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Heavy Rain Gameplay Explained

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the stormy-weather dept.

PlayStation (Games) 56

David Cage, writer and director of Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain, has released a lengthy video of an entire level from the game, along with detailed commentary about how the game works. He demonstrates how to operate the UI, showing how contextual menus let you control actions, dialog, and even your character's thoughts, while also showcasing how the game's investigatory system works and even a few fighting-related quick-time events. 1Up recently spoke with Cage about his time in the games industry, including his previous work on Indigo Prophecy. They also did a Heavy Rain preview of their own, and spoke briefly about post-launch plans. The game is due out next year for the PS3.

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ps3 exclusive (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 5 years ago | (#28220871)

Don't see too many ps3 exclusives these days.

Re:ps3 exclusive (3, Interesting)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28220963)

Would someone please enlighten me - what is the rationale behind making platform-exclusive games? Isn't it logical to think that they'd make more money did they release the game for multiple platforms? Or do they just expect that everyone has every console out there plus a PC?

Re:ps3 exclusive (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28221071)

Working with Company X on an exclusive title will net you buddy-buddy status. This will open up an entire level of programming & financial support you have no hope of seeing while working on a cross-plat. Additionally, the lessons learned from this support (read: training seminar) can further be carried into other projects that will eventually become cross-platform. Your devs are all the better for it.

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

Etylowy (1283284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221085)

Well.. it does make sense if there is a serious performance difference between platforms. As I don't want to start 'which console is the best' flamewar I'll stick with the previous console generation:

Playstation 2 had way less power than it's direct competitor - Xbox - but was on the market first and had a large share of it. Games were made to look the same on both systems, while they could look better if developer had chosen to allow differences between platforms (and Sony wouldn't agree to that) or not release for that platform.

Re:ps3 exclusive (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221093)

Isn't it logical to think that they'd make more money did they release the game for multiple platforms?

Yes it does, but what you could ask yourself is: is that profit bigger than the cost of developing for multiple platforms.

And in this case, you know they thought "No, it isn't".

And you can safely consider they know their job at least a little. Being pros at it and all that.

So your conclusion could be: "Damn! It is indeed expensive to develop for multiple platforms!" (to be more expensive than the great benefit of releasing in multiple platforms.)

And your next step in reasoning might be, for example: "Is it an unavoidable cost? Or are the platforms forcing a "fake" difference."

But you have many other, less paranoid, paths.

Re:ps3 exclusive (4, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221227)

Plus, if you are really trying to push the boundaries, it is much easier to do so on a single platform. Developing for multiple platform generally means taking the least common denominator approach, doing only what you can do on all platforms and pushing the boundaries on none of them.

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28227047)

And you can safely consider they know their job at least a little. Being pros at it and all that.

Being a pro just means you get paid for it. It doesn't mean you're good at it.

And figuring out whether it's going to be more profitable to develop for one platform or several is a particularly tricky case. The developers mostly don't have a clue about where profits come from, and the accountants mostly don't have a clue about how much effort is involved in cross-platform development. I wouldn't be at all confident that "pros" in this kind of field regularly make the right decisions.

Re:ps3 exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28228043)

No. That is what it originally meant. Professional and Pro have come to mean 2 different things, in most cases.

Re:ps3 exclusive (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221367)

The idea is that a platform exclusive game would be sold together with a console system and controllers as part of a discount deal, or even as a launch title. In return for the developer make the title exclusive to the system, they would get additional technical support in order to demonstrate the advanced features of that system. The idea is that shoppers would see TV adverts, walk past a game store, see a large box with the colorful screenshots of the game and want to buy the game. (Examples are like Combat/Air Sea Battle with the Atari 2600), Sonic the Hedgehog with the Sega system, and Super Mario 64 with the Ultra 64.

If a developer aims to target for a large number of different systems, the time spent on cross-development will usually take away time spent on code optimisation and adding extra detail and features.

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221565)

Don't forget the inherent need for developping skills in programming on multiple devkits, each one with its strong suits and weak spots. What can be done easily on one system may take months of tweaking on the other. This of course requires twice the staff, more if you want to have extra platforms (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii...)

All of this extra development takes that much more man-hours, with no guaranteed returns on the investment if one version flounders for some technical reason (or is just not fun to play and word gets around)

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222137)

1) Exclusives are often also system sellers
2) Developing an exclusive title for 1 system requires less effort and money
3) An exclusive title can make better use of the hardware of the target system, and thus be of higher quality

In case of the PS3 especially #2 and #3 are interesting, because the hardware architecture of the console differs so much from a PC or 360. Porting from 360 or PC to PS3 (like most multiplatform titles) will result in a crappy port (see HL:Orange Box or Fifa 2009, which both have frame rate issues on the PS3 but none on the 360). Developing for PC/360 and PS3 seperately is too expensive.

