Fahrenheit (2005 video game)
|Producer(s)||Guillaume de Fondaumière|
|Genre(s)||Interactive movie, action-adventure|
Fahrenheit (known as Indigo Prophecy in North America) is a cinematic interactive drama action-adventure video game developed by Quantic Dream and published by Atari, Inc. for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The director's cut and uncut versions were later released for Microsoft Windows. Fahrenheit sold over 1 million copies and has won several awards. On December 4, 2007, Atari released the game for Xbox 360 through Xbox Originals.
On November 8, 2011, Quantic Dream released the game uncensored for PC through GOG.com. A remastered version of the game, entitled Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered, was developed and published by Aspyr in January 2015 for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux and iOS. A port for the PlayStation 4, which was developed by International Software Development Group at Sony Interactive Entertainment, was released on August 9, 2016 via PlayStation Network.
Fahrenheit is a paranormal thriller, in which New York City experiences a series of mysterious murders that follow the same pattern; ordinary people become possessed and kill strangers in public. The main characters of the story must uncover the supernatural forces behind these crimes. Publicity was generated from the developer's rejection of conventional game genre labeling; preferring to brand it as the first "interactive film" rather than an adventure or third-person action title. The game features motion captured animation as well as branching story lines, split screen cameras and an interface designed to be intuitive and realistic. Event triggers in the game are also mainly time-based, as opposed to the more common player-initiated progression found in most games.
Console versions of the game eschew most of the traditional methods of control, making minimal use of the face buttons on the controller, instead using the twin analog sticks for almost all player actions. The left stick controls movement of the character, while the right is used for context-sensitive actions. For instance, when Lucas, one of the protagonists, approaches his table at the diner in the opening scene, pressing the stick in one direction may cause him to take a seat, another makes him examine his bill, and a third lets him pick up his drink and take a sip. The available options are displayed with simple diagrams at the top of the screen. More complex motions, such as climbing a fence or spinning a yo-yo "around the world" fashion, require controller motions designed to replicate the actual action being undertaken by the character. During the tutorial of the game, David Cage instructs the player to move the thumb-stick slowly when opening a door, to maximize immersion, making it clear the prevalent use of thumb-sticks in the game was intended to increase immersion. On the rare occasions in which the face buttons are used, the buttons never directly control character actions; rather, the buttons are used to interact with menus and the user interface, such as changing between characters, navigating menus in computer systems, and displaying the "mental health" of the character. In the Microsoft Windows version of the game, control is via the keyboard and mouse, with key movements and mouse gestures used in conjunction in lieu of analog control sticks, although Microsoft Windows gamepads with analog sticks are also supported.
A major component of the game is made up of large action set pieces, which are completely scripted, but which require reflexes to complete. During these scenes, two circular diagrams with colored segments are superimposed over the full motion video, each one corresponding to one of the analog sticks. The diagrams depict sequences of control inputs, which the player must mimic in order to maneuver the character out of danger, similar to the quick time event sequences in Shenmue. These action events are the points in which the game story may fork, choosing different options will result in different outcomes. Eventually, however, the stories will reconvene, as many dialog trees do. The game also requires feats of endurance, involving the alternate pressing of the left and right shoulder buttons as rapidly as possible. These left and right trigger sequences are generally used to evoke (and cause) physical exertion, and occur during such gameplay events as characters weightlifting or trying to force something open.
The player is placed in control of, at different times, Lucas Kane, NYPD officers Lieutenant Carla Valenti and Sergeant Tyler Miles, and occasionally, Fr. Markus Kane, Lucas's brother. The game provides each character with a "Mental Health" meter, which ranges from full ("Neutral") to empty ("Wrecked"), and which represents the character's mental stability. Many of the game's events (such as the opening, where Lucas discovers he has just murdered a total stranger for no apparent reason) subtract points from the meter, but everyday or habitual activities (such as eating, urinating or receiving good news) will add points, as will scenarios in which the character makes a revealing discovery or action that helps him or her in some substantial way. An empty Sanity meter leads to an end depending on the character and level, like a suicide or mental breakdown, and subsequently a Game Over.
