Project KARA Shows Off Quantic Dream’s Creative Ability

Project KARA Shows Off Quantic Dream’s Creative Ability

Tech demos are rarely worth their weight in gold, but sometimes you wish they were.

If you’re unfamiliar with the name Quantic Dream then this may rattle your brain a bit: Heavy Rain. The development team behind the emotional roller coaster that forced you to confront some of gaming’s toughest decisions is nowhere near finished playing with your heart strings. The latest piece of emotionally engaging material to come from Quantic Dream does not take the form of a video game. Rather it comes in the form of a tech demo titled Project KARA.

Although this game is merely a tech demo – running in real-time on the PS3 mind you – it clearly shows that Quantic Dream still has the skill and ability to create emotionally touching and thought provoking storys.

Pretty heavy stuff huh? I’ve read plenty of books and seen my fair share of movies that dealt with the topic of robots blurring the line between human and machine, but for some reason this video refused to disengage me. It’s just a shame that KARA is nothing more than a tech demo as it could be one truly superb game.

Sony managed to snag an interview with David Cage, Project KARA’s director, and pick his brain briefly about the demo and how it came to be. Here’s what he had to say:

After Heavy Rain, we wanted to push the envelope in terms of quality, starting with the visuals. We wanted to improve many things — things that were not possible with the Heavy Rain engine. So we had to develop a new engine from scratch.

We also wanted to improve the quality of the acting. With Heavy Rain, we did what many games do — split performances, recording a voice on one side and a body animation on the other, putting everything together and crossing your fingers that you get a consistent performance. It worked okay for Heavy Rain, but you lose a lot of a performance by splitting into two and rebuilding it artificially.

We wanted to do what Avatar did by having one full performance where we capture everything at the same time. And we wanted to demonstrate these new performance capture techniques and the new engine before going into production, so we developed a short showcase that would allow us to test these ideas and technologies. This is how “Kara” was created.

“Kara” is not our next game. It’s not the character, it’s not the world, it’s not the story. …We do things in a very strange way here, things that have nothing to do with the games we make. But I think that’s a part of the DNA of the studio, and hopefully something that people like about us – they never know what they’re going to get!


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