PREVIEW Q&A with Fahrenheit producer

We managed to get hold of Guillaume de Fondaumiere, producer of Quantic Dream's 'Fahrenheit', and asked him a couple of questions about this amazing game:

Q: Since the game is hard to classify into a specific genre, who would you say your target audience is?

A: We created 'Fahrenheit' with the objective of proposing an emotional experience that would blend cinema with interactivity like never before. As such, it has been said that 'Fahrenheit' was the first Interactive Movie and we like that. We believe, therefore, that our game not only appeals to gamers, but to anyone interested in a good story. That means virtually anyone...

Q: There has been a lot of raving about the storyline – care to elaborate on it? Who came up with the idea? Was the game built around the script, or the other way around?

A: David Cage, who is the author and director of 'Fahrenheit', wrote a very detailed script. But you have to keep in mind that 'Fahrenheit' is a multi-path story. Also, he did not have to write one story, but a multitude of stories that would branch into each other. As such, the script of 'Fahrenheit' is 2 000 pages long!

Q: According to what I could gather, there are three different endings. Is this accurate? If not, how many endings are there?

A: Actually, there are four different endings. But what is truly innovative in 'Fahrenheit' is the path that leads to those endings. You can have a different journey, depending on your actions, and come to your choice of an ending.

Q: Can you give our readers an explanation on your rubber-band story theory and how it works within a game like 'Fahrenheit'?

A: David Cage created a new writing technique he calls "bending stories". He considers his story like a rubber band. It has a beginning, middle and an end, but you can stretch it to make the story longer and/or different by actions that, throughout the game, have a consequence on the players' experience.

In the first scene for instance, after Lucas Kane committed his murder, the player is offered a multitude of possibilities to leave the diner. He can either rush out, full of blood (he will therefore be seen by a police officer and the waitress) or hide as many clues as possible and leave the diner without being noticed as the murderer. In other words there are two different starting points of the story that, in course, will lead to experiencing a different story. Virtually every chapter (there are 44) offers this kind of possibilities of interfering with the story and therefore play a different movie.

However, it does not mean you can do "anything" as it is also very important to keep a consistency and quality of the story. Actions are therefore always consistent with the context and lead to an experience that "makes sense".

Q: What was the most challenging feature to add to the game?

A: Creating 'Fahrenheit' has been a challenge all the way. When you want to produce such an innovative game, by nature you are faced with a lot of scepticism, from the concept of interactive narration to the unusual interface and control. I couldn't single out one particular feature as such. I would say, however, that the biggest challenge lied in its overall execution. An experience like 'Fahrenheit' is only successful if all elements are well integrated and executed.

Q: Was anything cut from the game that you would have liked to have in the final build?

A: Not in 'Fahrenheit'. 'Indigo Prophecy', the North American version of the game, however, had to be censored because of some sexual content and the current 'GTA San Andreas' "phobia". It is a bit ridiculous (such scenes would be rated 12+ in most countries if seen on TV), but that's life...

Q: Some gamers I've spoken to feels that the whole apocalyptic winter in an American city with heavy gothic / occult themes mixed in just screams out 'Max Payne'. Did 'Max Payne' influence the game in any way, and if so, how?

A: No games as such inspired David in writing 'Fahrenheit'. His influences were mostly cinematic, with movies such as 'Se7en' or Alfred Hitchcock's way of giving the audience more information on the story than to its actual characters.

Q: What technology did you use? Was it similar to that used in 'Omikron'?

A: Quantic Dream is engineering all its tools and technologies in-house. We have our own motion capture studio, our own multi-platform engine, our own real-time 3D editing software, etc... Most tools had already been used in 'Omikron', but a lot were also developed in the process of creating 'Fahrenheit'.

Q: Does David Cage leave a signature "mark" on all his games? (e.g. as with an auteur in the movie industry). What would he consider his signature mark to be?

A: David is a creator that puts interactive narration and player's emotions at the centre of the experience. With the whole Quantic Dream team, he is working on a medium that is very young and in which a lot is still to be discovered and will therefore continue to offer original works that are not stereotypical.

Q: Can fans expect a sequel?

A: Fans can expect a number of Interactive Movies from Quantic Dream in the future, not necessarily a sequel as such.

Q: Will you be making any other titles that feature the same gameplay dynamics as in 'Fahrenheit'?

A: We will not do exactly the same game again. However, we want to and will continue to invent new ways of telling stories within this new genre we have invented.

(Our thanks to the forum community and Mark Hanna for their contributions.)

Gideon Nieuwoudt
Source: Games Africa

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PREVIEW Q&A with Fahrenheit producer Tuesday, October 11, 2005

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