GamingInterview with David Cage from Gamescom 2012

Interview with David Cage from Gamescom 2012


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Back at Gamescom 2012, yes 2012, I had the opportunity to sit down with David Cage to talk about Beyond: Two Souls just after it was announced.


Andrew Edney So David, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Tell us about yourself and your role?
David Cage I founded Quantic Dream like 15 years ago to create games based on interactive storytelling and emotions for more mature audience. This is really what I had in mind 15 years ago and here I’m today. So the company is about 200 people now. We are all based in Paris in France. We work exclusively for Sony PlayStation 3 and my role at the studio was really being the writer and director for the games we make. And I’m the CEO of the company.



Tell us a bit about Beyond: Two Souls.

DC Well, there’s a lot to say (laugh). Where should I start? It’s a story of a young girl called Jodie Holmes and as far as she can remember she always felt she had a link with an invisible entity that she calls Aiden; she doesn’t know why she calls him that but it’s just a name that came to her and this thing is always with her. There’s like some kind of invisible link between her and this thing and she doesn’t know if it’s a ghost or a spirit or whatever. It’s just something that’s there. So it’s not a power, it’s really a character. It’s someone with its own personality and so she has to learn how to live with this thing who can be very nice and very gentle and very protective or can be also very possessive, very jealous, and sometimes very violent. So it’s about this relationship. It’s about growing because the game takes places through 15 years of the life of Jodie. So, we see her when she’s 8 until when she’s 23. And so we see how she changes. We live with her the different strong moments of her life and we see how these moments are going to shape her as an adult and as a person. And it’s also about death. It’s about what’s on the other side. It’s about what will happen to us the day we die.



And how did you come up with the story, the concept?

DC Well, you never know where stories come from but I experienced certain things in my personal life and I felt I had to write something about it and make up my own story about what’s on the other side and so this is how it happened.



So obviously at E3 (2012), that was sort of the big reveal and I was in the audience for that at the press conference and I sort of sat back and went, “Wow.” and obviously then you announced that Ellen Page was the voice and the personality of Jodie. How did you sort of go around selecting who you wanted to be that person and how did you choose Ellen?

DC Well, in general, it’s a very long process but in this case it was a very short one because she was number one on my list and actually there was only one name on the list so it was… (Laugh) it was a short decision. No, actually when I started writing I really wrote it for her, you usually pick up a picture of actors, just to give me a face to look at when I write dialogues or different situations and try just to imagine them in the situation, how they would react, what they would say and usually it just helps me with the writing. And the first picture I picked up for Jodie Holmes was a picture of Ellen but not something from Juno. It was a picture from an independent movie she made called Mouth to Mouth and she had her head shaved and she had a very incredible look and there was something in her eyes in this picture that was really amazing because she looked really strong and really ready to fight but at the same time she felt really vulnerable and I really liked that. And it really told me something about my character. So, I started writing with this picture and then I needed more pictures of Jodie when she was older or younger. And as Ellen’s been shooting films since she was 10, you can easily find pictures of her at different ages. So, I found a picture for every single scene I had and after a year of writing, I looked at my scenes, and my script, and thought, well, only one person can be this character because actually I realised that I wrote for Ellen Page because I really had her in mind all the time and I thought she would be fantastic. So we just contacted her and asked if she could be interested. I sent her Heavy Rain, sent her press reviews and the script for Beyond and the agent came back to us saying she could be interested so we organised a meeting in LA and we met and this is how it happened. I mean as simple as that. She said she really liked the script and this is something she had never done before and she wanted to do it.



So you said that there was sort of a personal experience in your life that made you want to tell the story. Is that pretty much how all of your stories come about? From your personal experiences? Or do you sometimes just have an idea or someone may say something to you?

DC You know, this is something that tends to change as I get older. When I was younger, I wanted to write about the movies that I liked so I wanted to write about sci-fi stuff and I wanted to write my Bladerunner and I wanted to write my whatever. And yeah, that’s good for a while but there’s a moment where you feel like how true am I to when I’m writing and how new, how interesting is this for me to write it but also for people to play it because in a way it’s just a story or world that’s been told before. I just tried to use this thing and mix them and put my tiny thing in it and pretend this is new but actually also how interested can you be in writing something that is not truly something related to you? And I really started with Heavy Rain discovering that it was possible to write about things that resonate with you, with your past experience, what you feel, what you think and I don’t know if it’s better in the end but at least you’re really sincere and you’re really true to what you write and you try to tell a story that’s not been told this way a thousand times; just try to tell something with your own, you know, gut in a way.



That’s interesting.

DC So, yeah, the more it goes, the more I write about what I know because also its…you can only write about something you experienced because it’s the only way to really know what you’re writing about.



Have you drawn inspiration from anywhere else for the game? Has it been any movies or book or anything?

