One of the biggest surprises out of E3 2012 was Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls. Revealed at the Sony press conference, the Heavy Rain developer's next title looked amazing, and featured some of the best visuals of the generation. The addition of actress Ellen Page playing protagonist Jodie Holmes got us excited, and proved that the developer had learned from some of their last game's mistakes. Or, at least the ones that involved casting actors who can't fake an American accent.
Above: The first trailer for the imaginative, unique game
But after seeing a chunk of gameplay and watching the trailer, we had more questions than we had answers as to how it would actually work. Actually, there was one thing that really stood out: the end of the trailer.
Jodie walked down a burning street, surrounded by smoldering wreckage and corpses. She leaned down, picked up the SWAT team leader, stared right into his eyes, and said, "Tell them to leave me the f--k alone, because next time I'll kill everyone. Come on Aiden, I think they get the message."
What sequence of events could have actually led to that outcome? Well, a few days later, we had a chance to see just that.
23-year-old fugitive Jodie Holmes laid in a nearly vacant train car while Aiden, a ghostly specter, floated around her. For reasons that haven't been explained yet, Jodie and Aiden are connected, creating a link that extends through the mortal coil to the afterlife (we noticed a scar on Jodie's wrist, leading us to believe that her backstory might include a failed suicide attempt). Aiden can be controlled in first-person with the Sixaxis and, being a ghost, can pass through objects without issue.
We watched as it moved through the other passengers of the train, occasionally stopping to interact with their belongings. Anything with a yellow halo can be affected, and Aiden - bored of Jodie - enjoyed tossing a man's coffee out of a cup holder and ripping a woman's magazine out of her hands. Eventually, the train came to an unexpected stop, and Aiden moved outside to survey the cause.
It was the police. Aiden zoomed over to listen in on their conversation and heard them mention Holmes. He tried to go to another group to listen but was stuck - he's tethered to Jodie, and can only move so far away before hitting a wall. Quickly, he zoomed back into the train and attempted to wake her up, first by knocking her water bottle off the table and then by pushing her bag onto the floor. Reluctantly she stood up, and saw the police officers boarding the train. She went to slip out of the car, but they saw her before she could exit, triggering a chase.
She worked her way through the train, dodging the police with quick-time events and button-prompts. It reminded us of the action-based segments of Heavy Rain, with quick reflexes being needed to perfectly elude her attackers. Failure didn't mean game over, but it would slow her down, and provide a slightly different path to follow.
Jodie managed to duck into a restroom. As the police bashed on the door she looked around for an escape and, with the help of Aiden, opened an exit through the ceiling and worked her way to the top of the train. Things had only begun to escalate.