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David Cage: Emotions are hard to tackle in games

David Cage: Emotions are hard to tackle in games

Heavy Rain looks set to shatter the uncanny valley and provide truly emotional experiences.

David Cage, the lead designer and director behind Omikron: The Nomad Soul and Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy, to US readers) gave a talk in France recently and outlined what he thinks the biggest barrier is for games in the future; emotion.

Gamasutra were on hand at the Museum of Science and Industry in France to report on Cage's talk about emotions and how these are tackled in games.

"The more subtle, social emotions such as love, empathy, joy, sadness, jealousy, anger, and shame are frequently addressed in literature and cinema, Cage pointed out, but are rarely successfully tackled by games," said Cage.

Cage reckoned that as technology continues to make advances in regards to animation and puppeteering that this would become less of a problem and that designers would be able to use sophisticated motion capture technologies to create a more evocative experience for gamers.

Cage's new game, Heavy Rain is looking to use such techniques already and Quantic Dream has invested heavily in recruiting actors and motion capture technology in an attempt to shatter the uncanny valley.

Speaking briefly about Heavy Rain in particular, Cage said that he was most interested in developing real-time interactions between the player and NPCs, but that he is currently limited by technology and therefore Heavy Rain will use more traditional dialog trees and a more linear presentation.

If you're interested in hearing more of David's thoughts then you can check out our last spotlight feature on adventure games, where we quiz David on what he thinks about the genre and how it will change in the future.

What did you think to Fahrenheit? What was the last game which really moved you? Let us know in the forums.

23 Comments

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Gareth Halfacree 26th June 2008, 12:18 Quote
In the forums, this thread appears on the main page as "David Cage: Emotions are hard..."

For some reason, I immediately completed this Malibu Stacey style with "...let's go shopping!"
Timmy_the_tortoise 26th June 2008, 12:28 Quote
The uncanny valley is UNBREAKABLE!
CardJoe 26th June 2008, 12:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
In the forums, this thread appears on the main page as "David Cage: Emotions are hard..."

For some reason, I immediately completed this Malibu Stacey style with "...let's go shopping!"

LOL
TomH 26th June 2008, 12:55 Quote
After playing through the HL2 series, the end of Episode 2 was a bit emotional... Heart-wretching and horrific at the same time.
cjoyce1980 26th June 2008, 12:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
In the forums, this thread appears on the main page as "David Cage: Emotions are hard..."

For some reason, I immediately completed this Malibu Stacey style with "...let's go shopping!"

LMAO!!
liratheal 26th June 2008, 13:00 Quote
I don't know whether it's the insane pile of games that seem to be designed to make you hate the main character (Sorry, but I've had enough of the macho, giant gun toting Rambo bullshit, unless it's Duke Nukem), but I've recently found it even harder to get drawn into the 'emotional' side of games.

There were sections of GTAIV that were supposed to be really sad, I assume, but due to Niko being a completely unlikable, schizofrenic(sp?) assclown (IMO) I was sat there thinking "I really don't care. Where's the nearest Aston Martin styled car?"

I WANT to care about the main character, or any character, but they're just.. Really making it hard to give a crap these days. Last game I actually cared about any character in was Meryl in MGS1. Which is a damned long time in gaming.
[PUNK] crompers 26th June 2008, 13:05 Quote
i dunno about emotion but i sure wanted to save the human race in mass effect
Flibblebot 26th June 2008, 13:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Cage
The more subtle, social emotions such as love, empathy, joy, sadness, jealousy, anger, and shame are frequently addressed in literature and cinema, Cage pointed out, but are rarely successfully tackled by games.
Not true.

Quake covers all these quite well:
Love: "I really love the BFG"
Joy: "I'm having a great time shooting the BFG"
Sadness: "Oh no, I've run out of ammo for the BFG"
Jealousy: "Someone else has a BFG and I only have this crappy pistol"
Anger: "Damn, someone just shot me with their BFG"
Shame: "I think I might have peed myself when I got the BFG"

See? All the emotions covered.
chicorasia 26th June 2008, 13:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot


Quake covers all these quite well:
Love: "I really love the BFG"
Joy: "I'm having a great time shooting the BFG"
Sadness: "Oh no, I've run out of ammo for the BFG"
Jealousy: "Someone else has a BFG and I only have this crappy pistol"
Anger: "Damn, someone just shot me with their BFG"
Shame: "I think I might have peed myself when I got the BFG"

See? All the emotions covered.

