Why We Need A Game About Quantic Dream's Kara

Quantic Dream knows how to create a game with a cinematic experience like no other and this is exactly what Kara needs.

By Daavpuke, Posted 10 Mar 2012

By now, you might’ve noticed a rather state-of-the-art piece of footage from GDC called Kara. Created by Quantic Dream, this demonstration shows off a new dimension of power that can be tapped out of a Playstation 3. If you haven’t seen it, don’t worry, we’ll add it in this piece. It is said that the technical presentation isn’t tampered material and is running in full on the Playstation 3.

Kara The Game By Heavy Rain Quantic Dream - NoobFeed Feature

I'll just leave this here.

The clip stars an android called Kara being assembled and tested before shipping off to customers. The premise isn’t much more different from other futuristic settings: Kara is an immensely highly advanced piece of technology that can do anything from speaking 300 languages to making appointments and watching the kids. Naturally, as she is an attractive and lifelike piece of machinery, her opening statement also immediately clarifies that she is fit as a fully capable and willing intimate partner. However, product testing goes awry once a glitch in the system occurs. You really need to see it before we continue, so you can witness this emotion first hand. If you haven’t yet, do so now; we’ll wait.

Seen it? That’s some powerful stuff, right? And we’re not just talking about the overwhelming technical features of the demonstration. The moving moment of Kara’s awareness is probably something that will get carried into gaming history. Her immediate assessment of being alive is beautifully portrayed. It’s hard to convey non-verbal emotions, but the moment where her childlike sense of wonder captures that she can walk and is thus alive gets shown without words or exaggerated gestures. The demonstration makes it clear through its unrivaled realism. And while this is only a demonstration, it’s such a powerful presentation that making a full title from this would fit perfectly. We’re already hooked on the concept; Quantic Dream might as well follow up on it. We’ve assessed the main reasons for the future conception of the game adaptation for Kara.

A new standard

This is the obvious argument. The tech demo is made first and foremost to show just what the Playstation 3 is capable of. From the start, the picture perfect facial tones, shadow reflections, soft skin movements, rough and even fine motor skills display real-time realism the likes of which we haven’t experienced before. This could be presented in a full title that would even surpass L.A. Noire’s stunning new features. Gaming technology is always striving for new, more accurate depictions of reality; Kara could be the new standard for this. The surrounding lighting, mechanics and smooth animations suggest that this could get designed into all parts of the game and not just the character models.

Still, it’s the lifelike character designs that are the main focus here. Getting to experience this semi-human entity would definitely create a high level of immersion, due to its vivid nature alone. Kara’s facial features and textures are almost to a point that of genuine humans, right up to the pores. When she moves, her entire body flexes itself without hampering joint hitches or limitations. Even her eyeballs glimmer with moisture from their corners and their movement causes her eyelids to follow suit organically. Finally, her voice acting gets lip synced flawlessly and even zooming in fully doesn’t show noticeable flaws. This could quite directly have us hanging at her every word; as camera positions concentrate on the dialogue at hand. If a captivating character helps secure a moving experience, then Kara is well on her way of doing that with this tech demo alone.

Kara The Game By Heavy Rain Quantic Dream - NoobFeed Feature

Instant connection

This leads us to our next point: We already care-a for Kara; even though it’s not pronounced the same. In just a few minutes, Quantic Dream has given us an introduction to the entity of Kara, made us know what she’s about and then connected us to her persona. Using the powerful technology, it captured in essence who the character behind the animation is and covertly attached its strings in our psyche. Before long, we start emulating her emotions as they happen on-screen. When she smiles, we smile; when she enquires, we listen and so on. In less than five minutes we are hooked on the concept of Kara and her experience in this fresh new world.

Even before her verbal manifestation, the demonstration tells us through her corporal expressions when something starts going wrong. As it becomes clear what her purpose in existence is, her enthusiasm turns to a more closed and worrying position. This quickly culminates into the powerful climax of her desperate struggle for survival. Kara is sentient; alive even. And so are we, through her. As soon as this becomes apparent, our empathic association makes it clear that we’re feeling the same things.

Furthermore, upon her reassembly, this reaches a new level of attachment. Once she gets in line and questionably looks at her placement, we start inquiring within. What will happen to Kara? Where will she go? Is she going to find a place in the world? Is she going to be exploited? What dilemmas will she face now that she’s sentient? Fill in questions here to your liking. A dozen similar queries immediately arise. We want, nay need to know what’s going to happen to Kara. Quantic Dream hooked us and now they just have to complete the activity.

