Quantic Dream’s David Cage Talks About His Games, His Career and the PS4: It Allows to “Go Even Further”

on January 4, 2015 2:43 PM

Here’s a piece of history: Back in 2013, just a couple scant days after the reveal of the PS4, Quantic Dream Creative Director David Cage spoke at a Masterclass in Paris, hosted by the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie.

Unfortunately the video (which you can see here) was only in French. Luckily now, two years after, NeoGAF user ComputerMKII provided a full translation in English, and it includes a lot of interesting information on Cage, his career, and even his opinion on the PS4.

Cage went over the fact that Sony allowed developers, including Quantic Dream, to give early feedback on the consoles and showcases the now famous “old man face” tech demo, that then turned into the lovely The Dark Sorcerer, and explained that with the PS4 it will be possible to go even further in the display of human emotions compared to what the studio has done with Beyond: Two Souls.

Interestingly, he clarified that there’s no strict connection between the ability to display emotions and the number of polygons displayed on screen. Many film masterpieces were in black and white, in low resolution and didn’t even have voice. Yet we can’t say that when color and voice arrived, they didn’t have any impact on what could be done. All of a sudden creators were able to craft emotional experiences. Not more emotional, but differently. They could create subtler stories thanks to the presence of voice, or that allowed to feel emotion in people’s eyes. Immersion was also facilitated by the absence of the text cards.

All I’m saying is that the evolution of technology allows us to do things we couldn’t do before, which were rather complicated to do before. We don’t need more polygons to make more emotion – we all agree on that- But we can make other things, more simply, and -I think- with more nuance and more subtlety, definitely. That’s a totally subjective opinion. I’m not trying to sell it to anybody. I’ve tried to show the image and we’ve seen it, through… Well, I was able to do some things with Nomad Soul, but with the graphical quality of the time. And had I been better back then, I would have made a better game, with the technology of the time, but when you see what we’re doing, today, with the old man demo, well, you see. Today we can easily make things that will be strong, impacting, emotional, different.

Check out the full translation below:

Summary:

  • [Introduction]
  • [Childhood]
  • [Becoming a musician]
  • [Origin of the David Cage pseudonym]
  • [Working on video game music]
  • [Founding Quantic Dream]
  • [Making Omikron – The Nomad Soul and working with Eidos]
  • [Working with David Bowie on The Nomad Soul]
  • [Cage’s opinion on The Nomad Soul]
  • [Making Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy]
  • [Fahrenheit’s influence on Heavy Rain]
  • [On episodic content]
  • [On choice, consequence, and contextual actions]
  • [On a David Cage’s virtual appearance in Fahrenheit]
  • [Heavy Rain and tribute to composer Normand Corbeil]
  • [Cage’s opinion of Fahrenheit]
  • [Impact of Fahrenheit on Quantic Dream’s relationship with the industry]
  • [On The Casting demo and catching Sony’s attention]
  • [On writing Heavy Rain]
  • [The importance of eye modeling]
  • [Player choice and the father-son relationship in Heavy Rain]
  • [On Beyond: Two Souls]
  • [Working with Ellen Page on Beyond]
  • [On removing QTEs for Beyond]
  • [On playing multiple roles in a the same company]
  • [“The industry will die if it doesn’t innovate”]
  • [Opinions on the PlayStation 4]
  • [Start of the Q&A session – What is Beyond about?]
  • [On which emotions to transmit]
  • [On letting players express themselves differently]
  • [On letting players tell their own stories]
  • [On augmented reality, multiple sreens and defining 3.0 gaming]
  • [Public reception of The Walking Dead vs. Public reception of Heavy Rain]
  • [Origin of the name Quantic Dream and opinions on machinima]
  • [Opinions on the role of cutscenes]
  • [“Are videogames art ?” and using neuroscience to trigger emotions]
  • [Creating emotion through higher graphic fidelity?]
  • [Practical advice to young video game creators]
  • [Status of the Heavy Rain movie adaptation]
  • [Laughter as an emotion]
  • [On transmedia experiences]
  • [Why David Cage isn’t making movies]
  • [Mistakes on Nomad Soul and saying goodbye to science fiction]
  • [The specific language and codes of video games]
  • [On UGC (User-Generated Content)]
  • [End of the Q&A session, thanks and final words by David Cage]

[Introduction]

Interviewer: Good evening everyone, welcome to this first video game masterclass. Good evening.

Interviewer: We’re very very happy to welcome you tonight in this wonderful auditorium of the Cité des Sciences. The Video Game masterclass was designed by the Cité des Sciences and Jeux Vidéo Magazine as an event that would allow you to review the career, the path and the vision of a great video game creator. An event placed under the sign of exchange and friendliness. This meeting also prefigures the future Cité du Jeu Vidéo, which will open right here at the Cité des Sciences, in October 2013.

Interviewer: You know that tonight, we’ll receive a guest with an exceptional career – the founder of Quantic Dream. He’s directed the games Nomad Soul, Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain, and -very soon- Beyond: Two Souls. Game after game he tries to develop his own vision, to go his own way, with one end goal: creating emotion in the player. I keep speaking but I think you all know who I’m talking about, who we’re about to receive tonight. So rather than pretty speeches, let the images talk.

Video: [Trailer of Beyond: Two Souls]

Interviewer: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome David Cage!

Interviewer: Good evening, David. How are you? I took the liberty of inviting a few friends, we thought…

David Cage: You did well.

Interviewer: …that, between us…

David Cage: Of course!

Interviewer: We have a few friends, here. How are you ? Well… A bit tired, right?

David Cage: I came from New York this morning – eight hours and a half, so…

Interviewer: David was at a small conference, some unimportant thing, I think…

David Cage: Yeah, some small folk event in New York… It’s peanuts…

Interviewer: Please have a sit over there, David.

Interviewer: So, the idea is that, together, we’ll review David’s career in one big first part. Then, we’ll answer your questions in a second part.

[Childhood]

Interviewer: Every story has its beginning, David.

David Cage: Hmm hmm.

Interviewer: So let’s talk about your first steps.

David Cage: Yeah…

Interviewer: The youth…

Interviewer: You were born in Mulhouse (eastern France)…

David Cage: Hmm hmm.

Interviewer: What kind of child were you?

David Cage: What kind of child I was?

Interviewer: Ah, yes!

David Cage: It starts strong.

Interviewer: Yes, I’m not here to joke around.

David Cage: We’re at top speed!

David Cage: So yeah, I was a cute little boy…

Interviewer: I’d like to point out that David was kind enough to give us all his personal pictures, so be lenient.

David Cage: Yes, no mocking, please. Alright…

David Cage: What small boy I was? I had a very happy childhood. I didn’t suffer, I didn’t get beaten, nothing like that. I had hair – oh, come on!
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: And I was a rather rational boy, yet rather dreamy at the same time.

Interviewer: Alright.

David Cage: So yeah, I did… yeah. Little boy…

Interviewer: Did you start music very at a very early age?

David Cage: I started music at a very early age. I started music when I was five.

Interviewer: Yeah.

David Cage: Hmm… piano.

Interviewer: Alright.

David Cage: …classical piano.

David Cage: And… that’s it. I struggled a lot…
[The screen shows a a picture of a young David Cage]

David Cage: Oh come on, hush.

Interviewer: Ah, oh, come on, we’re just getting started!

David Cage: So, in this picture, I’m thirteen.

Interviewer: OK.

Interviewer: A bit earlier, backstage, I thought: “How hold were you in that picture, with the glasses? Eighteen? Nineteen?”

David Cage: No, no, I’m thirteen. I’m thirteen and I’m in Canada. Actually. I’m [unintelligible] Sherbrooke. It’s my first time being on vacation on my own.

Interviewer: At that point in time, in your life, did you see yourself as a musician or were you already sensitive to the universe of video games, cinema and all that?

David Cage: No. When I was young I saw myself as an astronaut…

Interviewer: [laughing]

David Cage: …or… I was very interested in history, too.

Interviewer: Yeah. Alright.

[Becoming a musician]

David Cage: Actually, I fell in love with music rather late. I started music when I was five but I really started appreciating music around the age or twelve or thirteen. Back then, I studied classical piano. So, at the age of twelve or thirteen, I fell madly in love with music, somehow, and I said to myself: “That’s what I want to do in life.” And that’s the part I’m interested in.

Interviewer: Yes. Because -precisely- as a young adult you created your production company, “Totem Productions.”

David Cage: Yes. I’m not going into the details but, when I was fourteen or fifteen, I started working in music. What it means is that, beside my studies -of course- I started having an interest in computers and samplers, back then. That’s how I started working for clients – people from the Mulhouse area. I was at the border between Germany and Switzerland and I started working for those people, writing music for them, doing arrangements, doing choruses -I was also a singer- and…

Interviewer: Did you move to Paris…?

David Cage: No, back then I was still in the Alsace region. I worked in Alsace for several years and, since the age of sixteen I started having my clients work with me in big parisian studios.

Interviewer: Alright.

David Cage: Strangely enough, at the boulevard Davout, there’s a very big studio called Studio Davout, which now faces Quantic Dream. What a curious ellipsis.

[Origin of the David Cage pseudonym]

Interviewer: I think that’s when you’ve decided to work under a pseudonym. Because David Cage is not your real name.

David Cage: No, it’s not. My name is David de Gruttola.

Interviewer: Alright. So why a pseudonym, David? Because some people may be asking themselves this question.

David Cage: The pseudonym arrived much later, actually.

Interviewer: Really?

David Cage: It really arrived when I started working in video games.

Interviewer: Wait, who wrote my index cards, again?

David Cage: [laughing]

Interviewer: Alright, sorry.

David Cage: It arrived much later, when I started working in video games. In that era, I started picking up my phone to call English or American publishers. I would say to them: “So, I’d like an appointment” and I begin by saying “Hello, my name is David de Gruttola” and, generally, they replied “Bless you!”

Interviewer: [laughing]

David Cage: That’s when I thought: “I have to do something, it can’t go on like this”, and there you go. I was looking for a simpler name which could be remembered -and not mangled- by the people I spoke to.

Interviewer: Alright.

David Cage: And I failed because people often called me Nicolas Cage, at first…
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: …desperate, I…

Interviewer: So it wasn’t you.

David Cage: No.

Interviewer: Too bad, because I wanted to talk to you about Hell Rider [Ghost Rider] and…

David Cage: Oh, damn.

Interviewer: No, OK…

[Working on video game music]

Interviewer: So, back then, you worked on video game tunes, some… unforgettable…

David Cage: Yes…

Interviewer: I’m gonna name a few of them.

David Cage: Well… We have to make the link…

Interviewer: Ah yes, sorry.

David Cage: So, I left Mulhouse and came to Paris because I made a deal with a record label. I worked in the music industry with a few friend so I made a deal with the company and I came to Paris. With the small sums we had earned – we had been working since we were fourteen so we had saved some money and, since we were living with our parents we didn’t have money to spend, except on our instruments. I bought a small studio called Totem, located in the Montparnasse area and I started working for clients. I started working in the video game industry as a composer, an arranger, and voilà.

Interviewer: May I name names?

David Cage: Is it really necessary? [laughing]

Interviewer: Yes, unfortunately. So, you worked on the music of video game Super Dany, in 94. Cheese Cat-Astrophe Starring Speedy Gonzales in 95…

David Cage: That’s the pinnacle of my career.

Interviewer: Yes… We’ll return to this point later! You know!

Interviewer: Timecop, in 95. Hardline in 97. By the way, I know it’s gonna sting a little, but we’re going to listen to an excerpt from the OST of Cheese Cat-Astrophe…

Interviewer: It’s gonna be fine.

David Cage: [sigh] Or not.
[The music from Cheese Cat-Astrophe plays]

Interviewer: Let’s play the entire thing… It’s three hours long.
[The music from Cheese Cat-Astrophe stops playing]

David Cage: Well, I’m sorry.

Interviewer: Cheese Cat-Astrophe… Well, it’s interesting because it makes you see, somehow, how far you’ve come.

David Cage: [laughing]

Interviewer: There are students here. They’ll be glad to think that…

David Cage: That’s gonna give everyone some hope, yeah.

Interviewer: Yes.

David Cage: You can start from the very bottom, and…

Interviewer: So let’s talk about…

David Cage: Just a word, because…

Interviewer: Yes, go ahead, feel free to bounce back on this.

