Detroit: Be­come Hu­man

An­drew White­head has seen things you peo­ple wouldn’t be­lieve

Hyper - - EDITORIAL -

DEVELOPER PUB­LISHER

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.

Be­ing blue-blooded in this par­tic­u­lar fu­ture isn't as re­gal as it sounds

Sure, he was the first to fall asleep at the party, but he's also got a gun

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