David Cage on doing what “no one expects”, creativity & PS4 being “way easier” to develop for
OPM: It’s fair to say your games are quite divisive. How do you react to that? Would you rather be divisive than somewhere in the middle?
DC: In some ways I like to be divisive, because it means you’re doing something meaningful. When everybody agrees that what you do is great then you think, ‘Okay, maybe I missed something’ – because I gave people what they expected and then what’s the point? For me, the key question is: what do we want games to be? Are they just toys, are they just entertainment, and all you want is fun and adrenaline? There’s nothing wrong with that. Or do we think that games can be a little bit more than that? They can tell you something, like the best films you’ve seen or the best books you’ve read. They can maybe change you, even a tiny bit: change who you are, what you think or how you see the world. Can they leave just an imprint in your mind, so by the time you turn off your console you still think – will they leave something in you?
“In some ways I like to be
divisive because it means you’re
doing something meaningful”
OPM: Do you think the reason there aren’t more games like that is because developers don’t have the creativity, or they don’t think the audience wants them?
DC: There are some very, very creative developers; I’m not saying no one has talent. I think it’s about giving people what they expect, and it’s sometimes not the developer’s fault: sometimes it’s the publisher’s responsibility [for saying], “Okay, what did work last year on the market? This is what we’re going to do next year but just a little bit better.” It’s a bad way of approaching things, because then the market evolves very slowly – because year after year you give the market the same products, just a little bit better. Whereas sometimes it’s important to think differently and say, “Look, let’s do something no one expects and see how people react.”
When I think of Kara, for example, that was something nobody expected from Quantic Dream. Beyond is something that’s surprised people. And when we came to E3 and showed The Dark Sorcerer, again this is something that no one expected from us and that’s great – this is where the pleasure comes from.
OPM: We’re moving towards next-gen now. Do you think it’s the technological aspect that will help increase a sense of meaning and emotion? Or is there more to it?
DC: Technology is something that will give you more subtlety and more nuances. So if you are making emotion, you will have a wider palette because of this technology. But the hardware is still just a tool. If you were doing shooters before, you will do better shooters. If you did emotional stuff, you will get more emotion. And this is something we tried to show with the Dark Sorcerer demo, just to show the subtlety you can get. We did it with the comedy genre, but you could do it with anything. This is what this new generation of hardware brings: it’s a better tool.
OPM: From the perspective of the types of games you like to make, what are you most excited about in terms of what’s going to be available to work with?
DC: The graphical quality is something very interesting to me, for all the reasons I just explained. I’m very interested also in the connectivity of the console and the fact that the overlapping multiplayer, social aspect becomes easier. And just in general I really like the fact that developing on PS4 is way easier than developing on PS3, which means you can spend your energy on the content and not fighting against the technology. So I hope it’s going to let people be more creative and be crazier when they develop.