Cage: Game over state a design failure

Cage: Game over state a design failure
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

August 23rd 2013 at 3:10PM

Beyond: Two Souls will not feature a black screen if players die

The game over state seen in countless titles once a player fails a task or dies is a failure for the game designer more than the player, says David Cage.

Speaking to Joystiq, the Quantic Dream CEO said resetting a game through a game over screen was essentially creating an artificial loop to make users play the game the way the developer wants them to.

While this is useful in an action game, he felt that it didn’t make sense in titles focused on narrative.

He revealed his studio’s latest game, Beyond: Two Souls, would not feature a game over state.

"I've always felt that 'game over' is a state of failure more for the game designer than from the player," said Cage.

“It's like creating an artificial loop saying, 'You didn't play the game the way I wanted you to play, so now you're punished and you're going to come back and play it again until you do what I want you to do.' In an action game, I can get that – why not? It's all about skills. But in a story-driven experience it doesn't make any sense."

To work around the classic game design trope, Cage said if players die or fail at a particular task, the story will continue down a new path.

One example he used was a police hunt on a train, which could either lead to a rooftop fight, or, if a player gets caught, an escape sequence.

"It's a game about death, so you can imagine that death plays a role in all of this," said Cage.

"Actually, it's one of the big discoveries - one of the big mysteries in the game is to discover what's on the other side. And it's definitely not a black screen."