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Heavy Rain – How Far Would You Go?

by Dave Elliott

I like it when people advertising a game go that extra step in their promo material, and the powerful short documentary “How far would you go?” is an interesting way Quantic Dream have come up with to help launch their new PlayStation 3 title Heavy Rain.

Directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Neil LaBute, the seven minute short was filmed in London, LA & Paris and asks leading luminaries, ‘How far would you go to save someone you love?’. Examining the role of emotional decision-making in storytelling, the documentary explores the central theme of Heavy Rain, giving the documentary its title. Respondents to the question include: Nic Roeg, Hanif Kureishi, Nicholas Hoult, Samuel L Jackson, Stephen Frears, Peter Bogdanovich, Jean Marc Barr, Chris Weitz & Ben Chaplin.

I was a massive fan of Quantic Dream’s previous game, Fahrenheit (also known as Indigo Prophecy), as it’s one of the first games to really live up to the fabled ‘interactive film’ moniker. Like Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain takes many of its cues from film-noir thrillers, and decisions taken within the title are emotionally charged with added importance. The smallest of actions can have drastic and unforeseen consequences. The gameplay focuses on story, emotional involvement, and the player’s decisions and interactions, rather than high-scores, combat and competition.

Heavy Rain‘s writer & director David Cage states ‘In Heavy Rain you don’t watch the story, you play it with unprecedented responsibility over the fate of the game’s characters the whole DNA of the game has been created to provide an emotional experience unlike any other. It dares you to tackle subject matter and themes rarely touched upon in video games’.

Neil LaBute commented on the experience of creating the documentary, “It was fascinating to sit and listen to the intimate thoughts of so many people that I’ve admired-both professionally and personally-for years. Constantly surprising, each of ‘the witnesses’ were refreshingly candid as they discussed creative elements from their work and how deep the emotion of love runs through their own lives. I thought a simple approach– shot in a stark ‘interrogation’ style–would mimic both the style of the game Heavy Rain and would also be a very successful way of capturing a series of snapshots from the lives of these fascinating working artists from around the world.”

You can find more on Heavy Rain and “How far would you go?” at www.heavyrain.com.

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