Ever since the 2010 release of award-winning game Heavy Rain, it has become clear that developers Quantic Dream are looking at turning video games into a unique form of art. And with their much anticipated new release, Beyond: Two Souls, it seems they are one step closer to succeeding.
Scheduled for an October 8 release for PlayStation 3, Beyond: Two Souls is likely to change the world of video games forever, further blurring the line between this medium and its older sister, cinema. And this is not only because of the star power involved in the production: the cast includes Academy Award nominated actress Ellen Page as the lead character and a supporting turn from another Oscar nominee, Willem Defoe. A look at the trailer and gameplay videos released so far reveals that Beyond has stunning graphics and unique camera work worthy of a top-notch Hollywood production.
At times the game feels like a real, emotional piece of movie making, which is largely due to the fact that it is entirely based on motion capture performances. And giving that the storyline changes based on the decisions the player makes, the project implied an immense amount of work, the script reportedly having over 2,000 pages.
Featuring significant psychological and supernatural elements, the game tells the story of Jodie Holmes (Page), a young woman who has psychic powers, apparently owed to her unbreakable link to an invisible entity called Aiden. What further distinguishes Beyond from other games is that it follows Jodie from the age of 8 to 23, trough 15 years of her life, which is very unusual in a medium that almost never shows characters’ evolution over time.
As for the actual gameplay, players get to control either Jodie or Aiden, being able to wreak havoc using telekinetic capabilities or float through walls and ceilings. Keep in mind that that the two characters can never be too far from each other, as they are bound by some invisible chain, and must work together to progress. Be ready to switch between character when playing, as you may for instance need to use Aiden’s skill in order to reach something Jodie cannot and move forward in the game.
Beyond: Two Souls sets itself apart from the ordinary gaming experience by attempting to offer players some spiritual dilemmas as well. According to Quantic Dream CEO David Cage, the game was intended to be a journey through life, with everything it has to offer: love, hate, happy moments and sad moments and even death. It is meant to be a sophisticated, truly immersive gaming experience that will make players care about the characters and really wonder about “what lies beyond.”
[Image via Beyond wiki]