Heavy Rain Creator: "The U.S. Has Problems With My Games"

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Heavy Rain Creator: "The U.S. Has Problems With My Games"


Heavy Rain creator David Cage says his games don't sell well in the U.S. because American marketers aren't interested in anything that doesn't include guns and guts.

David Cage doesn't make "normal" games. By that, I mean that a David Cage game isn't likely to feature a bulked-up meathead packing enough heat to knock over the legitimately elected government of Guatemala. Instead, he produces fare like Heavy Rain [http://www.amazon.com/Omikron-Nomad-Soul-Pc/dp/B00002NDEE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317222853&sr=8-1], none of which were what you'd call smash hits in the U.S. market. In Cage's mind, the problem isn't the games, or the gamers, but the marketing departments.

"The U.S. always have problems with my games, to be honest. Nomad Soul was the first to have issues over there. We were asked to change the name over there, so it was called Omikron: The Nomad Soul, but there was still no confidence that it would sell well in the States, so it wasn't supported," Cage said in an interview with Develop [http://www.develop-online.net/features/1437/David-Cage-From-the-brink].

"The games I make don't include a gun," he continued. "Very often, American marketing departments have a problem with this. They have this image of their market being gun-loving rednecks. It's completely wrong."

Two of Cage's games were actually renamed for U.S. release: Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Quantic Dream's first game, was released in Europe as simply The Nomad Soul, while Indigo Prophecy, which Cage described as a "fucking stupid name," is better known to non-American gamers as Fahrenheit.

The U.S. videogame industry is very conservative, Cage said, and marketing departments like ideas that are simple and familiar. Story-based games, on the other hand, and particularly those with challenging stories about this like child abduction, don't get nearly the same level of commitment.

It's a valid point, even if it does come across as a bit of a cop-out. It's a fact of life that a Heavy Rain is never going outsell a Gears 3 [http://www.amazon.com/Gears-War-3-Xbox-360/dp/B002I0H79C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317223047&sr=8-1], but that fact unquestionably keeps marketing departments from really getting behind unconventional products and, as often as not, bungling the effort when they do. Yet he still has faith that persistence will, eventually, pay off.

"The only way to solve this is to keep at it; game after game, get more trust," he said. "Show them how successful you are, and hope that eventually they, and the whole industry, will turn around."


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FlashHero

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Apr 3, 2010
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I've been meaning to play both Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain but I never get around to finding a copy. I'm not actively searching though so that's probably why.
 

Shameless

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Here is how to make your games sell in the US Mr.Cage, make them into actual games rather than a QTE fest with a plot with more holes than a sponge.
 

IndianaJonny

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Jan 6, 2011
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Andy Chalk said:
"The only way to solve this is to keep at it; game after game, get more trust," he said. "Show them how successful you are, and hope that eventually they, and the whole industry, will turn around."
Or do the marketing in-house a la Valve with Portal 2. No firearms necessary.
 

BrotherRool

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Oct 31, 2008
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But the problem with Heavy Rain was that it had too much focus on guns and guts as opposed to story! (And sexually compromising situations)

To be honest more violence than guns. But there were several guns involved.

And they're still fantastic games, if nothing else he's proved the medium is worth continuing with
 

LavaLampBamboo

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Jun 27, 2008
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Jesus Christ Cage, could you be anymore of an artist stereotype? "Oh, my work isn't understood, oh I own interactive fiction, oh America doesn't get me."

Here's an idea, make a good game, and then we'll talk.
 

Gnoupi

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Shameless said:
Here is how to make your games sell in the US Mr.Cage, make them into actual games rather than a QTE fest with a plot with more holes than a sponge.
And when you have holes in your plot, please don't fill them with a combination of conspiracy/ancient Mayan curse/sentient AI/army secrets/Matrix fights/Hadouken. Really. Especially when you started with a relatively intriguing premise.
 

manythings

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thefreeman0001 said:
theres a typo in the article

David Cage doesn't make "normal" games.

it should be David Cage doesn't make "good" games.
Or "I didn't like them but don't understand that my personal view isn't an accurate measurement of the quality of a given product and thusly shouldn't use it as one".

