previews\ Jun 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Heavy Rain: The Origami Killer - PS3 - Preview

E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

There has been a lot of speculation about SCEA’s new intellectual property, Heavy Rain: The Origami Killer, and the company was only too happy to reveal quite a bit of it during a pre-E3 event. What was revealed was a game that treads the line between a gritty third-person action game, and a psychological exploration of a man caught between a secret drug addiction and his duty to stop a killer.

“We’ve been quite mysterious about Heavy Rain,” said David Cage, of developer Quantic Dream. “Our major announcement is about gameplay – there will be four main characters that players can control. You will need to play them in turn, from one scene to another. Their stories are interlaced around the central story of the game.”

Heavy Rain is a very visceral experience that treads several different areas. The game starts off with an FBI profiler name Norman Jayden, who is investigating a killer known for leaving an origami sculpture in the dead hands of his victims. To aid his investigation, Jayden uses a prototype added-reality interface, (ARI) that will allow him to analyze his environments. The ARI utilizes glasses and comes with a wireless glove that can analyze blood samples by touch.

Complicating the matter is Norman’s addiction to a synthetic drug called triptocaine, which he needs. Though he wants to get clean, he is still dependent and will have problems if he does not get a fix on a regular basis. Of course, when Jayden has a withdrawal episode, it usually comes at the wrong time.

The game plays out in real-time 3D and each scene is contextual. The real message of the game is contained within the game’s tagline: How far would you go to save someone you loved?

Thoughts and dialogue are tied to hotkeys, but the thoughts and dialogue choices move depending on the psychological state of the character, thus giving many different ways to play out a scene.

Dev team worked very hard on facial reactions and characterizations, as well as the environment. Actors were scanned facially and motion captured. As for the controls, the game uses motion controls within the context of the action. The fight scenes require a fair amount of button mashing.

There are different ways of playing each scene and all with different consequences. If the character you are playing dies, you lose all the scenes involving that character, as well as their perspective and their role in the game.

Though Heavy Rain is currently in the alpha stage, Cage anticipated the game length will be approximately 10 hours.

“What we tried to do with this game is see if there is a different way of playing,” Cage said. “The game is about triggering emotions. We will try to trigger empathy, try to trigger love. It’s not just about adrenalin and fear.”


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