|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Genre(s)||Interactive drama, action-adventure|
The game is a film noir thriller, featuring four diverse protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial killer who uses extended periods of rainfall to drown his victims. The player interacts with the game by performing actions highlighted on screen related to motions on the controller, and in some cases, performing a series of quick time events during fast-paced action sequences. The player's decisions and actions during the game will affect the narrative. The main characters can be killed, and certain actions may lead to different scenes and endings.
Heavy Rain was a critical and commercial success, winning multiple Game of the Year awards and selling over three million copies. A film adaptation of the game is currently in development. A PlayStation 4 version, featuring improved graphics and resolution, was released as both a standalone title and in the Quantic Dream Collection with Beyond: Two Souls, in March 2016.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Plot
- 3 Development
- 4 Release
- 5 Reception
- 6 Film adaptation
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Heavy Rain is an action-adventure game, requiring the player to move the character and have him or her interact with the objects or other non-player characters on the scene to progress the story. The game is divided into several scenes, each centering on one of four playable characters. The choices the player makes or the actions performed or not performed will affect later scenes in the game. For example, it is possible that a character dies or becomes detained, and will not be present in a later scene. There is no immediate "game over" in Heavy Rain; the game will progress to a number of different endings depending on the sum of the player's performance even if all the characters become incapacitated in some manner. Once the game is complete, the player can return to earlier scenes and replay them, possibly altering the events as they play through other chapters.
Within most scenes, the player can control the main character by moving them around the environment; they can also hold down a button to see what thoughts are going through the character's mind, and trigger them to hear an internal monologue on that thought. When the player is near an object or another character they can interact with, they will be presented with a context sensitive icon that represents what control they need to do. These controls include pressing a button on the DualShock controller, moving the analogue sticks in a specific manner, or rotating the motion-sensitive controller in a specific way; in the version with PlayStation Move support, further actions based on the Move controllers are also present. These actions may lead to additional actions to fully complete the interaction. Some scenes impose a timer on the player, requiring them to complete the necessary actions in time to avoid the death or incapacitation of that character. In other scenes, the player does not have full control of the character but must instead be prepared to respond to these icons in the manner of quick time events, such as during a hand-to-hand fight or while driving frantically on the wrong side of the road.
Additionally, the game includes a difficulty level functionality that the user can change through the menu at any point during the game. While adjusting the level will not alter the storyline of the game directly, a higher difficulty will influence the prompts, for example, requiring more inputs during sequences in order to avoid a failed action.
There are four main playable characters. The player controls one character at a time, generally playing different characters in each chapter of the game. The characters were voiced, motion captured, and modeled after several actors; the three males are modeled after their voice actors, while the female is modeled after a professional model. Some chapters in the game have the players play as multiple characters.
- Ethan Mars: A professional architect who lives with his wife Grace and sons Shaun and Jason. After Jason dies in an accident that also leaves him comatose for several months, Ethan abandons his career and wife, moving into a smaller house with Shaun. He constantly fears for Shaun's life, develops severe agoraphobia, and suffers from unexplained blackouts. When Shaun is abducted by the Origami Killer, Ethan is forced to undergo a number of trials (danger, suffering, brutal suffering, murder, and sacrifice) for a chance to save him. He is both portrayed and voiced by Pascal Langdale.
- Scott Shelby: A former police officer and Marine veteran who suffers from asthma. He is currently working as a private investigator, investigating the Origami Killer on behalf of Lauren Winter, the mother of the killer's second victim, Johnny Winter. He is both portrayed and voiced by Sam Douglas.
- Norman Jayden: An FBI profiler sent from Washington to assist the task force hunting the Origami Killer. He uses the ARI, or "Added Reality Interface", an apparatus which consists of experimental augmented reality glasses and a single right hand glove that allows him to reconstruct crime scenes and process evidence quickly. Overuse of the ARI, however, has also left him addicted to triptocaine, a drug that temporarily cancels out the side effects of augmented reality. He has an antagonistic relationship with his partner, police lieutenant Carter Blake, which only worsens his addiction. He is both portrayed and voiced by Leon Ockenden.