David Cage: I’m bouncing back – “bing !” – Hmm… I was with Cryo, at the time. I had my studio in the Montparnasse area, I had called a lot of publishers and Cryo was the first one which gave me my chance as a composer. What’s interesting about that kind of thing is that -back then- there was no recorded music as we know now. I have a vivid memory of Rémi Herbulot giving me a Sega Genesis with some sort of printed circuit board attached to it, which was the dev kit thingy they cobbled together. He told me: “There it is, that’s what you’re making music with” and I’m like: “But… erm…” “How am I supposed to do it?” He told me: “It’s not hard, there’s an FM synthesizer, you program your sound, then you program your sequences and that’s it.” [silence]

Interviewer: Alright.
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: “OK.”

Interviewer: “Let’s do that.”

David Cage: So I end up thinking: “It’s Mexican so I’m gonna need some maracas, some double bass, some so-and-so…”

Interviewer: Creating a musical universe.

David Cage: Exactly. Through a FM synthesizer. It was one hell of a school, all things considered. You learn stuff and you end up with… that.

[Founding Quantic Dream]

Interviewer: In 97, you decide to create your own development studio called Quantic Dream, I think.

David Cage: Yes, absolutely.

Interviewer: How did you reach that point? I mean, you’re making those video game tunes, you’re immersed in this universe, you work with Cryo, etc. Why the idea of creating your own studio?

David Cage: Everything was going well. I had been working in music for five years. I was working for Cryo but I worked with Virgin, too, I worked for commercials, for TV series, I did different things so I made music for everyone who needed music. I worked with a record company, too, back then. I worked with different artists whom I produced and arranged. I did different things left and right, so I had an interesting life. I made a decent living, back then, and I was autonomous. It was my business, etc. When I worked with Cryo I made some friends there, people I got along with. I wrote a little, as a hobby, and I was an early fan of games. I really was born with an Oric 1 computer. Then, I played the Amstrad, the Atari, the Amiga… I played everything that came out. The SNES, the NES, etc. One day, I thought : “Hey, I’m gonna try to write the kind of video game I’d love to play.”

Interviewer: Alright.

David Cage: So I wrote a scenario with the naïve idea -at the time- which was : “I just have to create a city. The other guys are stupid, why do they not do it? I just have to create a city, then there will be a crowd, and it’ll be science fiction, and you’d be able to go wherever you want, whenever you want, and you’d be able to enter all buildings, and there’d be vehicles outside, and you could fight, and…” OK… Nonsense!

Interviewer: [chuckles]

David Cage: So I showed that to my friends, who were programmers and worked on Cryo games. They told me: “You’re crazy as hell! Don’t you realize? Your thing cannot be made, it’s…” It was an era when 3D was barely coming out, it was the really early days. By constantly telling me it was impossible, they managed to convince me that it was what I wanted to do, and that’s how it started. We started working at nights, after several hours in the office and after my daytime hours making music. We worked at night to try and build a prototype. There was no company yet, no Quantic Dream. There was no employee, nothing at all.

Interviewer: It’s not the machinery to set up at all [unintelligible]

David Cage: I knew nothing at all…

Interviewer: Yeah.

David Cage: I mean, I don’t have a background in programming. I was just a guy who had ideas, that’s it. And who had friends. So to speak… I managed to convince them of trying. We built a prototype on PlayStation 1, which -at the time- was a real achievement. I think we built one of the first PlayStation 1 demos of the time, and we went to show it to some publishers. We had a character who moved around and ran in a city. That was certainly something. It was a real achievement, back then. We went to show it to different publishers and the different publishers said: “Yeah, yeah, not bad, not bad… It’s not bad but, you know, the PlayStation is a fad, it will go away…

Interviewer: Personally, I don’t believe in this console.

David Cage: Me neither. I think it won’t succeed.

Interviewer: And don’t get me started on the name…

David Cage: Yeah. Nonsense. Yeah, yeah.

David Cage: So -true story- but then I go to the US, carrying my PlayStation around. It was the time when you had to open it, hold the button, switch CDs at the same time… Well. It was the heyday. So, we arrived, we visited all the American publishers and everybody told us: “No, the PlayStation is a fad. Honestly, make PC stuff. That’s something solid. People will still talk about it in ten years. Really, forget about the PlayStation.” So we come back, completely demoralized, depressed, etc. We think: “Well, let’s make a PC demo.” And, at this moment, I have another thought, which is : “Working again on a demo at nights is really tiresome. It’s exhausting. It takes a lot of time, I don’t want this”, so… One day, I gather all my friends in a corner and I tell them: “Listen, I’ve earned a bit of money with music so what I’m offering you is a pay. I have enough money to pay a small team for six months. Let’s give ourselves six months, full-time, working our asses off, with a five or six-man team. I have one available studio. In my sound studio I had two cabins and one of them is now available. I’m gonna buy PCs, I’m gonna buy desks, I’m gonna pay you for six months and we’re gonna work our asses off for six months. After six months, we either have a prototytpe and -bingo- we sell it, we start a company, and it’s great, or we don’t have a prototype, we stop everything and everybody goes back to what they were doing before.

Interviewer: Alright.

David Cage: Some of them accepted. Some of them declined.

Interviewer: Alright. And that’s how we come to…

David Cage: Those who declined were like: “No -you know- it’s risky. You know, we have a job at Cryo. And, after all, Cryo is a safe position.”
Audience
[laughing]

Interviewer: “Cryo, after all, it’s a safe position”. You bet it is…
Audience
[laughter intensifies]

Interviewer: You met some great visionaries, actually, at the time.

David Cage: It was very hard to be a visionary because you’re in such an unpredictable industry. At the time, it was common sense to say : “But Cryo’s stocks are booming…”

Interviewer: They were booming.

David Cage: “…what are you talking about?” We were creating a company and the word “start-up” didn’t even exist yet. You need to know which era we’re talking about. Starting a company was nonsense. More importantly, you had a one in ten thousand chance for it to work after your six months. That’s it. But… yeah, yeah. That’s a real memory of mine: “No, you know, Cryo means safety, we’d rather stay…”

[Making Omikron – The Nomad Soul and working with Eidos]

Interviewer: That’s how we arrive to Nomad Soul -Omikron…

David Cage: Yes!

Interviewer: In 99…

David Cage: That’s it. So, right between the two [laughs]

Interviewer: Oh, sorry!

David Cage: What happens between the two? We work our asses off for six months with those who accepted to take the risk. We really worked like crazy, locked up in a sound studio. In a soundproof sound studio, the walls are really thick. There are two doors made out of lead at the entrance and when you talk, the voice is completely muffled so you have to yell so other people can hear you. It’s a sound studio. So we’re five people, locked up in fifteen square meters for six months and we work twelve, fifteen hours a day. We’re there on weekends if needed, because everyone remembered that everyone would go back to square one if we didn’t have something after six months. And after six months, by God knows what miracle, we developed a 3D engine from scratch, on PC. We discovered 3D cards. We got the very first prototypes – I think it was ATI who did that. The very first 3D cards… 3dfx! It’s 3dfx who sent us the first 3D cards. We learn to use them, we develop the thing and we end up with a prototype. We partner with a motion capture company -already, back then- which gives us motion capture for free. When the six months are over, we end up with a guy, running around in a city, with passers-by. I think it was the first example of facial motion capture in the history of video games. I think we really were the first people to do it, like that. It was completely experimental. And you were totally free to run around in a city. So that’s when we thought: “OK, great, we have this. What do we do now?” And I think: “Well…” Back then, there was no Internet. It was the last century. It was an era when there was no Internet, so… How do we find publishers? We call the directory assistance.

Interviewer: [chuckles]

David Cage: Yeah, I know, it seems like such nonsense. It wasn’t in the Middle Ages. It was in the last century indeed. So we call the directory assistance: “Hello, I’d like the phone number of… Warner, Virgin interactive…”, all the people who were there during this era. I picked up my phone, talked in my bad English -it was even worse than it is today- I called the switchboard and I said: “Hello, I’m French and I have a demo to show you. I’m in London next week and -could you receive me?” It doesn’t work like that anymore, in case you were thinking “Let’s do the same thing”. No, it doesn’t work like that anymore. But back then, it was possible. So you picked out your phone, you asked for an appointment and you had one. So I went all around London with a PC under my arm. It was a desktop tower. That’s what it was like, back then.

Interviewer: Heavier than a PlayStation.

David Cage: Yeah, it was heavier than a PlayStation. So we met all the publishers, we showed our demo and something incredible happened: I met someone from Eidos Interactive -they were going at full speed, back then. They were the guys who made Tomb Raider -obviously-, the first one. It was a big hit. They were buying people, moving house, it was crazy. So, I met a guy. He saw my demo, fell off his chair and said: “It’s great, let’s sign a contract.” – “What do you mean, let’s sign a contract?” – “No, no, we sign a contract, don’t worry, when do you go back to Paris ?” – “I was about to go, actually…” – “No, no, you’re not going back to Paris, you’re staying tonight…”
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: “Well…” I said: “But… a contract… I have to show it to…” – “No, no, you [unintelligible] a lawyer…” – “But I need to have it translated into French..” – “No, no, don’t worry, we’re gonna have it translated into French.”
Audience
[laughing]

Interviewer: What an environment of trust.

David Cage: Yeah, I told him: “But you want to talk money…” – “No, no, it’s OK, tell me what you want and you’ll have it.” [silence] It doesn’t work like that anymore either.
Audience
[laughing]

Interviewer: Too bad!

David Cage: So: “Well, OK then.” And he told me: “OK, listen. You’ll be here tomorrow morning. Our lawyer’s working, he’s preparing your contract, come here tomorrow morning and you’ll have it.” I don’t know, perhaps he was afraid I’d run away or something, so… I walk out, a chauffeur’s waiting for me, takes me to a hotel… a five-star hotel. I had never been in a five-star hotel before. The guy called me into my room and said: “Listen, to you like Arsenal? There’s a French coach at Arsenal -Arsène Wenger-, how about we go see him?” I said: “On TV?” – “No, no, in real life!”
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: “Well, OK.” So he took me to see Arsenal, that night, and voilà. I came back the next morning and he took out a contract. The contract was translated into French and a lawyer and a French translator were there. We talked, we spent the whole morning… I tried to pester him, having him change whatever I could, I doubled the budget, I… whatever. In the end, he came back and said: “OK, look… OK, it’s good. However, you start in one month.” – “What do you mean I start in one month? [he mumbles]” I couldn’t tell him I had no office. I couldn’t tell him I had no team. “Yeah, all right!” so we sign. I sign the contract and -honestly- one of the strongest moments of my short career was when… Obviously, I hadn’t told anybody. My colleagues were waiting for me at the station. I got off the train and I’ll remember all my life the face they had. They were there, waiting for me, looking, and I tried not to go wild with joy as I saw them. I tried to -really- to have a really long face in order to scare the hell out of them!

Interviewer: “We’re screwed, guys!”

David Cage: That’s it. Then we jumped into each other’s arms and we thought: “OK, now we’re in the shit.”
Audience
[laughing]

Interviewer: And that’s how…

David Cage: Definitely.

Interviewer: That’s it.

David Cage: That’s it. The final part of my story is that we had to put Quantic Dream together in one month, because the only condition they demanded was: “OK, you have whatever you want but I want you to start in one month.” So we did start one month later. We found premises -the first premises we could find- we bought desks, we bought chairs, what else? Ah, yeah, computers. Computers… we needed software, etc. We had never done that before! I was coming from the music industry, I… “Network cables”…? Network cables? “You mean everything had to be linked?” – “Yeah, yeah, you’ll see..” So we recruited people, conducted interviews, saw… I don’t know, we must have found those guys cool so we said to them…

Interviewer: “Come on, join us!”
Audience
[laughing]

Interviewer: “Come on, take your place there!”

David Cage: And in one month’s time, I went from “running a studio” and being a music composer to… I had to manage forty employees, on a project…

Interviewer: Alright. A project called “Omikron”…
Both
…”Nomad Soul.”

Interviewer: Let’s watch the game’s opening credits.
[Opening credits of Omikron – The Nomad Soul]

[Working with David Bowie on The Nomad Soul]

Interviewer: So, Nomad Soul…

David Cage: What a soundtrack !

Interviewer: Yeah, you can say it! That’s the least you can say, definitely.

David Cage: What a soundtrack.

Interviewer: So, Nomad Soul. Earlier on you talked a bit about how you came to that point but… why choosing a science fiction epic? A game… Because keep in mind that Nomad Soul -back then- was a mix of all gaming genres. There was fighting, on-foot action, exploration, everything in one single game. FPS scenes for the shooting parts… Hmm… completely reckless.

David Cage: Totally, but… those were a young game designer’s stupidities. Someone who had never made a game before and who thought: “Might as well do everything, why would we not do everything?” That’s because we had never done it ourselves so we didn’t realize the scale of what we were writing, because we just didn’t have the experience. So it was an extremely ambitious game, which was incredibly painful to create – in totally, totally unreasonable proportions. And it was really monstrous work. Monstrous.

