This book immerses us in the 25-year history of Quantic Dream
What made you want to immerse yourself in the world of this studio?
The first reason is simple: I like Quantic Dream’s productions and I like the stories they tell me. To tell you the truth, at the end of the 2000s I was more of a film critic and radio host, and Hardly Rain was one of the titles that made me switch to video games. This made me realize that something new is happening in the field of gaming. I thought to myself that maybe I haven’t been looking at this medium the right way until now.
So your favorite Quantic Dream game would be Heavy rain ?
It’s hard to say… I don’t know which is my favorite game in between Detroit Become Human etc Behind two soulsbut it remains an important title.
What kind of relationship did you have with Quantic Dream during the creation of this book?
A very simple report, because we had a common desire to work together. They gave me a few names and I did some investigative work to find the people who were there from the beginning. I started interviewing David Cage, Guillaume de Fondaumière, of course, Christophe Brusseaux, the art director, Jérôme Britneff-Bondy, the game designer and screenwriter, Sophie Bulle in production, Xavier Despas in sound… People who have been at Quantico long enough; there is real loyalty in this company.
We started with a long collection of details and anecdotes. The goal of the book was to mark 25 years of studies in as much detail as possible. I wanted to do something that we would never read or see before. At the same time, we worked on concept art and taking photos, which are very important for the studio.
Do you think Quantic Dream is a studio that stands out in the video game landscape?
Yes, because its founder, David Cage, absolutely wanted to tell stories. His first encounter with the world of video games was with the PlayStation 1. Then he told himself that there was something to do in this environment and that he wanted to share stories through this medium. He used to play music professionally. He wasn’t in there at all.
Today, Quantic Dream is still unusual. He doesn’t make sequels or heroic fantasy games, he doesn’t like game over – because death doesn’t serve his narrative role. The studio has implemented a real creative philosophy. They know there will be obstacles in telling stories through video games, but they do it anyway because it’s a medium that can and knows how to do it. When he does it well, it’s super touching and works really well. It is a studio with a difference, because it is extremist.
In addition to the narrative aspect, one of the peculiarities of Quantico concerns the technical aspect, especially motion capture…
In the book, several paragraphs deal with the technical side: 3D engine, why cinematography, why interactive narration and what it represents for the studio… I discovered that motion capture was born from the project Omicron (A nomadic soul). This motion capture was the desire of David Cage and his collaborators from the very beginning: they wanted to use the cinematic aspect to attract as many players as possible.
The general public already knew the cinematic image, was used to it, so it could have appealed to a lot more people at a time when video games were less popular than they are today. From A nomadic soulDavid Cage discovered in the medical community a body capture system that he borrowed by contracting with a specialized company.
He said to them: “We make demos and, if it works, we work together”. For its first games, Quantic Dream ran after publishers. In the beginning, stability was a real difficulty because of this desire to innovate. Finally, the demo was liked by Eidos who signed the release and the game saw the light of day.
During a meeting organized by Eidos, Quantic listed the musicians he wanted to work with. At first it was done in David Cage’s music studio. He is small, but he has very big ambitions. Each time they said to each other: “Can we have this and that? We will ask him.” It was on their list David Bowie and Björk.
Initially, Bowie only needed to give his consent for the use of one of his titles, Heroes. David Cage introduced him to the game, a very cinematic cyberpunk sci-fi. And then the singer said: “Okay, but I want to record the whole soundtrack.” There was a great silence, everyone was in awe. Space satisfied David Bowie, and there was a lot of work in Paris. In the end, the result surprised David Cage.
He expected something quite cold, quite futuristic, mineral, and Bowie did the exact opposite. Something quite warm, very harmonious, explaining that world Nomad Soul is dehumanized and that music plays the role of humanizing this universe. He even played two roles in the game, and you can still see the singer live in a casino today.Omicronat a certain time in the game.
Will the independence and desire to never make a sequel run into their next game, the license Star Wars?
When Disney went to meet Quantico, there were no questions Star Wars In the beginning. Disney thought: “The studio knows how to tell a story in film language, let’s see what interests them in our catalog.” David Cage, like everyone at Quantico, is a huge fan Star Wars.
In order to maintain this concern for independence and the freedom to tell their own stories, they told themselves that even on canvas, the Bible Star Wars, perhaps they wanted to tell more distant things, taking advantage of the context of the Outer Rim. It’s an element that hasn’t been dealt with too much, except in a few comics. The little literature that existed allowed them to create a synthesis between a very well-known and very framed license, but also very Skywalker-centric, while stepping away from it to tell something else.
Quantic Dream’s narrative approach alone could divide players. What would you say to convince new players to give it a try?
We are all sensitive to stories, script and characters. Even the most loyal players who just want pure action can be swayed Detroit Become Human. I don’t know if it’s the best action game, but technically it’s probably the best, both in motion capture (almost photorealistic) and narration. A kind of Himalaya has been reached, all the lights are green in this production.
The characters are touching, there is great writing, action, tension and interaction. The studio is often criticized for not developing this last point, but I find these criticisms unfounded. They make video games, but not necessarily following well-known rules of thumb. For them, the key words are story and characters.
A book L’Art de Quantic Dream, whose 288 pages are published by Mana Books, is available from November 3 at a price of €39.90.