Last night Sony held an event in Dublin, Ireland showing a gameplay and presentation of Beyond: Two Souls. The presentation was lead by Quantic Dreams Co CEO Guillaume de Fondeimere who worked on all previous Quantic Dream titles. He led the presentation off by explaining what the company wanted to portray in Beyond. They enjoy a great narrative story telling aspect but felt that a more needed emphasis on gameplay was also a necessity progressing forward. They want people to be able to enjoy the game solo and also with a companion whether that be a friend, a partner or even someone you may have just met. There is bond between two people and a bond between Jodie and Aiden which lead to the game being called Beyond: Two Souls. Also worth mentioning, Aiden is full fledged playable character so in my opinion people will look at the game in a totally new life after they get their hands on it.
He then showed off some trailers in relation to the actors and also the music score that will be present in the game, which have been online for sometime over on the PlayStation Youtube Page. Then he touched on a subject that at the time I was taken aback by. The integration of tablet play. Any smart phone whether it’s Android or Apple device will allow you to play through the game without having to use a Dualshock controller. He said “we wanted to not just appeal to the hardcore but also the casual gaming market. With the possibility of touch device play we open up Beyond to whole new audience of players that may have access to a PS3 but have difficulty around using the DualShock controller”
Many people will see this as only a gimmick but for me I was excited to see a new way of bringing people on board. We did not get hands-on with the tablet integration so it will be a wait and see if it holds up situation. In my interview, he mentioned that it was done over a Wi-Fi connection so I asked would Gaikai have any involvement to which he responded “no” so we still don’t have hard evidence on what Gaikai and Sony are doing.
I asked about the possibility of being able to take control of the game with a PS VITA. He responded “we are looking into the possibilities of using the VITA but we can’t confirm anything right now”. Also worth noting that there will be no move support with Beyond:Two Souls so sorry move fans if you were hoping that the Heavy Rain functions were going to carry over.
So with all that said all that’s left to talk about is the game-play. The demo, which will be the same one going up on PSN at the end of the month, was taken from two chapters in the game. The first one is from when Jodie is a child in the facility where they conduct tests on her. In this scene, which has been shown in the trailers, you’re in a room wearing the crown device to monitor your internal change during the experiment. They want to see what you are capable of doing with the power of Aiden. Taking control of Aiden is capable at any stage with just a simple (triangle) press. You can then proceed to scale about the environment but you can’t go too far because you are still connected to Jodie. You interact with the environment by locking on with the L1 and moving the analog sticks simultaneously and letting go to interact. There are dozens of objects to hit, move and destroy but also the ability to take control of another character.
The next chapter is taken from later in the game and has you on a train that is stopped by police looking for Jodie. You then need to escape. You proceed through carriages then make your way on top of the train where you are then outnumbered and have to use Aiden’s shield ability and jump from the train. Then an on-foot chase happens with a lot of dodging trees by moving along in the direction you want to run and mashing buttons to get through a river. Then dogs catch up and you have to defend yourself. I got caught there but it is possible to escape and even though I was caught it wasn’t game over. This was as far as I got then as the presentation had to begin.
So being a fan of Quantic Dream since Fahrenheit, I have to admit I had my doubts about Beyond. They have always been able to tell a great story but you need to step up your game and add a compelling play system to hook people in. The ability to get a casual audience who may not like a hardcore game will enjoy a good story narrative, so being able to play on a touch device which won’t make the game too difficult but enough to not make you feel like you’re being lead by the hand, it seems like a great idea and has not been done before and seems like this is the perfect place to start with a game like Beyond:Two Souls.
Beyond:Two Souls comes out in North America on the 8th and Europe on the 11th. My interview with Guillaume de Fondeimere can be viewed above.