David Cage, the brains behind psychological-thrill fest Heavy Rain, has revealed his surprise but happiness with how well his game has sold. Despite the talks of it redefining storytelling in video games and how Heavy Rain would need its very own genre, Cage and Sony never actually expected it to do so well. In a session at Europe’s GDC (via GamesIndustry.biz) Cage said: “Heavy Rain is a commercial success and that’s not something Sony or Quantic Dream expected, to be honest.”
To date, Heavy Rain has sold around 1.5 million units and over a third of those went in the first two weeks of sale. Cage credits Sony with allowing him to craft a game that he wanted to make and for believing in his vision even when it didn’t look so good – though a certain amount of confidence on his part was needed: “It was a game that came together very late. If I showed you the alpha [build] you would kill the game. It looked ugly. Many publishers would have killed it. The game comes together very late and you need to communicate with your publisher because he doesn’t have any reference.” I’m glad Heavy Rain wasn’t killed because it is one of the best games of 2010, receiving a B+ in my review.
In his best statement yet, Cage appeals for other developers to take these kinds of risks: “Stop making games for kids. Adult is a huge, untapped market – there is almost nothing for adults, I’m not talking about casual or family games. There is a real market based on sophisticated values. See yourself as a creator, not a toy-maker. Ignore the rules.” Bravo. The adult gamer has very quickly been stereotyped as someone who only really enjoys mental development games or the non-game experiences like digital books etc. But like all businesses, a publisher would have to be certain of some kind of return on investment before deviating from the norm. It’s clearly worked for Sony and Quantic Dream though.