Interviewer: As we’ve heard from this excerpt, and as we now see with this man, right there, it’s David Bowie who made the OST of Nomad Soul. That’s quite something. How did you approach him? Why him?

David Cage: We were looking for a collaboration on the soundtrack and David Bowie’s name emerged pretty early in the list of people we’d love to work with. But in our minds, we thought: “In an extraordinary world, he’d allow us to use Heroes or another one of his songs and it’d already be heaven for us.” So that’s the intention we contacted him with. Just to say to him: “Do you allow us to use one song from your repertoire?” David Bowie replied: “Let’s meet and discuss it.” You can’t say no to this!

Interviewer: Yes, I think so!

David Cage: So we met at Eidos -in Wimbledon, at the time- and he came with his son, who’s now become a film director…

Interviewer: Duncan Jones, director of Moon and Source Code. Very very good director.

David Cage: Very good director. He was an adolescent, back then. So he came with his son and said: “Look, my son loves video games and he’s gonna be my advisor so I can get an idea of it.” We had a meeting with David Bowie in Eidos’ meeting room, for two and a half hours. So I pitched for the game -we didn’t have a lot of pictures, back then, so I showed him the designs, I told him the story, and I told him about all the passion, the very genuine passion I always have on those projects… And after two and a half hours he told me: “OK, very good, but what do you expect from me?” – “Well, we’d like to use Heroes or one of your songs…” He said: “Ah, no, no.” – “Ah… well.”
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: He said: “No, no, I’d like to write an album for the game.” [he gasps for breath]

Interviewer: …alright.

David Cage: So we kind of looked at each other’s faces, wondering if we had understood him clearly…
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: That’s how it happened. The idea came from him. He said: “No, no, I’m gonna compose something original for you and we’ll see how we can work together.” Honestly, we didn’t believe him. When he told us, we thought: “He’s never going to do it” And he did, actually. He does have a word, he’s incredibly talented -everybody knows that- but he’s also incredibly professionnal. So we worked together for one year. He came to spend some time in Paris, he came to see our studio, met the team and we worked together for one year, to develop this album which was to be called Hours. He composed it entirely for Nomad Soul.

Interviewer: Precisely, let’s see a short excerpt from an interview David Bowie gave during the promotion of Nomad Soul.

[Voice of David Bowie]: The idea of actually doing a soundtrack for anything that’s involved in a computer or [unintelligible] was a real [unintelligible] for me. And we approached it as if we were doing a film. What we were trying to do more than anything else was provide an emotional heart to the game. The one thing that I did find when going through the game that I viewed before starting to work is a lot of the games have a cold emotional drive.

Interviewer: What I find interesting in what he said is that he was already talking about emotion. I’m rather surprised it touched him that much.

David Cage: He talked about before I did. Honestly. I didn’t understand what we were doing the way he understood it and I’ve learned a whole lot by talking to him, working with him, listening to him… He’s a genius, he’s a legend -I’m not even tarnishing the word by using it for David Bowie, he really is one. I’ve learned a whole lot of things. One of the things he taught me is that, when you start talking about music, he said to me: “So, what do you expect from the soundtrack, etc.” and I told him: “Well, I’d like -more or less- that the music say the same thing as the images”. And the huge thing he taught me is saying: “Well, no: your image is already saying that. Why do you want the music to say the same thing again? It’s not gonna make any contribution.” He went in in a way that was the complete counterpoint to what I was expecting from him. I was expecting something rather technological, rather cold, somehow in the science fiction spirit that we were trying to do – disembodied- that was the aim, more or less. He was somebody who rebelled against the established order I expected him to give me that kind of music. And he came with an acoustic music, with guitars, with drums, with vocals, with melodies, which took the complete opposite view of the visual universe we were trying to depict. As a result, he brought an emotional dimension that didn’t exist in a game. A great man. Lots and lots of respect.

Interviewer: I think it’s one of the first times a great musician takes part in the creation of a video game.

David Cage: I think it was one of the first collaborations of that kind. Even though there have been many other ones… again, it was not a marketing kind of collaboration. I avoid marketing collaborations like the plague. I hate those. I mean, when somebody comes, tells you “Give me money and I’ll give you the least I can”… That doesn’t interest me. With David Bowie, we worked together for one year. He wrote for us. He came to do motion capture. I had the immense pleasure of directing him in the studio as an actor, since he also played two roles in the game. His wife -Iman- who’s an absolutely extraordinary supermodel…

Interviewer: Who got modeled, too…

David Cage: …was also in the game. It was a real involvement, a real collaboration, a real work together.
[Cage’s opinion on The Nomad Soul]

Interviewer: It’s been fourteen years now -if my calculations are right- Nomad Soul… How do you see the game, now, in retrospect?

David Cage: Some people are still talking to me about it. It feels weird but sometimes I meet people -gamers- who say to me: “Ah, Nomad Soul. Extraordinary.” It pleases me immensely. It’s a game I remain proud of, full of imperfections, full of many things we shouldn’t have done – in particular the first-person parts which were somewhat imposed on us by Eidos. We had set out to make third [-person action], which we felt much more at ease with, which was what we wanted to do. However, Half-Life had just come out so everybody had to make Half-Life stuff. In the end, we’ve made a game which -for this particular aspect- we didn’t feel good about. I’m still extremely proud of that game. The collaboration with Bowie has obviously been an unforgettable memory. So, yeah, it was an… unreasonable game, but it made me want to go further.

Interviewer: And you, what were you like, back then? Who were you?

David Cage: Oh my God. At this moment, I think I was trying to survive. It was a chaotic, extremely difficult development. By my lack of experience, first – I had never directed a project, I didn’t have the experience to direct a project as complex as that one. My team was talented but not easy-going, so I spent a lot of time struggling to make the team advance, doing psychology and things I now completely refuse to do because it’s already complicated enough to make a game. And it was exhausting. I slept under my desk three to four days in a row because we had to finish stuff. It was very difficult. I spent weeks without going home. And the people of the team, too – it wasn’t just me, of course. It was very hard, physically, mentally… The relationship with Eidos was complicated at that time. It was partly our fault because we were under pressure. We were exhausted and some things happened which seemed anormal to us and we would react, so we didn’t necessarily take it the right way -which is also understandtable. Personally, I think both sides were equally wrong. It was a tough school. Definitely.

[Making Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy]

Interviewer: Let’s now talk about Fahrenheit [a.k.a. Indigo Prophecy], which came out in 2005. Let’s watch the trailer, again.

Video: [Fahrenheit trailer]

David Cage: It’s become dated [chuckles]

Interviewer: We’re on the front row so everything’s right in our faces… of course, there, you…

David Cage: So that’s on PlayStation 2…

Interviewer: Yes. How did you get the idea of Fahrenheit?

David Cage: Fahrenheit really came as a reaction to Nomad Soul. Strangely enough. We finished Nomad Soul in an exhausted state, but proud of the collaboration with Bowie and proud of what we had managed to make together. Somewhat disappointed by the sales of the game because we’ve sold 300 to 350 thousand, which was rather far from the objectives. Partly because the game was what it was, partly because it was moderately supported by Eidos, back then. There was also real frustration when I thought: “Actually, what I’m interested in is triggering emotions, telling stories, and -already- broadening the game’s audience.” And I realized, with Nomad Soul, that the universe, which was very science fiction-y, with things flying in the sky, robots, mecha-guards, mecha-dogs and stuff… In the end, it would leave a part of the audience outside because it didn’t speak to everybody. In particular, I couldn’t get used to the idea that not everybody was interested in video games. There was an audience of fans. There were people who liked that, who were born with games and who were really into it but there was a whole audience who stayed at the door of video games and didn’t play because… When I asked the question… “You know, your thing is too complicated, I don’t get it at all”, “It doesn’t interest me”, “I don’t want to shoot things or people for hours”. And I thought: “What can I invent as a reaction to that, in order to make the people who don’t play, play?” And I thought: “What’s gonna speak to everybody is a story.” As soon as there’s a story, there are characters, you’re interested in what’s going on… But at the same time I didn’t want to make an adventure game, a point-and-click, with puzzles and an inventory, etc. It had already been done, I really liked them but it’s not what I wanted to do. It didn’t seem like the future of video games to me. And I thought: “Can I find a way to play a story differently? Without puzzles, simply with choices, and for those choices to have consequences?” So we worked a lot, got lost ten times along the way, we started to.. Eidos wanted us to make Nomal Soul 2, at first. So we thought about Nomad Soul 2 for a few months, then we thought…

Interviewer: Did you want to make it, back then?

David Cage: No. No, honestly, no. We had had our fill so much with the first one… Eidos came to see us and we were… We had just shipped the game, we were exhausted and they told us: “OK, the next one is for next Christmas.” – “Huh? Next Christmas? In ten months? But it’s… it’s… No? Just the time to write it…. it won’t even be enough for me to write it, let alone make it…” And that’s it. It was inconceivable so we got on bad terms with Eidos. We turned around and thought: “OK, what we need to do now is episodic stuff. Narrative stuff. We’re going to make something episodic. We’re gonna do the same as TV series, in the year 2000. It was a good idea, at the time.

Interviewer: Yeah.

David Cage: But it didn’t happen. We talked about it, we did it, we started working on Fahrenheit, we managed to raise funds, to have people invest in the company, which was quite something at the time. We ended up with a bit of money and a bit of time. We opened an office in the US, bought a motion capture set and thought: “Motion capture is the future. It’s emotion, it’s movement, it’s actors… We have to master that technology for the games we want to make in the future”. So we invested the money we had raised, the team changed radically, so there only remained…

Interviewer: There were a lot of departures.

David Cage: There were a lot of departures after Nomad Soul. It was really, very hard once again. So we almost started over, so to speak. We started working on Fahrenheit after some time, that’s true, which…

Interviewer: Don’t forget that six years separate Nomad Soul from Fahrenheit. It is very long.

David Cage: Yes. It was an extremely complicated period, too. It’s the only moment in the history of Quantic, in sixteen years, when we almost shut down the company. We made a deal with Vivendi, at the time, with people we love -I think of Christophe Ramboz in particular, someone who was there and had a passion for what we did. He completely believed in it, he helped us, supported us and signed for the project. Unfortunately, things were happening at Vivendi: [Jean-Marie] Messier left -well, he was forced out…

Interviewer: They shut down the “Games” department, I think…

David Cage: People left. All the people we had made a deal with left and we ended up with the project under our arms so we were very scared at the time.

Interviewer: So, a happy development.

David Cage: Yeah! Yeah.

[Fahrenheit’s influence on Heavy Rain]

Interviewer: What’s interesting about Fahrenheit is that -in my opinion-, it’s somehow the youth of Heavy Rain…

David Cage: It’s the rough draft of Heavy Rain.

Interviewer: Yeah.

David Cage: It’s the rough draft of Heavy Rain because I’ve learned everything with Fahrenheit. I made all the possible mistakes – a second time.

Interviewer: Did you know where you were going at all when you tried things around…

David Cage: No, but you never know where you’re going. Even today, when you make games, you have an idea, an intent, a desire, and you hope to somehow aim for that one spot over there, and you think: “OK, it must be this way.” But you never really know. A project is a living substance. It’s not dead matter, of which you think: “OK, I have this, I’m gonna do it, and we do it.” No. It doesn’t work that way. You have an idea, an intent, a desire, and it’s really like having a child. Honestly, there are a lot of similarities. There’s a gestation period. It’s a period during which you hope for certain things and you think: “I hope he’ll be beautiful” then “I hope he’ll be intelligent” then “I hope he’ll love me” then “I hope he’ll be happy” then this, then that…

Interviewer: “I hope he’ll get the hell out of my house before [unintelligible] years…”

David Cage: [chuckles] Actually, when it gets born, when you finally see it, you’ve waited for it so long, you’ve hoped so much. You see it, you look at it, you recognize yourself in it -obviously, because it contains a part of yourself. And it’s somebody else at the same time. It’s someone who has his own personality, his own identity. He looks like you but it’s different. He will take on its own life by getting into contact with other people. He’s going to live into the world, meeting other people, growing up, getting more mature, evolving, changing and he’s going to become someone. It’s the exact same thing with a project: it takes its own identity once the players take possession of it.

[On episodic content]

Interviewer: With Fahrenheit -as you said previously- you thought about making episodic content for a long time…

David Cage: Yes.

Interviewer: Now we can see that it’s become a real trend. How do you explain that it couldn’t be done, back then?

David Cage: It was too soon. We were really angry when people told us, at the time, but they were right. In the year 2000 -I feel like I’m talking about ten thousand years ago, but… It was the early days of the Internet. There wasn’t enough bandwith. We were on 14.4k modems, at the time -for those old enough to remember. And of course you couldn’t download anything… Consoles weren’t connected. Anyway, that wasn’t the right time. It was the right idea, but too soon.

