David Bowie's death at the age of 69 yesterday has affected creatives across nearly all industries, with many offering up personal stories and memories of the multi-talent. David Cage, head of development studio Quantic Dream, spoke to French publication Le Monde today about working with Bowie on his first — and only — starring role in a game.
Omikron: The Nomad Soul launched on Windows in late 1999 as the debut title from the young Quantic Dream, receiving a Dreamcast port the following year. Bowie played the part of Boz in the sci-fi adventure, in which players try to save their own soul while hunting down a serial killer.
Bowie's role was small but central to the political machinations that in part drove the oddball plot. (There's demons, government conspiracies and ancient religious orders all at play in Omikron, and that's barely covering it.) Cage told Le Monde that Bowie needed only minor direction when it came to performing his character.
"For the role of Boz, we talked a lot about the proactive role that this character was, where he came from, what he sought, and David did the rest," he said. "I really directed very little in-studio because it was not needed."
In total, the time you spend with Bowie's Boz in the game amounts to not much more than five minutes, all of which you can watch below.
Yet Bowie played another part in the development, and made a second cameo in Omikron itself. Cage and composer Reeves Gabriel collaborated with Bowie on the score for the game, with all three working together closely on the project for a month straight.
"The musical work was very particular about this project: we're locked in an apartment in Paris with him and one of his musicians, Reeves Gabrels for a month almost every day," Cage recounted.
"I brought all the designs of the game, the script, my notes littering the apartment, and several hours a day, I told him the story moment by moment, we watched the images together, we talked about the universe, the history of this world, and after I left, he was working on music."
Those pieces feature prominently within Omikron as both background score and performances by its resident band, the Dreamers. Bowie's likeness was used to portray a member of that group, too, and some of their songs later appeared on his 1999 album ‘Hours...'
Quantic Dream tweeted several odes to the Thin White Duke today, including a music video from a demo disc for Omikron: Nomad Soul. You can watch it below; it features the Dreamers, with Bowie's vocals, playing the song "Something in the Air," one of several Omikron pieces to make it onto ‘Hours...'
For those eager to play or replay David Bowie's sole video game outing, it's available on Steam and GOG to check out now.