Detroit: Become Human (2016) – Kara and our Quantic Dreams

It’s been a while since I did Tuesday’s Trailer. However, this isn’t just any trailer…

As you probably know I’ve always been an advocate of videogames as a cultural medium, and I firmly believe that we’re approaching a point where stories can actually be told better (or at least with more depth) through the interactive world of gaming. Which brings us nicely onto today’s trailer – Detroit: Become Human.

detroit_become_human

Bleh. A videogame? Who cares? Well it turns out that this could be a big deal not just in gaming, but in cinema too.

Here’s why you should pay attention to this…

Quantic Dream (who make this game) are a French videogame developer and motion capture company, supplying services for both the videogame and film industries. They’ve made their own engine for videogame production, and as such their games have lifelike qualities few others could ever match. Formed in the late 1990’s, they are arguably the leaders in blurring the lines between videogame and cinema. In 2005 they released their first game, Fahrenheit, for PS2 and Xbox (known as Indigo Prophecy in NA). They called it the first truly ‘interactive film’ and it won multiple awards.

heavy_rain_cover_artThen in 2010 they released their most famous work, Heavy Rain. A game along the same lines as its predacessor in that it’s a crime thriller that was simply interacted with, not necessarily ‘played’. In Heavy Rain, four different protagonists got intertwined in the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial killer who used heavy downpours to drown his victims. Released for the PS3, it’s still regarded as one of the most graphically advanced videogames ever made. It looked good enough to win multiple game of the year awards, and the story was good enough that a film adaptation is supposedly in development. Heavy Rain is still regarded as one of the best and most important games ever released on the PS3.

beyond_two_souls_final_coverQuantic Dream are hugely respected in both the videogame and film industries. To blur the line even more, in 2013 they released Beyond: Two Souls, annother interactive game this time starring mainstream actors Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe and featuring music composed by Hans Zimmer (Inception). The game even premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Every game they’ve made since 2000 has been a success, and has always pushed the boundaries as to what can be achieved in videogaming.

But a year before Two Souls, they released a short film called Kara, in which a newly built android discovers the ability to think. This was seemingly a simple tech demo to show what they could achieve on PS3 consoles and was quickly forgotten about.

Now she’s back. Quantic Dream are back.

Having led the line on the older consoles, Detroit: Become Human is their first time on the new advanced tech of the PS4. Not much is known, and there’s no release date for this title, but it’s fair to say this could be a big deal.

Set in a futuristic Detroit, Kara is the latest form of commercial android, and one of the first with artificial consciousness. The story follows her journey through a world in which most of her fellow androids are still without consciousness, as she struggles to find her place.

This sounds really exciting, both as a feat of videogaming and as a gunuinely interesting concept.  Even if you don’t have an interest in videogaming it’s worth keeping an eye on this and Quantic Dream, as it’ll be very interesting to see where they actually take their work – particuarly with the emergence of VR technology on the horizon…

Are you excited for Detroit: Become Human? Do you believe that videogames allow writers and artists to tell stories in a much more personal way, or will there never be a substitute for the strap-in-and-ride style of cinema?  Let me know what you think in the comments below and hit us up on Twitter @culturecove.

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