Guillaume de Fondaumiere Interview : Beyond Two Souls

Developer Quantic Dreams

Publisher Sony

Platform PS3

Release Date 11th October 2013

Bone-Idle recently had the chance to sit down with Guillaume de Fondaumiere, CEO of Quantic Dream and ask him a few questions about his upcoming game Beyond:Two Souls.See our impressions of the game here


The Interview

Bone-idle: Firstly, thanks for taking the time to talk to us Guillaume.
Guillaume: No problem.
BI: Beyond:Two Souls has this idea of Aiden constantly accompanying Jodie everywhere, its almost like a paranormal experience. Is this based on something that yourself or Dave (Cage) experienced?
GF: (Laughs) eh No, Its not. David lost someone very close to him when he was younger and I guess he wanted to find some answers to the very important question; What lies beyond death. What happens to ourselves, our souls and to the souls of the people we love when they die. I guess he wanted to think about an answer that would suit him. So he started to write a short story about it. After completing Heavy Rain, he decided he wanted to delve a little bit more deeply into this initial story he had written and give a compelling answer to what lies beyond death, what is on the other side.
BI: I noticed after watching the trailer from E3 2012 that I got a bit of a paranormal vibe, it was something that I wondered after hearing that David takes a huge amount of external influences in what he does and there does appear to permeate through the game, and with the announcement of multiplayer, will it be possible to play online in co-op mode, to really drive the point home of a Aiden being a separate entity?
GF: We haven’t developed it, its not going to be released but it is an interesting concept. But we were more interested in what happens in the household, within the same living room and the couch and I think its sharing that sense of interest, but what you’re saying is very true, it could be the next step and we could look into developing a way of sharing with different people. Regarding the paranormal aspect of the game, I think that, and its quite striking, when you talk to people who experienced the game, we had them during user tests. The story is very grounded in reality, there is this layer of the supernatural elements of the game, Aiden of course, and playing through the game with constantly switch from Jodie and Aiden but its almost invisible and you forget about it and while there are paranormal things happening and there’s a paranormal theme, its one of the layers of the experience and I think its very much still grounded in reality.
BI: It does have very similar overtones to how Heavy Rain was perceived as a drama. If I could ask just one or two technical questions, I was looking at the gameplay of Jodie running through the forest and I was blown away with the different types of movement she was capable of pulling off, it looks like she has possibly hundreds of different types of animation?
GF: About 320
BI: How long would you guys spend in motion capture suits for this?
GF: A Year
BI: A year in motion capture suits?
GF: Yes, we spent a lot of time capturing movements for Jodie Holmes, as I said, 300 movements, its insane. I think its very important to the experience and we see Jodie in different scenes at different ages and she never has the same body language, never has the same animations. Why? Because its meaningful, its characterising. This is something that we learned from understanding how movie works, how animation works. Its something that I think we’re pioneering and I think in 5 years time all the games will be doing this. You can see the difference.
BI: It is incredibly immersive to watch something that changes as regularly as that does change.
GF: I’m so happy you see it (laughs)
BI: Was Ellen Page the actual model used for the motion capture?
GF: All the true performance capture, all the dialogues, were done by her, but of course we used some body doubles for the more mundane details.
BI: There is a lot of Martial Arts involved there, was Ellen involved in that?
GF: No no, its like in movies, you work with stuntmen, she wanted to do more but it rapidly becomes complicated, with insurance, etc.
BI: One last question, regarding the phone integration which is huge, and the first of its kind. The idea of bringing a phone app is unheard of at the moment, at what stage in the design process did it occur to you to make it?
GF: Its been a relatively long though process, its the feedback that we received from players playing Heavy Rain, and coming back to us and telling us that they enjoyed playing as a couple, one was playing and the other was watching. And slowly we realised there was something interesting here, there was a pattern, slowly but surely we thought “How can we enable non-gamers to actually play” and the first thing we thought of was the duo mode. Two characters, why not not enable two players to play the game together, to share the experience. One playing Aiden, one playing Jodie. The second layer came when that works fine with two people with master control of the dualshock controller, what about casual gamers, non gamers, because we heard a lot of people telling us “my partner didn’t want to take the controls” so I had to hold the controller so why did he or she have to hold the controller? Its because of so many buttons etc, so ok, non-gamers equals we need to find another interface so we thought of introducing a device. We tried to think of a device that was already in the household and very very rapidly that tablets, phones, everybody has them. Is there a possibility for us to create the right interface and we started to research and found out it was possible and asked Sony what they thought of it, they said yeah why not, good idea and so naturally evolved so we’ve been working on it for a year.
BI: And is it connected via bluetooth to the PS3?
GF: No its Wi-Fi.
BI: Well thank you verymuch for meeting with us, we really appreciate it!

GF: No problem and thank you.


Beyond:Two Souls is out on the 11th of October 2013

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