According to David Cage, head of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream, video games are the most fascinating medium ever created. The latest issue of Play magazine (via NowGamer) features an interview with the industry veteran, who says, "At the moment, we use video games as a toy, but they have the potential to be meaningful."
"By far, video games are the most fascinating medium that mankind has ever created. They have the power to make you think in ways that films and books have not achieved," he added.
Cage and Quantic Dream are currently working on a mystery PlayStation 4 game, and it sounds like Cage is thinking about a whole new way to tell a story for this project.
"Even if it means being some kind of alien to the game industry. I want to experiment and try new ideas" -- David Cage
"So my goal over the past years has been to develop a new approach to narrative," he said. "Instead of thinking of a 2D script, like a film, which moves through just time and space, I've tried to develop a 3D script that operates through time, space, and interactivity."
"I try to provide interesting interactive experiences and at the same time learn how to make them better," Cage added. "Even if it means being some kind of alien to the game industry. I want to experiment and try new ideas. I have criticisms of myself, things that I wish I could have done differently or better, but I rarely have regrets. I'm trying to understand this new language we have to tell interactive stories."
Don't expect this new PS4 game to focus on a gun-toting hero, however.
"See, our industry has defined interactivity as performing physical actions, like shooting or jumping, in loops. So, for many people, my games are not real video games because they don't fit into this restrictive idea of interactivity. My characters don't carry guns or shoot every person they meet," Cage said. "They lead normal lives and do mundane things. They have emotions and relationships. This, to me, is what interactivity is about--creating real empathy between a player and their character. But games are a conservative industry. It's hard to convince hardcore players to accept these new kinds of interactivity."
Though advancements have been made, storytelling and character development in games still has a ways to go to catch up to movies, according to Cage.
"My opinion is that we have nothing in games that gets anywhere near to a good film in terms of narrative or characterization. Games focus on simple themes and target a teenage audience," Cage said. "They could become meaningful. They could have the power to move a larger audience. But it would take new paradigms, a shift to privileging meaning over action and a lot more power given to talented people for that to happen."
Cage isn't confident that this will ever happen, though, at least not in his lifetime.
"The more things go on, the more I doubt things will change. To be honest, we are very few people in the world thinking this way. Maybe incremental changes, step by step, could make a difference, but I will probably be dead by the time it happens."
Despite Cage's apparent negativity, he says he's not going to give up. He also stressed that just because he wants to create "meaningful" games, it doesn't mean this should be the only type of game out there.
"This work is always fascinating, always challenging. I still think there should be games for all, games for different people who have different expectations. I wish I could learn and work faster, and have more courage to do more crazy things. Game after game, I try to explore boundaries. I believe you could make a very unique experience by doing an interactive Shakespeare play. So, although there is strong resistance from the games industry when it comes to considering different creative directions, I love lost causes. It's probably my romantic French side. "
What do you make of Cage's comments? Let us know in the comments below!