David Cage On How You’ll Make Choices in Beyond: Two Souls Without Knowing You’re Making Choices

Game Director David Cage is known for some rather innovative solutions in his games, especially when it comes to narrative, and in the PS3 exclusive Beyond: Two Souls he decided to get rid of the idea of giving players clear prompts when a choice is about to happen, as he described in an interview on the PlayStation Blogcast.

Dealing with actions and consequences I was really interested in seeing how choices could be implied in your actions. How the player could tell the story not through cutscenes, but directly through his actions and his choices. And how these choices could be something else than big flashing signs and “do you want to do this?” “Do you want to do that?” Rather something that you just have to just do what you feel is right, but actually you’re making choices, and these choices will have consequences that will change the course of the story.

One of the many examples we have in the game is that Jodie has a date. There’s a guy that she really likes coming to her apartment for the first time and she knows she has a hour to prepare for this. He’s coming in a hour for dinner.

As the player you can decide to do nothing and just watch TV and explore your apartment and do different things and just wear a very old T-shirt and your apartment is a mess and no meal is prepared. And that’s fine. When the guy will arrive at the door, he will feel a little bit uncomfortable. Nothing is really prepared and maybe you’re not really happy for him to be here and he may leave earlier and maybe the romance won’t happen.

But at the same time, if you decided to wear a sexy dress and to prepare a meal and to create a romantic atmosphere, to clean the apartment… just prepare something… maybe he’ll feel more comfortable. Maybe he’ll say, “ok, I’m glad I’m here.” Maybe he’ll engage in conversation. Maybe something will happen. Maybe or maybe not, because the choice is not binary. It’s not just going to happen or not happen. There are many paths in the story, many things, many ways it could happen.

But all these choices are not binary. It’s not do you want to do this or that, but it’s really like just play the scene and do what you think you want to do and see what happens. What is a little disturbing for some players is that some times they just play the scene and think “Ok, I had the scene as it was designed and it was very linear… I had no choices.” But in fact there were plenty of choices that they made as they played. And it was very funny during the user test sessions to hear people talking about their walkthroughs and saying “did you see this in the scene?” “Oh no I didn’t see it.” Because actually in the game you can see or miss entire parts of a scene just depending on how you play.

So no more visual prompts on the screen¬†for us to stand there and think if we’re making the right choice or the wrong one. We’ll just have to play Jodie’s life and hope for the better, or the worse I guess, depending on what we like. Can’t say it’s not an interesting approach to interactive storytelling. We’ll definitely have to see how it’ll actually play out, but my curiosity is piqued.¬†

Join the Discussion

  • Dexter Morgan

    Awesome, i’m really psyched for this game!

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    Does that mean depending on what we interact with in the environment that changes the course of Jodie’s journey basically?

  • http://www.paulogy.com Paul

    This sounds like the same sort of instant replayability that Heavy Rain had. As soon as I completed a scene a certain way I was itching to go back and try it a different way to see how the outcomes changed

    • NL37

      to right

  • Nicholas Perry

    I wish they would just focus on telling one well told story instead of making a bunch of half assed multiple endings that end up with plot holes or canon confusion.

    • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

      Ikr. It’s like they’re THAT desperate for people to trade in their games just so they get some revenue and feed the kids. Seriously. They’d probably have more money if the story had one ending but perhaps was left up to the player to piece together with their imagination and figure out while only giving some concrete and abstract details, like MGS games or Bioshock Infinite. Not to say the game will be bad then and there but that’s also one of the major reasons I hate multiple endings. I think the game will be good though; David Cage’s approach is a little different this time around so perhaps the choice making won’t be so perplexing like Heavy Rain but still leave it to you to make Jodie do whatever action you see fit in the situation.