Detroit: Become Human
What started out as a tech demo named Kara has inspired a full-fledged game: Detroit: Become Human. Detroit takes places about 20 years in the future; technology has evolved to the point where androids have replaced humans in the public and private sector. Everything is going fine until the androids start showing strange behavior, where they’re behaving more like humans with free will. No longer just machines that blindly obey, they’re questioning their place in society. As for what causes their shift in perspective, Quantic Dream is keeping that under wraps for you to uncover.
We got a detailed look at the game at last year’s E3, which focused on Connor, an android who hunts down deviant androids. At this year’s show, it was Markus’ time to shine. Markus, escaped from his master, and is now leading an android uprising. We had the opportunity to see Markus take on a mission and watch it play out in different ways. We also got to chat with director and writer David Cage to learn more details. Here are our three biggest takeaways.
This Is A Story From The Androids’ Perspectives
Detroit: Become Human has three playable characters, and they’re all androids. However, these synthetic beings all have different perspectives on what’s going on in the world around them. “I really thought about what angle would be interesting and thought, ‘What if the humans were the bad guys? What if it was a declining race – selfish and depending on technology – and had lost its core values?” Cage explains.
Kara is a fugitive and is trying to live her life on the run. Connor is a deviant hunter, who works with humans to keep other androids in check. Markus is the leader of the revolution that we’re seeing unfold in the game. “ The androids are a new race and have new eyes on the world,” Cage says. “They’re like newborn babies somehow, totally fresh and virgin to the world.”
Cage says his only fear was whether or not human players would have empathy for these characters, especially if the humans weren’t “good guys.” “It’s very interesting to see because what we tested so far is that people don’t care if they’re androids,” Cage says. “It’s just if you like them and if you understand where they come from then you will. It’s just people fighting for their rights and their freedom, so you quickly feel empathy for them.”
Markus Has Some Big Powers
As the leader of an android uprising, Markus has some pretty nifty powers at his disposal. Unique to him, he can simply touch an android and convert them. Quantic Dream wouldn’t tell us exactly what this power does, but from what we saw, it gives the androids free will. In our demo, Markus tried to break into a store to free androids who were being sold there. We had the option to turn random androids on the street to our side, breaking them from human control. Markus also has another cool power that comes in handy. He can analyze situations and see the outcome ahead of time for planning. For instance, in our demo, a flying droid added an extra layer of security to the area. Markus needs to take it down to stand a chance of getting into the shop undetected. Using his powers to survey the area, we could determine the exact place we’d need to jump on it as it flew past to knock it down and destroy it. The footage we saw also showed it being useful to detect everything from the locations of alarm systems for hacking to places to take cover.
Plenty Of Choice And Consequence: You Decide How Far To Take Things
Quantic Dream says this is its biggest branching storyline to date; so many different things can change based on your decisions. In our demo, Markus could have simply aborted the mission when he saw the extra security with the drone. After all, what good would he be as a leader if he gets caught? This causes another character named North, who is passionate about gaining freedom and getting the human’s attention, angry. At the very least, chaos doesn’t erupt, and Markus is safe to fight another day.
We also saw that scene play out differently if Markus decides to pursue the mission and take out the extra layer of security. Markus doesn’t simply sneak in and free the other androids in this scenario, he also sends a message to get the human's’ attention. You can decide how far to take this. Do you want to be violent or more pacifist in your message? The pacifist route simply has you tagging areas with the group’s symbol, but if you decide to go violent, you can bash store windows, flips cars, and light things on fire. Basically, start a full-on riot. North supports this, and is much happier with you in this scenario. Whatever you do, your actions will show up on news reports and in the newspaper detailing your rebellion’s moves. Characters will live or die by your choices, and this even extends to the three playable characters. “We wanted to make the most bending game we have ever created,” Cage says. “There are entire branches in the three structure that you may see or miss. There are entire scenes. There are characters who may die very quickly or may become your best ally and help you until the very end.”
Detroit: Become Human is a PS4 exclusive and doesn’t have a release date yet. You can watch the latest trailer and see screens below.