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Heavy Rain, an interactive movie

The game on next month’s cover of Play is Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain, a game, more than any else I care to remember, that pushes the definition of ‘game’ to its very limits. It is, essentially, a game that’s a film, a film that you have the power to direct – an ‘interactive movie’ if you will.

It’s a term that I remember being banded around years ago when FMV first became possible because of the advent of CD as a storage media for games. Those first ‘interactive movies’ were, put mildly, rubbish and a new dawn of videogames, as it was hyped as at the time, was quickly put to bed.

Since then though many games have been made that could be considered interactive movies even if they were never intended that way. The genre that has been more successful than most in telling emotive stories has always been the RPG. Whether from Japan or the West the RPG has almost always been the vehicles for choice when a developer has a story to tell.

But now with Heavy Rain things are changing. Quantic hinted at a new style of gaming/storytelling in its last title Fahrenheit but with Heavy Rain things have moved onto a whole new level. With real actors, some serious motion capture technology and, most importantly, Quantic reinventing how a story is told and how players interact with a videogame world, Heavy Rain looks set to change the way that developers tell their stories. But don’t worry, there are plenty of guns too.

Heavy Rain is very much in the thriller mould – there’s exploration and action, atmosphere and dramatic camera angles. It’s some way off being gaming’s equivalent of Citizen Kane but shows just how the games industry, its developers and their games are maturing.

Who knows, maybe one day this form of storytelling will even overtake cinema as the world’s favourite.

Play #180 is on sale 11 June.

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