We spoke with Quantic Dream's co-CEO and Beyond: Two Souls executive producer, Guillaume de Fondaumiere, about the company's ground breaking cinematic game starring Ellen Page and Willem DaFoe.
Can you give us a basic description of what the game is about for those who might not already know?
Guillaume de Fondaumiere: Beyond is the story of Jodie Holmes. The story of her life between 8 and 23, over 15 years of her life. It’s also the story of Aiden, and entity that’s always around Jodie. This entity has been around her for as long as she remembers. She’s not sure if it’s an entity or a ghost or what exactly it is. Aiden is always around her. And as a player, you’ll have the chance to play as both, either Jodie or Aiden. And at almost any time switch between one or the other and you’ll obviously have to make them cooperate.
Tell us a bit about the character of Jodie Holmes.
In the game you’ll play Jodie at different stages in her life, when she’s a child, when she’s a teenager, and when she’s an adult. Ellen Page is playing her when she’s a teen and an adult, but there’s 25% of the game that you play when she’s a child, portrayed by a different actress, who is 8 years old.
Describe the type of gameplay we can expect from Beyond.
In Beyond, each scene is different and offers a different type of gameplay. It’s a blend of exhilaration, action, dialogue. It’s really the concept of an interactive story. Players have a very important impact on how the story unfolds. So through your actions, you really control the fate of the main characters. Because players’ actions have an impact on the story, you really have the possibility to change the story quite radically. Yes, there are different endings, pretty much like in Heavy Rain, but more important than the different endings, there are different paths leading to those endings.
What can you tell us about the technology used to create these realistic characters and environments?
For Beyond we created a totally new engine. Part of it has been spurred by the developments made on the Playstation 4. Sony gave us, very early on, Playstation 4 kits and we started to develop on this new platform while we were developing Beyond. We saw tremendous possibilities and wanted to implement some of it in the new engine. It’s one of the reasons Beyond looks the way it does. There are quite a number of next gen features in this new engine.
What do you hope people come away with when playing such a uniquely intense and story-driven game like Beyond?
We hope that players are going to see the potential of interactive storytelling. The fact that you can be truly involved with the characters and through your actions, change their fate. We also hope that they are going to see the difference it makes when you work with incredible talents like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, who’ve done an incredible job embodying the characters they’re playing. I think Beyond is such an exceptional experience because you really for the first time you are forming a character over a long period of time. I think that the relationship that you evolve with the character of Jodie Holmes is a very intimate one. It makes for a very unique experience.
Watch for Beyond: Two Souls to be released exclusively on the Playstation 3 October 8th, 2013.