Heavy Rain is an adventure game developed by French studio Quantic Dream. It was released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 on February 23rd, 2010. Director and Quantic Dream founder David Cage has described the game as a "very dark film noir thriller with mature themes". The game centers around four playable characters as they each attempt to track down the Origami Killer. Each character has their own motivations which are explored throughout the game's dark and emotional storyline.
The gameplay in Heavy Rain has a unique blend of exploration, dynamic quick-time events, dialogue and evidence analysis. The game's control scheme is unique in that each button performs different actions in different situations, which are conveyed to the player through on-screen prompts.
Heavy Rain enabled PlayStation Move support in October 2010.
Someone is murdering children, seemingly at random. This murderer leaves an origami crane in the palm of each victim's hand, and becomes known as "The Origami Killer". In addition to the cranes, the Origami Killer also covers their victim's faces with mud and leaves an orchid on their chest. All of the victims had been drowned before the killer moved the bodies. Players control four main characters to investigate and figure out who is committing these atrocities.
Norman Jayden is a criminal profiler for the FBI with additional expertise in the forensics field. He is sent to help the local police by doing a profile of the Origami Killer, but soon starts investigating the cases on his own using the hi-tech gadget ARI (Added Reality Interface) - much to the chagrin of several members of the local PD who do not like him interfering with their business. In the demo of Heavy Rain, Norman investigates a murder scene at a railway line. His investigation leads him to believe that the body was dumped by the Origami Killer. Jayden is addicted to the fictional drug Triptocaine, which plays a significant role in his part of the game. He experiences many symptoms (severe tremors, dizziness and nosebleeds) that are assumed to be related to withdrawal, but the game never really clarifies what they are from.
Ethan Mars is a happily married architect and father of two sons, Jason and Shaun. Jason wanders off in a crowded mall after his 10th birthday party and ends up dying in a freak accident. This causes Ethan to suffer a mental breakdown, leading to the destruction of his marriage and distancing him from his other son. Later, when Shaun disappears and is thought to be the latest victim of the Origami Killer, Ethan has to go through a series of painful challenges laid out by the killer to test "how far he is willing to go to save his son".
An asthmatic, overweight ex-cop deceptively in his mid-40's, Scott Shelby, works as a private detective. He has been hired by the families of the Origami Killer's victims to find the killer, as the police do not seem to be making any progress. In the demo, Shelby appears not only in the tutorial, but also in a scene where he interviews the mother of one the Origami Killer's victims.
Madison Paige is a freelance reporter working for different fashion magazines. Suffering from insomnia, she frequently visits a motel in order to fall asleep. Here she meets Ethan, and is suddenly pulled into the case of the Origami Killer. At first she sees the potential for a great story, but the longer she is with Ethan, the more emotionally invested she becomes.
Although Heavy Rain may seem like a Dragon's Lair type of game, the developers have expressly stated that control of the character is rarely taken away from the player. The player often has direct control of the character, and can walk around at will within a set area using the R2 Button and Left Analog Stick. There are almost no cinematics to watch. There is an investigation portion to the game - mainly when Jayden uses ARI at crime scenes - where the player can freely search anywhere they think they might find a hidden clue. There is another portion of the game that uses QTEs, mostly during fast paced action sequences, to create immersion. The QTEs, however, are not static images prompting button presses, but rather are worked into the environment. At times, multiple buttons will appear on screen allowing you to choose from a number of events whose outcome is felt immediately. The QTEs use every button on the PS3 controller (except L3, R3, the D-pad and obviously the Start and Select buttons) as well as its SIXAXIS functionality. At certain points in the game, the player is required to press a succession of buttons, holding down the previous button(s) as they press the next - these combinations are often constructed in such a way that the difficulty of what the character is trying to achieve corresponds with the physical difficulty of pressing the correct buttons (meaning that a QTE for crawling through live electricity will be much harder than a QTE for going up a hill).
Dialogue trees are used heavily in the games, represented by words encircling the player. The state of the words will correspond to the character's mental state - if they are in a state of panic the words can be shaking violently, making them difficult to read. The same applies to the 'thought mechanic' where by pressing L2 at any time, a 'dialogue tree' will show what thoughts are going through that character's mind.
There is no game over screen, as the game continues to take into account whatever actions occur regardless of how drastically they affect the characters. If a character you control dies, then he or she will remain dead and the investigation will continue from another character's perspective. If all characters die, the plot line will still continue without the impact that those characters could have made.
Development of Heavy Rain began in February of 2006 and was announced at E3 2006, at which it was a tech demo called "The Casting". The game was originally for PC and there were to be two separate releases of the game - one for computers equipped with the appropriate physics processing unit and one for computers that didn't meet the specification. Some of the physics relied on PhysX. The E3 demo made use of AGEIA technology.
Noteworthy features of "The Casting" were full body motion capture along with full facial motion capture, wrinkles on faces, real time tears, advanced rendering features, and advanced skin shaders. The demo showed technology enabling pupil dilation and dynamic hair with physics. The game engine supports full real time post-processing. The facial motion capture was captured using a Vicon MX40 camera with an enhanced muscle system.
During the game's development, the story had many supernatural elements. Scott and Ethan were supposed to share a mental bond that caused Ethan's blackout. Scott was also seen smothering his mother with a pillow. However, these were cut from the final version because they were not deemed suitable.
Heavy Rain Chronicles - DLC
Quantic Dream founder David Cage said 2009 in an Interview with VideoGamer.com that ".. we are talking with Sony at the moment about having maybe extra downloadable content, maybe with prequels or sequels about the characters."
Later it was revealed that the DLC would be episodes of the so-called Heavy Rain Chronicles.
Different Plans for DLC, revealed during various Interviews:
- The Taxidermist (at first only available with a preorder code, later through PSN purchase - released on April 1, 2010)
- DLC with a focus on Norman Jayden and how he got addicted to drugs;
- Another episode with you taking the role of the "villain";
On July 2010 Cage revealed in an Interview with Eurogamer.com on subject of the Chronicles that ".. they are on hold to allow the team to work on Move and on new projects, and I doubt they will ever be produced."
PlayStation Move Version
In Winter 2010, a new version of the game was released, Heavy Rain Move Edition. This version of the game integrates the PlayStation Move controller into the game, allowing full motion control of the characters' actions. Older versions of the game can be patched with a free download to integrate these Move controls. Heavy Rain Move Edition is fully playable with standard controller.
Heavy Rain's soundtrack was composed by Normand Corbeil and recorded at the Abbey Road Studios in London. It was made available on the iTunes Store on 23 February, 2010 and on the PlayStation Network on 4 March, 2010.
- Ethan Mars' Main Theme (3:31)
- Norman Jayden's Main Theme (4:42)
- Before the Storm (2:55)
- Madison Paige's Main Theme (3:31)
- Scott Shelby's Main Theme (6:01)
- Lauren Winter's Main Theme (3:07)
- Painful Memories (1:29)
- The Chase (1:25)
- Redemption (1:39)
- The Bulldozer (1:34)
- High Tension (1:16)
- The Fight (1:31)
- The Hold Up (1:28)
- Looking for Shaun (1:36)
- Countdown (1:33)
- Last Breath (2:59)