Cliffy B: Heavy Rain Missed Its Chance With The Ladies

Joking that women "love two things in life, queso dip and true crime", Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski told a podcast that he felt Heavy Rain missed out on bigger sales by not marketing itself more to the fairer sex.

"It feels like such a great game for a girl who wouldn't normally play games," Bleszinski said in Irrational Games' latest podcast (get it here). "You'd see Heavy Rain advertised in PlayStation Magazine and things like that. I'm like, dude, why isn't this in Entertainment Weekly?... Why aren't you marketing this to the right crowd?"

Bleszinski prefaced his remarks with lots of praise for the game itself. "I fell in love with it," he said earlier, also calling it "brilliant" and complimenting its tight narrative. "There were scenes were I was almost literally dropping the controller it was paced so well," he continued. "If you had that and shipped a disc with all those women's magazines you'd maybe have sold twice as much."

He may have a point, but guy gamers, ask yourself this: How would you feel about a video game outwardly or aggressively marketed to women, however well made or serious it was? Now, I know we all really do have real (i.e. non-inflatable) girlfriends around here, but even if we do and especially if we didn't, "chick flick" is as much a kiss of death to some demographics as it is a moneymaker to others. Likewise, might it be too much of a marketing risk to be seen as tailored for a girl audience, even if it's a crime thriller?

Irrational Interviews Episode 4: Cliff Bleszinski [Irrational Games]


    He has a point, although some of the things the Origami Killer wants you to do are not exactly "girl-friendly".

      Women don't live on sunshine, puppy dogs and morning glasses of wine. I think Cliffy's leaning more towards the games drama and storytelling.

      I don't think cutting ones finger off is 'anyone friendly' which is kinda the point.

    How many "women who don't play games" own a PS3 instead of a Wii, though?

      My cousin does, granted that she plays Sims 3 and facebook stuff more than anything else, she does have a PS3 and not a Wii.

      Not many, but I can almost guaruntee that most of them have boyfriends that own a PS3. For the record my girlfriend loved Heavy Rain and played it with me all the way through.

    He may have a point. My wife isn't really into games (although she does have a DS I bought her with a few games she loves like NSMB and Professor Layton). While she didn't play Heavy Rain, she DID sit there and watch it while I played and she really enjoyed just watching. I think the lack of constant gunfire / screeching tyres was a big plus for her compared to most games.

    And yeah, she loves crime shows like CSI, Law & Order etc, so the detective story aspect of it helped keep her interested, too.

    Cliff has a definite point here. One of the things that would appeal to women (at least those I've talked to at length about games) is that there are more options for action in this game than 'pull the trigger.' That doesn't really put guys off, but I think the slight lateral-thinking this game encourages is much more feminine-friendly than the very straight-forward console titles.

    I do have to raise an incredulous eyebrow at calling the narrative 'tight' though. The directorship is awesome, but there are some pretty troubling blackspots in the actual plot/story.

    This also raises an interesting twist in itself - marketing the game as an interactive film, or 'film-esque' in its qualities was a bad idea, because as a film student I can certainly tell you that very few people from that crowd liked it. Terrible voice acting mixed with incredibly mediocre dialogue ("May I father, may I!?") led to this thing almost becoming a joke amongst many other students I speak to.

    Amongst game standards, it doesn't even touch Metal Gear Solid 4 or (ugh) Final Fantasy XIII in terms of its understanding of films and how they actually work. David Cage is great at devising core stories and sequences, but really, REALLY needs to bring in an actual screenwriter and director to knock them out of the park. Otherwise they'll just remain largely mediocre in this department.

    Then again, I doubt he'd care as most hardcore gamers aren't particular fussed by film reverance or anything along those lines. It'd just be extranneously spent cash.

    My wife LOVED watching Heavy Rain in action, as much as I did - and it stuck with her longer than it did me.

    Teh creative director of Gears of War praising the quality of a story is sort of like SoljaBoi praising someone's musical talent.

    I know at least some women would indeed love Heavy Rain. Its a crime thriller and those kind of stories do have multiple demographic appeal.

    However, there is some degree of "kiss of death" associated with being marketed to women. Games, like music, can function as a 'social positioning good' (i.e. you buy the good in whole or part to make other people think some way about yourself) for some people.

    Hence, unfortunately, purchasing a game marketed strongly towards women MIGHT put off some men via the whole "if you buy this, you must be insufficiently male, a.k.a. gay" stigma.

    Which is very sad. Then again, I'm one of those strange people that believes you should purchase games if you like them, as opposed to buying games in order to make other people think X about you.

    My better half got bored very quickly with Heavy Rain.

    But then again she is a 4th Prestige on MW2.

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