Detroit: Become Human - likely to be the PS4 Pro star of Sony's E3. Here's everything we know

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Fast facts:

  • Detroit: Become Human PS4 release date: TBA
  • Developer: Quantic Dream
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Format: PS4

Detroit: Become Human could be the PS4's next great interactive story. Or it could be a tone-deaf flop. However it turns out it's bound to be interesting. The next project from Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls studio Quantic Dream heads into the near future to give players the chance to shape their own sci-fi story of man's inhumanity to, er, robots. Will you selflessly sacrifice to serve and protect your human creators, or will you embrace your individuality as an intelligent creation?

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Detroit: Become Human release date isn't set yet

There's still no official release date or release window for Detroit: Become Human. It was announced way back in October 2015, so it's a bit unusual that we've had to wait so long. Hopefully development is still on track and Sony will tell us more about when we can start playing soon - perhaps at E3 2017? Several senior Sony reps have already listed it as being on the company’s E3 slate, so it should be front and center at the publisher’s press conference.

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Detroit: Become Human trailer introduces you to Kara

The reveal trailer for Detroit: Become Human introduces Kara, an android in a near future where her kind are mass-produced. We see scenes of high-tech industry, dilapidated homes, and Detroit landmarks (like that giant statue of Joe Louis' fist) before witnessing Kara's construction, and it quickly becomes apparent that there's something different about her. While most other androids placidly accept their roles as servants and commodities, Kara wants "to hope, to love, to live". And her message seems to be stirring new emotions in the other androids, which the powers that be probably aren't thrilled about.

In fact, before there was Detroit, there was Kara. Quantic Dream put together this prototype to show the range of emotions it could portray on PS3 hardware and the response was positive enough that the short eventually inspired its next project.

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Detroit: Become Human gameplay looks familiar

If you've experienced Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls, you already have a good idea of how Detroit: Become Human will play. In certain exploratory scenes you'll be free to maneuver your character around environments, pressing buttons to observe or interact with points of interest. Dialogue scenes will let you broach different topics or respond in different tones based on floating button prompts. The things you do and say across every scene will influence the rest of the game's events. A missed detail could derail a tense situation, for instance, and the resolution to that conflict will alter the wider plot.

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Detroit: Become Human actors and characters have been revealed

There are two confirmed playable characters for Detroit: Become Human so far. First up is Kara, the rebellious android from the reveal trailer. Yes, she looks a bit like Jennifer Lawrence, no, she isn't actually played by the Hunger Games star. Her actress is Valorie Curry, who you may remember as the purple-haired local from the new Blair Witch. The other confirmed character is Connor, a single-minded crisis negotiator who also happens to be an android. Connor is played by Bryan Dechart who (according to IMDb) grew up in the Detroit area himself. So hopefully he'll be able to pronounce pączki and say "Big Beaver Road" without laughing. I mean, assuming that comes up.

Quantic Dream has teased that there may be more playable characters than these two. And that sounds pretty likely, since the story will continue even if you get one of them killed (just like in Heavy Rain). We don't know who these additional characters might be yet, but we do know you will only play as androids.

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Detroit: Become Human's story may be too close for comfort

Why only play as androids? Quantic Dream wants to steer away from tired ‘robot apocalypse’ sci-fi tropes where the humans are the good guys and the machines are the bad guys. In Detroit: Become Human, it's the other way around. Admittedly, there have been plenty of sci-fi stories about robots suffering under human oppression too, but another wouldn't hurt.

The best sci-fi gives us new perspective on real-life issues, and it's apparent that Detroit: Become Human will reference the interwoven problems that have plagued the Motor City for decades: automation driving rampant unemployment, and the uneven effects of economic booms and busts as magnified by a deep racial divide, to name a few. It remains to be seen whether Quantic Dream will use its near-future fiction to explore these issues in a thoughtful way or simply sample them as set dressing.

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Will Detroit: Become Human come to PC or Xbox One?

For better or worse, there isn't anything else like a Quantic Dreams production. You might want to give Detroit a try even if you don't have a PS4. But Quantic Dreams' games have all been PlayStation exclusives since 2010 and there's no reason to think that will be different this time.

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