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222165)

By making a platform exclusive, you don't have to use time and resources to port it to another platform. You also can use that time to really tweak your stuff and optimize it for the strengths of the designated console. Going multi-platform forces you to build to the lowest common denominator. Plus it adds some identity to the consoles themselves, which would be good for the console brands. But from a publisher's standpoint, there's no good reason to do exclusive games since it cuts out a portion of the market share.

Re:ps3 exclusive (2, Interesting)

TikiTDO (759782) | more than 5 years ago | (#28223881)

Each system has its own set of quirks and capabilities. Few will argue if I say that the PS3 has more horsepower under the hood; if you were to create a game that took full advantage of that, it would not likely run all that well on a 360, forcing you to rewrite a good bit of the game. Conversely, the 360 has an significantly different programming environment, which you could take advantage of to do some amazing stuff. So, in a similar vein, porting from native 360 to PS3 would take a very significant time investment.

Beyond that, I would wager that quite a few people really do own both a 360 and a PS3, especially now that they are starting to come down in price. If that is true, they would not lose all that much money. Even if it is not, I imagine Sony would really love to get some exclusives out to move more units, so I wouldn't be too surprised if they offered a good incentive here or there.

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 5 years ago | (#28224629)

Do console companies give money to developers to develop a game only for their console?

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 5 years ago | (#28229369)

***Would someone please enlighten me - what is the rationale behind making platform-exclusive games? Isn't it logical to think that they'd make more money did they release the game for multiple platforms? Or do they just expect that everyone has every console out there plus a PC?***

Yeah, Sony benefit solely from the game if it's popular.
Sony make money from the sale of the game, sale of the licence and sale of the consoles... if it's _really_ popular then it'll encourage the sale of more of their consoles thereby acting as a multiplier of their other games.

The developers get lower cost of coding benefits and they'll be paid a kickback from Sony for being exclusive.

The end users get no real benefit.

Re:ps3 exclusive (3, Informative)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221601)

Actually there are some really incredible PS3 Exclusives coming.

Uncharted 2
God of War 3
Last Guardian (Project TRICO) from Team ICO (best game ever)
Gran Turismo 5
Ratchet and Clank
Heavy Rain
MAG

I'm not overly impressed with MAG, but the rest look absolutely stunning. Last Guardian and Uncharted 2 especially.

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222553)

Last Guardian (Project TRICO) from Team ICO (best game ever)

Almost everything else vanished for me when I saw that. A new game from the creators of Ico and Shadow Of the Colossus? *AND* it's considered to be one big trilogy now? Why, yes, please! :-) The big creature in the trailer even had the perfect combination of cute and creepy.

Re:ps3 exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28224897)

It really did, such an amazing trailer.

I have a feeling this one is going to be a massive tear-jerker at the end. (if it is a prequel)

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28226125)

"A new game from the creators of Ico and Shadow Of the Colossus?"

*what*? Shadow of the Colossus?? They made that? now I'm interested! That game was revolutionary. Incredibly simple but easily the best looking game on the PS2 *and* .... just amazing. No crazy power ups or levels or XP or life meters or power meters or anything, just you and your horse and some 5 story monsters you have to climb up their legs and stab them in the head.

*googles Last Guardian* ..... here's the video [gametrailers.com] . Looks like a perfect sequel to Shadow of the Colossus, can't wait to see that come out.

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28226223)

Yeah, Shadow Of The Colossus shows how line of horn headed boys began- the ones they lock up in the castle in Ico.

Re:ps3 exclusive (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236777)

Shadow of the Colossus was incredible, but their first game ICO was the finest gaming experience i have ever had. It is the first game that transcends the concept of gaming and should be labeled as an interactive emotional experience.

ICO is ridiculously amazing. Team ICO and Fumito Ueda have changed gaming as we know it.

You'll see more on PS3 than 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28222851)

Sure you do. On the other hand, with MS getting rid of most of its in house studios and developer relationships, you won't be seeing a lot of exclusives on the 360.

Just a thought... (1)

Spyware23 (1260322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28220899)

I seriously hope that the graphics aren't there to make up for something bad (like storyline), because it looks absolutely -stunning-. This is, by far, the most beautiful game I've ever seen. Ever.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 5 years ago | (#28220999)

indigo prophecy was a good game with innovative gameplay. the overall story was plain and nothing new, but how you interact with the game was what sold me to it. should be interesting to see how heavy rain compares to indigo prophecy.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221011)

Heavy Rain is made by the same developer that made Indigo Prophecy [wikipedia.org] (aka Fahrenheit). If it's anything like Fahrenheit, it's going to be really good.