Finally, a conversation system is also implemented into the game, with the right analog stick used to choose dialog options in much the same way as it is used to control actions. When conversing with certain non-player characters (NPCs), there is often a "Suspicion" meter, which is affected by the player's choices, indicating how suspicious the character Lucas is conversing with is becoming, e.g. failing to give convincing answers when being interrogated by police. In these situations, if the player does not make a choice within the allotted time limit, the game will make a default choice for him, or else the conversation is abruptly ended. It is impossible to leave a conversation without the minimum amount of information necessary for the characters to progress in the game, and if one continually strays too far from the topic's intended resolution, the game will automatically direct the conversation back.
The game has a plot built around manifold branchings and multiple options. The creators describe the plot as "elastic," capable of much stretching to accommodate the player's choices and decisions across all three characters, although it still follows a set over-riding plot thread. For instance, in the opening scene, the player is placed in control of Lucas and left to deal with the aftermath of the murder. The player's choices, such as what to hide, what to leave alone and how to escape the diner, determine what clues Carla and Tyler find when they arrive to investigate, and how well the patrons recall Lucas, and thus the ease with which the police later discover his identity.
On a cold New York City night in January 2009, Lucas Kane, in a possessed trance, stabs a man to death in the restroom of an East Side diner and then flees the scene. Lucas attempts to uncover the reason behind the murder. He initially attempts to move past the experience, talking his way out of a visit from the NYPD, but he begins to experience hallucinations, primarily involving mysterious arthropods, which attack him, forcing him to flee from his banking job.
Lucas contacts a spiritual medium named Agatha, who places him in a trance to try to recall the events in the diner. Upon discovering that he was approached by a mysterious man in the diner, who seemed to be controlling him during the murder, he leaves the medium. The following night he returns, only to find her dead body. Meanwhile, the police have identified him as the murderer, and they lay a trap to capture him. However, he demonstrates superhuman strength, reflexes, and agility, dodging bullets fired by police and leaping 30 feet into the air onto a moving subway train. Directed by what appears to be Agatha's spirit, Lucas learns about a specialist on Mayan civilization by the name of Dimitri Kuriakin, and thereafter sets up a meeting with him, disguising himself as a journalist. From the meeting, he learns that the murder Lucas committed in the diner was a form of Mayan sacrifice. According to Kuriakin, such a sacrifice was meant to unlock a way to look into the realm of the dead in search of something, with an Oracle taking possession of a random person to perform the deed. However, every executioner was traditionally supposed to commit suicide after stabbing the victim, yet Lucas didn't. Lucas's ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Harper, is eventually kidnapped by the man who approached Lucas in the diner, a Mayan Oracle, in an attempt to draw Lucas out. In his efforts to save Tiffany, both she and himself are killed. However, he is subsequently brought back to life by a group of AIs called the "Purple Clan", one of whom was disguised as Agatha's ghost.
Eventually, Lucas is able to convince Carla, a detective investigating the case, that he is innocent, explaining to her that both the Oracle and the AIs are seeking the Indigo Child, a young girl who possesses a secret that will give great power to whoever hears it. The sacrifices were performed to find her location. Learning of the location of the child, Lucas steals her out from under the noses of both the Oracle and the AIs, bringing her to a military base where he grew up and where, as a fetus, he was exposed to a powerful force known as Chroma, which gives both him and the Oracle their powers and gives Lucas the ability to resist the Oracle's attempts to drive him to suicide. However, he is followed, and a final battle takes place between the three: Lucas, the Oracle and the AIs.
Depending on what happens in the final chapter of the game, there are three possible outcomes to the game. In each ending, taking place three months later, Lucas states that he has been living with Carla since the end of the game. He then adds that Carla is pregnant, but the world they are living in is very different depending on who won the final chapter:
- Good ending: Lucas learns the secret of the Indigo Child, and the winter disappears. He and Carla have boundless hope for the future.
- Orange Clan ending: The Oracle learns the secret of the Indigo Child and three months later everything seems like normal, but Lucas knows that one day the plans of the Mayans will reveal themselves.
- Purple Clan ending: The Purple clan learns the secret of the Indigo Child and the world is covered in an eternal snowstorm, with three quarters of humanity wiped out, and the rest living underground. The only hope Lucas and Carla have for the future is their unborn child, presumed to be the next Indigo Child.
