Detroit: Become Human Has Potential But It Targets A Certain Audience

Sony Interactive Entertainment’s first-party exclusives have consistently shown its caliber when it comes to quality and experiences. Look at last year’s Horizon: Zero Dawn, its lush and post-apocalyptic world filled with mechanical animals and interesting tribes kept the players engaged.

Even if Nathan Drake wasn’t in the spotlight for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, its versatile supporting characters like Nadine Ross and Chloe Frazer showed that they can be the main characters. God of War’s launch just a few days ago got critically acclaimed, even our own Carri Raff Abenoja scored the newest entry with almost a perfect score calling the game “gorgeous”. Insomniac Games’ highly-anticipated Spider-Man is bringing all the fire. Now, the next PS4 exclusive in line is going to be Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human.

Just a quick note: Quantic Dream is not “yet” a first-party studio but a second-party studio like Insomniac Games.

The first-party games I’ve mentioned, they all got one thing in common: a bigger audience. Detroit: Become Human has that, based from what I’ve played in a media event just a few weeks ago, but I can’t help but think: will Quantic Dream’s upcoming game appeal to a wider audience like God of War and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy? It’s hard to say, but in my personal opinion, Detroit is going to have a challenge appealing to a lot of gamers. With video-games becoming more mainstream, there are still certain games that would cater its own market – or better, it’s own niche.

It’s the kind of game that’s slow-paced, the one that takes time, and a game that encourages its players to fiddle with everything that can be interacted, and then go back to mid-chapter to change the dialogue choices to unlock certain endings (or worse, lead one of the characters to their own demise). Sadly, not everyone isn’t too fond of playing games with lesser action and more talk.

Detroit: Become Human’s genre isn’t too interesting for some – only hardcore PlayStation fans and those who love interactive games like Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead and Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn would appreciate what Quantic Dream is trying to achieve. Detroit’s “interactive” genre with a branching narrative driven solely by the player, without the ludicrous illusion of choice, is truly ambitious and the French studio achieved that with Heavy Rain at some point – but fell flat with their next game, Beyond: Two Souls. If we look at Detroit, I’ve played a decent amount of hours from the media session, I can attest that it’s a remarkable craft and a huge step up from the studios past projects. You can also read my colleague’s preview of Detroit to know more about the experiences he got from the game.

While Detroit does have its potential of success when it launches, we’ve never seen much marketing done for Detroit: Become Human. The Premium Edition (technically the “Collector’s Edition”) revealed from the media event that happened at Shangri-La Makati seemed practical – you only get an artbook, the soundtrack, the game itself, and a bunch of stickers. Knowing Quantic Dream’s hit-and-miss history with its games, this would explain the lack of a real “Collector’s Edition”, and probably also for being a second-party studio. But it would’ve been nice to get like an Android action-figure of any of the characters though, just my cent.

Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human might get a great critical reception like God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy did; but I’m pretty damn sure that it’s going to have positive feedback from critics and even from me when it comes out. But let me say this: if you’re someone who rarely plays with interactive games and skeptical, you can borrow a game from a friend who’s planning to get it next month and if you’re convinced then buy it. Detroit: Become Human is going to be worthwhile, not just for fans of the genre and PS4 owners but for everyone who is looking for an immersive experience.

There’s also a demo available too! But that’s only the “Hostage” scene and it’s a very small fragment of what would be a great game.

Leif Bornales and Lex Tablante at the Detroit: Become Human Media Event in Shangri-La Makati.
CEO | Consultant