Monday, March 12, 2012

Quantic Dream's Incredible "Kara" Tech Demo from GDC

In case you missed it, below is the amazing "Kara" tech demo that Quantic Dream's David Cage (of Heavy Rain fame) showed off at last week's Game Developers Conference 2012. It's an outstanding display of the PS3's power and a short but interesting exploration of the nature of artificial intelligence. But don't take my word for it, check out the video below:

What an incredible video. In a scant seven minutes the "Kara" figure manages to raise complex ideas about the manufacturing of artificial intelligence and the responsibilities of their creators; by extension those same concepts trouble conventional notions about the origins and value of sentient life. These are common science fiction tropes that I for one would be excited to see explored in a video game, and especially one by the likes of David Cage. 

Longtime readers (ha) will recall that I was more than a little excited for Heavy Rain Although the game didn't necessarily live up to my expectations, it was nevertheless an interesting and unique experiment for the medium. I'm excited to try out David Cage's next game, whatever it ends up being, and this tech demo has increased my curiosity about what that project will explore. If nothing else it shows that he is building upon the foundations he laid in Heavy Rain, both in terms of continuing that game's technological/graphical developments and also improving on its shortcomings. 

One of the most resounding criticisms of Heavy Rain was the fact that it was set in America but voiced (poorly) by French actors, thereby completely breaking any senses of immersion or tension. This demo clearly shows that Cage has heard those critiques and (hopefully) won't make the same mistake twice. The acting on display in the "Kara" demo is profoundly moving, and the mere idea of a game exactly likeHeavy Rain with that caliber of performance is buzz worthy. And I don't believe for a second that Cage would settle for simply Heavy Rain 2

Whatever's coming will be as unique and exciting as Cage's previous game was, and will clearly be building upon its strengths and weaknesses alike. It almost feels stupid to get my hopes up all over again, but this demo has me excited despite myself. Fingers crossed whatever we get from this lives up to its potential.

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