- Lucas Kane is the main protagonist in Fahrenheit, and is voiced by David Gasman. Born and raised on the remote Wishita military base by his scientist parents (the deaths of whom in a car accident had severely affected him ten years prior to the events of the game), Lucas now works as an IT manager and head of computer maintenance for the Naser & Jones Bank in Manhattan. His simple life is turned upside down when he is suddenly possessed by an unearthly force that drives him to murder a random man in the bathroom of a local diner. For reasons he does not understand, since his early childhood, he has had periodic clairvoyant visions (the disturbing nature of which, it is implied, has had a severe emotional impact on him as a child, driving him to isolate himself from others). These visions were long dormant before the events of the game, but suddenly resurfaced with an increased frequency and potency following the events at the diner. He also discovers that since that night, he possesses enhanced speed, strength and reflexes, as well as the emergence of telekinetic abilities and temporary flight.
- Carla Valenti is the primary female protagonist in Fahrenheit, voiced by Barbara Scaff. Carla is a hardened and serious police lieutenant and detective inspector with the New York City Police Department, and is Sgt. Tyler Miles' partner. Carla is known among the other members of the NYPD for her intense work ethic and commitment to the job (to the point that it appears excessive), but in reality her devotion to her work is, in part, her own way of compensating for her lack of any personal life and few friends. Carla is naturally inquisitive and completionist; tending to brood over cases which appear to go nowhere, and is prepared to spend long hours poring over evidence in the hopes of finding one vital clue which may have been missed. Carla is also highly claustrophobic, and is prone to panic attacks when inside dark, enclosed spaces. Carla and Tyler are the detectives called upon to investigate the gruesome diner murder, and over the course of the game, they work together to find Lucas Kane. Gradually, Carla delves deeper into the conspiracy surrounding the crime, and finds odd events occurring that eventually drive her to team up with Lucas. Carla Valenti was ranked as the second-sexiest "video game girl" by Revision3 in 2012 and as the 45th-greatest heroine in video game history by Complex.com in 2013, among several other similar lists.
- Tyler Miles, voiced by David Gasman, is a police sergeant and detective with the New York Police Department, and is Lt. Carla Valenti's partner. Tyler, contrary to Carla's serious bearing, has a much more lackadaisical attitude towards life, but his devotion to the job and to his fiancée Samantha Malone is unquestionable (although his relationship with Sam has been under constant strain due to her terror of him being hurt in the line of duty). While generally upbeat, the long working hours and increasing cold began to sink his spirits. Tyler and Carla are the detectives called upon to investigate the gruesome diner murder, and over the course of the game, they work together to find Lucas Kane. This latest murder does not help Tyler's sinking morale, ultimately leading him to question his life as a police officer. Tyler's hobbies include playing basketball, video games (which he often talks about or makes references to) and collecting 1970s memorabilia and vinyl Motown albums.
- Father Markus Kane, voiced by Doug Rand, is Lucas's older brother. When they were kids, Markus tried to get Lucas, who was something of a loner, more involved with the other children on their military base home. With time, Markus matured and now lives and works in New York as a Roman Catholic priest at St. Mary's Cathedral. When Lucas confesses his actions at the diner, Markus, despite being emotionally wracked, worries for his brother, as well as the current state of affairs; his faith and inability to comprehend what is happening to Lucas over the course of the game prevents him from seeing past his own fears for Lucas' mental health.
- The Oracle, voiced by Christian Erickson, is the main antagonist in Fahrenheit and archenemy of Lucas Kane. Outwardly, all that is seen of him is a gray hooded overcoat that mostly hides his face, and his true nature remains a mystery for much of the game. The Oracle is learned in magical arts, possesses telepathic abilities (to the point he can effortlessly erase his presence from the minds of others even as they speak to him, and leaves no physical traces, as well as being able to control who can see and hear him), telekinesis, teleportation, invisibility and flight. It is later revealed "The Oracle" is a sacrificial priest of the long-extinct Mayan civilization, who has lived long past his natural death by entering the service of the Orange Clan and working to locate the Indigo Child. He has sacrificed seven people a year for the past 2,000 years, using others to commit the deed in a Mayan sacrificial ritual. His latest 'victim' is Lucas Kane.
Development and release
It took designer David Cage a year to write the full game-design document. The final script was about 2,000 pages long. The game's use of multiple views was inspired by the TV series 24. This created a considerable technical challenge to implement successfully due to the limitations of the PlayStation 2's memory. A team of nearly 80 people worked on the title for about two years. Simultaneous development took place on three platforms (PS2, Xbox and PC.) The game's storyline was inspired by the films Snake Eyes, Seven, Fight Club, Dune, Jacob's Ladder and Angel Heart. The game's mechanics were influenced by Shenmue, particularly the use of quick time events.