- Madison Paige: A young photojournalist who lives alone. She suffers from chronic insomnia, which occasionally manifests as nightmares about her own death. Her investigation into the Origami Killer is initially aimed at revitalizing her career, but she eventually develops feelings for Ethan; in fact, two of the game's endings involve them either grieving Shaun's death or living together as a family. She is portrayed by Jacqui Ainsley, but her facial animations and dialogue are provided by Judi Beecher.
GamesRadar praised the Origami Killer's role as an antagonist, putting them in their 2013 list of the best villains in video game history at number 42. That same year, Madison was ranked as the 41st greatest heroine in video game history by Complex.
The day after celebrating his son Jason's 10th birthday, Ethan Mars and his family go shopping at a local mall. While buying some balloons from a clown, Ethan notices that Jason has wandered off and frantically searches for him. Eventually, he finds him outside in the middle of the street, right in the path of an oncoming car. Ethan tries to push him out of the way, but Jason is struck and killed. After waking up from a six-month coma, Ethan, blaming himself for Jason's death, divorces his wife and moves into a small suburban house. He develops severe mental trauma and starts experiencing blackouts at an alarming rate. Two years later, while at the park with Shaun, Ethan suddenly blacks out. When he wakes up, Shaun has vanished.
To his horror, he soon discovers that Shaun was kidnapped by the "Origami Killer", a serial murderer whose modus operandi consists of abducting young boys during the fall season, drowning them in rainwater, and leaving an orchid on their chests and an origami figure nearby as calling cards. FBI profiler Norman Jayden, brought in to assist with the hunt for the killer, investigates the death of another Origami victim and concludes that he died the same day as a violent rainstorm, which flooded the cell where he was kept. Based on weather patterns, he estimates that Shaun has only three days to live.
Besieged by reporters, Ethan checks into a motel. He receives a letter from the killer, which leads to a shoebox containing a mobile phone, a handgun, and five origami figures. The killer calls him and explains that each of the figures contains instructions on how to complete a trial, which will allow him to determine how much Ethan loves his son. If he chooses to complete them, then he will receive a piece of the address where Shaun is held. The trials force Ethan to make increasingly difficult moral decisions, including driving against traffic at high speeds on the highway, crawling through a maze composed of active electrical pylons, cutting off one of his fingers, breaking into the apartment of a drug dealer and murdering him in front of his family, and drinking a glass of poison on camera. While undergoing the trials, he meets Madison Paige, a journalist who occasionally checks into the motel to deal with her chronic insomnia. She sympathizes with Ethan's plight, and decides to conduct her own investigation into the Origami Killer.
Jayden and his partner, Lieutenant Carter Blake, investigate several suspects, including a butcher and a religious fanatic, but nothing pans out until Grace Mars arrives at the station, fearing that her former husband is involved in Shaun's disappearance. After Ethan's psychiatrist reveals that his patient has a history of blackouts, Blake and his superiors put out a warrant for his arrest. Unconvinced, Jayden continues to investigate other leads. During these events, private investigator Scott Shelby meets with the families of the Origami Killer's victims, collecting the letters and other items they received when their loved ones were abducted. One of them, a prostitute named Lauren Winter, persuades Scott to let her accompany him. Their investigation leads them to an attention-seeking playboy who claims to be the killer, but when they try to question him, they are knocked out and wake up in a car sinking to the bottom of a river. After getting Lauren to safety, Scott tracks down the kid's father and forces him to confess that he was responsible for an accident that occurred years before in which a little boy was killed.
Throughout the game, the player experiences two separate flashbacks that reveal the true nature of the Origami Killer. The first takes place 34 years earlier, with two twin brothers playing in a construction site. One of the two, John Sheppard, falls into a broken pipe and gets his leg trapped, just as a rainstorm causes the pipe to begin filling with water. The second occurs shortly after, with John's brother running home to warn their father, only to find him too drunk to help. Scared and confused, the boy could only watch helplessly as his brother drowned. Thus, the Origami Killer was born: a killer who searches for a father willing to sacrifice himself. He kills his victims the same way his brother died. The boy turns out to be Scott; after he reached adulthood, he changed his surname to Shelby. His actions as an investigator are not meant to get justice for his victims; rather, he needed to collect the evidence of his crimes, which he burns in his office wastebasket.