Re:Just a thought... (5, Interesting)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221037)

I agree, the graphics are amazing. They did raise a question for me, though.

Should games-graphics attempt to simulate reality, or cinematography? Most seriously graphics-heavy developers seem to have a slightly schizophrenic approach to graphical effects - most especially lighting effects - in that they appear to be striving for reality while simulating cinematography.

A lot of lighting effects seem to be inspired by films - lens-flare, for example - which is great for dazzling entertainment, but drops a layer of abstraction into the immersive simulation by reminding you that you're not there. There's an interesting fuzziness around bright reflections & light-sources in the screenshots here which, while impressive and pretty, look more like something from the silver-screen than the real world. It serves to remind you that it isn't real, which seems at odds with the extraordinary lengths they've gone to in attempting to accurately reproduce realistic environments and facial-modelling.

Again, I think it's gorgeous, but I'll reiterate my question: given the continuous advances in games graphics, what should developers be aiming for? Reality, or cinematography?

Re:Just a thought... (1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221091)

Should games-graphics attempt to simulate reality, or cinematography?

Yes. It's also okay if they look like a cartoon or a whirling cloud of pixels.

You're viewing the world through you-centric goggles.

I'll reiterate my question

Why? It was dumb the first time. If you can sell a certain type of game, it will be made.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221861)

You've missed the point by so much I believe you're just trolling, but I'll help you get it.

The OP wants to know why most games with bloom / lighting effects insist on adding lense-flare to the view when a primary light source is introduced. I don't know about you, but I don't get lense flair on my eyes when I'm looking east / west in the evening / morning.

Saying that, though, I also don't have a decimal readout of my remaining ammo and a crosshair overlayed onto my cornea.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28223169)

Saying that, though, I also don't have a decimal readout of my remaining ammo and a crosshair overlayed onto my cornea.

And there you have it. The lens flare is there simply because someone thought it would look pretty, and because when you look at the sun everything just turns into a big bright blur which is easy on the GPU but which doesn't look all that interesting. Camcorders have had "white out" features since the eighties. (Of course, cameras have had lens flare as long as they've had lenses... but these are procedurally generated lens flares, so they're automatically cooler.) Besides, you've already required the user to suspend disbelief enough to accept a HUD (a term which gaming has brought to the masses) in places where it's not appropriate, so a lens flare is just eye candy.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#28224023)

I don't know about you, but I don't get lense flair on my eyes when I'm looking east / west in the evening / morning.

Well, ever since they just tried to drill to the center of the earth and use red matter to create a black hole, I've had lense flair every direction I look, it wont stop!

Re:Just a thought... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28224627)

Speaking of which, what the hell's up with Project Offset? http://www.projectoffset.com/ [projectoffset.com]

They had some of the best cinematography-style graphics I've ever seen, and that was years ago with per-object motion blur and so on. I only hope it doesn't turn into Project Offset: Forever.

As Cartman would say.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28221411)

Oh god... oh god... I'm so bored!

Video? (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221419)

Is the video not showing up for anyone else, or just me?

Google Chrome (1)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28223071)

I clicked the link in Google chrome and there was no video. I copied the URL to Firefox and the video showed up.

Space Ace 2009 (1, Insightful)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221555)

A whole bunch of times in the video, the narrator is talking about "giving the player the idea that they are in control" when all they are really doing is hitting a button or making a joystick motion when the game asks for it. I remember some other games that were just like this. They came out over 20 years ago. The graphics look great, but honestly, what's the point? This is like watching a movie but having to keep pressing buttons on the remote to "make it" to the next scene.

Re:Space Ace 2009 (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221915)

The difference is that you have the ability to walk around and explore as well as the things you mentioned.

I wonder the same thing. Why not just make it prerendered cutscenes and input commands change clips... but the difference is you can walk around and explore your environment rather than be locked in to a video cut scene.

Basically its a more interactive Dragons Lair. Its not that different but it is an evolution of those kind of games that is more interactive.

Re:Space Ace 2009 (4, Insightful)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221961)

Maybe it is just me, but cutscenes are the worst part of a game. When the whole game is pretty much cutscenes, I'm turned off. When I'm playing a game, I want to play not watch a movie. Forcing you to participate in the cutscenes by pressing buttons at the right time makes this even worse.

Re:Space Ace 2009 (2, Insightful)

paintswithcolour (929954) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222151)

It's not just you, but it's not every gamer either.

It all depends on how you perceive enjoyment from a game. Personally, if the story is tight and engaging but linear I'll happy sit through almost any number of cutscences they throw at me. The idea of an "interactive movie" isn't an instant turn-off, it just has to be a good movie.

