I can’t wait for Heavy Rain. From everything I’ve seen and read, it looks to scratch that itch left behind from the cliffhanger ending of Shenmue II. But to suggest it’s anything but a game seems a little pretentious to me. Not to David Cage however if his comments to Destructoid‘s Nick Chester are anything to go by:
“Heavy Rain is about playing with a story almost in a physical sense, changing it, twisting it, discovering it, making it unique, making it yours.”
Fair enough, other games have done such a thing and been successful with it. Chester likened Heavy Rain to an interactive movie (for lack of a better term) which Cage initially agreed with:
“Using the term ‘interactive movie’ to describe Heavy Rain has been a tricky question from the beginning. It is in many ways what Heavy Rain is – a visually told story that the player can affect by his actions.”
Again, fair comment but of course the words ‘interactive movie’ are somewhat of a curse for gamers who are yet to experience a decent one. Metal Gear Solid 4 has often been referred to as a playable anime which didn’t quite fit as it’s really just a game with long cut scenes. Heavy Rain seems like a movie that we get to manipulate. Isn’t that just another term for interactive movie? Not quite:
“In Heavy Rain, the player is in control second to second,” says Cage, “he tells the story through is actions. All this is done in a very fluid, seamless way, with no cut scenes, no big flashing sign to make decisions, and this is what makes the game really unique.”
“Heavy Rain is not a videogame anymore in my mind because it breaks with most of the traditional paradigms, but it’s fully interactive. If the format becomes successful, we will probably have to find a different name for this type of experience.”
I have no problem with Cage and his developers shouting their accomplishments and championing their title because of everything new it brings to the world of videogames. But distancing it from the medium sounds a little conceited. Heavy Rain sounds awesome, looks beautiful and has the ability to make even the seemingly mundane tasks appear fun all while delivering a engrossing story. Is it a videogame? Well that depends on where the lines of games and interactive experiences cross. Is it an interactive experience? Well that depends on whether David Cage feels such a phrase is fitting.