The final chapter of the game, titled The Old Warehouse, serves as the climax. Each of the three main characters (Ethan, Madison, and Norman) have the opportunity to find the warehouse where Shaun is, rescue him, and stop the Origami Killer, depending on their actions and choices throughout the game. In all, there are eight possible endings. If Ethan goes alone, he can either save Shaun or watch him die, and either spare or kill Shelby. Regardless of what he does, he will be shot dead by the police when he tries to escape. If all three make it, Ethan and Madison will have to save Shaun while Norman deals with Shelby. If Ethan fails to arrive or Norman dies, Madison can help the other one rescue Shaun and fight Shelby, and if neither arrive, Madison will perform the rescue and the fight herself. Once the chapter is complete, a series of clips and news reports will play, and then the player will learn what happened to each character. Each ending is determined by what occurred in the final chapter. The best ending shows Ethan and his son starting a family with Madison, Lauren spitting on Scott's grave after cursing his memory, and Norman retiring from the FBI to focus on treating his addiction. The worst shows Madison and Norman dead, with Ethan being successfully framed as the Origami Killer by Blake and Scott escaping in the chaos. Giving in to his pain, Ethan commits suicide in his cell.
Heavy Rain Chronicles
The Chronicles are prequel segments that take place during the initial murders of the Origami Killer. The first one, The Taxidermist, was released on 1 April 2010, available for purchase from the PlayStation Network. It was also included with the original game when pre-purchased from selected retailers. The original intention was for there to be four episodes which would focus on the main characters' backgrounds. In July 2010, David Cage of Quantic Dream announced that future downloadable content would be put on indefinite hiatus due to Heavy Rain: Move Edition taking up the production time allocated to the Chronicles. Once the Move Edition development was completed, the team planned to either go back to working on the Chronicles or move on. Ultimately, the team decided to cancel the rest of the series so that they could focus on Quantic Dream's next title, Beyond: Two Souls. In October 2014, Cage announced that Heavy Rain Chronicles has been cancelled and confirms that the team is currently not working on it.
The first and only episode, The Taxidermist, follows Madison as she visits Leland White, a taxidermist, to question him about the Origami Killer. Finding his house empty, Madison breaks in and discovers an upstairs area containing several female corpses, stuffed and posed in various positions (including a freshly killed cadaver in a bathroom), which Leland created in order to satisfy his agalmatophilia fetish. After collecting information, Madison hears Leland's car return. From here the player's actions can lead to several different endings – she can surprise Leland and kill him, be killed herself and added to his collection, escape, or contact the police and wait for them to arrest Leland. Regardless of what happens, it becomes clear that he has no connection to the Origami murders.
Heavy Rain was announced at E3 2006, where a tech demo entitled The Casting was presented to the media and general public. In early 2007, a poster of Heavy Rain appeared on Quantic Dream's under-construction website. At Digital Dragons 2013, Cage announced that Heavy Rain cost €16.7 million to make. With marketing and distribution added, the total spent was €40 million. At the 2009 Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Quantic Dream released a new trailer and introduced two new characters, Scott Shelby, a private detective, and Ethan Mars, an architect.
Heavy Rain was originally planned to also be released for the PC and to use Ageia, with two separate versions of the game to handle the presence or lack of an appropriate physics processing unit on the computer. However, the game became a PlayStation 3 exclusive and the Physx engine was replaced by the Havok engine. The graphical user interface of Heavy Rain was created with the middleware Menus Master by Omegame. The same software was also used for Jayden's ARI glasses, placing a 3D interface within the game world. Game physics, clothing and hair simulation are made available with Havok Physics and Havok Cloth.
During the BAFTA Annual Games Lecture 2013, Cage revealed that game could have been released as Xbox 360 exclusive by Microsoft, but Microsoft turned it down due to its child kidnapping theme, fearing that it may lead to a scandal.
