Heavy Rain: Quantic Dream’s Leipzig Experience

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It’s been a few weeks since we brought you any news from Europe, and while this post isn’t the most timely, since it’s about Heavy Rain I thought you’d forgive us ;-)

Guillaume de Fondaumière, the co-CEO of Quantic Dream and Executive Producer of Heavy Rain wanted to share with readers of the PlayStation.Blog his feelings when revealing the title to a huge audience for the first time. As Heavy Rain is a deeper, more emotionally-tied game than we’re used to seeing – it’s actually a good fit. Also, we have a trailer to share with you that you may not have seen.

Take it away, Guillaume!

Leipzig Games Convention Day 1:

Here we are, finally unveiling Heavy Rain to the world after almost two years of hard work on the title. A first showing is always a very special moment, one that gets your heart pounding like the first time you are in love: Will the public react positively? Will it say “Yes, this is what I was waiting for, can’t wait to see more?”

The setting for the initial public announcement of the game could not have been better: David Reeves’s GC Leipzig keynote speech on Wednesday when all important European PlayStation announcements are made.

A first pleasant surprise: spontaneously, when David Reeves pronounces for the first time the words Heavy Rain, the hundreds of journalists attending start applauding, eager to finally see the title. We did not suspect such anticipation. The tension is palpable when David Cage enters the stage and the crowd claps hands again to welcome him. My hands are sweating, from where I am, I see our pre-teaser in pre-roll on one monitor. The time has come, the video is broadcast… and for the third time, the crowd applauds and cheers, visibly satisfied. The moment David Cage, myself and the whole team had been anxiously anticipating for weeks is now over. You can watch the video for yourself below.

A first impression is always very important and I think this one was quite positive. David and I are now anxiously awaiting the next two days, when we will be showing live code to the press. We know this will be the real thing, the real test…

Leipzig Games Convention, Days 2 & 3

The first look at the behind-closed-doors Heavy Rain press schedule for the next 48 hours makes me slightly shiver: 16 presentations of 45 minutes are planned for almost 320 journalists. This is going to be a marathon… While David Cage will be giving an introductory speech and commentary on the demo, I will be playing it. It is live code, I have no safety net. The male character is driven by AI and the two walkthroughs chosen to present what Heavy Rain is imply that I don’t lose the other – female – character half way through the demo…

At the end of the first run through a surprise awaits us: the journalists applaud the presentation, something I had never seen in the past 15 years of my career. Heavy Rain is a very different game, an emotional experience that sucks players and any audience attending a playthrough in. After all, this might be 16 long, but rewarding, presentations!

At 2 pm, the tension slightly raises for us when Shuhei Yoshida, head SCE of Worldwide Studios, and Michael Denny, VP of SCEE Worldwide Studios enter the room. The presentation goes well, we are even rewarded with an additional applause session half way through our demo.

On the following day, despite having gone to bed early, David and I are starting to feel some fatigue and back pain. During the first presentation, I realize my hands are shaking right from the beginning and for the first time, I am loosing the female character during a fight sequence at the end of the demo. David’s speech is less fluid at the start of the second one, but thankfully we regain confidence at the end of this presentation thanks to an unusually long and warm round of applause. The six following presentations all go without hiccups. To pump us up, Alex, Charlotte and Grégory from SCE PR are feeding us regularly with press quotes: Heavy Rain seems to be receiving an exceptional response from the international press. This helps us concentrate on our next presentation and gives us the confidence to always deliver the same level of presentation, hour after hour. When we finally leave the Leipzig convention center at close to 7 pm, we are extremely tired but also very happy.

David Cage and I will certainly remember this Games Convention in Leipzig for quite a few years!

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