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David Cage: “I don’t make games to make money”

Thursday, 2nd May 2013 12:58 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Beyond: Two Souls is more about its writer’s personal journey than Quantic Dream wanting to turn a dime. David Cage speaks to Patrick Garratt in Paris.

“I don’t do work for hire. I don’t make games to make money. I make games by passion, because I want to share something, because I have something to tell.”

David Cage doesn’t want your money. The Quantic Dream creative head, currently working on supernatural thriller Beyond: Two Souls, is on a mission to write. He’s doing what he wants to do.

“I put a lot of myself in the games we make,” he said, speaking to VG247 in Paris. “I don’t do work for hire. I don’t make games to make money. I make games by passion, because I want to share something, because I have something to tell.”

You should believe him. It’s a consistent message. David Cage is a passionate man, a person trying to achieve his potential. He’s a fiction writer. He sanctions creative elements classically associated with film and novel narrative; writing ‘what you know’ is a prime example.

“I really feel I became a writer on Heavy Rain,” he said. “Before that I didn’t know what I wanted to say, what I had to talk about. I was just telling stories, borrowing things from different things I’d seen in the past. I really discovered on Heavy Rain that I could talk about myself, and that it was easier to write about things you know, things you experience yourself.”

He “never” considered a Heavy Rain sequel, the obvious financial choice given the original grossed over €100 million. Cage wanted to move on. Sugardaddy Sony didn’t try to coerce the Frenchman into a second game.

“I really thank them for that,” he said.

David Cage

Cage is the founder and CEO of French developer Quantic Dream.

David Cage is a stage name: David De Gruttola is written on his birth certificate.

Quantic Dream, based in Paris, has been responsible for Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain. The studio’s next game – releasing this October for PS3 – will be Beyond: Two Souls.

While Heavy Rain grew from Cage’s experiences as a young father, Beyond: Two Souls sprouted from a sadder seed.

“It was really me being confronted with death. I lost someone I felt close to, and I wanted to write something about that. It’s about changing, it’s about accepting who you are, it’s about confronting your fears. And it’s about what’s after death.”

Beyond is based on a dual mechanic in which the player controls both Jodie and Aiden, her guardian “ghost”. The concept started with the idea of a person who could see an invisible someone. While gameplay is complex – it involves two distinct control methods, fighting, puzzle-solving and conversational interaction – it’s clear Cage’s primary investment is in plot and his personal journey as a writer. Beyond’s narrative leaps around chronologically. This isn’t the sort of thing people make if they want to sell as many copies as possible.

“Many films are really surprising in the way they deconstruct narrative, and I’ve always been impressed by the extra layer it adds to story-telling,” Cage said.

“Suddenly the audience is not just watching and passively looking at the story being told; you need to think, you need invest yourself in the story, and you need to be clever. You need to connect dots. It creates an extra layer of complexity that I really, really enjoyed.”

He added: “You’ll never know what to expect. You don’t know. You can’t tell. Will you be Jodie when she’s an adult, or when she’s a teenager, or when she’s a kid? You don’t know. Will I be homeless? Will I be chased? What will happen to me? There’s no way you can tell. The fact that the game is totally unpredictable is something I really enjoy, and it’s not just unpredictable in story but in terms of what you’re going to do, where you’re going to be, what the context will be. That’s something I found very appealing.”

If you’re still think Cage is in games for the money, take a look at Beyond’s content. The demo we saw in Paris involved a homeless woman giving birth, characters stealing food and street begging. Not shooting bad guys. Cage has always espoused the need to draw emotion from the player, and this has never been more obvious than in Beyond. This is not intended to be a “mass” game. David Cage is trying to make a work of art.

Beyond: Two Souls gameplay, showing off the
relationship between Jodie and Aiden.

“I thought it was really interesting to talk about homeless people from a different angle,” he said, talking specifically of the birth scene.

“I wanted to put you in the shoes of someone living outside and begging and being hungry, needing to find a place to sleep. But at the same time, I didn’t want to have something that would be purely depressing where nothing good can happen, and I thought that having someone who was pregnant would be something very interesting. It gives you a contrast between the difficulty of someone living on the streets and the fact that this cycle keeps happening, that a new life’s coming. That there’s hope.”

Cage is not a cash-in. He’s an artist, or at least he wants to be. He even told me he doesn’t “have the talent” to “lie” in his creations. We’ll see. Anyone can be talented, David. It’s all about doing the work. Every writer knows that.

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31 Comments

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  1. CPC_RedDawn

    “I don’t make games for money”

    I will fix this..

    “I don’t make games for money, but I get paid a five figure salary every year” :)

    #1 12 months ago
  2. Dragon246

    “Sugardaddy Sony didn’t try to coerce the Frenchwoman into a second game.”

    Fixed :D

    Btw, I am waiting to hear brilliantly thought out one-linerremarks about how Cage is a “Peter Molyneux”, his games suck, I don’t play movies, he doesn’t make games, he makes CG bullshit, a failed movie director, its not art and so on.
    Incidentally, most of them like playing 100 shooters and 25 year old re-releases again and again. Not that its bad though :D

    Also, is anyone else getting “Congratulations! This is a test campaign” message at the start of comments section?

    #2 12 months ago
  3. Patrick Garratt

    @2 – Heh. I think the sales chaps are just trying out a new ad “thing”. I’m sure they’ll fix it quickly.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. TheBlackHole

    @1 five figures? are you kidding?

    Six figures for the CEO.

    Also, this guy is an egomaniac. He’s not bothered about money because he owns a studio worth millions, and he gets to socialise with hollywood stars, who he gets to direct like he’s a legitimate big shot.