Interviewer: You had a particular stance about Fahrenheit, which was a return to the supernatural. You faced some criticism for it, back then. Some people didn’t expect that. How did you…

David Cage: When I made Fahrenheit, I was… I wasn’t a writer. I didn’t know what I was writing, I didn’t know why I was writing it, I didn’t even know who I was. I didn’t know why I was doing that. And… I only lived by instinct. My instinct told me: “You must tell stories, you must make it so the player be the hero of the story.” That’s the core idea -the key- that I must set up. And there are so many things to set up that it’s pretty much a nightmare to set up, again. I mean it was as ambitious as Nomad Soul, in a totally different way. With this title, some concepts had to be invented but there was nothing! There was nothing. It was a total desert when we talked about interactive narration, it did not exist! When I talked with publishers about telling a story, they told me: “OK, you’re gonna make an adventure game, a point-and-click, with an inventory” – “No, I don’t have an inventory.” – “But what are people gonna play, then, if your game doesn’t have an inventory?” – “Well… it’s a story…” It was impossible to explain so we had to invent everything. We had to invent. That’s when we invented the concept of elastic stories.

[On choice, consequence, and contextual actions]

Interviewer: The fact that choices could have an impact on the rest of the narration.

David Cage: Because you’re faced with the first issue -which looks trivial-, which is: “OK, I’m telling a story, I have a choice.” OK, very well, now two branches appear. But on each branch I’m going to have another choice so two new branches appear, again. On each branch I’ll have other choices and, after some time, you have a completely exponential tree, which becomes impossible to write and impossible to produce! You don’t know where you are anymore. Imagine how you’d follow all the repercussions through all those branches. So the first mission I gave myself was to say: “How do I not end up with an exponential tree and still have a story that’s playable?” So I created this concept of “elastic story”, about which I think: “OK, my story is an rubber band, which can be stretched by the player on one side or another. He can make it longer, shorter, deform it, give it different shapes, but the core of the story is still there. The basic thread is still there”. So that’s what I invented. At this moment, I invented the concept of contextual actions because another thing about video games that gets on my nerves is: there’s one button and one action per button. So there’s one button to jump, one button to shoot, one button to crouch, one button to run and that’s it: I have four buttons and I have four actions. But I can’t tell a story! If the hero can only do four actions, what story can I tell? And I don’t see a solution to this. So, after enough brainstorming, I found something and thought: “OK, I need a system with a relatively universal interface so I can do whatever I want.” I’m going to free my hero so he can either drink a glass of water, fight, sit down, open doors, do anything, but with a unique interface and that’s when we invented the system we called MPAR [Motion Physical Action Reaction], eventually, which is about entering moves with the right stick. And the last part…

Interviewer: Please do tell, we’re not short on time.

David Cage: So we really set up a lot of things at this moment. I discovered things and they hit me like a brick wall. I made mistakes, I tried again, and… yeah, I reflected on that. Meanwhile, the team developed the technology but, above all, that’s when I made the huge mistake -but, again, it’s the youth, the naivety, the stupidity, call it whatever you want… I mean, I’m the CEO of the company, I’m in charge of the accounting, the balance sheets… the accountant and the company… Well, every person who knows what a company is sees what I’m talking about… So I’m the CEO of the company. I’m a project lead, I’m a game designer and I find nothing more intelligent to do than saying: “Hey, I’m gonna play the actor, I’m gonna play Lucas Kane…” I’m gonna do the motion capture myself. Because it’s gonna be simpler than explaining it to some guy… I might as well do it myself, it’ll be done quickly. So, yeah, eh… Oh, please, come on. So there you go. That’s way too many hats for my small head. At some point I got lost in the task: I spent my nights doing a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to do. I wrote as I looked over some balance sheets, talked with my banker, managed my team, made technical choices and I finished my script as I finished it: with the production department on my back, usually: “You have to finish writing”, which was stupid, obviously. But above all, I take responsibility: I sincerely believe that, at the time, I didn’t know what I was writing because I was in the middle of creating the format. Creating the format and telling something with it was too much for… for me, at least, on one single game.

[On a David Cage’s virtual appearance in Fahrenheit]

Interviewer: There was another misunderstanding -we previously talked about it backstage- about Fahrenheit, which was the opening of the game. The tutorial, in fact. You decided to model yourself to introduce the game’s concept and somehow tell people how it was going to work. It hasn’t been understood very well.

David Cage: I wouldn’t do it again. How did it happen? Very simply: at some point we had the game and we thought: “Well, we’re gonna need a tutorial, what do we do?” Well, it’d be fun if a character from the game came to introduce the controls, “off the record”, and said: “Welcome to the experience and here’s how it’s gonna play”. OK, very well, so we asked ourselves which character could do it. It could be Lucas Kane – the hero- “It’s kind of a waste to use the hero for that.” – “What if it were Tyler Miles -Carla Valenti’s friend-, it could be funny”, etc. Then, someone -me, or the producer, I don’t remember- thought: “Why not doing it yourself?” And I thought: “Well, yeah, why not?” And, actually… in a really dumb way, I think… Naively, I thought: “I’ve worked on this thing a lot and I’m just gonna be the guy who opens the door and says Welcome. Welcome, please come in, it’s this way.” And there’s really nothing more to it than this. Really, just welcoming the player and saying: “Welcome to the game.” I did that and it was well-received -fortunately- by a large part of the players, then a bit worse. People thought: “Here we go, he’s showing off, he thinks he’s hot stuff, he’s big-headed, he’s putting himself into his games, now, come on, etc.” And that was a big mistake. I should never have done that. I was light-years away from thinking it would potentially be interpreted in a negative way, in that spirit, because I really did it in a naive spirit and… simply to welcome players into the game.

[Cage’s opinion of Fahrenheit]

Interviewer: Today, what’s your opinion on Fahrenheit?

David Cage: I see Fahrenheit as… well, first, the game still sells -oddly enough. So I assume the players do find something in it. An interesting thing is that, every game we made since Nomad Soul sold twice as much -two or three times as much as the previous one. So we didn’t start from a very high position, but still… And in a regular fashion. There’s never been… We haven’t made a lot of games but every time, we sell two and a half to three times as much as the previous one. I really see it as the rough draft of what we wanted to do. As a game which -for me and for Quantic Dream- was a foundation, on which we really experimented a ton of things. We were completely crazy, testing things that were completely over-the-top – some we did keep in Heavy Rain later, some we’ve completely abandoned because they didn’t work. In any case, I keep a real, unbelievable memory of creativity, desire, intention -sometimes ill-orientated, but in any case, a lot of ideas, a lot of desire in this game. It’s really been a foundation for us.

[Heavy Rain and tribute to composer Normand Corbeil]

Interviewer: Alright. Now we’re going to talk about a game which -I think- has affected you all -or many of you, I hope. Heavy Rain, which came out in 2010. Let’s watch a trailer.

Video: [Trailer of Heavy Rain]

Interviewer: You seem to know the Heavy Rain trailer a bit.

David Cage: [laughs] A little bit, yes! I’ve seen it two or three times. Before we talk about Heavy Rain, I’d like to say a few words about the composer for the game’s soundtrack . He’s called Normand Corbeil, he’s a Canadian composer, who was a fantastical person. Unfortunately, he passed away a few weeks ago. He worked with me on Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain. He was an extraordinary human being and an incredibly talented person… Someone I miss very much.

Interviewer: Did he work on Beyond or not? Will we find some of his compositions in the game?

David Cage: We were supposed to… unfortunately, no: he became ill as we were supposed to start working together on the project.

Interviewer: How did you approach Heavy Rain, at Quantic Dream? After Fahrenheit, it was a maturation process? Were you going there?

[Impact of Fahrenheit on Quantic Dream’s relationship with the industry]

David Cage: Fahrenheit was a change in our lives. I mean, before Fahrenheit, we were -as the American say- “below the radar”. Which means we did not exist. Which means, when we went to see the publishers, they didn’t… “Quantic what?” And all of a sudden, when we shipped Fahrenheit, the phone started to ring… incredible. People called us from everywhere. From the US, from England, to tell us: “We saw Fahrenheit. Extraordinary. We want to know how we can convince you to work together.” When you’re a developer, this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day. The game had sold well, had had good reviews, everything went fine, but we, ourselves, were suprised by the impact it’s had on the industry. We really didn’t expect, when making the game… honestly, when I finished the game, I was discouraged, I was in low spirits, thinking: “Pff, OK, we screwed everything up. It’s probably going to be our last game.” You see, we’ve made a game in which there was no shooting, no platforms, with no cars to drive… It’s not gonna interest anybody”. So I finished in a completely undermined state and I thought: “If I want Quantic Dream to keep existing, I’m gonna have to make classic video games again, to abandon all my crazy ideas… and make Nomad Soul 2”. Everybody pestered me, saying: “Come on, stop your crap, now make video games again, make Nomad Soul 2”. Then, the phone started ringing, somebody called me and said : “It’s great, I played it with my wife, extraordinary…” It was the beginning of “i’ve-played-it-with-my-wife”, which is a long story – you’ll see. And it was a huge surprise, because all of sudden, we thought: “Really? So it didn’t suck?” – “No, it didn’t suck, it was extraordinary!” And, actually, I spent like two years pitching for the game to the entire planet, explaining what it was. I’ve attended conferences like this one, where I tried to sell my thing and think: “The future is emotion, it’s narration” and the guys would look at me… And in the end, you know, this is how the conferences ended: [he claps slowly] Then, you think…

Interviewer: “I have a good feeling about this.”

David Cage: “Yeah, now I think it’s good, I’ve won over the audience.”
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: And that’s what happened. I had appointments with publishers because, at the time, Vivendi ditched us. Well, I mean… “Ditched us”… We faced hardships, Vivendi faced their own hardships and decided to stop the project. They told us: “You’re going nowhere and we have no idea what you’re doing. Anyway, you’ll never finish the project.” [silence] yet another visionary…
Audience
[laughing]

[On The Casting demo and catching Sony’s attention]

David Cage: And “OK, very well”, we went to see them and said: “Well, listen: you’re certainly right. But since it’s nothing and it means nothing, it’s [unintelligible] give it back to us, and we’ll see if someone else is intereted. So they gave it back to us and it took us one week to make a deal with Atari. So there you go. It was really rough, things moved around, etc. So the phone started ringing, everybody called us and said “The game is great” but nobody had understood. We had pitched for this game for two years. Nobody understood what we were talking about. When we said “It’s a game with no weapons, no cars, no platforms”, people told us: “So your thing isn’t even a game.” – “It is a game. There are choices, and you’ll see, they have consequences on the story”. And in one of the phone calls we’ve got -so all the people who spat in our faces before, called us and said: “I’ve played it with my wife”. And, among those people, were people from Sony. Sony has a particular role in my mind, as a young creator. Sony, ever since my childhood, has meant stars in my eyes. I have a memory of the CES in Las Vegas. I saw a Korean or Japanese importer who had a PlayStation 1. On this machine I discovered a game called Toshinden. Then, I thought: “This is real-time 3D, it’s incredible… and it’s brilliant”, then I thought: “That’s what I want to do”. Later on, I went to E3 every year and I saw the Sony booth, shining, and I thought: “One day, one day…”

Interviewer: “I’ll be with them.”

David Cage: “II’ll be there”. But I didn’t believe it myself. I didn’t believe it. And that day, they called me. They called me and said: “Fahrenheit is brilliant. I’ve played it with my wife”.

Interviewer: “Oh, surprise!”

