Quantic Dream – NetEase: is everything okay in the best of all possible worlds?

Quantic Dream – NetEase: is everything okay in the best of all possible worlds?

Quantic Dream – NetEase: is everything okay in the best of all possible worlds?

A publication in the “Editorial” series – By Pascal Luban – Game designer and creative director, freelance

Detroit: become humanThe acquisition of the French studio Quantic Dream by the Chinese giant NetEase is the novelty at the beginning of the school year. This operation appears to be a good thing for both parties; truly ?

For Quantic Dream, one of the flagships of the French gaming industry, the immediate advantage is substantial: the studio should no longer have problems financing its development.

Securing its financing is a problem common to all independent studios, but it is particularly burdensome in Quantic Dream due to the type of game that the studio develops: triple A games with a high narrative content, therefore games that are very expensive to develop but whose sales volumes are relatively low. This is because these games prioritize storytelling over gameplay. They also don’t offer a multiplayer mode. The interest of the players in this type of games is therefore limited. Furthermore, no major publisher funds these types of games, with the exception of Sony.

Still, the games produced by Quantic Dream are of exceptional quality. They offer high-level storytelling, their technical know-how is among the best in the world and the topics covered are unique, bold and compelling. Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human are among the games that have marked me the most (and I’ve been playing them for 30 years).

Quantic Dream is a jewel.

For NetEase, this is also a good operation. The Chinese publisher is mainly present in action games or freemium RPGs. Through Quantic Dream, he enters the world of the triple A, acquires a rare know-how and above all gives himself a tool to continue its development; let’s not forget that the life of game publishers has become particularly complicated since the Chinese government strongly supervises the use of games on its territory.

So, is everything alright in the best of worlds?

There is a potential loser in this story: creative independence.

Quantic Dream is an exceptional studio because it is capable and, above all, it has the will to tackle social issues. His latest title is a good example of this. Detroit: Become Human deals with the place of artificial intelligence in our future societies. Will we one day have to consider them as living entities, and therefore give them rights?

But this game also makes us aware of another topic: life when you are treated like second-class citizens, even as slaves.

Fortunately, none of us experience such situations and yet they are still present today in many places around the world. In Detroit: Become Human, two of the player-controlled androids experience this situation and you experience it through them; you feel the humiliations, the arbitrariness, the injustice in a much more personal way than in the cinema because the game creates a strong bond between you, the player, and his avatars.

The video game thus proves to be a particularly effective means of conveying messages, to report situations, in short, to influence our societies.

Let us never forget that it was the writings of philosophers such as Locke, Kant, Montesquieu, Rousseau and, of course, Voltaire, that changed the face of the world.

The media, whatever they are, are vehicles of ideas.

Quantic Dream is a true pioneer, ahead of its time, because it creates real masterpieces, works of the mind whose authors want to change our world for the better.

I think now you see where I come from.

I have no doubt that the Quantic Dream management team has received assurances of its creative autonomy.

But…

Do you think that this study will one day be able, in a game, to tackle social issues that challenge us, such as the over-surveillance of our lives, the erosion of the pillars of democracy by authoritarian ideologies, the freedom of peoples to decide the their fate?

Of Pasquale Lubano – Game designer and creative director, freelance

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