Detroit Is Designed To Be As Fun To Watch As To Play

Detroit Is Designed To Be As Fun To Watch As To Play

I played Detroit: Become Human in the company of director David Cage last week. Cage told us that the game is designed to be as fun to watch as it is to play, so when Sony sent us 30 minutes of footage from various episodes of the game, I decided to out that statement to the test. Gita Jackson and I recorded ourselves watching and reacting to the footage. We had a good time talking about how much we want to play the game.

In the video, Gita and I watch 26 minutes of the currently available footage of the game, which Sony newly sent us for this preview, while I tell her about the experience of playing it. In addition to the previously available demos, we saw a lot of new stuff – for example, we got to find out what happens after android Kara and little girl Alice run away from home in the “Stormy Night” scene. Spoiler: you can try to steal a candy bar from a convenience store, and choose to sleep either in a car or an abandoned building.

Also, Gita and I talk about how well the androids’ clothes fit.

Last week, when Kotaku senior reporter Cecilia D’Anastasio told Cage that Detroit would probably be popular on Twitch, he immediately replied, in a joking tone, “I hope not!” He explained that he wanted players to play the game for themselves, and make their own choices. I told him that watching players make decisions on Twitch is what pushed me toward wanting to carve my own path through Until Dawn, and I imagine that Detroit has even more potential: Cage had explained that Detroit has over 60,000 possibilities in its narrative.

Cage said the game takes about eight hours to play through to one of its many endings, and that many players will want to play the game at least twice. I got a taste of this during my play session last week: as a runaway android named Kara, I got caught shoplifting a chocolate bar at a convenience store. Now I’m wondering if I could have gotten away with stealing that chocolate bar, and if the little girl I was protecting would have spoken different, less despairing dialogue if I’d been able to provide her a chocolate bar.

Detroit has cutting-edge graphics. Its HDR lighting gleamed and glistened beautifully on the 191cm Sony XBR-Z9D that Sony had somehow gotten into the hotel penthouse where I played the game. Speaking of high dynamic range, it features a performance by Lance Henriksen, known for playing the android Bishop in Alien, as a benevolent, wealthy human owner of an android. Now that’s what I call a versatile actor.

Yet nothing impressed me so much as the realisation that this is a video game as comfortable to hang out with as an episode of Law & Order. I told Cage, “I want to play this game while eating dinner.” He replied, “Oh.” I meant it, though. I can think of very, very few video games I would want to or be able to play while eating dinner.

Detroit: Become Human will be out for the PS4 on May 25.


  • Pretty sure quantic dream games are never fun to play. Watching them being played sounds like cruel and unusual punishment.

    Y’know, because games are meant to be fun last time I checked.

  • After playing Heavy Rain on my own and watching someone stream the Detroit demo on Twitch last night I have come to the conclusion that David Cage games are meant to be played as a group. Heavy Rain would have been so much more enjoyable had I had friends over to laugh at it with me and goof around. Watching someone goof around in Detroit was highly entertaining but showed that it’s not something I’d buy just for myself.

  • Penthouse hotel room with VIP time with Cage and huge TV, all paid for by Sony marketing department. It’s disturbing to see videogame media be stealth shilling these bulletpoint lists of features, with fun coveted Lead Designer face time, under the (am I naive?) supposed guise of neutrality and/or informative critical public journalism. This whole article is an ad. The video is a 30 minute ad, except for a couple critical sentences by Gita. And attached to the YouTube video was a normal commercial spot ad with a PREORDER NOW splash screen after it.

    I don’t say this JUST as a random person on a comment forum. Tim you are one of the greatest living writers. Gita you are also great. I watch your show every Friday.

    What would Conan the Cimmerian (the Journalist) say if he was asked by a marketing department or political campaigner to come have fun in a penthouse.

    • Reminds me of the good old days on giz when a certain writer would rave about Samsung products for being so awesome while having tickets and accomodation paid by Samsung to attend the tech show.

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