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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.
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
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
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
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.
Haha. Good blog. Nice to see you are really thinking about this. Very interesting theories on why Cage didn't say how to name was spelled.
I have a PS3 so I will be sure to tell you what I think about it. :)
Hmmm, it's definitely strange and surely will be important to the game if he's leaving the spelling out. The name "Eiden", just by looking at it, reminds me of the word "Eden." Eden is a biblical term: a paradise lost, a paradise ruined by us.
The way the name is pronounced however, "Eye-den," makes me think of the human eye. Vision, or point of views I think will be a huge part of the game. Already you have two points of view: Jodie and the spirit. What can the spirit see that Jodie can't in the world? Can it see "beyond"? Point of view/perspective is vital in every story and we can see that Quantic Dream has used this theme/story telling mechanic in Heavy Rain (the only of their games that I played).
Maybe the name comes from something in real life, and they don't want you searching for it to get more info. Can't really say, though.
I'm guessing it was actually just a situation where he froze as he hadn't anticipated the question. I do think he's extraordianarily good at what he does as Indigo and Heavy Rain are favorites of mine, but don't see any deeper meaning in this snafu.
Good blog, I dug the topic