David Cage: That’s it. “And we’d like to meet you to know what you’re working on”. At this moment, I was thinking: “How can we go further?” So I was working on something called The Casting. Which is an internal short film. It was a prototype… I quickly wrote something on the corner of a table, in order to have the biggest amount of emotion in the shortest amount of time, so we could see what emotions we could have with motion capture, then test the new 3D engine we were developing. So Sony came and we told them: “We have this project called Heavy Rain but right now we’re working on that.” The producer took note and said: “Hmm hmm, that’s interesting” and he came back a week later. He said to us: “OK, I’ve talked about it, in-house”. Ken Kutaragi -who was the highest PlayStation 3 manager in Japan- was there and he said: “Listen, we’re going to launch the PlayStation 3 at E3 in 2005. We’d like to see this demo on PlayStation 3… If you can produce it in time”. – “Well, yeah, wait…” E3 was held in May, at the time. We were in January -something like that- “It’s a bit short, and we don’t have [development] kits, and we don’t even have a PlayStation 3 engine”. Since we were a small development team, we didn’t have access to kits… “No, no, don’t worry about the kits, we’ll find you some kits.” The next morning I found ten kits lying by my door. I thought: “Well, they’re here, so let’s start”. We started working like crazy in order to make this demo called The Casting, which was just this young woman, talking in one long, five-minute take, telling about her life. She smiles, at first -she looks a bit naive, a bit childish- and she ends in tears. It ends somewhat violently. We showed it at E3… First thing is that we managed to ship it on time… Ken Kutaragi and Phil Harrisson saw it and said: “Brilliant, it’s on the booth”, and voilà. The demo got downloaded -I don’t know- one million times on the net and it started a huge buzz. Sony came back to us after E3 and said: “All right. You’ve respected the deadline and we love what you’ve made. What’s the plan? What do you want to do, now?” That’s when we pitched them Heavy Rain. So I pitched them Heavy Rain – I remember it very well. I was at Sony’s place and… I’m really a passionate guy so, honestly, it’s not fake… When I pitch projects I truly live them because it’s my life. So we leave the room, saying: “Well, great! Phil Harrison gave his greenlight, Michael Denny -with whom we still work to this day- gave his greenlight too, Ken Kutaragi too… and there you go, we were involved in this game called Heavy Rain.

[On writing Heavy Rain]

Interviewer: Alright. The interesting figure about Heavy Rain is two thousand. I think that’s how many pages the script has.

David Cage: Yes.

Interviewer: How did you manage to produce such a massive scenario?

David Cage: It’s just work. Honestly, it’s one year of writing. I need one year to write. I work… Those are difficult periods. They’re painful because I work ten to twelve hours a day for one year, I’m facing my computer and that’s it. I must find… I must find… I must write something that makes sense, that’s playable, that’s interesting, that speaks to me, that I want to make… And for me, Heavy Rain, writing-wise, it really is when it truly clicked -beyond the mere volume- Honestly, volume is anecdotal. Anyone who starts typing will type two thousand pages. That’s not the point. With Heavy Rain I discover one thing: I discover that I can talk about something that touches me. And it’s the first time I did that. Nomad Soul really was about this young game designer who had a lot of ideas – ideas nearly everybody has – and who tries to make some sort of unappealing substance where everything got blended together and he wriggles out of it. Fahrenheit was about the young scriptwriter who doesn’t know how to write and thinks : “Well, I liked this, I liked that, I liked X, Y, Z so I’m gonna make a kind of personal mix, again, and it will sort of make sense”. With Heavy Rain, one of the first things that came to my mind was: “What important thing happened in my life?” And, in my life, the most important thing that happened is -and still is to this day- the birth of my children. I was a young father at the time, and for the first time I thought: “What can I write about that?” And this idea, really -I’ve told it ten thousand times, but… It really came to me the way it came to many parents, by losing my child at the shopping mall. I lose him, I freak out -in a way I did not think possible- thinking: “What’s gonna happen if I don’t find him? Where is he?” and I had the scariest experience of my life for ten minutes and I thought : “This feeling is strong. I think this feeling is universal because I think all parents can feel it or have felt it. Am I able to write something about those ten minutes of my life?” And that was the starting point of Heavy Rain’s scenario. That was the first time I thought: “I’m a scriptwriter.” I’m not a good scriptwriter yet. But at least I write about something that touches me, that’s sincere, that’s capable of touching other people.

[The importance of eye modeling]

Interviewer: Before going any further, I’d like to talk about a memory – I think it was at E3 2008. It was the first time Heavy Rain was shown “behind closed doors”, as the American say. We were a handful of journalists and we discovered Heavy Rain. It was the Taxidermist demo. And the first images we saw of Heavy Rain were this. It was the look in Madison’s eyes. Do you remember why you chose this ? Why this was the first contact with Heavy Rain you wanted to give to the press?

David Cage: We worked a lot on the characters. In my opinion, we have the best team in the world for 3D characters. Whether it’s on the modeling, the creation of the characters or the facial animation. And with Heavy Rain, it was the first time you could see it that well on the screen. So there I was, preparing cameras and I thought: “Well, how far can I go to get closer, to get near them?” and that’s how it happened. And, to our own surprise, we discovered that things happened around the eyes, incredible things. We managed to capture, almost by chance, the micro-movements of the eyes. Almost by chance, because we’ve discovered that we could use the small muscles located all around the eye. Those muscles move very lightly when you move your eyes. And this gave us an indication on what the eye was doing. So we found a way to retranscribe this and I thought: “That thing is incredible. The life, the life in the eyes.” The expression of the eyes… frequently, video game characters have eyes that look like dead fish. And there I thought: “That’s not the case”. And voilà. I simply thought; “I’m going to look for the eyes, I’m going to shoot them in a close-up because -in the end- everything’s in there. Everything we tried to tell through this game called Heavy Rain was in the characters’ eyes.

Interviewer: Back then, in the blog you were writing at Gameblog -I think- you said the hardest part of a game’s development were the last 10%. Why? Has Heavy Rain really been a painful development near the end?

David Cage: Less so. Really, in retrospect, I think the hardest thing was the beginning. The more you progress, the less painful it is. It’s always a lot of work but you no longer work yourself to death as we did in the past, because we try to be smarter, because we’re not masochistic so we try to work better and to organize ourselves better from the very beginning. We try to limit the amount of effort, or at least make it so those efforts are for improving the quality of the game instead of simply allowing the game to exist.

[Player choice and the father-son relationship in Heavy Rain]

Interviewer: As I prepared this masterclass I asked you to select for us one scene that would be best representative of your work and your vision. You chose a scene from Heavy Rain -of course- where Ethan -I think it’s from the beginning of the game- comes back home with his son. We’re going so watch an excerpt – we had no choice but to edit it so it’s going to be shorter.

Video: [Excerpt from Heavy Rain]

David Cage: It’s a scene I’m particularly proud of. First thing, as I worked with Normand – the composer – we started wth a piano. I think he did a lot for the universe of the scene, or the mood. We also wanted to have the daylight declining in real-time, which was a real technical challenge. However, it played an extremely important role because we all have this image in our heads: there’s nothing more depressing that seeing the house darkening in the winter, very early in the late afternoon, so you have to turn the lights on, etc. It’s very depressing and, really, what’s interesting was the relationship, of course, between Ethan and his son. But also the fact that this relationship could be played in different ways. I mean, you can have Ethan be the good father who’s taking care of his son and does his best to patch things up, but you can also have Ethan be this father who’s completely cut off from his son, who won’t take care of him, who’s going to play basketball in the rain or goes upstairs to watch videos of his dead son while leaving his son -his second son- alone. And it’s really the player who decides how he sees, in fact, this father and this relationship. So it’s a scene that’s not a video game scene – I remember the first time we showed it to the press very well. There, too, we thought: “That’s impossible, we’re gonna…” That scene was about thirty-five minutes long and is always in the same mood: completely depressing, gray-ish… and we thought: “How is the press going to react when we show them this as an exclusive?” And we thought: “Well, they’ll react the way they’ll react. Anyway, that’s what the game is and we can’t cheat. We have to show it to them.” And the press reacted very well. I remember Eurogamer, in particular – they were one of the first sites to support us, saying: “Something’s happening in there, something we haven’t seen before”. And that was the first time, with Heavy Rain, that we thought: “OK, we’re working on something important.”

Interviewer: “We’re getting there.”

David Cage: Yeah.

[On Beyond: Two Souls]

Interviewer: Alright. We’re a bit pushed for time so I’m sorry but we have to go faster. Now we’re going to talk about Beyond: Two Souls, which will came out in 2013. We’re going to watch the trailer.

Video: [Trailer of Beyond: Two Souls]

Interviewer: So, Beyond.

David Cage: The first thing I’d like to say is that it’s the same console between Heavy Rain and Beyond. Personally, when I look at it, in retrospect, I feel like we’ve changed generations or platforms. No, it’s the same machine. The technical team -the engine team, in particular- all the graphics team at Quantic did an incredible work. We really hope to make Beyond one of the most beautiful games of the PS3 cycle. We’re working very hard on it. Just an anecdote: the policeman you saw at the beginning is an actor called David Gasman, with whom I’ve been working for sixteen years. He was Kay’l -Kay’l’s voice- in Nomad Soul. He was Lucas Kane in Fahrenheit and he was Paco in Heavy Rain -for those who remember it. So, yeah, we’re happy to work with him again.

Interviewer: An interesting thing about Beyond is that all your games usually offer multiple characters, multiple points of view but now we remain centered on the main character.

David Cage: Yes but it’s a character you’re going to control through fifteen years of her life.

Interviewer: That’s the interesting thing.

David Cage: So, actually, in every scene, she is different. She has another look, another age, she has a haircut, she has other clothes… Every scene is unique and you really feel like you’re playing with different characters – because what an eight year-old girl can do is different from what a teenager or an adult can do. So you still find this multi-character aspect, while you keep… Well, it’s the same character, so you’ll be with her during the best and worst moments of her life. You’ll see how she grows up, what she had to go through to get there…

Interviewer: And what you wanted was for the players to have this girl’s fate between their hands?

David Cage: My ambition for Beyond is to try and make it so you get attached to the character and you feel like you know her in an intimate way. That you really feel like you’ve been with her for fifteen years of her life and you know her by heart. Knowing why she is the way she is when she’s an adult, because you know what she’s been through, where she came from. And if I manage to create that, obviously it will be a real success. Just a word about the collaboration with this actress called Ellen Page: it was a huge meeting for me, as David Bowie has been. This collaboration was really extraordinary.

[Working with Ellen Page on Beyond]

Interviewer: And how did you convince her, precisely, to…?

David Cage: The simplest way in the world: we sent her a script, we sent her a copy of Heavy Rain, we sent her a press review of what people thought about Heavy Rain, and a love letter [chuckles]. [unintelligible] “For pity’s sake, please accept, it’s the role… it’s a role for you.”

Interviewer: Did you really write it thinking about her, or…?

David Cage: Yes. What I often explain is that, when I start writing, I often collect pictures on the net – pictures of actors… And one of the first pictures I took out to represent to myself the character of Jodie Holmes, is a picture of Ellen. And this picture accompanied me, and I found other pictures of Ellen so, after one year, I ended up with a script where Ellen was everywhere. So, actually, when we thought: “OK, who could play Jodie Holmes?” – “Ehhh… Ellen Page!” So we called her and we met her. It was a real meeting and a real collaboration the way I like them, which means based on passion and the desire to make something together.

Interviewer: Precisely, let’s see a short excerpt of the performance capture sessions you had with Ellen…

David Cage: Yeah!

Interviewer: …so it’s going to be interesting.

Video: [Video of a performance capture session with Ellen Page and David Cage]

Interviewer: Not bad.

David Cage: [laughs]

Interviewer: We see that the performance capture system has evolved a lot, again…

David Cage: Yes. That’s the huge change between Heavy Rain and Beyond. Now we capture the whole performance of the actor. In the past, we captured the face on one side, the body on the other side, so we always had desynchronized performances. They weren’t quite natural. We didn’t have the body language, which obviously goes with the performance.

[On removing QTEs for Beyond]

Interviewer: One piece of information that was released recently -I’ve double-checked with you to be sure it was true- is that you’ve decided to remove QTEs in Beyond. Why?
[David Cage coughs repeatedly, the interviewer asks him if he wants to have a break, the audience laughs]

David Cage: So, yes… We’ve decided to remove QTEs as a reaction to… more or less the people who didn’t play Heavy Rain because of QTEs. The people who did play it had rather liked it. We’ve never got any negative feedback from the people who played it. But there were people who didn’t play Heavy Rain, thinking: “We’re confused by this idea of… It’s a game in which you have to push buttons, you’re not really in control”. Which was obviously false, since you are in control in Heavy Rain. You’re in control of everything, all the time. But that’s what happened. So, for Beyond, we’re working on a new interface which we’ll introduce -of course- very very soon, to show how it works. To open the game to the people who felt troubled by that aspect of playing.

[On playing multiple roles in a the same company]

Interviewer: Is it not too hard to multiply the hats on your projects? You’re the co-founder of your company, the game director, game designer, writer… How do you not become schizophrenic, in concrete terms?

David Cage: Well, I don’t, because I’ve made a lot of progress on that aspect. I mean, I’m very-well surrounded, now. I’d also like to insist on the fact that I may be the one on stage today, it may be my voice you hear, I may be the one who answers the interviews but I’ll do nothing if I don’t have two hundred people with me, talented people who work hard and give a shape to those ideas. Having ideas is the easiest part. Everybody has some. A hundred thousand isn’t the point. Having ideas is the simple part. Implementing them with talent, as the Quantic team does, is a rather rare thing and it has immense value. So yeah, I’m not alone anymore. Today I have an associate called Guillaume de Fondaumière who’s a very famous person in the industry. We work in pairs and it works out pretty well, in my opinion. Today there’s a dedicated producer at Quantic so I’m no longer a project lead. Today there’s a gameplay lead, so I’m not in charge of that anymore either. Today, my work is mainly about writing, about working with actors, about directing in a broad sense – working with the composer, working with the different people involved so as to create an experience that’s really emotional.

