Microsoft turned down Heavy Rain fearing 'child kidnapping' controversy

Microsoft turned down Heavy Rain fearing 'child kidnapping' controversy
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

September 4th 2013 at 1:16PM

Xbox maker refused to publish would-be hit because of fears over child abduction in plot

Chart-topping PS3 thriller Heavy Rain was turned down by Microsoft over concerns about child abduction causing controversy for the publisher.

As reported by Digital Spy, Quantic Dream’s CEO and the creator of Heavy Rain, David Cage, said the publisher was “scared” of the controversy it might have caused.

“We were pitching Heavy Rain to different publishers, including Sony, and we went to Microsoft,” said Cage, during his talk at a BAFTA games lecture in London this week.

“We had a very long talk and they loved Fahrenheit, and they really wanted to do something with us.

“They got scared by the fact that Heavy Rain was about kids being kidnapped, and they said, ‘This is an issue, we want to change it’. Well, we could have kidnapped cats, it would be a different experience!

“For me, that was a very interesting signal. It was like, you know what, I don't think we can work together, because you don't understand what I'm to achieve here.”

Kidnapping is a central part of Heavy Rain’s plot and finding his stolen child is a core motivation for its lead character. Cage went on to say that he felt Microsoft was overly critical of this element, especially as it could be done in a matter suitable for the game’s mature target audience.

“They were scared of the scandal and scared of what people may write and what people may think. 'Oh, this is a developer and the publisher making games about a child getting kidnapped'.

“When you play Heavy Rain, I don't think this is what the game is about. Microsoft is a great company; I'm not complaining or criticising. I'm just saying that there was some resistance at the time that was not in sync with what we wanted to achieve.”

He added: "We had this conversation with Sony very honestly saying, 'Okay, there is a reason here'. But I think they understand the upside of what we were doing.

“This could be incredibly emotional, if done with taste and if there's nothing shocking for the sake of shocking. There should be a strong emotional experience, but it shouldn't be vulgar, it shouldn't be about blood and whatever, it should be about love.

“We could understand each other, and this is how Heavy Rain happened.”

Heavy Rain was eventually published on PlayStation 3 by Sony, and was met by commercial success when it launched in February 2010.