Heavy Rain director David Cage described the game as "a very dark film noir thriller with mature themes" without any supernatural elements, and that "the real message [of the game] is about how far you're willing to go to save someone you love." In 2008, Cage gave a brief overview of the game's narrative and ambitions: "Heavy Rain is about normal people who have landed in extraordinary situations. I wanted a much more personal story. The first thing that came to my mind, as a father of two little boys, was that the main theme should simply be a father's love for his son. This is not a game about saving the princess or the world. Its [sic] purely about a father's love. The main story will revolve around four different characters, and we're putting the spotlight on their perceptions. The question 'what is good and what is evil' is the key here, that will be just a matter of viewpoint...I believe heavily in moral choices, I'm going to use them A LOT. They're not about being good or bad, but about finding the right balance." Cage commented on the setting by saying, "I don't want to do a big free-roaming city like GTA, because the flow of the story will then be hard to control. Nevertheless, I do want to incorporate big sets, with a crowd, heavy populated areas like a mall and a subway are going to be in there. Of course, the gameplay has got to make use of that aspect too." Cage also stated that the game's storyline and themes was heavily influenced by the 2006-2010 science fiction psychological thriller television series, Heroes.
In the game itself, the city remains nameless but is strongly influenced by the environs of Philadelphia. Cage cited his like of M. Night Shyamalan movies, several which are situated in Philadelphia. Working with a scouting agent that assisted on the Philadelphia film, Cage and his team visited the city, taking in many of the poorer neighborhoods and meeting with the residents there to capture the despair, poverty, and fear they saw. Cage has also stated that "I would like people to play it once…because that's life. Life you can only play once... I would like people to have this experience that way." He went on to say, "I'm fine with [reloading to avoid a bad result], but the right way to enjoy Heavy Rain is really to make one thing because it's going to be your story. It's going to be unique to you. It's really the story you decided to write... I think playing it several times is also a way to kill the magic of it." In the Director's Cut edition of the game (the PS Move compatible edition) within the bonus content, "The Origami's Trail", the narrator states that the game is in fact set in Philadelphia.
The Casting technology demo
The Casting, shown at E3 2006, is a non-playable, real-time 3D prototype technology demo. It was running on a non-final PlayStation 3 console development kit in 720p display resolution. The demo showcased a complex virtual actor (hence the other name, "Virtual Actor Demo"), highlighting numerous expressions and motion-captured animations. It also showed various technical features of the game engine, all embedded in a brief, emotional story. However, the plot of the tech demo has nothing to do with the story of Heavy Rain itself. The story appeared to have been written and directed by David Cage and although he chose not to credit himself in the demo, his voice can be heard playing the scene's director. The virtual actor in the demo is based on French American actress Aurélie Bancilhon, and she was eventually placed in the game as the character Lauren Winter. The prototype used not only her likeness, but also her motion captured performance. Quantic Dream highlighted that the technology demo is just a sample of things achievable in a limited amount of time, and that during the making of the prototype, they still were in the middle of research and development efforts for the game itself. A brand new demo featuring the character Madison Paige was showcased at the SCEE Press Conference at the games convention in Leipzig. The demo was titled "The Taxidermist", which showcased the in-game engine and quick time event gameplay elements, as found in Quantic Dream's previous title Fahrenheit. The demo also confirmed a 2009 release date. The whole video presentation is now available online.
From a technological standpoint, notable features of The Casting include full body and facial motion capture, real-time tears and wrinkles on the face, advanced skin shaders, and some advanced rendering features, such as depth of field, spherical harmonics, auto exposure and high dynamic range rendering. The technology enables animations of pupil dilation, tongue, eyes, fingers, and dynamic hair with physics. The game engine also supports real-time post-processing, with which E3 attendees could interact at the event. Hair physics is achieved by the use of Havok. Facial motion capture was recorded using Vicon MX40 cameras and system, and was enhanced with a muscle system.
A playable demo was released on 11 February 2010. The demo was released prior to this date for people who took part in a Four Day Challenge on 5 February 2010. A patch to allow use of the PlayStation Move controller to play the game was released in September 2010.
The special edition of Heavy Rain, released in Europe and Australia, contained a PlayStation Network voucher for the first episode of downloadable content, Chronicle 1 – The Taxidermist, the official soundtrack and a dynamic XMB theme. Though the PlayStation Network voucher was supposed to contain the Heavy Rain soundtrack, it was not available for download on the day of the game's release, but it was added on 4 March 2010.
