In these days of sequels, trilogies, reboots, and annual makeovers, a developer choosing not to make a follow-up to a critically and commercially successful game is definitely news. David Cage, video game auteur, told Develop that he has “no intention of making a Heavy Rain 2,” and further, he said he isn’t in the business to “make money.”
While cynics might scoff at Cage’s statement, it appears that his aversion to cash might just be part of a larger, very personal world-view in which Cage places himself somewhere near the intersection of Visionary and Sage.
“I don’t know what to say. I guess I don’t have a long-term strategy for my career. It’s certainly not to make as much money as possible though. I see myself as an author, really. I just trust my instinct. I think fans of what I do want me to do that too.”
Convoluted syntax aside, Cage’s disavowal of monetary gain is refreshing, though it does beg the question of how he can create high-production value, multimillion dollar games without making money. It’s also in stark contrast to recent statements by representatives of Cage’s company, Quantic Dreams, damning used and rental games outlets–and pirates–for stealing income. Perhaps those greedy, middle-management types simply lack Cage’s mature perspective.
“I’m an old game creator. I’m 42 this year. There are so many old game designers who have passion when they are young and they get a bit a bit older and the passion falls away. They get a family, and suddenly they think ‘okay I need to make as much money as I can for my family – this is what matters.’ I’ve not reached that stage yet.”
Cage is no stranger to faded passions. Earlier in his career, he was a composer on the brink of artistic burnout. “I had done it for about fifteen years non-stop, creating music for record artists, music for commercials, music for artists, music for video games. It got to the stage when I felt like I was done with music. I felt like I had done everything I wanted to. I had nothing else to say.”
Although he claims that there will be no Heavy Rain 2, Cage is not yet tapped out as a game developer. “I still think I’m doing something important. That may sound naïve in this industry, but I still think I’m here to be creative. I just have a company because I need that structure to develop my ideas.”
Structure, yes. Money, not so much.