Heavy Rain is finally a reality. At this point, most of us have finished the game at least once and the different reactions -- both good and bad -- to the game certainly drove a number of my conversations at the Game Developers Conference last week. One point that came up several times, however, was the difficulty in explaining what exactly Heavy Rain is to other people. Quantic Dream co-CEO and Heavy Rain designer can sympathize -- he's been doing it for years. He's been trying to, anyway.
"Describing in the experience that is Heavy Rain's been my nightmare for the past two years," said Cage in an interview with Adam Sessler during GDC. "Because I've had to evangelize, I've had to talk about this game for two years just to make people aware what we were doing, etc, etc. I really got the feeling that no matter how hard I tried, people could not get what kind of experience it would be. Now, it's really funny to see players who played the game try to explain it to their friends and facing the same issues. Because if I ask you 'what do you do in Heavy Rain?' -- you know, if I ask you 'what you do in any shooter?' you say 'I shoot and it was exciting because of this or that,' but if I ask you 'what you do in Heavy Rain?' it's a difficult question to answer."
It's one thing to say you understand what Heavy Rain is about and another to actually head to the store and pick up a copy, though. Most of the industry seemed to be preparing itself for Heavy Rain to be a critical darling without much commercial success. It's impossible to know what would have been the impact of Heavy Rain being a commercial disaster, and while Heavy Rain's sales aren't necessarily indicative of a typical blockbuster, ranking in the sales charts for February proves resonance.
"When we were talking about the game," said Cage, "we always said that if this game a commercial success or failure, it's going to send a very strong message to the industry. If it's a failure, it's going to tell everybody that no one's interested in creating experiences for an adult audience based on interactive storytelling and emotions, but at the same time, if it's a commercial success, maybe it's going to open doors to other people and say that you can be creative and try something different and at the asme time have some kind of commercial success."
At least we have the Heavy Rain downloadable content to hold us over until Cage's next.