Storytelling is unquestionably an art form. Just as in any form of art you have those who "get it" and those who simply do not. Heavy Rain's developer Quantic Dreams most definitely falls under the category of "gets it". The studios last effort, Indigo Prophecy, was unarguably my favorite game on the original Xbox console. Most video games make a valiant effort to unite story and game play only to produce a mediocre cocktail of both. In Indigo Propecy, the game was a story... dare I say movie! Most fans of the game jokingly refer to it as the best 75% of a game ever! The game captivated it's audience for a majority of the game. The story placed you in the daily lives of the main characters; waking up in the morning, going to work, and even playable flashbacks of their childhood experiences. You develop a strong connection to each and every character. However, the plot became quite convoluted and fell apart at the end.
This brings us the Quantic Dreams spiritual successor Heavy Rain. Backed by Sony, this game is shaping up nicely and seems to be a real home run for all parties involved. Sony is using the game as an opportunity to showcase the console's full potential. After watching game play footage they are completely on point. The graphics are down right breath taking! The visuals are about as photo-realistic as I have seen in a quite some time. The outstanding visuals combine with impressive motion-capture animation and an amazing physics engine to produce a movie quality experience like no other.
Recent game play footage showcases the games visuals while clouding details of the games story. Details of plot points are difficult to find; even on the internet! What is known is the game revolves around 4 different character in search of a serial killer known as the Origami Killer. The four characters are an FBI profiler named Norman Jayden, a private detective named Scott Shelby, an architect named Ethan Mars, and journalist named Madison Paige.
A playable demo was made available at Gamescon 2009 in Germany. Heavy Rain will build on the strong game play foundation used in Indigo Prophecy; cut scenes, environmental investigations, and Quick Time Event (QTE) sequences. In addition to those features, every event in the game will impact the story in someway. For example, if your character should die in a particular sequence... the game carries on without that character. This will make for a unique game play experience and entice gamers to play through the game again after completion.
All in all this is game appears to be shaping up quite well. There are rumors circulating of a playable demo arriving at some point in the near future. Otherwise, the game is slated for release early 2010.