IndianaJonny said:
Andy Chalk said:
"The only way to solve this is to keep at it; game after game, get more trust," he said. "Show them how successful you are, and hope that eventually they, and the whole industry, will turn around."
Or do the marketing in-house a la Valve with Portal 2. No firearms necessary.
Except Valve are their own dev AND pulisher meaning there is one plan and one action. Few other devs have that luxury so they have to work with their publishers markettin departments or the marketting firm that the publisher uses. That's how you end up with those retarded "Dead Space 2, your mom will hate it" ads.
 

The Wykydtron

"Emotions are very important!"
Sep 23, 2010
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Well I agree with him that Indigo Prophecy is a "fucking stupid name" at least...

The rest? Well maybe you should try and make games rather than interactive films and then maybe i'll be arsed to actually give a damn about your "games" good sir.
 

Eternal_Lament

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Sep 23, 2010
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Hey Cage, here's an idea: maybe it's not because your games don't feature guns-and-guts or have as much marketing as games with guns-and-guts that your games don't do well, maybe it's because your games just aren't fun to play.

Are the stories interesting? Sure. Are your games bad? Not really. Are they enjoyable to go trough? No, not really, but not because of the subject matter so much as it's just not quite an engaging or fun way to play a game. More often than not it just comes off as frustrating.

Now of course marketing is always an issue, and yes marketing departments usually like to go with what's familiar, but consider this. The first Portal had almost no advertising or marketing, both because it was just one part of the Orange Box but also because no one thought it would be a hit or something worth backing. What happens? When Portal 2 comes along there is marketing for it all over the place, yet is not a game with guns-or-guts and was never advertised as such, and it did really well. So what's my point? While the first game in any series or by any developer is sure to not always have the backing that other more popular games have, other games in the series or by the developer afterwards usually are given more attention if the initial game was something of note or worth letting people know there is a sequel to it. So if by Heavy Rain there is still little marketing for the game, while the possibility that the controversial nature of it being a game may indeed be why marketing wasn't that high, isn't it also more than possible that marketing just isn't high because marketing departments don't have faith in your game after seeing what else you have released?
 

kael013

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Jun 12, 2010
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Quality of Cage's games aside, I think he has a point. I honestly cannot remember any game within the past year or two being marketed here without some form of gore on display. Guns, however, are subjective to the game's material, so that point is invalid.
 

Mahorfeus

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Feb 21, 2011
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Ignorance at its finest.

I liked Indigo Prophecy, but I couldn't take it seriously because of its ludicrously stupid plot.

Heavy Rain was better, but as a previous poster said, its reliance on plotholes to create artificial suspense failed to suspend disbelief.
 

The Random One

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thefreeman0001 said:
theres a typo in the article

David Cage doesn't make "normal" games.

it should be David Cage doesn't make "good" games.
I agree, but Cage has a point. His games wouldn't sell even if they were good, because the market doesn't understand them. Although if he stopped believing anything his magical Cage hands crapped out on a computer was video games' only chance to break its chains maybe he would endeavour to improve upon his works and actually produce something even naysayers wouldn't be able to criticize.
 

Xanthious

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Dec 25, 2008
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First used games were the problem. Now Americans just don't "get it". I wonder how many more excuses he will throw out before he gets to the actual problem. That problem being his games just aren't that good.

The Random One said:
I agree, but Cage has a point. His games wouldn't sell even if they were good, because the market doesn't understand them.
I disagree, the gaming industry is one industry where word of mouth can and does still have a pretty decent impact on sales. Bottom line if he makes a truly good game, and not just a shitty semi interactive CGI movie, it won't matter how much support it gets from the publisher it will find success.
 

Woodsey

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I think a bigger issue might perhaps be that he bases his games on stories when he's not a good writer.

Not that you could tell him that though; he's only ever come across as a massively egotistical dick.
 

SomebodyNowhere

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I enjoyed Indigo Prophecy(even though the story took a turn for the even more ridiculous about half way through). If I ever get around to getting a PS3 Heavy Rain is at the top of my list for games to get. His games just seem to be too different from the big sellers to be a huge success, but as long as he keeps making them then the cult following for his titles will be happy.
 

Wandrecanada

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I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact it was a PS3 exclusive before the price drop at a time when the console market penetration was still incredibly low.

If you want to bet on the dark horse don't expect a runaway victory...