DC Well, you know, inspiration comes from everywhere; it comes from TV series you watch that are really amazing these days. But they can come from films, from books, from poetry, from comics, from the internet, from news, from anywhere. What’s a little bit different for me on Beyond is that probably Heavy Rain was in the world and the atmosphere was really a dark thriller close to other…to some films in the mood and tone at least where on Beyond I think it’s…hopefully it’s more original also in the tone and in the type of the genre itself.



Tell us a little bit about the production process for the game because you talked about motion capture. So do you do a lot of motion capture at one time or do you tend to do scenes and then a few months might go by and then you come up with something else? How does it work?

DC Well, first we started with the writing; it takes me about a year and then we started the casting process which can be also quite time consuming. And then we start the shooting sessions. Shooting sessions are about…in this case, it’s about a year and it’s shooting pretty much, if not every day, it’s 3-4 days a week. So it’s quite crazy; it’s really a full 12 months of shooting so there are about 160 actors on this thing; they’re stuntmen, they’re… they’re different people from different horizons, from…having different skills and…and total of about 160 people. So that’s big organisation, a lot of work and it’s also…it’s been a huge investment from Ellen especially because it was quite intense, quite physical and quite challenging I think because of the volume we had to shoot. I mean we had lots. It’s probably like three or four movies that’s what she told me. And she said it was the most challenging acting experience in her career.



That’s got to be good for you as writer to hear that?

DC …I don’t know if it’s a nice thing or a bad thing but… but yeah. It was definitely a lot of fun to do and to have her on stage was absolutely amazing as you can imagine.



You’ve got to be really excited about this game coming out now.

DC Yes, I am but…you know excitement you never have time to be really excited. You’re…well this is who I am; I’m really nervous all the time and I’m really working very hard and there’s a lot of things to do, a lot of work. And it’s a very challenging game, I mean to make, I mean it’s a big responsibility because when you have actors like Ellen on stage, you really want to make sure that the final product will reflect the quality of what she delivered onstage. So that’s really another responsibility and also we have people who really enjoyed Heavy Rain out there and they really expect what we are going to do next. And of course we don’t want to disappoint them, at the same time we don’t want to give them what they expect. We want to surprise them. We want to take them somewhere else. We want to build on what we learned on Heavy Rain not do just…just the same game so… So this is a lot of work, a lot of pressure and the pressure…it’s a good pressure, pressure we put on ourselves. So…but yeah, we want to deliver the best possible game and we work very hard for that.



And what’s the reaction from the fans’ been?

DC Oh, very positive. We’ve been incredibly happy with the feedback at E3. I think people were quite surprised because of the announcement of Ellen of course and in general people were quite intrigued by the story and yeah, very, very positive feedback and we’ve not shown much to be honest. I mean, the game is huge. There are very surprising moments. It’s very different from Heavy Rain in many aspects and again people will be surprised. So no, yeah, very, very happy to see that. Heavy Rain was not just a coincidence, it wasn’t…there are really people interested in what we are doing and following us and being excited and passionate about what we’re doing so that’s the best pressure you can have.



You said that the game is quite intense. Things in the game have consequences so are there multiple endings? Is this something that you can’t talk about…?

DC Well, I don’t want to reveal too much about the game but that’s…things that worked very well in Heavy Rain that people really enjoyed will still be there. What I can say is that there will be of course many different endings but more, again like in Heavy Rain, it’s not just different endings, different path leading to different endings. So there are many different ways of playing this game and some of them can be really surprising. But also compared to Heavy Rain, Heavy Rain was much more in small environments; it was taking place in apartments or sometimes in just rooms. Where here, there are scenes where you have a huge environment to explore. So this is going to be a massive difference compared to Heavy Rain and again I don’t think that this is something people will expect from us but we will try to have the same quality of…visual quality but the same amount of details but in significantly larger environments.



Thank you for your time David.

DC Oh, thank you very much.

From the visionary mind of David Cage, director of the award-winning Heavy Rain, comes the most powerfully emotional experience on PlayStation 3. A singularly unique psychological action thriller delivered by A-list Hollywood performances, BEYOND: Two Souls takes you on a thrilling journey across the globe as you play out the remarkable life of Jodie Holmes.

Born with a connection to a mysterious entity with incredible powers, Jodie was different. In an adventure spanning 15 years of her life, your actions will determine Jodie’s fate as she faces extraordinary challenges, danger, and heart wrenching loss on a journey to discover the truth of who she is. Beyond promises an emotionally-charged journey unlike any video game before.

• Dive into a gripping and unpredictable psychological action thriller starring Academy Award-nominees Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe.
• Explore stunning and varied settings across the world in an epic journey through 15 years of a character’s life.
• Control Jodie and an invisible entity through spectacular action sequences and puzzles with unique controls.
• Experience cutting-edge technology from Quantic Dream in one of the best-looking games ever seen on the PlayStation 3.

BEYOND: Two Souls is due for release on October 10th 2013 on PS3.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

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