Quantic Dream's David Cage has slammed the games industry for being 'too conservative'. In an interview with Develop, the man behind Heavy Rain waxes lyrical about what he perceives to be a culture of fear and narrow-mindedness amongst marketing departments (particularly in the States), stating that the industry's obsession with shooters and killing people is what is holding the industry back from actually growing and developing into the mainstream.
The games I make don’t include a gun,' said Cage. 'Very often, American marketing departments have a problem with this. They have this image of their market being gun-loving red-necks. It’s completely wrong.'
Cage went on to discuss how this issue affected the release of Fahrenheit, with Atari opting not to support the game , which Cage puts down to a 'lack of trust'.
'We had huge arguments with Atari in New York about Fahrenheit. We told them they were making a huge mistake not supporting the game – they will see the reviews and they will like what they see.
'They should have put marketing dollars on the table, and I told them that, but they didn’t want to listen to us. When the reviews came in they were even better in the US than they were in Europe, but by the time they realised, it was too late. Fahrenheit sold well in the US, we made money out of it, but it was a slice of the potential, because of this lack of trust.
'The problem is that we are in a very conservative industry. Each time you come to marketing departments with very simple concepts, like “the hero has ten weapons and goes through twenty levels, and there’s a snow level and a jungle level and a sand level and a whatever level and it’s gonna be so great because I can display more explosions on screen than any other game and…” then they have it. The marketing departments go, “oh that’s really interesting”.
'When you come to them about a game based on a story. Or, a game based on child abduction, they think ‘my god’. It’s very difficult for them to commit to anything that’s remotely different.
'The only way to solve this is to keep at it; game after game, get more trust. Show them how successful you are, and hope that eventually they, and the whole industry, will turn around.'
Cage went on to condense the videogame industry down to 'racing, shooting, jumping', decrying the the perceived fact that there's little out there for people who don't subscribe to that kind of interaction. 'What about all the people who don’t play because they have no interest in shooting other people? We’re pushing the whole market into a niche.'
Cage also rubbished the idea that games a completely crossed over into the mainstream, pointing at 'casual games' as a far more successful example than anything more hardcore to be found on consoles.
'When I talk to people at games conferences, I always hear someone say video games are mainstream. You know what, you’re not mainstream, you’re a niche. You’re a very small niche. You are nothing. Look at Farmville. Look at Wii Fit. They’re both closer to being mainstream.' [Develop]