[“The industry will die if it doesn’t innovate”]

Interviewer: Now, for the last part, let’s talk about prospects and the future, a little bit. I have one interesting quote, which you gave to Gamesindustry: “The

industry will die if doesn’t try more to be innovative”. Isn’t that kinda provocative?

David Cage: But that’s true of all industries. If the automobile industry still made [Citroën] 2CVs, where would it be now? Sometimes you need to exaggerate things a little bit so you can get heard. When you listen to what people say in the industry, today, they’ll tell you: “The future of video games is free-to-play. On mobile phones.” Is this the future I want for this industry? No. No, at no account! Don’t tell me this is the future! That’s one of the things that exists, that will continue to exist, that will find an audience, but I hope it’s not the future of video games. I also hope the future of video games won’t be violent games, even though they’ll still be around – and it’s very good that they’re still around. There’s a market for them, there’s an audience, some people make them very well, some people like to play them. It’s not going away and I don’t want it to go away. That said, you need to shake things up a bit to say: “No, there needs to be a kind of video game that’s a means of expression. We need to open video games to society. We need to be able to tackle other subjects than the same old ones we keep bringing up endlessly. We need to open video games to auteurs. We need to be able to speak to a broader audience, a feminine audience. It’s extremely important. A somewhat older audience, too. Why are there so many people in their thirties or forties who stop playing video games? It’s simply because there comes a moment when it doesn’t interest them anymore. They’re not interested anymore. How do we convince these people? And I say it with a passion that’s certainly excessive and sometimes I get blamed for it, but in any case, I say it sincerely. I’m not here to say: “We must stop doing what we’re doing” or “What we’re doing is wrong”, it’s just to say “We need to find a place for different games, for ambitious games”. And I’m not even speaking for myself, I don’t mean: “I want all games to be Heavy Rain next morning, or that the market be nothing but Beyond”, no! There are people who made Journey, people who made LittleBigPlanet, people who made Unfinished Swan, people who made Braid… There are people who made all those games who are extraordinary, who are talented… That’s what I mean. The video game industry needs room for people who do things differently. That’s all I’m trying to say -certainly in a clumsy way.

Interviewer: And as we talked about earlier, the idea is that we might have to grow up.

David Cage: [silence] Warren Spector told me, in one of his latest conferences: “I’m fifty years-old and when I’m fifty I no longer want to make the same games I did when I was twenty”. One could almost say: “The people who’re forty or fifty no longer want, too, to play the same games they did when they were twenty.” I think when you’re fifteen, you see certain films, you listen to a certain music, you have certain tastes. When you’re thirty you have different ones and when you’re fifty you have different ones, too… It’s normal. It’s healthy and it’s normal. How do you make it so creators -who do grow old, and I’m one of them, I’m fourty-four this year- how do we create things that keep interesting us and captivate us? And how do we keep captivating the public by offering them different and maybe deeper experiences?

[Opinions on the PlayStation 4]

Interviewer: So you attended the PlayStation 4 reveal event, two days ago. Can you talk to us about this console? I reckon you’ve begun working on it?

David Cage: Yes.

Interviewer: Alright! Good answer!
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: Yes. We’ve now worked on the PlayStation 4 for some time. In certain secrecy, obviously. We’re lucky enough to have this relationship with Sony that allowed us to give feedback very early on, to tell them what we thought about it. They had the extreme intelligence to ask the developers for their opinion – not only Quantic Dream’s, obviously, but all the developers in the Sony galaxy. It was extremely interesting to do. It was the first time we could give an opinion on a console that was being designed. We had a lot of exchange, we tried to contribute as usefully as we could. I think this console promises to be rather extraordinary.

Interviewer: I think you’ve prepared a small surprise for us. I don’t know if we’ve managed to get it ready but if all goes well we should watch the demo that was made for the PlayStation 4’s unveiling.

Video: [PS4 demo showing the face of an old man]

David Cage: Just before, we saw Kara, which…

Interviewer: Yes, precisely, that was the idea of having a glimpse of the future, that’s Kara, too…

David Cage: So, that’s it. It’s nothing new, we showed it two days ago at Sony’s PlayStation 4 conference. It’s real-time. It’s the PlayStation 4 engine. It’s really something very simple. We worked on this for a very short time. It’s one of the first versions, just to show what you can get with -all things considered- very little effort.

Interviewer: Alright. So, for you, the future of video games is an old man.
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: That’s it. That’s it. [silence] We began with a humiliation and we’re ending with a humiliation. That’s the way it is…

Interviewer: That’s how it was planned, you knew it.

David Cage: [laughs] No, no, it’s… it’s… Hmm…

Interviewer: The look in the eyes is incredible.

David Cage: It’s something we’re working on. What we love, of course, is to work on emotion, on the characters, working on how we manage to create something truly unique in the eyes. Just by looking at a character, how do you make is so you know what he feels, what he thinks, what happened to him. Today, with the PlayStation 4, we’ve reached this level of quality, which was inconceivable before. Today, we’re at the end of the PlayStation 3 cycle. You’ll see, we’re doing very surprising things with Beyond, with this extraordinary work with Ellen Page. But now, with the PlayStation 4, we’re going to be able to..

Interviewer: Go much further.

David Cage: Go even further.

Interviewer: Fingers crossed, then. It’s all I’m waiting for.

David Cage: [laughs]

[Start of the Q&A session – What is Beyond about?]

Interviewer: Now, I think you were all waiting for this. We’ll finally be able to answer your questions, so I don’t know if a mic has already arrived somewhere… Is there a mic somewhere? And don’t hesitate. Do you have questions to ask to David Cage, ladies and gentlemen?

Audience member: Good evening.

Interviewer: Good evening!

David Cage: Good evening!

[What is Beyond about?]

Audience member: I’d like to ask a question about… well, Heavy Rain was: “I lost my kid at the mall and I’m trying to retranscribe this emotion”. What is Beyond?

David Cage: [silence, he breathes in]

Interviewer: Nice first question..
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: “I lost TWO kids at the mall…!” [silence] No… [silence] Beyond deals with what happens after death. That’s it. Quite simply. It’s also based on a personal experience -I’ve lost someone who was very close to me- and it’s something that’s obviously horrible, as you can imagine, and it’s definitive. So I wanted to know how I could turn this negative feeling into something more positive, something more elaborate, that provides meaning and possibly hope.

Interviewer: Another question… Good evening, ma’am.

[On which emotions to transmit]

Audience member: Good evening. I’d like to ask a question because you talk a lot about emotion in game development. So I’d like to know: which emotion are you most interested in transmitting to the player?

David Cage: My personal theory is that, quite often in video games, you always find the same emotions, which often are emotions linked to stress, frustration, aggressivity and adrenaline. What I’m interested in are what you’d call social emotions. First, it’s empathy. It’s sharing what the character in the game feels. It can be sadness, it can be things that are much more… or feeling uncomfortable, but in any case, it’s about sharing what the character on screen feels. And the more subtle and diverse these emotions are, the more interesting it is. The harder it is to create, too, but when we do manage to, something really happens. And for me, that’s where the magic appears, when you’re playing and, suddenly, you feel that small shiver or you really feel the same thing the character on screen does.

[On letting players express themselves differently]

Audience member: Do you believe that, in the future, the player himself will have the right to express himself differently with the game?

David Cage: What do you mean?

Audience member: I mean, will the player have the freedom to choose to express himself differently?

David Cage: But we’re already trying to do that, in a way, through… it was the case with Heavy Rain, it’s the case with Beyond, but our goal is more and more to let the player…. it’s for the experience to somehow behave like a mirror that sends you back the image of who you are. By asking you questions, by receiving your answers, and giving you the consequences of those answers. That’s it. Through this, you can eventually say: “This is who I am”. And with Heavy Rain, the game asked the question: “How far would you go for love?” Some choices were rather… moral choices, there were true dilemmas. Some players, when they had to decide whether they wanted to kill someone to save their son’s life -tough dilemma, “Do I take a life to save my child’s?” Some players turned the console off for two weeks while they looked for the answer to that question. And that’s the part I’m interested in. How do you do so that there’s an emotional connection between the player and the game? How do you do so that the player thinks, in real life, about what he sees on screen, instead of just facing a TV screen with moving pixels and, “OK, I press buttons and it’s cool”? How do you make the player resonate -in fact- with the experience, on an emotional point of view?

Interviewer: Another question, perhaps? Yeah, there’s a lot of questions… So… Feel free to introduce yourselves. If there are students from videogame schools in the audience, it’d be nice if you could ask questions. We’d be very happy because it was one of David’s wishes – to exchange with students.

[On letting players tell their own stories]

Audience member: Hello. I’m going to introduce myself – well, I’m not a videogame student…

Interviewer: That will do.

Audience member: …I’m a teacher. I’m a university lecturer and researcher and I’m doing research on interactive stories so that’s why I wanted to be here today. So, Mr. Cage, you talk a lot about telling stories to the player, with a direction that’s almost as elaborate as in cinema. That said, what I’d like to know is… you try to tell stories that the player can take ownership of, but they often follow structures, which -as elastic as they may be- are still well-defined. These are stories that you write for the player…

David Cage: Yes.

Audience member: Do you think that, in the future, video games can allow the player to tell his own story, or telling stories in which he’d no longer be a mere actor for whom a story was written, but a real, driving force in the stories that will be composed?

David Cage: Yes, that’s what we’re headed to. That’s obviously the goal – that we write less and less, somehow. Perhaps we’ll offer a frame and certain rules, and the story would become an almost emergent story. One day we’ll be able to do that. Today, at Quantic, we’re working on something that’s headed that way. However, there’s a balance that’s hard to find. I mean, placing the player in a sandbox and telling him “Pif, paf, poof, I give you three toys, have fun with those and make yourself a story” is a thing -which some games do very well and some players have found their niche there. But I’m not really interested in that. What I’m interested in is to think the experience, to try to optimize the experience so that the player really lives something. For him to live something intense, with a rhythm we control, which is optimal and designed for him, in advance. That doesn’t mean linear, though. There’s often a confusion in people’s minds, they think: “Ah, OK, you want to make movies.” No, I don’t want to make movies. What interests me is creating this frame so that this emotion and this experience be as strong as possible and so that the player doesn’t spend three hours running around in the sandbox, trying to find the rake I’ve laid for him. So that’s it. The boundary is hard to find but in any case, it’s an absolutely fascinating subject. At Quantic, we’re actively trying to push back those limits and try -at least making them as invisible as we can- make it so the player feels free and generates the story as much as possible. It’s definitely the goal.

Audience member: Alright. As a result, I think some researchers could be interested in talking with Quantic Dream on that kind of theme. I’m part of a community that’s working on it.

David Cage: While we’re always happy to exchange with the scientific and research community… sometimes it’s a bit abstract… [silence, embarrassed sigh]

Audience member: I know.

David Cage: That’s it. It’s a bit abstract. I mean they do pure research. It’s their job and they can’t be blamed for that. Personally, we try to create experiences. I don’t do pure research. However, we could certainly build bridges – we talk with psychologists, with people who also study the emotional perception of experiences. All this is extremely interesting and every time we can build that kind of bridge we do it with a lot of pleasure and a lot of interest.

Interviewer: Any other questions, maybe?

[On augmented reality, multiple sreens and defining 3.0 gaming]

Audience member: Hello, my name is Nathan [unintelligible], I’m a videogame student at IIM [Institut de l’Internet et du Multimédia] I’d like to ask a question about the fact that, with arcade games, we had a 1.0 kind of gaming, then it came into our living rooms with a sort of 2.0? Isn’t it time to free video games from the screen -for instance with augmented reality- and to arrive to a 3.0 kind of gaming, for emotion, really?

David Cage: Wow. [silence]
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: Yeah, 3.0 seems good.

Interviewer: It’s not bad, I kind of like it…

Audience member: I mean, really getting out of the screen.

