Detroit: David Cage's Latest...er, masterpiece


#1

OK, so Detroit: Become Human was shown at Sony’s E3 press event, and…yeah, it’s looking a lot like a David Cage game.

That is, self-indulgent, ignorant, insulting, just generally poorly written, but has great production value. These are the hallmarks of a True David Cage Experience.

So in the Sony E3 thread, I was kind of surprised that others seemed completely unaware that the game would be like this, even though Cage has had enough chances by now to learn from his mistakes and yet keeps stumbling over his own ego. (Show of hands, folks, how many of you actually knew what a David Cage game was before Sony’s E3 conference tonight?)

If my snark doesn’t make it clear, I have pretty much no hope that Detroit: Become Human will be good.


#2

I dunk on him a lot but I’m always willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. David Cage is not a bad creator, he’s a misguided one. Beyond Two Souls might have been one of the worst offering he’s ever done (and one of the worst games of that year) but I totally respect his work on Nomad Soul and Fahrenheit.

Detroit might still not be the masterpiece we expect of him but it already shows that it is no B2S and we’re already coming up a long way. If he’s able to pull off something closer to Heavy Rain then that’s already a huge win.


#3

Between this and Last Night this is quite the year for hard-boiled Si-Fi games with an ignorance of both SocialPoliticsTM and its own genre. It’s absolutely amazing that David Cage still gets money to make the AAA game equivalent of a show on Fox that gets canceled after six episodes.

Hopefully this thread won’t be exclusively about dunking on Cage. Tbh I’ll still play his games just like I’ll watch any Wachowski movie.


#4

I can never stop thinking about this moment when I’m reminded of Fahrenheit.


#5

He’s not incentivized to learn in a narrative sense because his narratives inexplicably continue to find an audience. I legit know people who think he’s the best storyteller in gaming.


#6

Indigo Prophecy has to be the only game he made that I found any thing remotely interesting. It was ambitious and really cool at the time to see your actions or failures (“Game Overs are a failure of game designers”) affect the story. It had a really strong first half that suddenly tumbled all the way down into “Actually, fuck this” valley. That opening scene in the diner alone is probably the peak of his creative writing and directing, it’s so good and sets up amazing expectations for the game that only manage to keep everything interesting and fun until you start fighting with furniture in your apartment. Could it have been better with more time and money? Maybe, but seeing how he botched Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls with all the dollars thrown at him keeps me skeptical. And don’t get me started on Omikron, a game you have to play almost perfectly to finish it.

His problem is infinite ambition with minimal ability to execute his vision. His writing is also pretty terrible as well. Bizarre Internet Demon that wants to kill the Golden Child with help of an Aztec Shaman and you have to defeat it in a DBZ simon-says quick-time battle? A murder mystery that straight up lies to you about a character you’re controlling? Not to mention it being filled with a half-abandoned attempt to tie in a psychic connection between the protagonist and the killer (which would have actually been a little interesting). If you think that’s fun, how about a game where you team up with your entangled ghost (I wonder who they are??) to stop the North Koreans from entering the Ghost Dimension? Omikron is probably his most ambitious title, creating a whole new world full of characters and culture, except the premise is entirely based on “You’re a videogamer taken into a new world through the game!” and it’s stretched itself across multiple gameplay mechanics that could have been great if they just focused on one of them.

And then we get into all of the bad sex scenes he wants to have in every game. You have Jaggy Triangle Cuckold Action, Magic Zombie Boning, Sad Dad Sex and Shower Girl, and then the creepy sexual assault scenes with ghost girl, who arguably has probably the most tasteful sex scene David Cage included (long build-up scene, two people that know each other for a while, fade to black) but it was still weird since you see this happen from the perspective of her linked ghost buddy. I understand the concept of “sex sells” and wanting to emulate the sex scenes from movies, but we’re still at the level of tech in videogames where two people kissing looks like plastic on plastic. I really can’t wait to see how he outdoes himself with robots with little agency.

He’s great in small bursts when he has complete control over what he’s making. The larger and more bloated they get, the worse it feels. He really should be doing small, 3-4 hour indie games. The first hour of Indigo Prophecy is one of the best things he’s ever done. The first hour of Omikron is interesting and kind of neat. Heavy Rain’s opening sequence is great at setting the tone and story. If he could focus and just keep up that level of interest and energy, he could make a really good game. He might actually be great at Episodic Content. Just get him away from big budget, big concept games.


#7

it feels like a cop out to make the sentient robots we are supposed to feel bad for just look like regular humans. plus I feel like people would be uncomfortable owning robots if they just looked exactly like people, I realize there is a lot of historical precedent that suggests they would not though,


#8

playing David’s Advocate here for a second, i’d think that’s likely part of the point? given that he invoked the extremely charged phrase “android slavery” in the trailer we saw, he clearly wants to draw a couple uncomfortable parallels, i.e. how could we have treated our fellow humans so poorly when they only looked a little different from us, idk. the android design being hyper-humanoid is almost definitely intentional

all that being said i have absolutely zero confidence that he can handle a story of this magnitude. i genuinely think this might be the game he fucks up SO badly that he stops getting the money to make AAA auteur crap


#9

I couldn’t be too sure, but even if they’re robots, aren’t all of the main characters white?

If you want to do a story on oppression, that feels off.


#11

The protagonist shown today is played by/looks exactly like Jesse Williams, so definitely not all of them


#12

I suppose I should give them credit for that then, at the very least.

Although I can’t really say I’m not tired of stories that substitutes actual marginalized class with a fictional one. I hope this game shows some intersectionality.


#13

Between the “will you use violence” choice emphasized in the trailer and the creepy cult undertone of that scene where the revolt leader gives a speech and all the newly-awakened androids immediately pledge allegiance, I’m expecting Detroit to go fully into BioShock Infinite both-sides-bad territory. Which is kind of the least interesting thing you could do with this premise, so I hope I’m wrong.


#14

I was super interested in this at first and then grew steadily less so as it got more ham fisted and I began to realise it was David Cage. In a way the trailer perfectly mirrored the typical David Cage experience, amazing high concept really grabs and intrigues you and then steadily goes off the rails.

I actually liked Farenheit, but that’s because in 2005 few people were playing around with narrative in that way. In those days it felt like we needed David Cage to say hey how about we try something different. We don’t need him any more.


#15

I’ll probably play it because it’s a cyberpunk game set in Detroit but man, I’m a little grossed out by it feeling like “what if the Detroit riots but androids instead of black people?”


#16

Same here. It is awesome to see a game set in Michigan (Though I live on the opposite side of the state), and I do see some interesting ideas, but I fear that it will end up like Fallout 4 where the moment they touch an interesting idea, they bounce off of it to something else instead of digging deep.


#17

What if Blade Runner but not enough


#18

What if robots but feelings. Hi I’m David Cage. Give me $60

Android graffiti.


#19

I played indigo prophecy/Fahrenheit like 4 years ago and I think this video is made up, I don’t remember this at all.

That game was pretty cool (I think?) until the last… 30 minutes?


#20

I’ve enjoyed all of his games to date to some extent. They’re not what everyone wants out of games, but he’s offering something that a lot of others are not, and I think that’s generally OK. He doesn’t seem particularly toxic as a person.

That being said, I think Detroit looks pretty bad. The lip-syncing is really off-putting.


#21

From the moment he showed up on stage last year and unironically mentioned the word “emotions” 4 times within the first 10 seconds of opening his mouth, you had to know where this fucking thing was headed.

Some day somebody will realize that David Cage can be good for this industry, but it won’t be in the role of director. Sadly I’m not sure Cage will ever realize that fact himself.