What happens when an android starts to feel? It’s an age-old question that’s been explored in countless science fiction epics. More often than not, whatever world the the story is set in erupts in chaos. In the case of the upcoming PS4 exclusive, Detroit: Become Human, that is a possibility, but not the only option, thanks to Quantic Dream’s (Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls) complex choice-driven gameplay. After last year’s impressive showing, Sony brought the heat to their E3 press conference again this year with a trailer showcasing the game’s third and final protagonist.
During the latest look (below), we were introduced to Marcus (portrayed by Jesse Williams), a rogue android who has “woken up” and is ready to rally his fellow droids to rise up against against the humans that have been using and mistreating them. Amidst the uprising, the new protagonist and his companion, North, are hellbent on freeing and converting androids that are being kept at a store in the city. As we saw in the trailer, things can go very wrong, very fast, if you aren’t careful. Luckily, we were able to go behind-the-scenes with the developer for a full break-down of what was going on during the mission, and the myriad of complex ways the player can alter the situation.
As Quantic Dream’s co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumiere pointed out during our presentation, there are more than two ways to tackle a mission. On top of that, how you initially arrive to a scene, as well as the characters’ respective states of mind, will be different for each player, depending on the decisions they’ve already made. If you’re familiar with the studio’s previous titles, or other games in the choice-driven category, this set-up should sound old hat by now. With Detroit, QD seems to have perfected the formula in a way that’s truly remarkable.
At the start of the demo, Markus and North set their plan to infiltrate the local android store, Cyberlife, and free their brethren, in motion. After hiding from police, the pair emerged to find an open courtyard, with the store ahead. Before pushing onward, Markus surveyed the area and noted points of interest. There were several androids nearby that he was able to convert (a.k.a. awake emotionally), a drone patrolling the area, and more items to interact with. Instead of charging through and setting off the alarm, Markus and North traced the system to a nearby ditch. Despite the system’s eventual deactivation, the authorities were alerted and they were faced with three choices: hide, abandon the mission, or act natural.
After opting to completely abandon the mission (which royally annoyed North), de Fondaumiere gave it another go and explained how to take out the drone that spotted Markus. By entering reconstruct mode, he was able to view the drone’s flight path, and possible ways to intercept it. While perching atop a nearby street lamp wasn’t a good enough vantage point, the roof of an adjacent building was. Taking things a step further, Markus was also able to simulate the drone takedown, and glean how to get up to the roof in the first place.
Once he was sure that it’d work, Markus scaled the building and victoriously leapt in the direction of the drone. With that out of the way, he and North started to look for a way in to the store. The best way in? Hot-wiring and ramming a truck into the glass doors, that’s how! With the dirty work out of the way, and the androids within the store on the side of the resistance, Markus had a decision to make: either lead the pack down a path of violence, or play the pacifist and hope the public receives the message and agrees to peace. Whatever the case, all of the androids you’ve converted will follow your lead, so it’s best to act with purpose.
Suffice it to say, it was mass chaos in a matter of minutes. A few quick time interactions (which make use of the analog stick and Dual Shock 4’s touchpad) later and the crew was damaging property, graffitiing, creating a blackout, and even starting a pyre via ripping a wooden bench out of the ground, tossing it in a gazebo, and lighting it on fire—oh my! Staring a riot never looked so fun. After each new choice, the balance between violence and pacifism levels teetered back and forth on the screen.
While we obviously don’t know the full effect, we do know that raising hell in the mission is going to have a heavy impact on not only how the humans react (likely in fear) to what’s going on, but how the other two protagonists fair. At the end of the demo, we got a brief taste of the backlash; Markus and a group of anti-deviants (Connor’s group) were separated by a trail of dead deviant android bodies. Things are going to be rough for the resistance from here on out.
Just from this scene alone, it’s already apparent how much thought has gone into the game’s choices, and how they’ll affect the rest of the story. There are three main characters—all of which can die if you don’t play your cards right. As such, the replay factor is through the roof. I can’t wait to watch my own personal experience unfold before my very eyes when the game officially launches.
Are you ready to start an android riot? What do you think will happen to Markus and the rest of the characters? Let us know in the comments!