David Cage: “Getting out of the screen”… yes, but to go where? The question is pertinent, I’m not saying it isn’t, but… today… it’s going from one screen to multiple screens. That’s it. We’re in this moment. Before, there was one screen in the living-room, now, more and more, we’re having experiences on… yeah, I can play in my living-room but I can stop playing there and start playing on my tablet, and finally I’m in the subway and I resume the same playthrough on a mobile phone… So I’m becoming a multi-screen [kind of gamer]. This has not quite succeeded yet. We’re emerging there, that’s what the industry is inventing now, as we speak. That said, after that revolution, will there be a “no-screen” revolution? Will augmented reality allow us to create experiences as strong, as interesting and as immersive? Yes, that’s a good possibility. We see what the Google Glasses -which will appear one day or another- and other similar tests are being made. We can imagine that, one day we’ll be in a world of augmented reality, where we’ll be playing in our kitchens with characters that aren’t there. It will certainly be a bit frightening.

Interviewer: I don’t think that’s too comforting… Another question, perhaps?

[Public reception of The Walking Dead vs. Public reception of Heavy Rain]

Audience member: Good evening!

Interviewer: Good evening!

David Cage: Good evening!

Audience member: I have a question about the Telltale game The Walking Dead. What do you think about it and what do you think about the critical reception it’s had compared to the critical reception of Heavy Rain? [silence] Some found it hypocritical…

David Cage: Hypocritical? What do you mean?

Audience member: Some journalists mentioned the positive reactions towards The Walking Dead as the “hypocrites’ ball” compared to the reception of Heavy Rain.

David Cage: Ah ! [chuckles – he mumbles] Heavy Rain has had a fantastic critical reception, I mean… Personally, I’m very happy with the critical reception we’ve had. A lot of intelligent and pertinent things were written about the game. Some people liked it, some people didn’t like it, some people found that the game matched their expectations, some did not. The people who made Walking Dead were kind enough to say they had been largely inspired by Heavy Rain. That’s kind of them. They were not forced to acknowledge it but it was kind to say it. We opened a door and they rushed in. We’re very happy that other people are exploring that path. We’re very happy that they have this critical reception because, with the next game, no one will pester us anymore, saying: “Should video games really tell stories?” No, it’s good now… that’s it. So, the more we are to make that kind of thing, the better it is. The success of Walking Dead makes us very very happy. Yes, there are some hypocrites in the press but it’s nothing new.

Interviewer: For information, I still feel like the press was unanimous about Walking Dead, but… that’s just my point of view. Everybody agreed to say it was a good game.

David Cage: I think we’ve hit a few brick walls and the walls we’ve hit allowed us to open the doors. The allegory could be better, but…

Interviewer: Another question?

[Origin of the name Quantic Dream and opinions on machinima]

Audience member: Good evening.

David Cage: Good evening.

Audience member: Mr. Cage, thank you for giving this masterclass…

David Cage: Thank you for coming and listening.

Audience member: I have two questions. A very short one… The first question is: where does the Quantic Dream name come from? Since you’ve practically explained the origin of your pseudonym…

David Cage: Yeah.

Audience member: …but where does the name of your company come from…

David Cage: Yeah, I’m going to start answering this one.

Interviewer: It you don’t mind, we’re only going to ask one because there are a lot of people…

Audience member: [chokes]

David Cage: Alright, come on, ask the second one.

Audience member: So the second one is: I’d like to know what you think about machinimas… I mean, do you plan on offering a mode for some of your games so that people can reclaim [content], make movies, as was possible with GTA IV?

David Cage: OK. So. Quantic Dream comes from quantum physics and “dream” -the idea of dreaming- and what fascinated me was… something magical in quantum physics, because it’s scientific -obviously, it’s mathematical, it creates things that… allow us to make predictions. There’s a technological and scientific aspect but, at the same time, there’s something completely irrational in quantum physics. And, for me, what we tried to create, I mean the way we originally saw the company was this: using science and technology to create something emotional and irrational, obviously. As for machinimas, hmm… I find this machinima movement very interesting We’ve made one with Kara, a little bit… I mean, a kind of short film. It’s using game technology to make short films, so we somehow make luxury machinimas, so to speak, because we make dedicated content. So there you go, it’s something we love to do. I mean, creating fiction with real-time content. It’s something that… linear, even. We have a lot of fun doing it.

Audience member: [He tries to ask a third question]

Interviewer: No, no, that’s too many. Honestly, there are a lot of people. Sorry.

David Cage: The answer must be “yes”, but…
Audience
[laughing]

Interviewer: Yes, I think it’s “yes”…

[Opinions on the role of cutscenes]

Audience member: Good evening.

David Cage: Good evening.

Audience member: I’m a student at the [Paris 3] Sorbonne Nouvelle university and my Master’s thesis deals with video games and video game cutscenes.

David Cage: Yeah…

Audience member: You talked about narration, linearity and elastic stories. In your opinion, in your next game and the games after that, from your studio and from other studios, where do cutscenes belong in video game narration?

David Cage: I have a difficult relationship with cutscenes, paradoxically. Frequently, in video games, the main focus of interest is on action – the cutscenes are only used to connect the levels with each other with a semblance of a story. I’m rarely satisfied by cutscenes in video games. They’re often very well made, very well shot, etc. Technologically very accomplished but they’re not integrated. I mean, for me, the game has to tell a story. We must not have action loops then, all of a sudden, a small bit of story to go to the next action loop. And all the work we’re trying to do at Quantic since Fahrenheit is to integrate all this, as much as possible, in a flow that’s as fluid and natural as possible. It’s the player, through his actions, who tells the story, instead of putting the game to a halt, take his hand at one point and telling him a story. At least that’s what we’ve tried to do. I don’t know if we’ve succeeded, but Heavy Rain was about making it so the player, through his actions, carry the story, instead of imposing cutscenes on him. So, that’s it. Cutscenes are necessary, it’s very good, it’s useful, we do make cutscenes, I’m not gonna lie. We try to use as few of them as possible and only when we don’t have a choice. It’s really when we think… I use cutscenes in my intros, I mean when you’re opening a scene and set the mood… There, that’s good for a cutscene. I’ve made cutscenes for the outros, when it’s really about… ok, “The scene is over, here’s what happened”. Sometimes when there are very important moments which are not interactive, and you think: “There’s nothing interesting to play there, let’s make a short cutscene”. But you try to follow the rules – that’s the case with Beyond – and you try not to have cutscenes longer than… Honestly, when we make a cutscene that’s one minute long… one minute, you think: “Ah, that’s long”. So, really, we try to tell the story by any other means and mainly through interactivity, rather than cutscenes.

[“Are videogames art ?” and using neuroscience to trigger emotions]

Audience member: Good evening.

David Cage: Good evening.

Audience member: My name is Agnès, I’m a psychologist and I’m currently writing a thesis which links video games with psychology and a certain development of neuroscience. And there’s one word I haven’t heard – perhaps you’re going to utter it but you haven’t done it yet – it’s about linking video games with the notion of art. I haven’t heard the word “art” and… it’s not a question but I’m attached to that. And what you’re showing us -and what other games show us- is art. I think it is. So that’s the first thing. And the second thing is: since you’re attached to emotions – all emotions – are you going to approach, maybe, people who work in the field of neuroscience, to learn how to materialize the true emotions as we can observe them today? Thank you.

David Cage: So, the notion of art… I’m gonna have to watch my words because it generally ends up on forums and it ends up in a bloodbath…

Interviewer: Yes, it’s always complicated – video games as art, it’s quite a debate… I think we could spend an entire evening on that. [silence] So, the part about art wasn’t a question?

David Cage: Personally, I’ve decided to -and not under pressure from the forums or anyone else… If we worked under pressure from the forums we wouldn’t do anything anymore and it’d be a shame. I’ve decided to talk about video games as a means of expression instead of an art form, for one simple reason. I think we – the people who are currently making games, in our era and maybe even our generation- we are not necessarily the ones who should decide whether we make art or not. For the time being, we make… Personally, I try to express myself through

and I think it’s the audience, it’s society, it’s -I was about to say posterity, possibly- to decide whether what I try to express is strong enough, interesting enough, original enough, to be similar to art.
But it’s not my role to say: “Hey guys, see, I’m an artist, that’s so cool”, no. That’s not the case. That’s not how I see myself. I see myself, so to speak, more like a craftsman than an artist. I try to express myself, I try to tell things that touch me, hoping it will touch other people. And that’s where my approach ends. “Art”, “not art”… at the end of the day, I don’t give a damn. I don’t work to end up in museums, in twenty years or when I’m dead. I work, today, to try to share this passion, this desire and certain emotions with the people who honor me by taking interest in my work.
As for neuroscience, it’s extremely interesting, in absolute terms. I think you need… I think you need to know what you want to do. I mean, do you want, scientifically, to trigger certain neuronal reactions in the user? That’s a respectable kind of work. Do we want to work in completely subjective feelings, by trusting your instinct? The approach I’m interested in -even if it means being wrong, even if it means telling something that touches me but won’t touch anybody else- because I think that’s the approach. If you want an approach that’s sincere and deep. So, I’m gonna talk about death in Beyond, which is something that has touched me personally, in a way that was personal to me. Is it gonna touch other people or not? I don’t know. Maybe not at all. Maybe yes. Maybe no. But I wouldn’t want to rationalize it by thinking: “I have mathematical formulas. I have a technique that will allow me to…” I understand very well that’s not what you meant. But in any case, I wouldn’t want to have a recipe or a science that allows me, with a 100% certainty, to touch people’s hearts. Because I think that, if there is a form of expression and if there is art somewhere, art is in the feeling and in the fact you’re doing it by instinct. But I am very interested in neuroscience, of course, and we’re always glad to talk with scientists who’re working on that.

Interviewer: Other questions…?

Audience member: Good evening, Mr. de Gruttola.
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: Good evening!

[Creating emotion through higher graphic fidelity?]

Audience member: I’m a law student – I know it’s got nothing to do with… I’d like to know if you don’t find it vain to state that emotion can emerge from the number of polygons a console can display? Should emotion really emerge from the technical quality of a game or the reproduction accuracy of a game or of the actors’ faces?

David Cage: [sigh, silence] So… [silence] No, it’s not about the number of polygons. And I asked myself that question many times before… I think you’re referring to the PlayStation 4 demo… No. There’s no direct connection between: “The more polygons there are the more emotion there is.” We all agree on this, it’s absolutely clear. What I’ve tried -it seems that I’ve failed- to express was to say – I’ve said it very clearly, if you listen to my speech, which I’ve tried to write carefully… When you look at cinema, some masterpieces were silent, in black and white, in a low resolution. There were huge masterpieces. There’s Metropolis, there’s Chaplin, there’s tons of them… Those are masterpieces, as moving as… there’s even Méliès, if you want to go far back in the past – there’s something moving in that, to… with a technology which was what it was at the time, and those people made extraordinary things with that technology. But you can’t say, either, that when the talkies arrived, when color arrived, when all those things arrived – technologically – that it didn’t have an impact on what you create with it. All of a sudden you were able to create experiences that were emotional. Maybe not more, but differently. All of a sudden you could tell stories that were a bit more subtle because you had people talking, you could feel the look in their eyes. Before that, every time somebody talked, you had a dialog card – a black screen with text. That didn’t really facilitate immersion. That’s it. But, once again, some masterpieces were made that way.
All I’m saying is that the evolution of technology allows us to do things we couldn’t do before, which were rather complicated to do before. We don’t need more polygons to make more emotion – we all agree on that- But we can make other things, more simply, and -I think- with more nuance and more subtlety, definitely. That’s a totally subjective opinion. I’m not trying to sell it to anybody. I’ve tried to show the image and we’ve seen it, through… Well, I was able to do some things with Nomad Soul, but with the graphical quality of the time. And had I been better back then, I would have made a better game, with the technology of the time, but when you see what we’re doing, today, with the old man demo, well, you see. Today we can easily make things that will be strong, impacting, emotional, different.

Interviewer: Another question…

[Practical advice to young video game creators]

Audience member: Good evening David.

David Cage: Good evening.

Audience member: Thank you for coming tonight.

David Cage: Thank you.

Audience member: We do like the approach. I was thinking: You’ve had a rather atypical career path. Well, not atypical, I’d say you haven’t gone through the classical path. And you say that today isn’t the same period. What would you recommend to young creators, today? I know we’re in the golden age of independent games, thanks to all the stores, to Steam, to all those things. What would you recommend, today, to young people who want to make things, to build studios, which path to take and why?

