are the only thing keeping the industry alive right now

 

Richard_The_Gr8
Richard_The_Gr8

 @Voice_of_Wisdom Its breathing new life into it, go play call of duty, whilst we enjoy playing this game experiencing ground breaking graphics, an amazing story and an experience that will stick with us whilst you mindlessly shoot people online. 

Breyant
Breyant

 @Voice_of_Wisdom How is it killing the industry? I can think of pretty much one other game that seems similar to Beyond, and that is Heavy Rain. I'm fairly certain there isn't going to be anyone FORCING you to buy and enjoy this game :)

i-like-me
i-like-me

 @onewithtoenail7 Heavy rain was the only game I have ever played where you could actually fail completely and have an ending based around an NPC so you do have quite a big impact on the story.

Richard_The_Gr8
Richard_The_Gr8

 @onewithtoenail7 it had 26, and it was linear, but you never felt pushed into doing anything. It was a great experience and a great game. I really enjoyed it and played it about 3 times...

kidnamedkain777
kidnamedkain777

 @onewithtoenail7 heavy rain was liner to a point it had like 12 different endings i believe and would unfold differently as you progress

onewithtoenail7
onewithtoenail7

 @Gorbenshore its more an example that david cage would make a better director than game designer. i would hardly consider simon says and random stick twirling to match a cutscene action to be good gameplay, and i dont think anyone doubts that good graphics are better than crap graphics when every other variable is equal.

 

what part of the continual shift to flashy, insubstantial 10-hour campaigns with gameplay less complicated than the original DOOM made you think graphics were ever becoming anything but more relevant? the casual market doesnt have any preference for gameplay, the whole damn point of the casual market is they dont even make a distinction. its all just a distraction, and whatever element draws attention is what casuals want, usually skinner box gameplay and a cutesy artstyle(which would be considered graphics). the supposedly hardcore titles of our generation tend to be graphical powerhouses with simplistic gameplay that barely changes sequel after sequel. i dont know where you are getting this idea of the industry preferring good gameplay.

 

This like much of Cage's work is an experiment in interactive storytelling, and not a good example of any industry trend one way or the other.

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

@marco1k1 Quantic Dreams really push the PS3 like no other developer it seems. Makes you think what's the rush with the next gen when this can be done now. What kind of realism can QD come up with on the PS4....scary.

harold317
harold317

 @Richard_The_Gr8 There's something wrong when these kind of games are more fun to watch than they're to play. Sorry, I don't buy $60 dollar movies, movie theaters have better graphics and they're cheaper too.

doomtack
doomtack

 @DethAngel22 Agreed, I can;t wait to play this. Just as much as I could not wait to play Heavy Rain

Blinded_Colony
Blinded_Colony

 @harold317 I guess you haven't played Heavy Rain at all. Or have you? I can definitely say you haven't played Beyond: Two Souls so you couldn't know if it's fun game to play or not. All you have seen is a one trailer of this game.