GDC 2011: Heavy Rain Sold 2 Million and "Game Mechanics are Evil" - NewsKarl Koebke, posted on 03 March 2011 / 4,655 Views
During his Post Mortem on Heavy Rain, David Cage had some interesting statistics about his game to share as well as a relatively deviant outlook on gaming in general. He was proud to let everyone know that Heavy Rain has officially sold almost 2 million copies, but more interesting was that apparently the game was completed by 72% of those that started it instead of the 20% average for most gaming. He attributes this to the game’s more story focused design and called on developers in the room to move beyond the game paradigms of the last 30 years of levels, bosses, inventory, and all those things you usually expect to be in games.
He commented that games as they are now are almost all designed towards teenagers or children and that we should be focusing more on gaming for adults. Story and gameplay are too divided in the current framework of game, cut scene, game, cut scene, and Cage mentioned that for story driven gaming it’s imperative that the two are intrinsically linked. If game developers can bridge this gap they can make story a bigger part of the game and start to bring in a new market of gamers who weren't satisfied with the previous standard.
Probably his most controversial point was that gaming mechanics are evil. We don’t have enough buttons for one button to do the same action regardless of the situation because that only leaves you with ten or so possibilities and if you want to tell a story through gameplay that’s like having only ten words to use for your novel. He argued that the context sensitive interface in Heavy Rain was a great solution to this problem because you could now use those same ten buttons for a multitude of different actions increasing your vocabulary from 10 to 1,000,000.
I’m sure all of this will sound like blasphemy to anyone with a Princess Peach bed spread or Tinkle Popo tattooed on their back, but love him or hate him at least David Cage is saying something different.