Detroit: Become Human's Flowchart Is Very Cool

I'm not a programmer. But having grown up with two, I have some measure of understanding when coders get irrationally excited about processes and flowcharts. And with Detroit: Become Human, I've found a flowchart of my own that I can happily geek over.

One of the quirks of Heavy Rain and Quantic Dream games previously was that you knew things could play out differently, but you weren't always sure how or why. Detroit has thrown that out the window somewhat, with players having access to a flowchart at all times that maps the various choices players took, and which ones they either neglected or failed to unlock.

You can access the chart at any time through the pause menu (outside of unskippable cut scenes, at least). You'll also get a breakdown of all your choices at the end of each story chapter, not unlike the stats you get at the end of every Telltale game. This doesn't have a percentage breakdown of what choices other people made, although given that our preview build was offline a feature like that wouldn't have worked, anyway.

A snapshot of one of the game's chapters, showing you the various choices you made, and which ones you didn't unlock. Image: Supplied

It's possible to get an understanding of some of the choices you've missed without accessing the menu; holding down R2 brings up a list of objectives, and in some instances it's pretty obvious that you missed something or chose to look somewhere else. But the flowchart puts that into clear perspective. The orange padlock is like a glaring neon sign: you missed something. Maybe you should go back and find out what, hmm?

Detroit gives you the chance to go back and play critical sequences as well, as was shown in hands-off demos last year. The recent round of previews was the first opportunity for press worldwide to play through the first few hours of the game unimpeded, including the initial hostage sequence shown off in Detroit's trailers.

I'll have more to say about the gameplay later. But for now, I just wanted to show off what the flowchart looks like and emphasise how much of a fun difference it makes. In the final sequence I played at the preview session, there were around 70 or so different choices that could be taken, unlocked or avoided altogether.

How many of those exactly were detective elements - did you find this critical piece of evidence? - or paths not taken is another matter. But that's part of the fun. And if nothing else, it'll help make Detroit a cracking game for parties, perhaps more so than Heavy Rain.


Comments

    At first I thought, "Spoilers, much?" (about the game feature, not the article), but then I looked back and remembered how I 'played' Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, back in the day: marking critical decision places and going back to review alternate paths.

    When I look back at Heavy Rain and at just how fucking daunting the prospect is of exploring other avenues due to being locked in with no revisiting saves, this flowchart feature makes more and more sense.

    I mean, it basically sounds like fast-travel for game decisions. I am on board.

      Oh that gutting moment when you died and didn't remember what page you came from or you needed to go back two to avoid the odd multi decision fail.

        Easy: just start again from the beginning :-)

        Those things were only ever about 140 pages or so of large, child-friendly type. I used to get through one in an hour or so. Less, if I had to re-start.

          Until you progressed to the Livingstone and Jackson versions, or Joe Denver's Lone Wolf. Then you're closer to LotR size.

            Fighting Fantasy was one of the highlights of my younger teenage years.

      I had terrible FOMO so I wrote down all the decision page numbers. This looks like it was made for people like me.

    Is this gonna be another choose your own adventure/teeth brushing simulator but with better visuals?
    Hold me back

      Literally my thoughts, minus the sarcasm. :)

      Fucking HYPE, son!

    As long as they don’t try to do a Zero Escape sorta thing where you start remembering what happened on other flowchart lines. That messed me right up.

    emphasise how much of a fun difference it makes

    I don’t see how it’s a difference in fun. The only difference is now theres an explicit Achievement Road Map of every possible outcome spelled out for you. It’s an explicit checklist of “content”, where previously exploring the branches would be experimental and surprising. Previously it was like “poking the systems with a stick”, now it’s like “The Administrator has your chores for the day.”

      The outcomes aren't spelled out - if you don't discover them during gameplay, you can't explicitly see what those options are on the flowchart. Some you might remember (do you choose to sacrifice yourself in that opening scene, for instance), but others won't be choices that are given to you, and might not be available unless you find something else.

    Both husband and I played Detroit at PAX last year, and at the end of our playthrough, we spent ages comparing notes and talking about how completely different our outcomes were, based on the different decisions we made. Knowing that I can go back and track different choices makes me more hyped for this game than I already was.

    I'm trying to "buy" the free demo on the PSN Store, but it gives me a pre-order warning instead. Anyone know what's up with that?

    Edit: pressed the Confirm button, ended up on a $0 checkout - not a good UX design there.

    Last edited 24/04/18 1:07 pm

    Any one know some good flow chart programmes?

      In regards to interactive fiction I can recommend Twine or Inkle as great programs to show the number of ways a story could go.

    Very excited to finally have a game like this which allows the scope the developers have created with the array of possible outcomes to be shown in a visual format, it reminds me of the number of ways the final sequence in Heavy Rain could go depending on the clues your characters had found or missed, or the complex chart Dontnod released to show off a sequence in Life is Strange where you have a dialogue with a drug dealer you can rewind and change.

    I am curious to see if one can even see entirely different chapters based on your choice with a character. One preview mentioned a choice Kara could make over stealing money in order to let her and Alice stay in a motel instead of a dank abandoned building, which I would assume would lead to entirely different situations in terms of Alice's health and Kara's views of morality. Since Alice can even die in the confrontation with her father Todd it makes me wonder if Kara could even run away on her own, but I assume from the trailers that would be a fail state where she is also killed...

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