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Beyond: Two Souls

Correcting Heavy Rain's Character Flaws

Heavy Rain offered a great deal to players looking for a deep tale of love and loss. The narrative was well-woven, moments of tension were masterfully orchestrated, and player agency was so thorough that any two people might have had completely different character interactions and dialog opportunities.

The title did have its detractors, though according to director David Cage, 75% of players that started Heavy Rain reached its conclusion (compared to a 20% average completion rate across the industry, according to him). One of the biggest barriers to enjoyment was the largely stilted acting, especially as it often failed to pair well with character movements.

After seeing a 35 minute screening of Beyond: Two Souls at the Tribeca Film Festival, it was clear that something had changed. The acting is worlds better than that of Heavy Rain. Ellen Page (Juno, Inception), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, Boondock Saints), and Kadeem Hardison (A Different World, Cult) are all seasoned actors that deliver compelling, believable performances. But that isn't all.

During a panel discussion moderated by journalist Harold Goldberg that took place after the screening, Cage connected the dots. The technique for capturing performances has taken a leap forward. In past Quantic Dream titles, voice acting was handled traditionally, in a sound booth. From there, recorded lines were played while actor performances were captured. This two-step process caused a loss of authenticity.

Now, Quantic Dream has figured out how to combine performance and voice capture, preserving the minute body language that cannot be faked or forced. Shown side-by-side, a video of Ellen Page performing and the digitized imprint of her character Jodie Holmes are stunningly close. However, the result is not perfect. 

It's clear that there is still room to improve. The digitization process captures much more of the actors' performances than ever before, but the parallel view revealed that there is still a bit lost in translation. The "old man head" that Cage showed off during the PlayStation 4 reveal might have seemed odd, but after seeing Beyond in action, I have no doubt that Quantic Dream will put the increased power to good use for the PlayStation 4 game they're rumored to be working on.

Heavy Rain wasn't a game for everyone, and Beyond: Two Souls won't be either. However, if your reason for putting the Origami Killer's tale down was the acting, you have no reason to fear Quantic Dream's upcoming cinematic wonder.

Beyond: Two Souls arrives exclusively on PlayStation 3 on October 8, 2013. Over the coming days, we'll have more on Beyond: Two Souls, including an interview with David Cage on Beyond: Two Souls as it relates to his controversial talk at DICE this year.

If you missed the livestream of the screening, we have been informed that you'll have another chance to see it when it's made available on YouTube shortly. The PlayStation Blog also indicates that last night's proceedings might be included on the game disc as a special feature.

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Comments
  • Great timing. I just beat Heavy Rain a few minutes ago. Some of the voice acting was clearly off, but it didn't detract from the experience overall. Still, I glad that Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe are on board, and I can't wait to see how this game turns out.
  • I love ellen page, and this game looks fricking amazing. Day 1 purchase for sure.
  • Isn't this exactly what Naughty Dog has been doing for years with Uncharted? Sounds awfully similar, which is a very good thing in my book.
  • This is great to hear. Heavy Rain's biggest issues for me were with the plot holes, occasional "forced" decisions (where you don't actually make a choice but it seems like you can), and the highly stilted acting and laughable voice acting. At the very least, all the effort taken to fix the acting makes me hopeful that the writing and decision system will be improved.
  • I just recently played Heavy Rain and truly I found the acting compelling. Like may e in some areas it wasn't movie quality or something. But in a way I was playing it as a gamer and was comparing how much better it is than Most games. I played KoA a couple months ago and it was painful how generic and lifeless the npc's and characters in general were. I mean I know it is a different genre and KoA has its draws but goodness.
  • from everything i have seen, this game continues to intrigue me.
  • can't wait for this game...
  • The game interests less and less the more I see it. Heavy Rain sucked so Im gonna set my expectations really low. It looks like another QTE fest.
  • looking forward to this game,while I agree some of the animations didnt add up to the emotions of the moment it didnt really feel like a detractor from that game being as nearly no other game comes close to the attention to detail quantum dreams trys to convey.I understand their are technical limitations and developers are always working to better use the tech they have on hand,thats just the way the industry grows.That being said Id love for Quantum Dreams to make Shenmue! they do what Yu Suzuki meant for Shenmue too.
  • That's great, but hopefully there will be a few terrible lines of dialogue. Pascal Langdale's acting was the best kind of bad in Heavy Rain.
  • Loved the game, Platinumed it, but Pascal Langdale's acting was so off I'm hoping the main character won't be the same..
  • Heavy Rain was excellent, so I have high hopes for this. Quantic know how to craft a meaningful and emotional story.
  • Heavy rain looked good but the acting was horrible! I didn't care for a single person in that game. A speak and spell could have acted better. Two Souls, however, looks and sounds great. I can't wait.
  • Well that's different.
  • i wish there was a PC version
  • That looks good.........just hope there is more video game, less of those damn QTEs that seem to pop up everywhere with Heavy Rain
  • My goodness, this is looking even better than I had hoped it would. Loving it!

  • This game is incredibly intriguing, and I still don't know exactly what to expect. I wonder what the next game will be to show up at a film festival. I feel that as the industry evolves there is a place for these types of games and it will be interesting to see what kind of response they garner at these events.

  • Heavy Rain is still one of my all time favorite PS3 games. One game not like the rest.

    Will be getting this for sure!

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