Detroit: Become Human
Andrew Whitehead has seen things you people wouldn’t believe
PLATFORM RELEASE DATE
Quantic Dream Sony Interactive Entertainment PlayStation 4 TBA 2017
Would you trust an android to live with you? To work as a teacher? Or drive you to work? Well, in Detroit: Become Human, a near-future neonoir thriller, millions already do. But this isn’t just a story about humans trusting androids, Detroit also asks whether androids trust humans.
“I wanted to talk about us, talk about humans,” explains game Director David Cage. “Our emotions, our society, about our past, our present, maybe our future. And this is what was really important to me. Using androids was just a way for me to talk about us.”
The size of the playable ensemble cast of Detroit is not yet confirmed, but we do know each of them is an android with unique abilities. More on that later. For my demo I watched as police android Connor, a model designed to hunt down his own kind,
THE GIRL WAS SAVED. BUT CONNOR HAD TO SACRIFICE HIMSELF TO DO SO. HE DIED, SHE LIVED, AND THE GAME ROLLS ON IN ONE POSSIBLE OUTCOME
attempted to negotiate with a fellow android who has taken a young girl hostage after a murderous outburst. The first playthrough was a disaster. Connor hastily headed to the penthouse balcony to confront his target and after some clumsy negotiating the rogue android threw himself and the hostage off the edge. Connor failed. You failed. But there’s no 'game over' in Detroit; you bear the consequences of your actions and move on to the next scene regardless. The second attempt went better. This time, Connor examined the crime scene thoroughly with his ‘mind palace’ ability, a power that allows him to seemingly freeze time and examine his surroundings. Now he was able visualise how a struggle played out based on physical evidence, such as ballistics and blood splatter, and uncover a downed officer’s handgun hidden under a table. Further intelligence-gathering led to Connor learning the name of the android and why he flipped out in the first place.
With this information, he headed out to the balcony. Connor lied about having a gun, he called the android by his name to gain his trust and sympathised with his anxiety at finding out he was going to be replaced. An on-screen percentage meter let us know Connor had an 80 percent chance of successful negotiation this time, and in the end the girl was saved. But Connor had to sacrifice himself to do so. He died, she lived, and the game rolls on. This is just one of a dozen ways this scene could play out, I mean we didn’t even get to use our gun.
It’s clear that Quantic Dream has built upon what they started with Beyond: Two Souls and have come a long way from the stilted performances featured in Heavy Rain. What little I saw of Detroit: Become Human featured believable dialogue that felt natural and was delivered by competent motion-captured actors.
All the elements needed to make a great story-driven game are here, now all that remains to be seen is how compelling the narrative is over the course of the entire game. From what I’ve seen, Detroit: Become Human looks like the most promising Quantic Dream game, to date.
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