Why Won't David Cage Spell Eiden? - Apozem Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Why Won't David Cage Spell Eiden?

I was recently reading through Game Informer's coverage of E3 and all the games revealed there. One particularly interesting title was Beyond: Two Souls, the new game from the makers of Heavy Rain. It's a strange new title about a girl played by Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) who is followed by a spirit. This spirit is her friend and guardian, but it also prevents her from living anything close to a normal life. The game looks strange. Sometimes you play as Ellen Page, other times as her guardian spirit.

There was one odd note in GI's preview of the game. When talking to the creative director, David Cage, he did something which struck me as singularly strange. From the preview article:

The game tells the story of Jodie Holmes (played by Ellen Page) and her life-long struggle to deal with her connection with a mysterious spirit she calls Eiden (Jodie pronounces it "Eye-den," but Cage refused to clarify how it is spelled.

David Cage.

When asked how to spell Eiden, Cage did not answer. If you're getting pre-release coverage for your game, surely you would want that coverage to be accurate. It would be a bit embarrassing to have a whole bunch of previews out there where a character's name is misspelled. Besides, it's spelling. What could possibly be significant about revealing the spelling of a name?

Why would you not spell a character's name?

If this were any other developer, this incident could be written off as a snafu. Maybe Cage forgot how to spell Eiden. Maybe Cage was being a jerk. Maybe it means absolutely nothing. That would be the case if this were anyone else other than Quantic Dream. These are the same people who made Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy. Quantic Dream, and especially David Cage, are people who care passionately about the products they make.

You know how some games feel like they're mass-produced in order to rake in the maximum amount of sales? Quantic Dream games are the polar opposite. David Cage is an artist. Game Informer did an interview with him a while back. He seemed to be a relaxed guy who is very passionate about his work. Cage refuses to make cookie-cutter games. If something is not creative and different, then it is not worth creating.

The persona of Quantic Dream and Cage in particular is why I don't think that his refusal to spell Eiden is an accident. Were I to venture a guess, he did not provide the correct spelling because it would somehow reveal part of the story. In Cage's games, story is everything.

If Cage did not reveal the spelling of Eiden so as not to spoil the story, that begs another question. What the hell kind of story relies on the spelling of a word as a part of the plot? Once more, if this were any other developer, I would be the first to say that a spelling-based plot point is stupid. But this isn't any developer. It's Quantic Dream. They really do approach story telling in games as an art. I have to trust that their plot is not stupid.

All this generates quite a few questions about Beyond: Two Souls. Why does it matter how Eiden is spelled? What is Eiden, anyway? How good is Ellen Page at voice acting? All this makes me very curious to see the final product. Even though I do not have a PS3, I am very curious to see what comes out of Quantic Dream.

What do you think? Does Beyond: Two Souls look interesting? Why do you think Cage refused to spell Eiden? Why does the spelling matter? I'm just theorizing at this point, and I'd love to hear your ideas.

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