    Not a fan of him or his games. Nice graphics, no substance.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. Beta

    I rather enjoy Cage’s style of game making. It’s different and I’m looking forward to Beyond :)

    #5 12 months ago
  6. redwood

    i have respect for him.. but this is the opposite of cliffy telling us to suck it up over EA going mental with IAPs… so a little moderation would do everyone alot good.. I have respect for him and his games though

    #6 12 months ago
  7. TheBlackHole

    Also, I love how the only positive thing you said about this during the commentary Pat, was ‘good flames’ :)

    Epic.

    #7 12 months ago
  8. lubu

    wow he talks alot and every day

    #8 12 months ago
  9. theevilaires

    Cage is SONY’s Peter Molyneux only his games don’t suck. David cage actually achieves his original vision for his games while Peter Molyneux falls short every time with Fable and Milo being the prime examples.

    Cage is becoming a legend in this industry among top ranking devs like Hideo Kojima,Kazunori Yamauchi,and Ted Price. David Cage is a hero because without him PS3′s potential would have never been realized and proven to all the haters out there that this machine is capable of amazing games that blur the line between them and movies. SONY should be so grateful to have this man developing his vision exclusively on their console. But then again his vision can only be realized only on one console.

    #9 12 months ago
  10. polygem

    peter molyneux is a great games designer. sure he had a low recently, but he knows that and i think he really reflected why and how that happened. i think we will see a great return.

    i didn´t enjoy heavy rain at all. so boring.

    idea for a game:

    cage money – the don´t game (a qte,movie”game”)

    #10 12 months ago
  11. theevilaires

    ^ Whats wrong with a game that focuses more on the story than actual gameplay. Sometimes I rather play a game like that and have minimal input. Great change of pace from shooters that plague this current gen.

    #11 12 months ago
  12. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    Cage makes pretty games (but not good ones), but he’s a bad, bad, BAD writer who, in any medium in which the story has to stand on its own (films, books) would be considered a joke.

    #12 12 months ago
  13. Kabby

    Pat’s alive? Holy shit.

    #13 12 months ago
  14. Telepathic.Geometry

    I loved Heavy Rain, and I’m planning to play it again sometime soon. I have had Beyond pre-ordered since Day Zero. For me, the most important thing for a game to do is to be unexpected or different or fresh, and Cage can at the very least do that. Credit where credit’s due…

    #14 12 months ago
  15. Da Man

    Some of you folks need help.. And friends.

    #15 12 months ago
  16. spazzwan

    @9 Dont forget Naughty Dog’s contributions, I personally think the Uncharted series is a better example of the PS3′s capabilities. Having said that I still agree with most of what you are saying, I just dont agree with “David Cage is a hero because without him…”.

    #16 12 months ago
  17. Lengendaryboss

    @13
    Sorry if this might sound rude, but who exactly is Pat? i haven’t seen his presence here as much as the other staff but then again i haven’t been here too long some other users.

    #17 12 months ago
  18. Gheritt White

    ^LOL

    @15: Hear, hear.

    #18 12 months ago
  19. polygem

    @LB: he just runs this place that´s all :)
    @tea: sure….that game just wasn´t for me, cannot say why but it never got me hooked. i will play beyond for sure (not at release) but for now i am not feeling it. like i said somewhere else: i still think it is great that the playstation has all these games, because, like you said, variety is very important and this is indeed where sony is great at.

    #19 12 months ago
  20. Lengendaryboss

    @19
    It there some sort of inside joke i am not aware of?
    @20
    Oh. well thanks for the response.

    #20 12 months ago
  21. Gheritt White

    @21: Loads, probably.

    #21 12 months ago
  22. Lengendaryboss

    @22
    Not even going to look deeply into that.

    #22 12 months ago
  23. Richenbaum

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

    #23 12 months ago
  24. TheBlackHole

    “Whats wrong with a game that focuses more on the story than actual gameplay”

    Because it’s a GAME, and without good GAMEPLAY it’s just a boring ‘choose your own adventure’ with QTEs.

    #24 12 months ago
  25. nikk900

    I personally loved Heavy Rain and I can’t wait for Beyond. I respect David and admire him for his passion. Love him or hate him, at least his games are an escape from all the shooters and bland games we have today.

    #25 12 months ago
  26. theevilaires

    @25 Its a different change of pace for a game. I’m sorry I’m a trophy whore and I play every genre. I don’t see that much difference between a RPG like Final Fantasy and a game like Beyond besides the level up system and wait time to input certain commands. They’re both still heavily story based games.

    Games like Beyond and Heavy Rain are needed in this industry. They help bridge the gap and David Cage is the man to go to if you want that kind of job done….not Peter Molyneux.

    #26 12 months ago
  27. Clupula

    Loved Heavy Rain and am super excited for Beyond.

    Actually, thinking about it, I even liked Omikron on the Dreamcast.

    #27 12 months ago
  28. Mjorh

    Two Thumbs Up!

    #28 12 months ago
  29. Agt_Pendergast

    I liked some of the individual moments in Heavy Rain, but I feel like what they added up to was not that great. Also, the voice acting could get really bad in parts, and in a story focused game, that’s a big detriment for me. Beyond seems to have a pretty good cast, so I’m interested, hopefully Cage has improved his writing.

    #29 12 months ago
  30. sh4dow

    Well… it’s easy to say you’re not in something for the money when you don’t have to worry about making a living. Hell, I would do all kinds of things just out of pure passion if it just so happened to make me enough money to live off of it.

    And for everybody like him who actually gets to say that he doesn’t make games to make money, there are probably 100 other people who don’t even get to say that because their games actually don’t make money.

    #30 12 months ago
  31. Malmer

    Can’t wait for this game. Heavy rain was great, even though it had some plot holes. I expect this one to be among my top games this year. Now if only he made a full game out of the amazing Kara demo.

    #31 12 months ago