Beyond: Two Souls features Co-op?

beyond-two-souls-screenshot-deathBeyond: Two Souls is certainly one game that Sony will hope won’t be spat out in the jet wash of next gen euphoria. With Batman Arkham Origins and GTA 5 on the horizon and only available on current gen consoles, surely there is no better time to release for the PS3?

Well at Gamescom we saw another amazing display from Quantic Dream. Whilst previous presentations of Beyond have revolved around storyline, character development and how the gameplay mechanics have evolved since Quantic Dreams revolutionary Heavy Rain, this latest presentation showcased how far they have truly come but also presented us with something completely unexpected.

Firstly and most interestingly Beyond: Two Souls will feature co-op play. Whilst this in itself is not revolutionary if you have been fortunate enough to play any of Quantic Dream’s previous titles such as Heavy Rain or Fahrenheit you will understand why this is a complete surprise. All of Quantic’s previous games have been single person story driven campaigns that often don’t feature the standard interactive companion or sidekick AI. Quantic’s games often focus on one character at a time and invest their energies on bringing out the emotion, twisting plots or interactive environments that can often lead to different pathways based on the players decisions. To have two players involved asks the big but very simple question, how will this work?

Beyond’s creator David Cage relayed stories that resonate even with myself, that many people played Heavy Rain with someone sat next to them, giving the player in control advice or pointing out key objects to investigate etc. Instead of having a typical splitscreen option Player 1 can switch between characters Jodie (played by Ellen Page) and Aiden (a invisible entity which is attached to Jodie) within the game. This time however, player 2 can take on the role of the entity making player 1 the spectator. It is a basic mechanic but one that “seems like so natural a fit” according to Stace Harman of IGN.

beyond_two_souls_tribeca.0_cinema_640.0The other inspiring moment during the presentation is that Beyond: Two Souls can be played in an entirely new way. Players can substitute their control pad for a iOS or android device. Quantic have created a free to download app for your tablet or phone, which can become the controller via Wi-Fi to your PS3. We have seen many downloadable games for iOS and Android and the future of gaming certainly seems to be leaning towards companion apps for many of the next gen games such as Battlefield 4 and Watchdogs.

However, no game in history has utilised a device to control a game for a completely unassociated console. David Cage hopes this will entice new gamers who possibly find the whole console gaming experience daunting and challenging. For some the box standard gaming controller is a barrier, whilst the touch screen technology commonly found in devices is becoming second nature. Although I don’t expect this to make Beyond any less challenging than any of it’s predecessors, many gamers might hope to avoid incredibly difficult challenges such as the electric fence moment in Heavy Rain. For those unfamiliar the standard Playstation controller, it has 4 standard buttons, two shoulder buttons and two triggers. The electric fence sequence (which is achievable) required players to grow several limbs and hold down more buttons than the Playstation controller offered, in an attempt to guide one of it’s chief characters through a series of electrically charged fences without dying. My exaggeration is not misplaced. But to surmise that anyone who has never picked up a dualshock controller in their lives, you can understand why the iPad is a natural yet brilliant addition.

beyond_two_souls.0_cinema_640.0Cage wrapped up his presentation by establishing some of the game content we have come to expect from the Quantic team. Like Heavy Rain there is no real game over. Plot decisions aren’t treated as good, bad or final but will open up different scenarios or completely different story arcs altogether. Should a player choose to hide or fight the console will automatically save that decision forcing you to explore the pathway you helped or unintentionally helped create. This is one of the few games that deviates from the standard choice making structure. In other games players can often save before a major choice is decided upon and ultimately cheat and dictate the direction they wish the game to go. Beyond, like Heavy Rain, is saying that all decisions are important and like real life, must be made there and then. In our actual lives we seldom have the opportunity to relive a decision. This is what makes Quantic’s games so unique.

In a few weeks time Twinstickgaming will have the opportunity to get hands on with Beyond: Two Souls. Check back for our initial impression.

For now here is the latest trailer Beyond: The Beautiful Drama Trailer. This new video gives all of us a wonderful insight into the real nature of the game and how the cast involving Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe have responded to it.

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