Oh hey, it’s the next game that’s like, totally art and stuff. You can tell it’s art because you can control a female character while she pees and showers. Also because the control scheme looks like a major pain in the ass. And because it’s all broody and serious and shit. I can’t wait to hear about people crying while playing it, a la Shadow of the Colossus. It’s the new PS3 game Heavy Rain.
You also know it’s art because it has an ad that’s populated with movie directors, and it’s directed by Neil LaBute, who has had probably the single most upsetting motion picture career trajectory of any filmmaker I’ve loved – from In the Company of Men to the all-black remake of Death at a Funeral in just about 13 years. And with a stop to shill video games!
This video is pretty amazing in terms of who is in it. Hanif Kureish, named one of the greatest living British writers, and the man behind My Beautiful Laundrette! Stephen Frear! Peter Bogdanovich! Wait, a singing Peter Bogdanovich! They’re all talking about love – what it means to them and what it means to their storytelling. Pretty interesting stuff.
And then every now and again you get the dude who made Heavy Rain showing up and talking about his game. He wrote it for more than a year, which I guess is worth noting in the video game world. But every time this guy shows up it’s… weird. You realize nobody else is talking about the game. Nobody else probably even knows what the game is, or has seen the video clip of the girl showering (well, maybe Bogdanovich. That could be why he’s singing). It’s like this Heavy Rain guy found a video that Neil LaBute put together and stealthily edited himself into it.
What this video says to me is that Heavy Rain is just another interactive movie – which is why they have filmmakers and film actors yapping in it – and not wildly different from the Choose Your Own Adventure DVDs that hit the market early in the format’s life, taking advantage of branching technology to offer mildly interactive experiences. The tech behind Heavy Rain is surely farther along than those early discs, but it’s still just a movie with a gimmick as opposed to a legit game. At least in my casual gamer opinion. So to those who will try to use Heavy Rain as a ‘games are art’ argument – nice gimmick cartoon you have there.