Not everyone is a fan of the Quantic Dream games. Many criticise them for incoherent storylines and bad characters, along with limited interactivity and too many quick-time events (QTEs); and founder David Cage is often called out for being a poor writer who’d rather make a move than a video game.
Personally though, I love their games and have eagerly awaited their releases ever since playing Fahrenheit in 2005. Heavy Rain was an interactive drama that turned out to be an exhilarating experience and I was immediately sucked into Jodie and Aiden’s world in Beyond: Two Souls. I’ve not yet played Quantic Dream’s first title, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, but it’s on my wishlist and I’ll hopefully tick it off very soon.
Later Levels (@LaterLevels) September 21, 2017
That’s why Detroit: Become Human was the initial game added to my to-play list when I found out what was going to be exhibited at this year’s EGX event. After dragging my other-half through the doors of the Birmingham NEC and telling him we could do whatever he wanted afterwards, we made our way through the hall and joined an hour-long queue of people eager to get their hands on the title.
I’d thought that perhaps the Detroit stand would simply consist of a presentation behind a screen – as seemed to be favoured by the bigger developers at last year’s show – but I needn’t have worried. Attendees were able to get their hands on the demo displayed at E3 back in June and it was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. Sorry about the capitals but yes, I was that excited about it.
Set in the near future where androids have been invented and are changing the fabric of society, the plot centres around three characters. Kara escapes the factory where she was made to explore her newfound sentience; Connor is responsible for hunting down deviant androids like her; and Markus devotes himself to releasing other machines from servitude. Quantic Dream’s website explains that the game focuses on what it means to be human, and what it would be like to ‘be in the shoes of a machine discovering our world and their own emotions’.
The demo gave us the opportunity to play as Connor as he enters a hostage negotiation scene where young Emma has been taken by a deviant android named Daniel. He now has hold of her on the ledge of her family’s apartment building and has already caused several casualties; and it’s up to you to prevent the situation from escalating and save the girl’s life. However, her mother isn’t too pleased that a machine was sent instead of a human.
As with the developer’s releases, every choice counts. If you choose to try and understand what happened by examining the apartment, a number representing your chance of success increases. For example, looking at a saucepan boiling over in the kitchen reveals that the family were just about to sit down to dinner; and investigating music coming from headphones in Emma’s bedroom shows that she didn’t hear her kidnapper’s gunfire.
You can also examine certain clues more closely to create reconstructions. If you take a look at the android’s victims, you’ll sadly come across Emma’s father John who appears to have been shot. Analysing his body enables you to rewind time and discover that he was holding something when he was attacked – and the nearby tablet he dropped displays an advert for a new android, possibly Daniel’s replacement.
I’m pleased to say I managed to save Emma during my playthrough of the demo but unfortunately the android wasn’t so lucky. I made Connor rush forward to pull her to safety as Daniel’s prepared to jump – although this also saw me hurtling over side of the building with him. The player next to me reached a different ending whereby the kidnapper released the girl but was then shot by a sniper, causing him to accuse Connor of being a liar.
There’s no official release date for Detroit: Become Human although it’s looking as though the game will be published next year. I really hope so, because I can’t want to get my hands on this one.