Culture is future » Innovation and digital

04.16.2012

Always further - When video game becomes art

            A video game demonstrates even more imagination in its developments and game designers owe to new technologies this creative power that is often append to them. With its 74 billion incomes in 2011, this cultural industry is constantly growing (over 10% compared to 2010). The video-game industry has found in technologies consistent development tools.                                                          
Many initiatives are referenced in the video-game industry:  individuals to majors - all offer more innovative ideas. Quantic Dream is one of them.

            We have not finished hearing about Quantic Dream. Founded in 1997 by musician David Cage, the French studio, based in Paris, has quickly established itself as one of the top-figures of the gaming industry on the international level.     

            But the developing company owes its image to the production of original video games material, like the video game Omikron The Nomad Soul, or the acclaimed Heavy Rain. In addition to a scenario created from scratch, these two productions also offer an unique gameplay system, fluently combining cinematics and gameplay phases, or by suggesting a intellectual participation from the player. On the other hand, Quantic Dream has unique technical resources, ie a "Motion Capture" studio equipped with 64 cameras Vicon optical 3D scanner and a 7.1 audio recording system. This know-how and technical ability has naturally attracted the attention of major advertisers and video games publishers, like Sony, Vivendi Universal Games, or Eidos.     

 

            Moreover, it is no longer a secret: the video-game industry continues to evolve on the artistic and cultural level. Due to constantly renewed technical developments, developers are provided with almost magical tools to express on a mediatic format their imaginative and creative talent. While all videogame’s productions offer something more realistic and closer to cinema, the border between film and digital art seems thinner and thinner.           

            It is in this context of creation that the Quantic Dream studio operates. The major objective of founder David Cage is to create emotion to the player, as he would feel in front of a movie.        

            The experience was already far advanced in Heavy Rain, a production that cost about $ 20 million and which took nearly four years of development (with 300 employees and 172 days of shooting in "Motion Capture" ). In this video game, or rather interactive movie, the concept of immersion is central in the creative process. This is a game for "adult", no gun, no chase in high powered cars and no unbeatable final "boss".    

 

            It is true that the technical developments of the studio are the base of the immersion process. This is why Quantic Dream decided launching a new 3D engine on PlayStation 3 game console.      

The event was announced at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) held in San Francisco early March 2012. While this new technical device does not have a name yet, the project, however, unveiled its identity through a video demonstration called Kara. This 3D engine dedicated to real-time runs on the PS3 system and is, once again, stunning of realism as the result is close to photosynthesis. 

 

            But in which economic context emerges this creativity? Competition initiated with the arrival of smartphones and tablets, as well as the effervescence of distribution channels through the Internet (Facebook, Apple, Google, etc.) may be a main cause of failure of almost-new Sony handheld (aka PS Vita), who has only sold 600,000 copies worldwide since its launch in early 2012. Meanwhile, Apple could celebrate to have sold nearly 35 million Iphone (balance of year-end 2011).  

            A commercial statement that draws the public usages evolution, more and more fan of the community phenomenon on the Internet, which became possible with the large public Internet. For a video game, almost everything is now happening "online", which encourages developers and publishers to perfect "Multiplayer" modes from their productions.         

            But development studios have not yet showed all their cards and intend to use their imagination and creativity to somehow maintain the videogame format.

Quantic Dream is now more than ever looking to the future, seeking other audiences by creating a new community of older, experienced players.           

Through creations that are both realistic, immersive and arouse emotion, the player is subjected to a commercial promise which claims, with power, the irreplaceable role of individual experience. This communication’s strategy aims to build a specific reference universe for everyone.     

            The paradox of a search for ever more personalized experience, facing the rise of formatted online communities, however, leaves hope that the creative individuals quickly appropriate this singularity and multiply our emotions.       

            The video-game industry has not stopped surprising player communities. The creative imagination and the ever increasing use of technology can cope with competition from multiple digital creations. Increasingly present in the lives of young adults, the field of videogame never ceases to make us discover new cultural practices.

A contribution of the University of Avignon, by Théo Cabrero