A modified version of the game was released titled Heavy Rain Edition Modifiée exclusively in France, aimed towards a younger audience.
|Heavy Rain (Original Soundtrack from the Video Game)|
|Soundtrack album by Normand Corbeil|
|Released||23 February 2010 (iTunes)
4 March 2010 (PSN)
Video game music
|Label||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|1.||"Ethan Mars' Main Theme"||3:31|
|2.||"Norman Jayden's Main Theme"||4:42|
|3.||"Before the Storm"||2:55|
|4.||"Madison Paige's Main Theme"||3:31|
|5.||"Scott Shelby's Main Theme"||6:01|
|6.||"Lauren Winter's Main Theme"||3:07|
|13.||"The Hold Up"||1:28|
|14.||"Looking for Shaun"||1:36|
Four Days Challenge
Starting on 26 January 2010, people were able to take part in the Four Days Challenge, which was an online search for the Origami Killer. People had to pool ideas and clues in order to find the Origami Killer. When European players registered, they gained access to an exclusive in-game PlayStation Home T-shirt. U.S. players were given the chance to get a shirt during the Four Days Challenge. If Week 2 of the challenge was completed successfully, users received a code to play the demo early. If Week 4 of the challenge was completed successfully, users received a code for a free Heavy Rain dynamic theme.
On 11 February 2010, a demo with a tutorial, two in-game levels, and a trailer was released internationally. Prior to the release, it was privately available via redemption code to anyone who solved Week 2 of the Four Days Challenge. The demo follows both Private Detective Scott Shelby and FBI Special Agent Norman Jayden as they individually try to track down the Origami Killer through conventional interrogation of witnesses and crime scene investigation. The demo's opening features a tutorial not in the final game to get the player acquainted with the control scheme before starting the first scene. While no plot points are revealed, the demo sees Shelby visit a sleazy hotel to meet and question a call-girl named Lauren Winter, whose son Johnny was a victim of the Origami Killer. Jayden appears at a crime scene in search of clues in his investigation of the killer in a segment of the demo as well. The player is introduced to Lt. Carter Blake. The "To Catch a Killer" trailer accompanies the demo, containing some previously unseen footage from the game, as well as a recap of the four main characters, along with their possible motivations.
A prequel, Heavy Rain: The Taxidermist, originally planned to be released as downloadable content at the same time as the full game, was re-scheduled to be released on 4 March in North America. In Europe it was released on the launch date with the Special Edition of the game but due to issues with the soundtrack on PSN, customers had been advised to wait until 4 March before redeeming their code. It became available for the general public on 1 April 2010.
PlayStation Move support
At the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo during Sony's presentation on their new motion-sensing PlayStation Move technology, it was revealed that Heavy Rain would be updated to use the Move controller. The patch adding Move support was released on 22 September 2010.
In June 2015, Quantic Dream announced a PlayStation 4 version of Heavy Rain for North America, Europe, and the PAL region alongside Beyond: Two Souls. The games were released both separately and together in one package, the Quantic Dream Collection. The PlayStation 4 version includes improved graphics, consistent frame rates, and support for higher resolutions. These were released on the PlayStation Network store on 1 March 2016.
Heavy Rain was critically acclaimed. The UK Official PlayStation Magazine reviewer Tim Clark wrote, "I'm convinced it's one of the freshest, most exciting, and even important games on PS3 so far." Clark praised the effective controls of the game, as well as the pacing of the story, which the reviewer described as key, and perfectly designed to create an "exhausting, exhilarating, and, crucially, involving" experience. He concluded by saying that, "Certainly there's nothing quite like it on PS3, or indeed any other system. Put gaming conventions aside, go in with no expectations other than this is something new and massively good-looking, and you'll be rewarded with a unique experience that lurches between genius and madness, manages to be genuinely emotional, and that you'll be bursting to talk about with your friends." GamesMaster complimented Heavy Rain for being "incredibly original and compelling", as "the atmosphere is incredible – full of driving rain (which becomes central to the plot), fizzing neon lights, dark apartments and warehouses. It's a dark noir game, not a bright adventure." The game was given a GamesMaster Gold Award. IGN's Chris Roper praised the game's "fantastic story that's one of the best in gaming." However, he pointed out that the game's beginning is very slow, and might turn off some players. GameZone's Michael Lafferty wrote, "There are some flaws, but taken as a package, Heavy Rain is a remarkable achievement in gaming that creates an interactive experience that goes beyond the pages of a good novel or film noir. This is a game that needs to be experienced." Winda Benedetti wrote about the maturity of Heavy Rain as well as Remedy Entertainment's psychological action thriller Alan Wake for MSNBC, praising both titles for being "emotionally powerful" as well as having "said goodbye to the tired alien invasions and over-the-top fantasy stories so often found in video games. Instead, they peer into the dark reaches of the very real human heart to deliver stories that are thrilling, chilling and utterly absorbing."
