'Are game cut-scenes all that different to porn?'

'Are game cut-scenes all that different to porn?'

By Rob Crossley in Cologne

August 16th 2010 at 2:03PM

GDC Europe: Quantic Dream boss David Cage jokes at narrative standards in todayâ??s games

The writer and director of PS3 title Heavy Rain has made a lengthy, penetrating criticism of today’s cut-scene standards.

Speaking to a packed audience today at GDC Europe, Quantic Dream boss David Cage made the enlivening observation that today’s game cut-scenes are of little conceptual difference to the opening small-talk in pornographic films.

Conversations between the pizza delivery man and the preoccupied housewife are not a million miles apart from a cut-scene of enemies filling into an arena, he said.

”They both do the same thing, they prepare you for the action, which is all you really want,” he said.

Cage’s observation aroused much laughter from the packed room of game developers, but underneath the sniggering was a serious criticism. The French developer’s problem with game cut-scenes, as he inferred, is that they are too often seen as disposable sticky stuff between a game’s combat set-pieces.

”Most of them don’t make sense,” he added, “they are just there to prepare the audience for the next action scene.”

Quantic Dream’s latest title, Heavy Rain, won near-universal acclaim for the emotional thrust of the game’s narrative. Cage said that the game’s commercial response (1.5 million sold worldwide so far) was a testament to how the games market is ready for more emotionally sensitive games.

Elsewhere in the lively and loudly-applauded speaker session, Cage criticised what he saw as senseless censorship in video games.

”You show tits in a movie, prime-time, and that’s fine. But when it’s in a game, [classification groups say] ‘oh we have to give you an 18 rating’, depending of course on how big the tits are’.”

Cage half-joked that, under current game classification rules, Michelangelo’s David – an sixteenth century Renaissance sculpture – would have to be classified ‘Adults Only’ for “graphic or prolonged depictions of nudity.”

The Frenchman urged developers to make more emotionally-aware content for adults. “No one has tried to create interactive entertainment for older people,” he said.

”When you are watching a film, you don’t get pleasure from the pictures moving, you get pleasure from what you feel.”

And in closing his speech, he asked developers to take on board what Quantic Dream did with Heavy Rain, and take risks.

He said developers should fight for the right to make something more daring, to design a game in the face of today publishing world’s remit which – as he put so gracefully – “has no balls.”