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Beyond: Two Souls: Cage's new title is ambitious, provocative, annoying

Heavy Rain's follow-up has big questions to ask...

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"It's just one version of a scene," responds Cage, when pressed. "Depending [on] how you play, you will see many different things. You can get arrested in this scene, for example, and unlock an entirely new part of the scene that you've not seen before. And this is true of each scene. Each scene can be played in different ways and you can see different things."


The use of on-screen button prompts throughout the demo immediately recalls Heavy Rain and its insanely elaborate QTEs. Since that game sold over two million copies, you might imagine this is a good thing, but it's actually at odds with the message for Beyond so far - Cage has suggested the new game will be more freeform and interactive. How so isn't initially clear, but having watched Jodie in a fight sequence on top of a moving train, and being pursued through woodland, Cage explains that the player has complete freedom of movement throughout, despite the typically cinematic camerawork.

"You are almost free to go wherever you want, all the time," Cage tells us...

Until we get hold of the pad for ourselves, how that freedom actually translates into gameplay is anyone's guess. The key question is whether being able to move around a bit within a box really offers much more choice than being locked on rails. To use a specific example: when Jodie is being chased along a train carriage, does it make much difference being able to nudge her left and right? Pushed on this, Cage insists that there will be large areas for exploration. "You are almost free to go wherever you want all the time," he says. (It's possible that the word "almost" is doing quite a lot of work in that sentence, though.) "This is something I can spend two hours explaining," says Cage. "You won't get it until you've played it, actually. But the big difference [from] Heavy Rain is we have much more exploration. Heavy Rain was mainly set in small environments or in small houses."


Each answer prompts more questions. As soon as you pull at the threads of Beyond: Two Souls gameplay, it threatens to unravel, but the truth is we've only seen a glimpse of it. And what we have seen is intriguing and refreshingly different. The big thing to remember is Cage's assertion that nothing we're shown in the demo gets repeated - in the sense that every scene in the final version will have bespoke gameplay elements. Hugely ambitious, then. And potentially also annoying and provocative in places. Would you have a Quantic Dream game any other way?

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