The games that are made my David Cage are often lauded for their originality, but that also makes them problematic to sell. When asked why the Quantic Dream founder has problems like with name changes from Fahrenheit to Indigo Prophecy, he gave a long reaching answer.
“The games I make don’t include a gun. Very often, American marketing departments have a problem with this,” he said. “They have this image of their market being gun-loving red-necks. It’s completely wrong. We had huge arguments with Atari in New York about Fahrenheit. We told them they were making a huge mistake not supporting the game ““ they will see the reviews and they will like what they see.”
“They should have put marketing dollars on the table, and I told them that, but they didn’t want to listen to us. When the reviews came in they were even better in the U.S. than they were in Europe, but by the time they realized, it was too late. Fahrenheit sold well in the U.S., we made money out of it, but it was a slice of the potential, because of this lack of trust.”
“The problem is that we are in a very conservative industry. Each time you come to marketing departments with very simple concepts, like ‘the hero has ten weapons and goes through twenty levels, and there’s a snow level and a jungle level and a sand level and a whatever level and it’s gonna be so great because I can display more explosions on screen than any other game and . . . then they have it. The marketing departments go, ‘oh that’s really interesting’,” he added. “When you come to them about a game based on a story. Or, a game based on child abduction, they think ‘my god’. It’s very difficult for them to commit to anything that’s remotely different. The only way to solve this is to keep at it; game after game, get more trust. Show them how successful you are, and hope that eventually they, and the whole industry, will turn around.”
Heavy Rain has easily been the most successful game for Quantic Dream so far, and the best promotion for the game was good press, according to Cage. “We spent two years talking to press at trade shows, and I think they played a major part in the game’s commercial success,” said Cage. “They’re the ones who created the hype and expectation for the game. I think that people were excited by what I was promising; a game where the heroes have no weapons, where you don’t kill anybody, where your choices have real consequences.”
“I felt people understood what I was going for. I think people weren’t sure about how it would play, but the concept sounded interesting. I actually think a lot of people tried out the game to see if I was lying. But all the same I knew people were saying ‘this is something new, this is something different, at least this is going to be something else’,” he added. “But y’know, the success was there for Heavy Rain, but at the same time, look at the biggest games of today and it’s always the Call Of Dutys, the GTAs, it’s always the games where you have a gun. It’s always the sequels. Yes, people want something different, but not too different. And not too often.”