The problem with Heavy Rain and its type, is how to attract the right audience. Adventure fans may be drawn in with a story, no matter how conceptually linear, but they'll hate the twitch controls. But an action gamer is going to find the notion of any kind of 'game' here to be severely lacking.

But if they pull off the kind of dynamic storytelling they're promising then they may have something on their hands...

Re:Space Ace 2009 (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 5 years ago | (#28224249)

If you pull off dramatic storytelling in a game where the players is given very little control, how is this a victory? They might as well have just made a movie where they could control every aspect of their narrative.

Re:Space Ace 2009 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231807)

They might as well have just made a movie where they could control every aspect of their narrative.

At which point, doesn't the movie cease being a movie and become an interactive environment, usually termed as "game"?

Re:Space Ace 2009 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28222231)

You probably hate a lot of RPGs, especially the Japanese style of them.

Which isn't bad in itself. I play RPGs to relax when playing. Others prefer more action oriented or just plain involved ways of gaming that test their skill and reactions rather than trying to watch a semi-cinematic experience.

Re:Space Ace 2009 (1)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222577)

Yes, I hated Dreamfall too.

Re:Space Ace 2009 (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28240029)

Maybe it is just me, but cutscenes are the worst part of a game.

Its not a cutscene, its gameplay. Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit was the same thing and it had basically zero moments where you could lay your controller down. Everything was interactive. How course it was for a lot of parts a matter of pushing buttons, but it worked extremely well, because it gave you a much more direct connection to your character, i.e. whenever the character was doing heavy work, you where doing heavy work, whenever the character was balancing, you where balancing. Its of course a less direct way to intact then in your random action game, but in the end its a tradeoff. An action game gives you direct control, but only a very limited amount of possible actions, for most part you are limited to shooting people, which just isn't very useful for storytelling. Games like Indigo Prophecy or Heavy Rain on the other side give you basically a limitless amount of actions, as everything is context sensitive, which allows much better ways to tell a story.

Dragon's Lair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28222621)

Because the game you reference "20 years ago" was wildly popular and still fun today. It's called Dragon's Lair [wikipedia.org] . Hell, they were even selling NEW copies of the game on Laser Disk in 2000, and I personally own the game on CD-ROM still.

However you are right: these types of games are literally "interactive movies," similar to the choose your own adventure books. At least this game doesn't have a linear path in the story similar to Dragon's Lair's limitation. If you made an incorrect move, the game/movie ended. This new game seems to have multiple path's based on the user input.

Re:Space Ace 2009 (1)

heatseeker_around (1246024) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222921)

Apparently the big difference here is that if you miss an action or if you do not click on time on the right button, you fail the current action, which leads to an other set of actions, based on your failures and successes.
It's completely different than 20 years ago. Where have you been ? ^o^

Really? (3, Funny)

jackbird (721605) | more than 5 years ago | (#28221857)

No !Bowfinger tag?

Re:Really? (1)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222013)

Yeah, Chubby Rain was my first thought

Re:Really? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28225005)

"Because when the aliens come down to earth, they come inside raindrops, making the rain chubby. Chubby rain!"

I love that movie. Both Bowfinger and Chubby Rain.

Indigo Prophecy (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222567)

Aside from a really bad ending, Indigo Prophecy was a really good game, with a good story and a few good input ideas. The dance dance rev.-type thingy in the action sequences was mostly annoying, so I hope there's less focus on that in this one.

Character's thoughts (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222753)

"I think I can, I think I can..."

Dragon's Lair? Anyone? (1)

bigdady92 (635263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222779)

Anyone else see this as a rehash of good ole Dragon's Lair? I must be "ancient" in terms of computer game knowledge but we had this back in the 80s and the game was savage as hell. All this talk of "Oh no major game overs, players can die and the story goes on" Is hooie. You need lightning reflexes, perfect time, and coordination of a ninja juggling flying Molotov cocktails balancing on a ball being shot at by assassins.

Longer story, more plot, but in essence same gameplay as 30yrs ago.

Re:Dragon's Lair? Anyone? (1)

lenkyl (1353049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28223535)

that was the first thing i thought of when he demonstrated the reaction based gameplay. if he didn't explicitly state that dying would not end the game i'd be completely turned off. since death doesn't end the game i'm interested to see how they carry the story forward.

Re:Dragon's Lair? Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28223763)

Most games copy other games. The fact that no one has done a game like this in 30 years means that this is long over due. But hey if this isn't your thing there are 2 halos, bioshock and MW2 coming out that are sure to be something completely new. /Sarcasm

It's not a game... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28222963)

It's a movie. And probably not a very good one either.

Dragon's Lair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28226165)

Anyone else reminded of this as far as gameplay goes? Damn, I used to love to watch people play that at Showbiz Pizza when I was like 6...

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