Americans who prefer to play uncensored games had to import the European version of the last video game developed by the makers of 2010 PlayStation 3 exclusive Heavy Rain. So did fans of sex scenes.
But the content fiascos of that older game, called Indigo Prophecy in the US and Fahrenheit in its native Europe, are a thing of the past, the co-CEO of its development studio, Quantum Dream's 's Guilaume de Fondaumiere, told Kotaku in a recent interview.
The ambitiously mature Heavy Rain won't be censored for America.
Earlier this week we ran a preview of the sombre murder drama Heavy Rain and a story about its Trophies. The integrity of the content seemed like a crucial issue to address with our latest bit of coverage of the game.
Quantic Dream, which is based in France, intends to make games for adults. They did so with Fahrenheit and aim to again with heavy Rain. That doesn't mean "adult games", as in "pornography", but it does mean that the team is comfortable with including nudity and sex in its games. Fahrenheit did, more so in Europe. In the North American version of that game, sex scenes were removed or censored in order for the game to get an M rating.
Many Americans, apparently, didn't like that.
"Tens of thousands" of people wound up importing the European version of the game, de Fondaumiere told Kotaku. But they won't have to do the same for Heavy Rain, he said, because there will be no censoring, no content differentiation (other than, presumably, language tracks) between the game as it will be released by its developers and Sony and Europe and the version released for PS3 gamers in North America.
The preview build of the game played by Kotaku included a little bit of nudity - a bare male posterior, a topless woman, and cheekily blocked genitalia during some scenes of dressing and undressing - but no sex. We know that the game will include a scene in which the player makes their female character strip, a scene that is intended to feel uncomfortable. But the extent to which there is any sex isn't known and probably isn't that important to catalogue in advance, given the context of Heavy Rain's depiction of adult content.
De Fondaumiere didn't give me the impression that Quantic Dream had backed off. He said that much has changed in the four years since the release of Fahrenheit. More adult content has made it into games and more of it - not all - has been handled with class. The seriousness with which Quantic Dream wants to include the equivalent of R-rated movie material in a video game sold in America is now more permissible, the developer noted.
As a result, North American fans of the idea of playing a game the way a developer intended it to be played won't have to worry about importing in order to play the "real" Heavy Rain. It's coming to America, with no censorship attached.
Heavy Rain, an interactive drama (or think of it as an adventure game), will be out for the PlayStation 3 in early 2010.