David Cage: Well, the current period is simpler, in a way, and more complicated in other ways. It’s simpler because, back when I founded Quantic, you needed several millions to create a game and you needed a publisher. And there was no other solution.
Today, this era is more of less a thing of the past because you can have access to platforms and touch an audience almost directly, with -all things considered- little to no money. You can end up on iOS very quickly, or even -not without a small investment- on a store, whether it’s the PlayStation store or something else, and reach a console gaming audience. That’s rather new and interesting, why? Because it’s going to allow people who don’t necessarily have the appropriate resume, who don’t necessarily have a lot of experience, who haven’t proved their credentials so far, to say: “I can develop, I can create something, I can show it to people”. And, all of a sudden, the people decide whether what you do is interesting or not.
And that’s a rather new and original thing. And there’s a huge success that everybody knows today, called Minecraft, that started out as the idea of someone who worked in his corner, at some point. He managed to give shape to his idea. It took him time and a lot of effort but it was a strong enough idea so he’s convinced people and, today, he’s really created something strong. And you can find other examples like that. So it’s an era of opportunity for the people who have talent, who are willing to work and make the effort. It’s an investment but now it’s possible. It’s the best news for the videogame school graduates. If you have talent, show it and voilà. Then there are other ways. It’s not like there’s one highway, one portal and “That’s the one you must take, if you’re not on iOS or Android you’re not gonna make it”. I’m not saying that. We’re always on the lookout for people with talent and ideas. We’re more and more on the lookout for young talent and people who are capable and talented. We’re not the only ones, there are others. You need to find your place and show your talent. Thank you.

[Status of the Heavy Rain movie adaptation]

Audience member: Yes, hello.

David Cage: Hello!

Audience member: I remember that Heavy Rain, back then, had had a great buzz, whether it’s on TV… and I heard there would be a film adaptation of Heavy Rain and I’d like to know if it’s making progress.

David Cage: With films, you know when you start working on them but you never know when it’s coming out. The rights have been acquired by a big Hollywood studio and a famous screenwriter is working on it. That’s where we’re at now. Films are interesting. We receive a lot of offers for options and rights because we make games that are based a lot on narration. We do it when we meet people who seem genuinely, sincerely interested in the approach. That said, we’re not really betting on this. Whether it goes very well or not, it’s not a tragedy.

Interviewer: Another question?

[Laughter as an emotion]

Audience member: Good evening. My name is Adrien Carlier…

David Cage: Good evening.

Audience member: …I’m a game design student at the ISART Digital school.

David Cage: Yes.

Audience member: So, your belief is to transmit emotions to the player…

David Cage: Hmm hmm.

Audience member: …which I think is a real success, because I was depressed when I played Heavy Rain.
Audience
[laughing]

David Cage: That’s a success.

Audience member: Now, I’d like to know if you’re interested in working on other emotions, such as laughter. I think it’s rare to laugh in front of a video game. So I was wondering if you were interested in that or if it’s just a totally different choice. I’d like to know your point of view, precisely, on making the player laugh.

David Cage: I’m interested in all emotions. All of them. I mean, what interests me is provoking an emotional reaction in the player. It’s not necessarily having him burst into tears and hang himself after playing but making him laugh is very difficult. Very difficult. It’s a huge challenge and people often underestimate this. But it’s obviously very interesting.

[On transmedia experiences]

Audience member: Good evening, my name is Vincent, I’m also a game design student at ISART Digital. I have a question about transmedia experiences. For example, we had Alt-Minds, last year…

David Cage: Yeah.

Audience member: …which performed quite well for a launch. I’d like to know Quantic Dream’s position on this kind of experience and if you’re interested in doing any in the future.

David Cage: We’re interested in everything that’s different, everything that goes off the beaten path, everything that pushes video games into life and society, into the emotional feel of the player. Eric Viennot has been exploring transmedia since In Memoriam, now. He has a certain talent and a certain know-how for creating that kind of experience, which, honestly, we don’t have. So, that’s it. It’s something very interesting, very strong, very difficult to build. It’s not the way we’re exploring, today, at Quantic. It doesn’t mean this way doesn’t have a future, of course.

Interviewer: Another question?

[Why David Cage isn’t making movies]

Audience member: Hello.

David Cage: Hello.

Audience member: My name is [unintelligible] and I study industrial design in Paris. My question is linked to all the answers you’ve given before. We’ve seen Fahrenheit, the Casting demo- which was a short movie, actually…

David Cage: Yeah.

Audience member: …then Heavy Rain, which was very cinematic, very much based on writing, very much on emotion, then Kara, then… why did you not start doing cinema?

David Cage: Well, people often ask me this question, sometimes with good intentions, sometimes with somewhat worse intentions…

Audience member: …I mean “[why did you not] ALSO start doing cinema?”

David Cage: I’m not frustrated about cinema. Not doing cinema is not the reason why I’m making video games. Really. I’ve chosen to be here, I’ve chosen this media. I’m very happy about what I’m doing here. There’s everything to invent here. Everything to invent. Earlier on, we talked about comedy, well, that’s it. The first person who invents a funny game will almost have invented interactive comedy. In cinema, if you want to invent something, well, you need… a lot of money and probably talent that I don’t have. I think a lot of things are left to be created in video games and that’s what interests me. And you can do it through stories. You can do it through stories without it necessarily be cinema. This is often the part I’m trying to express and people have trouble understanding. Which is that no media was created out of nothing. Frequently, video games… “Well, no, video games were created out of nothing, you’re not referring to anything, no other art form, no other form of expression, you create out of nothing”. Which is false! This does not exist! Nothing gets created out of nothing. When photography appeared, it was created from painting. It was completely inspired by the codes of painting before -obviously- it found its specific features, its language, its expression, but there are still things in common between painting and photography. When cinema appeared, it was inspired by photography. It was inspired by theatre. At the beginning it was very inspired, very copied, then, step by step, the language found its cinema, but it built itself on other forms of expression.
Today, video games are doing the same thing. They’re inspired by cinema, by television, by literature, by comic-books, by music, and it’s all very good. It’s all good, which doesn’t mean you’re getting lost and you blindly copy what others are doing and you don’t have an identity of your own. No! That’s how you learn and grow up. You learn, in a way. You invent a language. And this language cannot be invented from nothing. It needs to be built and to have strong roots. You can use two thousand years of civilization to build a language instead of claiming it’s getting built from scratch.

Interviewer: One question…

David Cage: Was my answer clear enough…?

[Mistakes on Nomad Soul and saying goodbye to science fiction]

Audience member: Good evening, David.

David Cage: Good evening.

Audience member: My name is Tristan, I’m a simple gamer.

Interviewer: That’s not so bad!

Audience member: I’m just curious: if today, with your experience and your two games – I mean three, you’ll see the question… If you had to make The Nomad Soul today, which mistake would you not make again, and what would you add?

David Cage: Hmm… [silence] I would change many things. First, I think I wouldn’t make a game which subject is science fiction any more. I love science fiction but, for me… as soon as there’s a very pronounced genre, it has to be the background, not the subject. So I’d make something that’s not focused on robots and spaceships and hovercrafts. I’d make something centered around the feelings of the character because it would instantly create a link, a connection with the player. Then, you can tell whatever you want, you could have imagined any stories, any technology and whatever you want but the subject is the human being and the feeling, first and foremost, because that’s what makes you interested in the experience. I think it would certainly be less dense. It wouldn’t go off in all different directions and I’d try to have an intention that’s -in my point of view- clearer and stronger and more… voilà. Trying to know better what you want to say before saying it.

Audience member: You’ve convinced me.

David Cage: Thank you.

Interviewer: Another question, please? It will be the last one, though.

[The specific language and codes of video games]

Audience member: Good evening, Mr. Cage.

David Cage: Good evening.

Audience member: I’m a game design student at ISART Digital, too. It’s a shame that somebody asked the previous question because the answer made a huge transition to what I was about to ask, which is about the codes in different media. As in literature, you can use figures of speech to express certain sensations, certain feelings, certain emotions. It’s the same in cinema, in painting and in photography. And, precisely, since video games gather all those media into one – it itself is a multi-media – don’t video games themselves have their own codes, which you might have discovered as you developed your titles?

David Cage: Of course. In fact, the main part of our work is to elaborate this language, game after game, to add words into our language so we can tell things that are more and more subtle, more and more refined, more and more interesting for the player. In fact, when you make a video game, the difference between a movie and a video game is that a movie is a thread, in a way. I mean you unwind it and the spectator follows it. And he doesn’t have a choice, there. He can only follow the thread. When you tell an interactive story, what you try to do is not to create a thread but a narrative space in which the player is free to move as he wants, a space in which he feels free, while you preserve the coherence of the story you want to tell. When you work on what you call a game design, a game script, I really consider it as a tridimensional script. I mean there’s a third dimension called interactivity – which can be more or less deep, which is extremely difficult to manage, on which we lack language elements. So you try, game after game, to invent the language, to find words, to find tricks, and that’s it. But it takes time to invent a laguage. It’s not done like this [snaps his fingers] like this, by snapping your fingers. Telling a written story takes time. Telling a story with moving pictures took time. It took fifty years for cinema to produce certain masterpieces. With video games, you want to be in a hurry but, at the same time, you must understand that it’s a process that’s getting built year after year, game after game.

Interviewer: The last question, please.

[On UGC (User-Generated Content)]

Audience member: Good evening.

David Cage: Good evening.

Audience member: My name is Vincent – I’m also a videogame student at ISART Digital. Just an anecdote before asking you the question: previously, you said that Heavy Rain gave birth to the expression “I’ve played it with my wife”. Well, I don’t have a wife but I’ve played it with my mother.

David Cage: [laughs]

Audience member: That’s it. As for the question…

David Cage: Did she like it?

Audience member: Ah yeah, totally! She was always by my side, by the way, she came with me tonight…

David Cage: Ah ?

Audience member: She wanted to go here with me.

David Cage: Good evening, ma’am.

Interviewer: Good evening, ma’am. A fan of Heavy Rain.

Audience member: So. What do you think about UGC – User Generated Content? We’ve seen the huge success of Media Molecule with LittleBigPlanet. You too, try to raise emotions through video games but what do you think about allowing the players to raise their own emotions, to share their emotions through -for instance- certain tools, or through your game? Or one of the next games?

David Cage: It’s something I find very interesting. I admire a lot what our friends at Media Molecule are doing. I find that very interesting. Other experiments are being made in the same direction – I previously mentioned Minecraft, which is another interesting thing. Why not? I can’t offer you a solution today but I’d like to, tomorrow, offer people tools to tell their own stories and turn the media into a means of expression. Not mine anymore, but the players’. Yes, of course. It’s an interesting goal. I don’t have a solution to offer or to suggest tonight but it’s definitely something interesting.

[End of the Q&A session, thanks and final words by David Cage]

Interviewer: That’s it, sorry but we’re kinda running out of time. I think a lot of questions have been asked tonight, nevertheless. The masterclass is coming to an end. We’re very sorry. I’d like to thank a few people. Of course I’d like to thank David for his availability…
[applause]

David Cage: Thank you.

Interviewer: Many thanks, especially since it was a rather difficult period. You’ve been very receptive with the team, fascinated in the idea of creating this masterclass. Next, I’d like to thank you for being here tonight, of course. It really warms my heart because we’ve worked a lot to make this possible. We’re very happy to have you here, and to show that we can also talk about something else in video games, and that you’ll be there with us if we invite creators. You’ll be there to listen to them. It makes us happy because, precisely, the idea of the masterclass is to create a new, a true meeting around video games and try to make as many as we can. Once again, I’d like to thank the Cité des Sciences, which has supported us ever since the project began. Keep informed about the project of the Cité du Jeu Vidéo. It’s great to think we’re gonna make a dedicated place for our passion, so we can discuss, exchange about all this. It’s a very beautiful project and it needs your support. Many thanks to you all and we hope to see you again very very soon and I’ll leave the last word to you, of course.

David Cage: Well, you’ve said all I wanted to say. [chuckles] No, I’d like to thank you, of course, for coming, for spending two hours with us and listen to all the silly things I had to tell. A thousand thanks to you, thanks to all the team, which did an extraordinary work. It was a real pleasure to work with you because it was prepared with a lot of professionnalism and talent, so thanks a lot. And one word about the Cité des Sciences, again: it’s important that there are places like that, where you can talk about video games. But tonight I didn’t come to do marketing or promotion. I didn’t come to sell you something. I came to share my passion with you and my small experience at Quantic Dream for sixteen years. That’s it. It’s been a real pleasure. We need places like this and occasions and opportunities, and we need for the Cité des Sciences to play this role because I think it’s the right place. There’s this idea of a Cité du Jeu Vidéo, which I hope will become a permanent initiative, because I think there’s something extraordinary to be done. Previously, we talked about means of expression, art, in any case a form of culture. You can’t deny that video games are a form of culture, which has its diversity, its audience, its language and it is rich of that diversity, precisely. And we need a permanent place where we can talk about it and share this culture and broaden it. So that’s what I wanted to say. Thank you.

Interviewer: That’s the last word. Thank you David!

David Cage: Thank you. Thank you!
[Applause]

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.