Almost six years after Beyond: Two Souls’ release for PS3, David Cage discussed how the game impacted him as a creator.
David Cage has made a lot of interesting games over the course of his career, but none seems to be more divisive than Beyond: Two Souls. Released for PS3 in 2013, it’s an intriguing psychological and somewhat supernatural thriller starring the likes of Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, but it’s nonlinear structure turned off many. We are almost six years out from the game’s initial release, and it just came to PC through the Epic Games Store last month.
During a recent interview with DualShockers about Quantic Dream’s PC ports, David Cage reflected on Beyond: Two Souls and the impact it has had on him as a creator. Even though the game may be divisive for some, David Cage still really appreciates and respects Beyond: Two Souls; in fact, he told DualShockers that “you cannot imagine how much I learnt working on it” and that “Beyond is maybe the most important game in my career as a writer/director.”
From a writing standpoint, Beyond: Two Souls validated to David Cage that some more controversial and intense topics could be explored in gaming. “It was also a freeing exercise for me, where I realized that games could evoke serious themes like suicide, identity, marginalization, and the difficulty of accepting who oneself is. It was definitely a massive challenge to talk about all these deep and intimate topics, but they gripped me,” he explained. Even if you prefer Quantic Dream’s latest title, Detroit: Become Human, over Beyond: Two Souls, David Cage says that, “I really believe that Detroit: Become Human would have been a very different game if I hadn’t written Beyond.”
When it comes to the Direction side of things, David Cage highlighted that “collaborating with talents like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe helped me to become a better director.” Beyond: Two Souls also led to some self-reflection for Cage, who explained that “writing different moments in the life of a character was also incredibly challenging and fascinating. It made me realize how the different moments of our lives are connected, how each choice we made makes us who we are.”
Beyond: Two Souls is obviously a quite integral and personal game for David Cage, but it’s reception from players was more mixed. The PS3 version game currently sits at 70 on Metacritic, the lowest for a Quantic Dream title at release, and the game’s story and themes do not seem to have meshed as well with players as some of Quantic Dream’s other titles. Even though Beyond: Two Souls dissenters still exist and David Cage admitted that it “may not be the most accessible game I made,” he believes that “the players who got it are deeply attached to it.”
He still thinks the game holds up many years later, particularly because of the characters and the themes its story tackles. “People found these stories and characters compelling when the games were released, and we believe that the emotional experience of these titles remains intact,” he began to explain before bringing up the themes of Quantic Dream games that players latched onto. “‘How far are you prepared to go to save someone you love?’ is as valid a question in 2019 as it was when Heavy Rain was released. We believe Jodie’s quest for identity and the journey into her life is still a very moving experience.”
“The good thing about storytelling is that it can pass the test of time,” Cage emphasized. “These games are not purely about tech or graphics or interface. They are about emotions: hope, fear, love, redemption. They are about who we are and who we would like to be. For all these reasons, I think that these experiences can be as powerful today as they were when we initially released them.”
Like Quantic Dream’s games or not, they do certainly tackle interesting topics in a manner that may be divisive, but enthralling. Especially for 2013, Beyond: Two Souls tackled many topics and told its story in a way not many games did back then, even if it did not do so flawlessly. It was also a game David Cage learned quite a lot on. For those reasons, David Cage says that Beyond: Two Souls is “one of the games I am most proud of.”
If you want to give Beyond: Two Souls another shot if it turned you off several years ago, you can currently try it out on PC via the Epic Games Store, PS3, and PS4.