Interactive fiction writer Emily Short was generally pleased with the experimental gameplay of Heavy Rain, but found the game's story to be full of "stock bits" borrowed from films, leaving inconsistent characterisation and gaps and poor pacing in its plot. She cited the disconnection between the motivation of the specific character and the motivation of the game's player, such as when Ethan is challenged to navigate a maze of wires charged with electricity; Ethan the character is guided to finish it regardless of ability, but the player is given the option to abandon the challenge if they cannot do it. She also considered that the characterisation does not follow the game's claim of how choices matter, pointing out that the reveal of the identity of the Origami Killer was a "betrayal" of the way she had played the game to that point. Ian Bogost, a video game designer and Assistant Professor of Literature Communication and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, counters claims that Heavy Rain qualifies as an "interactive film". Bogost notes that "film is editing", in that filmmakers put together images and scenes in a compilation to evoke certain feelings and emotions, and to convey story and plot in a limited amount of time. While Heavy Rain strives for this, it retains elements of a video game, and Bogost considers the game to have a "rejection of editing in favor of prolonging"; examples given are the need to have the player provide interaction for most of the characters' motion, or having to control and watch Ethan throughout his search for Jason at the crowded mall. Bogost opined that this "prolonging" may actually be beneficial to the video game medium, as several scenes from the game's third chapter, during which Ethan runs through a routine schedule of homework, dinner, and bedtime for Shaun, allow for periods where the game waits for the player to interact with it; during these periods, simply by using mise en scène images of the house and characters, invite the player to think about what the characters are experiencing, "to linger on the mundane instead of cutting to the consequential". In 2010, the game was included in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.
Heavy Rain ranked as the tenth best-selling game in North America for February 2010. According to NPD Group sales information, the game sold 219,300 units in the region that month. Heavy Rain entered Japanese sales charts at number six, selling 27,000 units according to Media Create. In weeks 1 – 15 in 2010 Heavy Rain outsold all Xbox 360 games within the EU, ranking it number 10 in European software sales for consoles. Heavy Rain debuted at number one on the UK sales charts for the week ending 27 February 2010, with higher sales than all multiplatform and single platform releases. At GDC 2011, Cage announced that the title had sold over 2 million copies, greatly surpassing the developer's initial pre-release estimates of 200,000 – 300,000. Director David Cage noted at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 that the title had a completion rate of around 75%, compared with around 25% for average games. He attributed the difference to the level of emotional engagement the game provides. At Digital Dragons 2013, Cage announced that Sony earned more than €100 million with the game.
|Technical Innovation||7th British Academy Video Games Awards||BAFTA|
|Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering||2011 Interactive Achievement Awards||AIAS|
|Outstanding Innovation in Gaming|
|Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition|
|Adventure Game of the Year||Game of the Year 2010||GameSpy|
|PlayStation 3 Game of the Year|
|PlayStation 3 Game of the Year||Game of the Year 2010||IGN|
New Line Cinema and Quantic Dream Pictures obtained rights for a film adaptation a few days after the technology demo from E3 2006 was shown. The rights were later purchased in an auction by Unique Features, a production company formed by two former New Line executives, Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. Shaye and Lynne purchased the rights to the film with their own funds despite having "first look" rights in place with Warner Bros., who had bought New Line prior to their departure.
David Milch, writer for television series NYPD Blue and Deadwood, was slated to adapt the game for the big screen; Shaye stating Milch's "incredible ability to transform intense and complex storylines into gripping, popular drama makes him the perfect partner" for the film adaptation.
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