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Detroit: Become Human – Are we human?

PREVIEW – Quantic Dream took quite a few steps since 2012 – more than what we should believe, in fact. Sure, they had Beyond: Two Souls out at the end of 2013, but they started work on a PS4-exclusive. It was a surprise last October: they took a previously revealed tech demo further, while keeping that classic Quantic Dream-touch.

 

When this tech demo, called Kara, was revealed in 2012, it was hard for us to believe that it ran on a PlayStation 3. Back then, nor the PS4 neither the X1 was announced, so we didn’t know how big of a jump would it be to jump from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 4. The tech demo was this video:

Near future

We’re in Detroit, in the near future. David Cage, the creator of the game, has not explained how far we are ahead of 2016, but it may not matter after all. The technology has improved so much that humankind learned to built androids. Not just any androids, mind you; they don’t have robot-like movements, and they don’t take breaks between syllables either.

They have humanlike movements and speech skills. They are doing our jobs, whether it be a construction worker, a nurse, or a clerk job. This is the base situation of Detroit: Become Human: Humanity relies on the androids too much, and there’s not an equal footing between the two parties. Humans consider the androids as disposable items, as tools, as useless things outside their job(s).

Behave!

When we begin the game, trouble hits us: the androids start to behave „badly”. They either disappear into the horizon with no explanation, or they are aggressive against the humanity, as if they… are mad. That’s a human emotion, isn’t it?

In the game, we’ll be able to control more than one character. At least two are confirmed: one of them is going to be Kara. That’s a nod to the tech demo. The other one is called Connor. There will be more than two – knowing Cage, it should be at least 4 or 5, but who knows what they have in store for us? Connor is one of those advanced android prototypes. In fact, he has such skills that I could even call him the android version of Sherlock Holmes.

He’s helping the human investigators in the cases regarding the rebelling/disappearing androids. Finding clues, he can recreate how the crime happened. (It’s something similar to what ABC Murders has at the end of each chapter when Poirot rebuilds the event to Hastings.) Connor is a cold character with a single aim: to complete his investigation at all costs.

Alive

Cage admitted that Quantic Dream had hired actors for the game. They had castings to find the perfect actors so that the devs can digitalize their facial expressions and movement by using motion capture technology. The developers also took up an interest in cinematography. Therefore, the cutscenes – if you know Quantic Dream, you know that there are tons of them! – can even be considered as a CGI movie.

The engine has been mostly rebuilt from scratch to be able to have realistic lighting, better shaders, translucency, things like that. „We played with all these technologies and players don’t need to care about all this because it’s just interesting for geeks and developers. We enjoyed doing these things, and we hope that players even if they are not interested in the technology behind all this will like the result on the screen.” – said Cage in his latest interview, which we linked below.

Script

Cage also said that there are thousands and thousands of pages (!) of scripts for Detroit: Become Human and they are complex right from the get-go. He focused on consequences – if one character drops from the game, that is is, we can bid adieu to him/her(/it?), and it might have an effect on our relationship with other characters, or on the ending. Think of Heavy Rain, but in a more detailed approach (and hopefully, without a glitch that features Ethan shouting Shaun even when he isn’t supposed to do so).

More characters = more storylines. Cage planned to have them all have detailed background stories. We will not only see some plotlines connect some dots together, but there might also be some confusion because of the complex plot. Hopefully, it will not be as difficult to follow as it was a South American soap opera, but let’s hope for the best!

Human

Detroit needs to focus on one thing: the plot. From what we have seen so far, the game looks outstanding, but maybe Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End looks a little bit better. The visuals look okay. The audio wasn’t a problem with previous Quantic Dream games either, and since the devs had castings for the actors, they must have had concentrated on the voice acting as well. The music is a different question, though, but it’s impossible to see if that is going to be a judging factor or not.

So, the story. If Cage doesn’t end up bogging himself down with his War and Peace length script, then he is halfway there to succeed. To have a winner game on his hand, though, he has to make sure the gameplay doesn’t become boring. Having more characters can stop that happening, but we have yet to see what else is out there other than Kara and Connor. Also, the replayability may be an issue…

When will Detroit launch? We don't know yet.

When?

We don’t know when Detroit: Become Human can launch yet. Seeing this game hit the shelves in 2016 seems unlikely. However, launching in 2017 looks plausible. Sony has only one game confirmed to drop in 2017 as an exclusive, and that is Horizon: Zero Dawn in February. They will need more for the later parts of the year, and it may just be Detroit to fill that gap. (I need to point out that it’s all just me guessing because Cage didn’t even mention a release YEAR, which is somewhat weird in my opinion.)

As this game’s existence – as a PS4-exclusive title, no more – was confirmed as early as 2013 (!), I don’t think development will take more than four years.
February 2010, October 2013… maybe the trend continues, and Detroit might be out during the summer of 2017. That date would be a pleasant surprise.

-V-

These can make the game a success:

+ Cage and cinematography
+ More playable characters
+ The base concept itself

These might make it a disappointment:

– Won’t the story be hard to follow?
– Replayability?
– How different is it going to be from Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls?


Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Developer: Quantic Dream

Genre:  Adventure, Action

Publication: TBA

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