I'm sorry. You've got it all wrong.

It is Doom, not Quake.

XD
Timmy_the_tortoise 26th June 2008, 13:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Cage
The more subtle, social emotions such as love, empathy, joy, sadness, jealousy, anger, and shame are frequently addressed in literature and cinema, Cage pointed out, but are rarely successfully tackled by games.
Not true.

Quake covers all these quite well:
Love: "I really love the BFG"
Joy: "I'm having a great time shooting the BFG"
Sadness: "Oh no, I've run out of ammo for the BFG"
Jealousy: "Someone else has a BFG and I only have this crappy pistol"
Anger: "Damn, someone just shot me with their BFG"
Shame: "I think I might have peed myself when I got the BFG"

See? All the emotions covered.

All emotions covered, very shallowly.
Aterius Gmork 26th June 2008, 14:34 Quote
There's a BFG in Quake (III Arena, the others I cannot remember clearly) as well.
Gareth Halfacree 26th June 2008, 14:46 Quote
The BFG was introduced in Quake II, but was model 10,000 rather than the original BFG 9,000 featured in Doom.
salesman 26th June 2008, 15:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
In the forums, this thread appears on the main page as "David Cage: Emotions are hard..."

For some reason, I immediately completed this Malibu Stacey style with "...let's go shopping!"

Maybe there should be a game about going shopping.
Gareth Halfacree 26th June 2008, 16:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by salesman
Maybe there should be a game about going shopping.
Ignoring 'Mall Tycoon', which isn't really about you shopping, what about The Sims?
Goty 26th June 2008, 18:26 Quote
I personally enjoyed Fahrenheit quite a bit, even if it was a little slow-going for my FPS-dulled attention span.
mattthegamer463 26th June 2008, 21:27 Quote
I cried for weeks after being forced to euthanize my beloved Weighted Companion Cube.
BurningFeetMan 27th June 2008, 03:55 Quote
One doesn't have to look far in video game history to find emotions, such as love. Take the very first Mario Bros game, where Mario rescues the princess. If that's not love, I don't know what is. I'd be ****ed if I ever find myself walking on a retractable bridge above lava, with a 20 tonne menacing fire-breathing monster on the other side... There's other fish in the sea...
CardJoe 27th June 2008, 08:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BurningFeetMan
One doesn't have to look far in video game history to find emotions, such as love. Take the very first Mario Bros game, where Mario rescues the princess. If that's not love, I don't know what is. I'd be ****ed if I ever find myself walking on a retractable bridge above lava, with a 20 tonne menacing fire-breathing monster on the other side... There's other fish in the sea...

I think it's more to do with getting the player to feel that love to. Personally, I've never even liked Princess Peach, the whiny b***h...
Xir 27th June 2008, 08:49 Quote
...still have to play Farenheit...been installed for ages, as my girlfriend played it...
CardJoe 27th June 2008, 09:22 Quote
It's a damn good game, though is makes a massive jump of the shark towards the end. Apparently it's because it was originally planned to be episodic and was changed at the last minute because of publisher pressure from Atari. The action sequences can be tricky, but are worth the effort too.
Darkedge 27th June 2008, 10:31 Quote
Fahrenheit was a massive disappointment - yeah the story was shafted due to the change from episodic to just one game (was intended to be at least 6 episodes and they only actually did enough for 2), but the main reason it was terrible was all the minor things had the lovely contextual controls but as soon as it got to anything vaguely challenging that could've broken the mould it turned into Dragons Lair. Huge step backwards in my eye - if only they had some conviction to actually do what they promised as opposed to a thin veneer over the most terrible quick time event filled mess that reminds me of the early 90's piss poor 'interactive movies' - it almost played as bad as the Johnny Mnemonic film game.
Darkedge 27th June 2008, 10:37 Quote
oops after being reminded of the let down Fahrenheit was I didn't mention Heavy Rain - I do have hopes for it to be good but we have really seen so little and have so few details that it could be a predefined bag o chips as far as we know.
CardJoe 27th June 2008, 10:37 Quote
I enjoyed it until the crazy story shift :S
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