Update, 3/8/2022: This article was originally published in February 2020, and has since been updated to reflect actor Elliot Page’s gender identity, who came out as a trans man in December 2020.
There is no one left to tell Quantic Dream “no,” following an announcement made earlier this week that the French developer will self-publish its next title. Quantic Dream’s three most recent games, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human, were all (originally) published by Sony Computer Entertainment and were longtime PlayStation exclusives, prior to arriving on the Epic Game Store earlier this year.
“The last two years have been exceptional,” reads the announcement. “The success of Detroit: Become Human; the growth of an incredible global community; the launch of our games on PC – these are just a few of our highlights. Thanks to Detroit: Become Human, we’ve been able to realize the vision we held dear since the creation of Quantic Dream. And so, for the first time in 23 years of working with prestigious publishers, we are now in a position to self-publish.”
This newfound freedom will allow Quantic Dream to “make decisions in total independence, and to address the technological and strategic opportunities of next-generation platforms.” Furthermore, Quantic Dream will begin to funnel money and resources into burgeoning developers that show promise: “It will also allow us to help other developers, by providing investment and development support, so that they can fully express their talents. We want to support creators of original projects and help them, in turn, to achieve their vision and offer quality, ground-breaking experiences.”
The announcement doesn’t go into detail about what Quantic Dream’s first self-published work might look like, or if it has its sights set on any specific indie developers, or to what extent it will offer “investment and development support” to said indies. This could mean that Quantic Dream will publish other developers’ games, or that it’s looking to subsume developers with interesting ideas into the Quantic Dream machine — without further clarification, your guess is as good as any. One thing the announcement does make sure to mention is Quantic Dream’s collaboration with David Bowie on 1999’s Omikron: The Nomad Soul, which it points out no less than twice.
For being as well-known and long-standing of a studio as it is, Quantic Dream has only produced five games since 1999. After Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Quantic Dream would take the next six years to put out Fahrenheit, aka Indigo Prophecy in 2005. Heavy Rain would come out five years later in 2010, with Beyond: Two Souls following suit after three more years. The gap between Heavy Rain and Beyond is the shortest in the studio’s history, as it would take another five years to release Detroit: Become Human.
All five of Quantic Dream’s games have been more or less the same kind of game: heavy narrative adventure titles with strong cinematic presentations and a deep reliance on quick-time events, thanks to the unyielding stewardship of chief auteur David Cage. From Indigo Prophecy‘s sound stage gameplay tutorial (presented by Virtual David Cage), to the aforementioned David Bowie stuff, Cage’s name and face are appended to every decision Quantic Dream makes.
Except for when Quantic Dream put a naked model of Elliot Page in Beyond: Two Souls without his permission, or when it was found guilty in a workplace harassment lawsuit, or when it was accused of being a racist, sexist garbage dump; for some reason Cage isn’t as excited to take credit for those headlines.