David Cage and his team over at Quantic Dream
have released new gameplay footage comprising three different scenes from the upcoming PS3 game »Beyond: Two Souls«
. While each segment is only a few minutes long, they demonstrate the overall abilities the active player is able to obtain throughout the psychological action thriller.
The first scene takes place when Jodie Holmes is eight years old, and is being tested in a research facility to discover the breadth of her psychic abilities. She is held alone and tasked with guessing what card someone is holding up in an adjacent room. To successfully accomplish this task, the player can take control of Jodie’s spiritual companion Aiden and is then able to see through walls and over the female tester's shoulder revealing the correct card. After picking up the right card, Jodie loses control of Aiden. He then begins to frighten and torture the woman in the adjoining room by throwing large objects and locking the door. The video ends with the supernatural entity possessing one of the lab technicians observing the test.
Next, an action gameplay tutorial introduces the now grown and recognizable main protagonist in a training sequence with a striking countenance of Ellen Page. It shows how Jodie is trained to be a CIA agent, with her deflecting blows and eventually taking over her sparring partner before he is able to point a prop gun at her. Giving the player more time to react, combat is slowed immediately before each hit as she grapples with and punches her pretend attacker.
Concluding these segments in an impressive sequence titled the "Condenser scene", Holmes tries to escape a burning hospital. She uses Aiden to get to the lowest floor as he then proceeds to guide her through a safe path, offering help by means of removing an object that prevents the elevator from operating, breaking glass and tossing her a fire extinguisher.
» Beyond: Two Souls - Gameplay Footage (03/21/2013) «
(Format: AVI | Codec: XviD | Duration: 8:34 min | Dimension: 640x360 | Size: 70,1 MB)
© Sony Computer Entertainment Europe / Quantic Dream. All rights reserved.
Earlier last week, 100 journalists from around the world visited Quantic Dream's
studio in Paris for an exclusive event. In the backdrop of the very motion capture room where Ellen’s and Willem Dafoe’s performances were recorded, founder and CEO David Cage showcased several new sequences from the game, featuring both the Jodie Holmes and entity gameplay. Here’s a rundown of the features and moments that stood out the most:
While there are still a few stilted performances among the supporting cast, the average caliber of voice talent is noticeably higher across the board compared to Quantic Dream's previous project »Heavy Rain«.
If you belong to the group of people who think of »Heavy Rain« as a ten-hour Quick Time Event, you will be thrilled to know that »Beyond: Two Souls« does away with long, uninterrupted combinations of arbitrary onscreen button prompts. There are button and six-axis prompts making isolated appearances here and there though. Basic interactions and combat now rely on pushing the right stick in the direction that seems most natural for the current action you need to perform. Want to press a button in game? Just press up on the stick to reach the corresponding hand out. If someone’s swinging a baseball bat at you, you just move the stick in the appropriate direction to block it. These are some interesting ideas, provided the final game can ensure that every required gesture is simple and immediately intuitive. If not, fights could quickly be reduced to difficult guessing games, which could be more annoying than the Quick Time Events were.
Even on the most basic level, »Beyond« represents a huge step in terms of gameplay diversity. Being able to swap between Jodie Holmes and Aiden delivers a unconventional game mechanic that will pave the way for much deeper puzzles and complex situations. However, the game will take things a step further with bigger, more action-oriented moments. The scenes presented at the event featured snippets of Jodie galloping through the desert on horseback, sniffing around for clues at a supernatural crime scene, and riding a motorcycle down a rainy highway on the run from the cops. All this hints at a surprising amount of action.
One of the biggest frustrations in casual adventure games is when you can’t figure out the action that is required to continue. Quantic Dream has always done a neat job avoiding that in its games by creating multiple solutions that are rooted in the logic of everyday life. Let's say you need to get through a glass pane. You can have Jodie chuck a chair through it or you can switch to Aiden and have him smash it with his telekinetic powers. But these are probably just two of the simplest actions the player can perform.
On the tech side, »Beyond« uses a new engine which allows cloning living actors, handling significant volumes of motion capture assets, and delivering high quality at the lowest cost. The 180-employee-strong team has nurtured ambitions towards bridging the gap between videogames and film, toiling away at the visual fidelity of its virtual performers while avoiding the AAA nexus of jingoistic shooters, space marines, zombies, and whatever other ready-made pitches other developers are chasing to reach those multi-million unit sales counts. According to director David Cage, many of the videogame’s graphic tricks only came about after the team started working for Sony’s next gen system, PS4, and then realized they might be able to apply some of the same techniques to the PS3.
»Beyond« is centered on questions about what happens after death. It lets the player take Jodie Holmes through 15 (8-23) years of her life on a journey to discover the true meaning of the entity, Aiden, who is alongside her throughout the story. She will get around 40 unique looks representing her at different points in time, which in turn means we are going to experience dozens of moments such as homelessness, pregnancy, an interactive birth sequence, parental worry, desperation, hunger, fear, pain, violence, suicide, camaraderie, hope, elation, horror, coldness, warmth and sadness. Rather than presenting these events as a straightforward narrative story, the game will jump around in time and leave it up to the player to fit together all of the given pieces.
Perhaps the most shocking revelation is that Willem Dafoe, an actor who made his name taking on menacing villains, will be playing one of the good guys. The relationship between his character, Nathan Dawkins, and Jodie Holmes seems complex, nuanced, and tender.
Additional articles on the latest developments can also be found on the websites of MTV Multiplayer
and The Verge
In related news, »Beyond: Two Souls«
has been chosen as an Official Selection by Tribeca Film Festival
. Sony Entertainment will host a screening on April 27 with a new one-hour scene, a major trailer, a behind the scenes look and a "Tribeca Talks" panel featuring Ellen and David Cage. The session will be livestreamed on the PlayStation Blog