LOS ANGELES--David Cage had a great E3. The French game director and the development team he leads up, Quantic Dream, are responsible for some of the industry's most ambitious interactive entertainment experiences like 2010's Heavy Rain. At an event where originality and innovation were the hottest of commodities, showing a game like Beyond: Two Souls was like hitting the jackpot.
I was lucky enough to attend a breakout session hosted by Cage where he dove a little deeper into the world he has created for Beyond: Two Souls.
With a microphone PA headset, Cage took a small handful of journalists through various scenes in the game, ranging from a chase across the tops of moving trains, a motorcycle ride, and an explosive standoff at a city block.
Cage comes off like a man who knows exactly what he wants out of a game. He's smart, sharp, and very much to the point. While his games allow for players to weave an independent and uniquely intricate web of narrative, he wants every possible outcome to share the same mind-blowing production values across the board.
Cage began the journey of making Beyond after a death in the family. Frustrated with the answers that conventional religions provided, he wanted a way to express his own thoughts on the afterlife. The results of that expression is Beyond: Two Souls.
From the 30 minutes or so of gameplay I got to see, Beyond's graphics are even better than Heavy Rain's. Again, gamers will "play a movie," by pulling the puppet strings of the game's main star, Jodie, played by Ellen Page. There's no wrong way to play, it's just that your decisions, timing, or lack there-of it, will dictate the game's story.
When Cage approached Page for the role, he had to send along a script the size of four feature films. Cage claims Ellen Page was "one of the only actresses" that could perform as Jodie. After a few meetings, he got his wish.
Page plays a girl named Jodie who all her life has lived alongside another presence she calls "Aiden." Following the first 15 years of her life, Beyond will force gamers to rethink how they feel about life and death, all while proposing new questions and controversies. Aiden has supernatural powers that Jodie will be forced to abuse, which has already shown to be quite devastating. Aiden can possess other humans, smash cars, and bring destruction wherever Jodie chooses.
The play style in Beyond looks like it will mirror Heavy Rain, tasking the player with button combinations to keep action flowing in a certain scene. If a player fails to hit or hold the right buttons, the story can divert down alternative storylines.
Beyond: Two Souls will be an exclusive PlayStation 3 title, though its release window is currently unknown.