Heavy Rain Demo Impressions - New Nightclub Scene
David Cage walked us through another intriguing scene in this upcoming dark thriller.
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Developer Quantic Dream only recently started sharing more juicy details about its highly anticipated thriller, Heavy Rain. At Sony's PlayStation Gamer Day, we were introduced to one of the story's four main characters, Norman Jayden, as writer and director David Cage walked us through a scene titled, "Mad Jack." Today, behind closed doors at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Cage once again showed us the same scene with Mad Jack, but this time, the demo ended with Jayden as the one who ends up beneath the heavy crane. For more details on that scenario, please read our hands-on here. What we were looking forward to the most was to see Madison Paige in action--and we definitely saw much more than we were expected. Because Heavy Rain is primarily based on its storytelling, readers should be aware that the following explains the entire sequence of events; be advised that these can be considered spoilers.
The hypnotic Madison was the star of last year's E3 tech demo, which was created to give us an idea about the gameplay, but the story of the taxidermist had nothing to do with the game itself. Before going further, Cage gave us a bit of backstory on Madison, and we learned that she suffers from severe insomnia and can only sleep at motels for some reason. She's also a journalist and a photographer with an urge to help the authorities regarding the case of the origami killer. As usual, Cage narrated the presentation and his colleague Guillaume de Fondaumiere controlled the character. It's easy to be taken by Madison's slender figure and attractive features. Her short-cropped hair suits the shape of her face, and with her big brown eyes and flawless skin, it's clear that she was modeled on a very beautiful woman. This scene was titled, "Madison at the Blue Lagoon" and took place at a happening night club, with crazy lights and loud techno music.
We watched as Madison entered the club, dressed in a bright, short-sleeved button-down shirt and a black skirt, weaving her way carefully through the throng of clubbers (and couples making out) so that she could get to the bar on the other side. Cage noted that this area is supposed to contrast the Mad Jack scene, which was dismal and desolate. The goal here was to find Paco Mendes, the owner of the club, and interrogate him because he apparently has information that is critical to the case. After learning that Paco was sitting in a VIP area with no interest in talking to her, Madison walked around the club trying to think of a way to get his attention. The screen split at this point to show that Paco had his eyes on a blond girl who was dancing on a raised platform. We saw him whisper something to his guard, who then obediently went over to fetch the girl. This was when Madison came up with an idea.
Madison walked over to the platform, and we saw the option to dance appear. By pressing L1, you can bring up her thoughts, which gives you a clue as to how you should proceed. After hitting the X button, she got up on the podium to dance. This started a sequence, which seemed like a rhythm game, where a series of buttons would appear and you had be accurate with your timing. Our demonstrator missed a step and had to do the dance routine again. After successfully showing what kind of moves she had, it was clear that Paco still had no interest in her. Madison realized that she needed to be sexier, and she was steered to the women's restroom to make it happen. While standing in front of the mirror, there were five options that appeared over various parts of her body. Here, we were given the chance to manually apply mascara and lipstick to Madison, and because makeup was not enough, she tore off a portion of her skirt to show more leg. Long legs and cleavage is what this creepy club owner likes, so she unbuttoned her shirt a bit and tousled her hair until she had that "wild" look going.
Once she was satisfied with her transformation, she strutted back to the glowing platform and began her seductive dance again--which Paco definitely noticed. The Blond girl got the boot, and Madison swooped in on Paco. She obviously knew how to play the game because as soon as Paco tried to make a move, she asked that he take her somewhere more private. He led her to his lounge upstairs, which was decorated with white leather couches, tiger-print lamps, and a giant fish tank. We should note that the music playing in the background was like something taken from a really bad porno, with a woman moaning constantly as though she were the vocals. Before entering the room, Madison double checked the gun in her purse and went over a few thoughts in her head. As soon as she entered, he snagged her purse, tossed it on a chair, and led her to the couch. He clearly had only one thing on his mind, and that was for Madison to please him in more ways than one. Options will appear and swirl around your head each time you are faced with a decision. In this case, she hesitated, telling him that this was a misunderstanding. That was not an answer he wanted to hear, so he pulled a gun on her. We saw that there was a lamp behind her, which seemed to be her only weapon within range, but she needed a way to get to it without making it obvious. In order to distract him, we watched as Madison undressed, one article of clothing at a time. Standing in her underwear, she danced seductively for him, bending over and giving him the best view possible. He was obviously very pleased, but before he knew it, she quickly grabbed the lamp and whacked him hard on the head. When he woke up, he was strapped to a chair with duct tape, and now Madison was the one with the gun in her hand.
Paco didn't seem too worried at first because he didn't think Madison had the guts to pull the trigger. Using the Sixaxis controls, Madison slapped him across the face repeatedly. When a guard came knocking on the door the see if everything was OK, Madison kept her gun tightly pressed to his forehead and performed a When Harry Met Sally pie scene to convince the goon that everything was most definitely fine. Stunned, Paco sat there with his mouth wide open, and Madison shocked him again by grabbing his testicles, asking about the name of a guy who rented an apartment from him. We weren't sure how long this scene could be extended, but when he finally gave her what she needed, she walked out nonchalantly and headed down the stairs.
The demo ended abruptly here because the game crashed unexpectedly (it happens), but what we saw was enough to get a good feel for this particular scene. By now, it's obvious that the focus of the game is not necessarily the gameplay but how the story unfolds and how you interact with everything and everyone around you. This scene didn't have the kind of quick-time events as the Mad Jack scene had, but whenever you approached someone or were faced with a decision, you had several choices you could make. Icons would appear onscreen if there was a motion you could perform, such as applying makeup, so that you felt like you were controlling this character every step of the way.
There are two more characters that haven't been unveiled yet, and we were told that one would be disclosed at Cologne and the final member of the cast at the Tokyo Game Show. We look forward to seeing what the others can contribute to the story because we were told that Norman and Madison are supposed to cross paths. Unfortunately, we didn't get to make it that far, so we'll have to wait to see what happens next. The game is only 75 percent completed, and Cage said that there are still several areas that will be touched up by the time it is released. Heavy Rain is currently scheduled to come out in early 2010.