Have you ever wanted to ask Quantic Dream founder and CEO David Cage — a man who's certainly known for his deep and heavily character-driven games — what he thinks about the Japanese game scene? Famitsu magazine had that opportunity this week, and the answer may surprise you, given the tendency many designers have had in recent years to downplay Japan's achievements.
"I've loved Japan's games for a long time, and I've always been playing them," he said. "My personal impression is that Japanese games have high creativity and really cut through the mold. Really, Western games have a tendency to just repeat the same things over and over again and be hesitant to change. I really think Japan's creators are the ones making more ambitious challenges with their work."
Given what titles like Heavy Rain and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls set out to accomplish, you could probably guess Cage's favorite Japanese designer. "Among them, I personally respect Fumito Ueda, who made Ico and Shadow of the Colossus," he said. "I think he's shown that games can provide moving poetic expressions without relying on guns and swords. I wonder if games like these could have only been made in Japan. I think Japanese games are good for relaying stories, and that's why it was a thrill to hear that Heavy Rain was getting praise in Japan."
Heavy Rain, which wound up selling over two million copies worldwide, seemed to highlight a new trend in character-oriented game titles — something Cage doesn't necessary see. "I don't feel that this is a trend that we necessarily created," he noted. "I feel like the game industry is just getting older, or maturing, in the end. As you get older, the focus of your interest changes from when you were young. Getting to be part of this turning-point era is something I'm glad for."
Along those lines, Cage demonstrated more than ample excitement for the PlayStation 4, which his company produced a demo for that debuted at the PlayStation Meeting event in February. "The PlayStation 4 is a dramatic leap in hardware specs," he commented. "I felt that, for the player, it'll be easier to make games with 'meaning'. To me, 'meaning' refers to 'the ability to change something.' If I can alter the player's emotions and have those feelings affect their way of thinking or perspective, that'd be a great honor."
As for what comes after Beyond? Is there anything else in the works? "Of course, although I can't talk about them, of course," Cage laughed. "I've made games for 16 years, and I always think that I want to reach new dimensions with the next one I make. That's the level of passion I have for this."