Game, Quantic Dream, Kara, Review, Latest, News, Rumor, Preview, Trailer, GDC, Beyond: Two Souls

Movie-based games

This inquiry leads us to our final argument. We want to observe what tribulations Kara will face in her lifetime. Now, we don’t advocate movie-like experiences a lot. In fact, David Jaffe recently had similar thoughts that playing a movie with limited resources, instead of actively playing a game, might not be the medium gaming is meant for. Yet, this is a solid exception for two reasons.

First off, the vulnerable position Kara is in makes us want to know what happens to her. Even if we can help shape the story, the main position here is seeing how the story progresses, not playing Kara: the character. Part of our connection towards Kara is the helplessness we feel. Regardless of intentions, parts of why we feel invested is because we want to step into play but can’t. Taking that away would also break a part of what makes this feeling special. The more we as a person get involved, the less it becomes about Kara’s fate.

Secondly, Quantic Dream is the flag bearer for movie-based games. When you think of a similar title, you’ll instantly think of either Fahrenheit or Heavy Rain. Both are made by this developer. Director David Cage has always been clear about his filmmaking aspirations. In fact, he often gets critiqued for coming down on traditional game development.

Regardless, Quantic Dream knows how to create a game with a cinematic experience like no other and this is exactly what Kara needs. More so, their games keep player input minimal at all times, through mechanics like timed events. It’s unilaterally the same and never changes to make us feel like we’re less in control than we should be. This one time, not having a lot of control would benefit the experience we could get from having a game centered on Kara.

Kara The Game By Heavy Rain Quantic Dream - NoobFeed Feature

But more importantly than all of this, we just want to know what’s going to happen next with our android. We’re engrossed in her story and need clarity. We need Kara: The Game!

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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  • Reminds me a lot of the movie Artificial Intelligence 

    Posted Mar 11, 2012

  • Kara has the potential to be a ground breaking title, so why not.

    Posted Mar 12, 2012

  • Truly breath taking. also opens up alot of questions about the future of robotics. I would get a ps3 for this, i truly would. I stronly believe that heavy cinematics can ruin a game. however, doing a game that is purely story and cinematic every so often is good. Like xenosaga, i believe gaming mechanics in that game became highly excuseable because of the great and massive story it carried. This has the potential to be a great title and great new venture because someone, finally!, decided to come up with a somewhat original concept. for gaming anyways, since this has been explored many times before in movies. Bicentenial man for starters.

    Posted Mar 12, 2012

  • Quantic Dream as proved the industry with both Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain that movie style quick time games still have a big market. Its like people were demanding this sort of games recently considering the fact there are tons of games from other genres. This sort of game can be considered a welcome break. Last night I finished Heavy Rain and the experience I had is like I was part of this movie. If made right this sort of games can blow anyone away. Heavy Rain was 2010 PS3 game of the year beating other good AAA games (2010 indeed brought out some great games). In this Kara case, the trailer itself made everyone hooked into it. It became GDCs primary focal point. Response were good all around. So I guess its illogical for the publisher not to finance for this project.

    Posted Mar 13, 2012

  • One of the first things I said after seeing the video was that a few short minutes of footage were far more compelling than the hours I'd seen of Heavy Rain. If this becomes a game, I'll pre-order it—and I don't even have a PS3.

    Posted Mar 14, 2012

  • The moment you add physics, gameplay mechanics, enviornments, other characters... well it starts to become bogged down. Right now it's just a character being animated while a soundtrack plays over that and that's it.

    It truly is an old school tech demo. But a game? Expect a lot of compromises if it ever happens. Don't expect Kara to look that good and expect a lot of crisp 1080p videos to take the place of actually rendering out some things. They did that as a trick with God of War 3 to make you think the PS3 was rendering out giant epic battles but in reality you were just watching a video that used the same characters and didn't have any data loss, a trick Sony likes to use.

    I'm all for a game about Kara but on the next generation of systems... not the PS3.

    Posted Mar 15, 2012

  • Great article man, says a lot that many of us are thinking.

    I remember having a similar reaction to Quantic Dream's original PS3 tech demo (before the console was released) that was ultimately unrelated but eventually led to Heavy Rain. It was quite powerful in the way that Quantic Dream is so well-versed, but the difference here is that the older tech demo put the narration to rest right at the end by exposing that it was an audition.

    With the Kara demo, they're leaving us hanging with an introduction to something that is now unresolved.

    The only thing to be wary of is that Heavy Rain was ripe with plot holes. You didn't really notice at first because the presentation is so fantastic, but a thorough retrospective ultimately hurts that game. I'm hoping that Quantic Dream will be much more careful of this in the future, but between Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit) and Heavy Rain, I'll play whatever Quantic Dream does without knowing anything about it.

    But now that we know about Kara, yes, this is the game I want to play.

    Posted Mar 24, 2012

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General Information

Platform(s): PS3
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): Quantic Dream
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Interactive Cinema
Release Date: 2013-10-08

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