Detroit: Become Human

Detroit: Become HumanDo Quantic dream of electric peeps?You might remember a tech demo all the way back in 2012 that caused a bit of a fuss. That demo was called Kara and its graphical prowess blew people away (the fact that it now looks rather unspectacular shows how fast technology moves). More than that, though, people were intrigued by the character and the story that the demo hinted at. It showed an android called Kara on the verge of being disassembled by a technician after she showed signs of ‘malfunctioning’. After begging for her life, however, the technician seemed to realise that she might just be selfaware, taking pity on Kara and allowing her to leave the factory on the production line to be sold as originally intended. People wanted to know what would happen next and were disappointed when Quantic Dream insisted that Kara was only intended to show off the capabilities of the PS3.Quantic Dream head David Cage took notice of the positive reaction to Kara, to the extent that he started to wonder himself what happened to her after she left the factory. It was the desire to answer that question that led the studio to turn that tech demo into a full game. That game is the PS4 exclusive called Detroit.
The basis for the story is by no means original: an AI becomes selfaware and challenges the conception of what it means to be human. Having said that, Cage insists that it is not “another story on AI”, though we struggle to see how. In any case, there are countless examples of sci-fi stories that use wellworn tropes in new and interesting ways, so there’s no reason Quantic Dream can’t do something original by taking a different approach to the ‘AI becomes selfaware’ story template.
Of course, many will be sceptical about the likelihood of Detroit doing that based on the fact that Cage has got a reputation for waffling on about emotion and making the medium sophisticated, before releasing games with nonsensical and badlywritten stories. That reputation isn’t entirely unfounded, but we do tend to think that Quantic’s games get a little extra hate by virtue of the fact that Cage is such a visible and divisive figure.
Now, we’re not going to claim that Quantic Dream’s games don’t have any problems. They most certainly do (in particular the fact that they always seem to unravel about halfway through, if not before). But there’s something unique about them that makes us like them anyway. We even tend to find the crappy bits endearing in their B-movie quality, as opposed to frustrating. Perhaps it is the fact that the studio’s games have a tendency to focus on the mundane in a way that other triple-A games never would. We think of a section in Beyond: Two Souls where you tidy up your flat a bit, get dressed, and then cook some dinner as an example. We know it sounds boring, but there’s something compelling about those moments that draw you into the characters.
What we’re getting at is that we love the weird idiosyncrasies of Quantic Dream’s games whilst being simultaneously aware that as a whole, they fail to meet the lofty, high-minded expectations laid out by Cage before their release. That’s why we’re excited to see more of Detroit, even if we’re halfexpecting it to be a bit of a mess.
Speaking of seeing more of the game, it will be interesting to see how the game will actually play. Over the years, Quantic Dream has searched for ways of making their games accessible, playing around with different control schemes with mixed results. Will we see that again in Detroit? Will it be as QTE heavy as their past titles?What is quite obvious is that it looks spectacular. Quantic Dream says that everything we’ve seen of the game is in-engine. The studio has proven its skill when it comes to visual tech in the past, so we doubt this is an instance of a developer being misleading. We can well believe the studio can make something that looks that good.
What we’d really like, of course, is for Quantic to take a big step forward with the quality of its storytelling. Whether the tale of Kara, her escape from servitude, and her attempts to hide among her former human masters will be the story that sees Quantic finally do that and deliver the kind of experience its been promising for years remains to be seen. We’re looking forward to finding out. Paul Walker-Emig.

7Review earns Amazon affiliate commissions from qualifying purchases. You can support the site directly via Paypal donations ☕. Thank you!
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.