We can take away several important points from this demonstration. First: all the footage originates in real-time on a PlayStation 3. None of the video is pre-rendered like traditional CG cutscenes. Quantic Dream created this demonstration one year ago with the first version of their newest proprietary engine. Now, the team has already advanced to version three.
After showing Kara to the GDC audience, Cage expanded the discussion with several points. The actress, Valorie Curry, auditioned for the part along with 69 other actresses. She rehearsed for two days before the shooting, and all the motion capture and voice work is her own. The only sections of the film that did not use Curry’s performance are the foreign language sections, which involved the audio from two other actresses animated onto Curry’s character.
Cage concluded his talk by expressing his desire to produce meaningful material suitable not just for young gamers but for adults. Cage and his team believe in the importance of virtual actors, real talent driving those performances, and meaningful content beyond the technological achievements of the industry.
I can honestly say I’ve never been more happy to know that I am quitting video-game journalism. Soon. For a long, long time. For a long, long while I have been contemplating doing it a lot earlier but, instead, I feel this urge to do something. To make my hours count. As much as I want to examine, analyze and celebrate the glory of video-gamedom there’s always been that bubbling discontent with gamerkind. I have been trying, for nearly four years, to show to the masses that video-games are awesome. That they are artistic, no matter what anyone has to say in objection. They are art, get over it. Except, now, I have realized I have been writing towards the wrong crowd.
Gamerkind is the true force against itself. The real antagonist.
And there’s a part of me which is pained to say that. Literally. I can feel all those keyboards, all those joysticks and all those controllers all raised into the air if there ever was a vote on the existence of video-games. I can feel this raw passion, but it’s hurting us. The response to the ‘Kara’ trailer pretty much epitomises everything I have come to despise about video-gamekind. “Cinematic gameplay” “Story!” “Emotionally engaging!” Empty, empty, empty words after empty, empty, empty words. As much as I harp on about getting our medium ‘recognized’ I think gamerkind themselves have to take a long hard look in the mirror.
Look at what you’re celebrating with this ‘trailer’ for video-game technology. Looking throughout the comments on the actual video your see massive amounts of ‘amazing story’ and ‘cannot wait to buy this’ and all sorts of ‘this shows games as art’. The fact is that David Cage, the man behind Kara, does not know what a video-game is. In fact, and I say this with as much grace as possible, he is a fucking asshole. He is killing video-games. He’s a pathetic individual who thinks that the film directors and cinematography are more worthwhile of a pursuit than pure interactivity. And he gets applauded for it.
The starting quote is an excerpt from the IGN report. I don’t like IGN. I did write a book about video-game journalism that, somewhat unfairly, examines closely the likes of IGN and Kotaku. Except this is where Gamerkind gets its guiding light, its beacon and (in short) it’s where the prophets come from to show us the Promised Land. Except, this won’t be the Promised Land. This is a Promised Land that extensively details motion capture of a trailer, a Promised Land that celebrates this man who wants ‘meaningful material’ and a Promised Land that will be exactly that of Heavy Rain. I do not want to talk about Heavy Rain ever again.
But I can’t help it from happening. I don’t want to call all of gamerkind ‘sheep’ but it seems we’re going the way of lambs to the slaughter. All chewing on popcorn and waiting for our “cinematic experiences” or our “new heights of interactive storytelling” in the form of the same cut-scene filmic pastiche. It’s been a long while since I cared about anything but if there’s anything I care about then it’s preserving our culture. Our only capsule of our own humanity. Full of distractions and philosophies to keep ourselves from realizing our existence is finite and futile.
I’m not trying to be angry. I think I’ve barely been angry. I don’t want to be antagonistic to anyone who wishes to create video-games because, at the end of the day, video-games are awesome. I have deep respect for anyone who wants to move the medium, but I do not have any respect at all for the likes of David Cage. I have read about his stubborn ignorance to the breathtaking potential of our medium and how he confines himself to repeat the same-styles of film and literature to try and create something ‘new’ in an interactive field. This is not the way to go. This will kill us.
‘Kara’ represents something scary. I’m not the hero or the true shepard, nor am I any kind of great saviour but I am here to warn you that if you think ‘Kara’ will revolutionize video-games. If you think that, instead of just a graphics tech demo, it will truly revolutionize interactivity. Then, for you:
I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No.”
– Rorschach, Watchmen