Heavy Rain was turned down by Microsoft because they're not fans of children being kidnapped
Heavy Rain, the PlayStation 3 exclusive that is quite possibly one of the most emotional roller coasters of a game I've ever played, could've been on Microsoft's Xbox 360. Maybe in an alternate universe it was (sorry, I'm almost done with season four of Fringe). Why didn't it come to the Xbox 360? Microsoft turned down Heavy Rain because of the child kidnapping story.
David Cage, head of development for Quantic Dream, spoke at this year's BAFTA annual games lecture and revealed that little nugget of information, saying that Microsoft was "scared" of the controversy it could potentially cause. Quantic Dreams went to multiple publishers, including Sony (obviously) and Microsoft.
Cage said, "They got scared by the fact that Heavy Rain was about kids being kidnapped, and they said, 'This is an issue, we want to change it.' Well, we could have kidnapped cats, it would be a different experience!
"For me, that was a very interesting signal. It was like, you know what, I don't think we can work together, because you don't understand what I'm to achieve here. They were scared of the scandal and scared of what people may write and what people may think. 'Oh, this is a developer and the publisher making games about a child getting kidnapped.'"
Obviously, a child getting kidnapped is at the heart of the story, but it's not a game about kidnapping kids. Nevertheless, I totally understand why Microsoft would be hesitant to publish a game that could be controversial.
Cage didn't think the game was about a child getting kidnapped. There's so much more than that. But he made sure to say that Microsoft is a great company; they just weren't "in sync with what we wanted to achieve."
Then came along Sony.
"We had this conversation with Sony very honestly saying, 'Okay, there is a reason here.' But I think they understood the upside of what we were doing.
"This could be incredibly emotional, if done with taste and if there's nothing shocking for the sake of shocking. There should be a strong emotional experience, but it shouldn't be vulgar, it shouldn't be about blood and whatever, it should be about love," Cage continued. "We could understand each other, and this is how Heavy Rain happened."
Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain handled the subject perfectly, and everything Cage said right there was spot on with the game. There was nothing violent about the actual kidnapping. It's a touchy subject and it created one of the most emotional video game experiences to this day. It's a shame Microsoft declined to publish it, but had it revolved around a kidnapping of another sort, it just wouldn't have been the same game.
Now, just for funsies, here's the internet's favorite glitch from Heavy Rain: