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.