A couple years ago, I stumbled upon a game called Masq. It’s a simple game with the art style of a comic book — a bunch of still frames with no sound — but each choice you make affects the final outcome in significant ways. I played at least four times and never had the same ending twice.
I’d forgotten about Masq until I played Heavy Rain. They’re both interactive dramas (a sparsely‐populated genre, to say the least), but the new PS3 offering aims to meld the forking plotlines of Masq with the atmosphere and immersion of high‐tech games.
Developer Quantic Dream is aiming to break new ground in both story and storytelling. To distinguish between them, I need only recall Indigo Prophecy, the studio’s previous game: it used fascinating storytelling mechanisms to convey a story that was utter shit.
Well, they’ve fixed that part. I spent the entire game somewhat fearful that the plot would veer into WTF territory, but it didn’t. Instead, I got a simple‐yet‐compelling noir plot, plenty of meaningful choices, and a unique ending. No, I mean a unique ending; there are seven in total, the most I’ve seen in a game since Chrono Trigger.
The main story is about eight hours long, but I’ve already finished two playthroughs, and I know I’ll revisit Heavy Rain at least once a year to remind myself how a game should tell a story.