Detroit: Become Human is the latest title by Quantic Dream, the developers behind Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls. After playing a brief demo at PAX Aus, I can safely assume it will follow suit, with a few neat additions.
The narrative premise is simple, androids become entrenched in daily life; they tend to society’s every need and operate in virtually every occupation, even policing. But what happens when they develop emotions? Do they fight back, succumb to being viewed as a commodity, or do they get labeled a defect and get thrown away? These are the core questions that spring the story of Detroit: Become Human, alive.
In the demo, we were handed control of one of the game’s playable characters, who happens to be an android hostage negotiator. Our task was to investigate the crime scene and uncover why an android has gone rogue, killed his owner and taken the family’s child hostage. Compared to the detective mode of Heavy Rain, your character’s vision highlighted points-of-interest much more clearly, and the UI communicated their meaning effectively.
As I uncovered more evidence and began filling in the narrative gaps, my probability of success rose. Ultimately, the rise in probability increased the number of dialogue options I had when negotiating with the defective android, which influenced my ability to stabilise the situation. There was no indication of how important the outcome of this scenario was in the grander plot, but we were lead to believe that ‘every choice matters’ — Take that how you like. The game looks gorgeous, and the cinematic feel of the cutscenes effectively underscored a very high-stakes moment in the demo.
Additionally, the most interesting aspect of the demo, to me, was the ability to reconstruct pieces of evidence. For instance, if you analyse a dead body you can uncover the events of their death, which will point you to more evidence. Throughout the demo this scenario presented itself a few times; the easiest way to explain it is that if someone is shot, you can discover where the bullet landed, or where the item the victim was holding, fell. It was a simple but decidedly engaging part of the demo, which I hope doesn’t get aggressively overused in the final game.
Bar yet ANOTHER delay, Detroit: Become Human will be released in 2018 on PlayStation 4. You can check out the gameplay footage of this demo below: