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7 minutes of »Beyond« gameplay from the Gamescom 2012 / Update on »Freeheld« / »Nocturnal Emotions« podcast
on 09/24/2012
Gamescom 2012Some fans of »Beyond: Two Souls« visiting this year's Gamescom in Cologne, Germany were likely a bit disappointed. Although Sony and Quantic Dream had a stand at the trade fair, most of the new stuff was revealed during several special demonstrations behind closed doors. David Cage attended these press-only events, recapped the behind-the-scenes video shown at the Comic-Con in July, and presented brand new gameplay footage. Luckily, journalists were allowed to make recordings, so we can have a look as well.

» Beyond: Two Souls - Gamescom 2012 - Sandbox Walkthrough (08/16/2012) «



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(Format: AVI | Codec: XviD | Duration: 7:12 min | Resolution: 640x360 | Size: 59,1 MB)
© Sony Computer Entertainment Europe / Quantic Dream / GameTrailers.com. All rights reserved.

» Beyond: Two Souls - Gamescom 2012 - Presentation (08/26/2012) «



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(Format: AVI | Codec: XviD | Duration: 35:47 min | Resolution: 640x360 | Size: 293,0 MB)
© Sony Computer Entertainment Europe / Quantic Dream / iWaggle3D. All rights reserved.

In the new sandbox walkthrough clip we see Jodie Holmes being cornered by a group of SWAT officers and how Aiden is helping her get away. At the same time we learn what it is like to control the ghostly figure of Aiden and what his abilities are. As a ghost-like being he isn't affected by physical laws and can freely move around the area as well as through solid material. There is, however, one restriction in this context since Aiden always has to keep a certain distance from his human companion. Objects and living things he can interact with will be highlighted with a glowing aura of light around them. This, in turn, means the player has no real freedom of action - at least in this demo - and only can choose between the predefined options given by the game itself. Put another way, it likely won't be possible to use the same car as a weapon twice or influence the crash site of the helicopter. For these reasons the optically spectacular rescue operation appears to be rather static and less challenging, although it should be said that the choices made (or not made) will have an impact on the general outcome of a sequence. All in all, the developer team will hopefully do some further fine-tuning on this and add a time limit as well as wider possibilities of interaction to make the whole thing more dynamic and innovative.



On the fringes of the event and in talks with various online and print media Quantic Dream's CEO admitted that he wrote the entire 2000 page long script himself, with hundreds of pages specifically written for Ellen and her character of Jodie Holmes, and had nothing but praise for his leading actress. "What I really appreciate about Ellen is that she is absolutely sincere. She didn't give the minimum, thinking it was 'just a game'. She worked very hard, learning hundreds of pages by heart. She did her best on-stage, ending long days physically and emotionally exhausted. She didn't cheat: she truly gave everything she had for her character, the same way she would have worked on a film." In the September 2012 issue of Edge he pointed out that the female main protagonist should not be considered a sex object: "A lot of games take place in a teenager's fantasy world where the player has a gun and big muscles to save the world, where the bad guy will lose in the end and where women are sexual objects. They have big breasts and wear provocative clothes, but most of the time they never correspond in explicit sexual activity. [...] I wanted to write about this female character who is not a Barbie doll, but a human being - someone who has feelings, doubts and fears. Sexuality is a part of her life, like everyone else, but it is not her reason to live. [...] But I think that Ellen Page is someone incredibly charming, clever, complex, surprising, full of life - much more appealing than a doll with big breasts."



Despite the fact that »Beyond« will be a cinematic interactive movie game, David Cage stated that he isn't a fan of extensive cutscenes. "I'm really not into having 30-minute cutscenes in a game and you're just showing films. If you played Heavy Rain, there are very few cutscenes and very few moments where you don't have control. I'm interested in being able to tell the story through interactivity and how you can be an actor in the experience." Moreover, the story will have a strong focus on growing and relationships, especially the one between Jodie and Aiden. "I liked the idea that Aiden wouldn't be a pet or an obedient entity, but rather a wild beast that could be protective of Jodie, or jealous, possessive and violent. Aiden doesn't have any clue about human rules. He has a different understanding of life and death - he thinks that Jodie is his thing." While the game is going to have a multi-faceted ending, Cage believes that experiencing every possible outcome would dilute the actual experience. "It's the same approach as for Heavy Rain: Play it once and then don’t replay it. You can if you want, but I think the best way to experience the game is really to make choices and then never know what would have happened if you’d made a different choice. Because life is like this, and Beyond is the life of Jodie Holmes. For me, it’s more interesting to have players defining the life of Jodie – this is your version of the life of Jodie. And you can talk to other people and see their versions, and compare what you did, what you missed, what you saw, but never know what would have happened if… I think that’s the beauty of the thing." I can definitely see the point he is trying to make, but I doubt that the casual gamer is willing to pay 60-70 U.S. dollars for a PS3 game just to play it once. Even if the second or third run will be full of "let's see what happens" or "go to the right instead of the left" moments, I think it is still interesting to learn the alternative ways certain scenarios play out. Overall, we will know whether all the hype surrounding »Beyond« was justified, when the game is released in early 2013.

Look Who’s Coming to Dinner

According to I'm Not Obsessed, Ellen has been cast alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Jonah Hill, Emma Stone and Liam Hemsworth in »Look Who’s Coming to Dinner«, to be produced by comedian/actor Ben Stiller. The horror-meets-musical comedy will start production in the fall of 2013 or early 2014 and centers on two business men (Jonah Hill and Donta Storey) who seek out a wealthy banker (Daniel Radcliffe) for financial assistance. After being denied a loan, the banker’s assistant (Ellen Page) invites them to dinner… one that they’ll never forget! However, since only one single website reported about this project and there is no official word from either Paramount Pictures or any other source yet, take everything with a grain of salt at the moment.

FreeheldOn August 22 Deadline brought us a new update on the feature film adaptation of Cynthia Wade's Oscar-winning documentary »Freeheld« that has been planned for a while. Incognito Pictures, a new production company led by Ex-PayPal executive / financier Jack Selby and producer Scott Stone, has come through with the money needed to produce the film. Only a few days later screenwriter Ron Nyswaner then revealed on his official website that Peter Sollett (»Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist«) will be the new director, replacing the formerly attached Catherine Hardwicke. Although the status on the project has already been changed to "pre-production" on IMDb, it is unlikely that shooting will begin soon due to a lack of other cast members such as the second leading actress playing Stacie Andree’s older partner Laurel Hester.

Nocturnal EmotionsIn the middle of last week Har Mar Superstar released the second episode of his »Nocturnal Emotions« podcast entitled "O Canada" featuring a tiny actress from The True North. Ellen joins him to share her love of »Degrassi«, get really real about her first movie role in »Pit Pony«, and drops a little Halifax history lesson. She also tells us about her recent embarrassing moment on Chelsea Lately and plays a game of Let Me Ruin Your Favorite Song. You can download and listen to the 50 minutes long podcast on earwolf.com and iTunes.



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