Impressed by his previous work on soundtracks for David Lynch films, especially Lost Highway, David Cage decided to enlist film composer Angelo Badalamenti for the project. Cage did not want the soundtrack to be composed of generic orchestral pieces in the vein of John Williams or Carmina Burana, but instead be more emotional and atmospheric, something that he felt Badalamenti achieved. Further licensed pieces of music used in the game included Theory of a Deadman's "Santa Monica", "No Surprise", "Say Goodbye" and "No Way Out"; Teddy Pendergrass's "Love T.K.O."; Ben E. King's "Street Tough"; Patrice Rushen's "Hang It Up"; Bobby Byrd's "Try It Again"; Leee John's "Just An Illusion"; Nina Simone's "No Good Man"; and Martina Topley-Bird's "Sandpaper Kisses".
The title of Fahrenheit was changed to Indigo Prophecy in the United States and Canada. The change was made to avoid confusion with the film Fahrenheit 9/11, which was released in 2004. As games rated "Adults Only" by the ESRB cannot be released on consoles, the game was censored in order to meet the "Mature" rating; most of the scenes depicting sex (one of which is interactive) and other adult content were removed from the North American versions. An exception is the final sex scene between Carla and Lucas, which was not completely cut from the game due to its important role in the story, but was shortened by removing the more graphic shots and most of the visible nudity. Though one shot of nudity remains, in the edited version the angle that should have revealed Carla's fully naked breasts, the nipples were removed from her model skin, giving the appearance that the nipples were merely obscured from view, and thus avoiding any identifiable depictions of frontal female nudity.
On January 25, 2015 Amazon.com listed a remastered version for release entitled Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered. It was released on January 29, 2015 for Windows, Linux, OS X, Android and iOS. It was developed by Aspyr. The remaster features higher texture resolution, controller support on PC platforms, and is based on the uncensored version of the game. It was released on the PlayStation 4 via PlayStation Network on August 9, 2016. Despite being based on the uncensored version, the ESRB gave the remastered version a "Mature" rating rather than "Adults Only" (as was the case with the original uncut release).
Fahrenheit's sales surpassed 700,000 units by February 2008, and 1 million copies by 2015. It received "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregator website Metacritic, where the game's Xbox version received a score of 84/100, the PC version one of 85/100, and the PlayStation 2 version one of 83/100.
According to GameSpot, "Fahrenheit gives the term 'cinematic gameplay' some context, as well as some real heartfelt meaning. But where the game truly shines is in its story, which is a deep, captivating, and sometimes disturbing tale." The game's music was another well received aspect of the game, receiving praise from IGN. Eurogamer noted that there were some control and camera issues, but nevertheless said it was "probably the most enjoyable, forward-looking and thoughtful piece of videogaming we've played in this or in any year. We never thought we'd say this, but it's a real step forward for the adventure game genre." John Davison of Computer Gaming World summarized it as "a tremendous rebirth for a very stagnant genre" and "the triumphant return of the interactive movie."
Fahrenheit was named the best adventure game of 2005 by Computer Games Magazine, GameSpot, GameSpy and PC Gamer US, and the year's best computer adventure game by IGN. PC Gamer's Logan Decker wrote, "In an otherwise disappointing year for adventures, Indigo Prophecy pushed the boundaries of a genre that's too often static and traditional." Fahrenheit also received GameSpot's "Best Story" special award, and finalist positions in the site's "Best Original Music", "Best Voice Acting", "Most Innovative Game" and "Best Original Game Mechanic" categories. In 2008, Fahrenheit was ranked tenth on Game Informer's list of the top ten video game openings.
Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered received mixed reviews for PC, and positive reviews for iOS. Dave Rudden of IGN felt that there should have been "more significant improvements", and praised its "still-gripping" story, interesting crime concept, endearing characters, dialogue system and voice acting, while criticizing frantic button prompts, "still-stupid" stealth, and glitches. TouchArcade stated, "The game's excellent use of plot devices, mood setting visuals and soundtrack, along with relatively deep characters lead to a title that has more merit in its tale than most new iOS titles.", but found the virtual circlepad "as inaccurate as most other console ports".
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