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Microsoft turned Heavy Rain down over child abduction plot

Quantic Dream's decision to become a PlayStation-exclusive studio after the success of Fahrenheit was spurred on by early talks with Microsoft regarding follow-up Heavy Rain's plot.
Quantic Dream's decision to become a PlayStation-exclusive studio after the success of Fahrenheit was spurred on by early talks with Microsoft regarding follow-up Heavy Rain's plot. Speaking at a BAFTA games lecture in London last night, and as reported by Digital Spy, Quantic Dream's David Cage explained that Microsoft wasn't happy with the child abduction storyline in the game. "We were pitching Heavy Rain to different publishers, including Sony, and we went to Microsoft," he explained. "We had a very long talk and they loved Fahrenheit, and they really wanted to do something with us." But, he continued, "They got scared by the fact that Heavy Rain was about kids being kidnapped, and they said, 'This is an issue, we want to change it'. Well, we could have kidnapped cats, it would be a different experience!" This was a turning point for Cage, as it essentially showed him that Microsoft was not a company that he could work with on the sort of vision he was aiming for. "For me, that was a very interesting signal. It was like, you know what, I don't think we can work together, because you don't understand what I'm trying to achieve here," he said. "They were scared of the scandal and scared of what people may write and what people may think. 'Oh, this is a developer and the publisher making games about a child getting kidnapped.'" This storyline was not the core focus of the game, he argued, and Microsoft misunderstood this. "When you play Heavy Rain, I don't think this is what the game is about," he added. "Microsoft is a great company; I'm not complaining or criticizing. I'm just saying that there was some resistance at the time that was not in sync with what we wanted to achieve." This lead to Quantic Dream exploring other options, including a deal with Sony. And while Sony also took issue with the plot, the company was also able to see the fuller picture. "We had this conversation with Sony very honestly saying, 'Okay, there is a reason here'," he said. "But I think they understand the upside of what we were doing. This could be incredibly emotional, if done with taste and if there's nothing shocking for the sake of shocking. There should be a strong emotional experience, but it shouldn't be vulgar, it shouldn't be about blood and whatever, it should be about love." And so began Quantic Dream's exclusivity with Sony and PlayStation. "We could understand each other, and this is how Heavy Rain happened," he added.

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