|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||3 June 1997|
Number of employees
Quantic Dream SA is a French video game developer based in Paris. Founded in June 1997, Quantic Dream has developed five video games: The Nomad Soul (1999), Fahrenheit (2005), Heavy Rain (2010), Beyond: Two Souls (2013), and Detroit: Become Human (2018). Quantic Dream is known for promoting interactive storytelling, with founder David Cage as the primary creative force.
David Cage, after fifteen years as a composer, started writing the concept and story of The Nomad Soul in 1994. He ended up with a 200-page document and sent it to contacts he had acquired during his time making music, who noted that its execution would not be technically feasible. To prove them wrong, Cage hired a team of friends and made an office out of a sound booth, with a financial deadline of six months to come up with a game engine and prototype. In the final week, Cage travelled to London and met with publisher Eidos Interactive.[a] With the project funded and a publisher secured, The Nomad Soul was in full development; musician David Bowie played two characters and created ten original songs. On 3 June 1997, Cage founded the company as Quantic Dream SA; the name draws influence from the term "quantum physics". The game released in November 1999, selling more than 600,000 copies.
In 2004, Quantic Dream provided motion capture for the film Immortal. They followed The Nomad Soul with Fahrenheit, published by Atari, Inc. in September 2005, introducing elements that would endure in their later games—ethical ambiguity, romance, the inability to perish, and interactive storytelling. It received multiple awards and sold over one million copies. The same year, Quantic Dream revealed The Casting, a technology demonstration of what could be accomplished on PlayStation 3. This preceded the partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment to bring Heavy Rain into existence, marking "something more personal" for Cage. Heavy Rain launched in 2010 to critical acclaim, winning three awards at the 7th British Academy Games Awards and selling a total of 5.3 million copies. By late 2011, another deal had been established with Sony. The following year, Quantic Dream showed another PlayStation 3 tech demo, Kara, taking advantage of new investments in motion capture facilities. The second title with Sony was 2013's Beyond: Two Souls, starring actress Ellen Page and actor Willem Dafoe, which received mixed reviews from critics and managed to sell 2.8 million copies. It was the second video game to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013, the same year that The Dark Sorcerer, a tech demo running on PlayStation 4, was unveiled at E3.
In 2014, Quantic Dream doubled their investment in Vicon, whose motion capture technology was previously used in Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. The company's fifth video game and third published by Sony, Detroit: Become Human, was announced the year after. Based on the Kara tech demo, it spent four years in development before releasing in May 2018. Quantic Dream's most successful launch to date, it has sold 1.5 million copies. Around that time, Quantic Dream employed 180 staff members, five fewer than were reported in 2016.
In January 2018, three French news outlets—Le Monde, Mediapart, and Canard PC—published the results of a joint investigation into the company's business practices, alleging a harmful studio culture, overwork, and sexist or racist behaviour by employees. The reports named Cage and chief operating officer Guillaume de Fondaumière as perpetrators of inappropriate behaviour and overworking the staff. Controversial images exchanged by email and posted around the office included photos of studio collaborators and employees digitally edited to appear as Nazis and porn stars. Cage said the allegations were "ridiculous, absurd and grotesque"; de Fondaumière stated, "I will be extremely clear: it's absolutely false". As a result, Quantic Dream levied a lawsuit against Le Monde and Mediapart, while Canard PC received two "threatening letters". That July, Quantic Dream lost one court case against an employee who left due to the scandal.
Quantic Dream's video games are written and directed by Cage and branded accordingly, with the purpose of making new intellectual properties. Cage has declared that his mission is to evoke emotion through interactive storytelling, highlighting empathy, sadness, and guilt in opposition to frustration, competition, and anger. As such, he described purchasing Heavy Rain as a "political act" that others like it could be made. The developer strives to appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike, considering video games to be the same as any artform. It is customary at Quantic Dream to develop an engine for each new game, hardware, or platform; Cage believes that, while an engine's methodology can be ported, its code cannot. Tech demos have likewise become tradition. In France, Quantic Dream is afforded a 20% tax break on production costs, without which Cage would move the company to Canada to keep up with the competition.
|1999||The Nomad Soul[b]||Dreamcast, Microsoft Windows||Eidos Interactive|
|2005||Fahrenheit[c]||Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, Xbox||Atari, Inc.|
|2010||Heavy Rain||PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|2013||Beyond: Two Souls|
|2018||Detroit: Become Human||PlayStation 4||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
- The year this occurred has both been reported as 1997 and 1998.
- The Nomad Soul was retitled Omikron: The Nomad Soul in North America, which Cage saw as the publisher's lack of confidence in its marketability and said contributed to its poor sales.
- Fahrenheit was retitled Indigo Prophecy for the North American release; Cage accused the publisher of not seeing its market potential.
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