Tactland Ocio Digital Interview David Cage

David wished to talk, and we were delighted at listening to him...

As far as we know you started in the industry as a musician... Were you anyhow involved at that time to gaming world at least as a player?

Yes, I was one of the first professional musicians in France to create music for a video game, in the early days of CD-Roms. I knew games very well, and I was convinced that music would play a major role on this media too, the same way that in movies. This is why I started to have professional interest in games very early. I worked on games for Virgin Interactive, Sony or Sega at the time. Until I started writing my own game, OMIKRON. On a personal point of view, I started looking at computers on Oric1, and then played on almost all computers and consoles, from Amstrad 6128, to Genesis, NES, SNES, Neo Geo and others.

Which were the old games that made yourself into the gaming world? And the ones that made you take the decision to create your own games?

When real time 3D appeared, I saw the incredible potential this new media had. It could be a platform to create amazing interactive experiences, more powerful and immersive than any movies. Games I played at the time were far from that, but I could definitely feel the potential. It is more this feeling than any game that made me want to create my own games. I wanted to be a pioneer and participate to the discovery of this new media.

OMIKRON: The Nomad Soul is considered by many people in our magazine as a "Master Opus": innovative, fun, intriguing and spectacular... But mainly Omikron is different and original. Nowadays people is giving credits to Rockstar for creating a title called GTA, with the word FREEDOM in everybody's mouth, though we think Quantic Dream did it earlier. That said: can we expect in any way possible a rebirth of Omikron as a budget title to demonstrate young gamers that they are completely wrong?

Well, first of all, thank you for noticing ;-). Yes, I believe Omikron was indeed the precursor of titles such as GTA. I am very proud that other talented studios continued, in a certain way, in this path. As for Omikron, I am more interested in the future than in the past. I am currently seriously thinking about giving a very ambitious sequel to Omikron. There are many new ideas and concepts I want to explore after Fahrenheit. A form of procedural storytelling is my next goal.

Personally I think Bowie is a genius, and one of that master minds in music history. How were you able to contact him? Can you tell us which was the hook that involved him definitely to the project? Any special anecdote regarding his collaboration?

Working with David was definitely one of the most interesting moments of my professional life. I must say that I was not initially a big fan of him, but I became one after working with him. He was initially interested in the concept of Omikron. We had a two-hours presentation, trying to share my passion and enthusiasm for the game. I just hoped that he would allow us to use his famous song "Heroes". He asked a lot of questions about my vision of the game and told us at the end of the meeting that he would love to be involved. He wrote eight original songs and gave his voice and gestures to two characters of Omikron. Our collaboration last more than a year, between New York and Paris. It was definitely a great human and creative experience.

Have you heard of a game named PSYCHONAUTS? The people behind that title is the same behind that incredible game called GRIM FANDANGO. A few days ago a well known web magazine reported after a hands-on of the game that people in Microsoft must have lost their mind when letting that game slipped away from their catalogue. Now judging for what we have seen in last E3 and specially on videos, it seems we have a similar case here regarding Fahrenheit (now called "Indigo Prophecy") and Vivendi.

I don’t know anything about the relationship between Psychonauts and Microsoft. Regarding Fahrenheit, we strongly felt at some point that VU Games was not the right publisher for our game anymore. We talked together and found a fair deal in which we could get our game back. Atari was among the other publishers interested in the game. I think they saw the great potential of the title and the possibility to explore a totally new direction. For publishers, making games that are too different is often more a problem that a pleasure. It is definitely easier to sell games that are clearly in a well defined category, otherwise they need to take risks and invest to explain and market a new concept. I guess I will stop making games when publishers won't want to create any original concepts anymore. Publishers, journalists and gamers should understand that the future of games is still to invent. We won't be able to make the same games over and over again for ever. Games audience is not only made of 10 years kids old anymore. We should be able to create content for an older and educated audience and give them interactive experiences with more depth and ambition. This vision drives my work at Quantic Dream.

What's wrong with gaming companies? I mean, first they let slip away some jewels, and then they riskly bet their money on absolutely catastrophic games like "Barbie goes to the Farm".

Financing a game’s development is indeed a risky enterprise! It is a long process that involves a lot of people, it costs a lot of money and sometimes the quality can only be fully assessed in the last stages of the development. Publishers are most of the time quoted on the stock exchange, they have to deliver financial results on a quarterly basis and sometimes, focused as they are on such short term objectives, they lack the patience or the vision. This is how great projects are abandoned and others, less interesting titles, hurriedly developed and released….

Another really important game in the history of videogames was "Outcast" from Appeal. It's a shame that company dissapeared. What do you think about this and about the state of French gaming industry nowadays?

Well, Appeal was actually a Belgian company ;-). Some good developers died because they failed to build a strong financial structure and relied too much on one publisher. Some bad developers died just because they were not making good games. Most developers are extremely fragile, because the business model is not always in their favour.This industry is evolving very quickly on a business, creative and technical point of view. As a developer, we must always have a clear vision and try to figure out where it goes. I believe that there are great possibilities if you can create the right environment for your studio.

Which games are you enjoying right now?

Metal Gear Solid 3. Pro Evolution Soccer 4.

A last and an off topic one, as our magazine cover cinema and also music besides videogames. As a musician, which record do you recomend us? Which are your favorite bands or records?

David Bowie, of course ;-)

Thanks for your time

It's been a pleasure.

Interviewer: Man U Fear.
Source: Tactland Ocio Digital

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Tactland Ocio Digital Interview David Cage Tuesday, May 10, 2005

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