Forecasts predict paranoia and Heavy Rain…

11 02 2010

Ok so I got my usual update email/newsletter from Playstation announcing the “Four Days: The Heavy Rain Online Experience.” Now for those of you who don’t know, Heavy Rain is an upcoming thriller/suspense/decision-making game that will be released in late February. It’s been produced and written by the same minds behind the 2005 PS2 game Fahrenheit (a.k.a Indigo Prophecy), which featured the same type of gameplay that Heavy Rain has.

Why is this game a big deal (I don’t hear you) ask? Well so far it’s been hailed as one of the most anticipated games of 2010 by incgamers.com and G4 TV for its brilliant graphics, enveloping gameplay, and truly nitty-gritty mystery story that quite literally puts in the gamer in the shoes of any one of the four main characters. And I don’t mean you get to make them run, jump, and talk at your leisure. I mean that you actually have to think like the character and make life-changing decisions from their perspective as they all get tangled up in a mass mystery about a serial killer dubbed the “Origami Killer.” Pretty sweet right?

This is Norman Jayden, one of the four main characters in the game.

So, with all this in mind, I was quite intrigued by the newsletter and had hoped that it meant a four day live demo or something along those lines to where I could actually play the game. Instead, I was directed to the Heavy Rain website. There it was explained that there would be a four “day” challenge where participants would be given clues to the mystery and would have to come to a decision on the killers‘ identity. Now each “day” took place on Thursday or Friday (depending on time zones I’m assuming) of every week for 3 weeks, during which you would get more information to carve out your answer on who the killer is.

It sounded interesting, so I signed up. I expected it to be the almost campy and ridiculous whodunit? type game where it would give you a clue “You’re in a house and there’s a door, a candle, and a chair. Who killed Col. Mustard?” but instead I got an email from the site. It directed me to yet ANOTHER sub-site of Heavy Rain.

Here’s where the red flag came up for me that this was definitely an EXPERIENCE and not just a mini-game like I thought. When I got to the site, it prompted me to enter my age. The rules stated beforehand that you had to be 18, but I just assumed that was because it was a contest or something and you needed to be older to participate. BUT NO. It was actually due to their warning of “entering the disturbing mind of a serial killer.” Yeah, THAT’S not discomforting at all!

Ethan Mars is another main playable character in the game.

The site opened showing a sheet of paper with hangman-like blanks on it right above a drawing of a flower. To the left is a puddle, where raindrops are creating ripples that reveal single word messages like “…family…” “…die…” and “…rescue…” with an @name attached to it. Ok, weird, but kinda cool.

So (being the detective I am) I track the @names through Twitter. Again, I half-expected accounts with a single tweet saying, oh I don’t know, “Look at character’s profile” or something easy. BUT NO! Instead there are OVER 80 DIFFERENT TWEETS of information not relating to the game at all. In fact, if I hadn’t been directed to the Twitter feeds through the game site, I would have assumed that these were normal accounts (I’m still not even sure if they’re associated with the Quantic Dream company or not). These feeds even have followers, followings, and Tweets posted since October at least. One Twitter feed opened with the top tweet reading “Identity is never simply a creation.It is always a discovery True indentity is always A GIFT OF GOD. :D”

Discomfort level risen, effectively freaked out!

I’ve yet to track all the feeds and figure out the connection, but I gotta say, hats off to the promoters of Heavy Rain. I quite literally feel like that movie detective who is losing their mind trying to get inside that of a deranged serial killer. Maybe it was because I was on the site at 1 a.m. or maybe it was the eerie background music, but either way, the feeling of creepiness and suspense was definitely real. I absolutely want to finish this challenge through and see what other craziness will be thrown at my psyche. I just need to keep telling myself: “It’s only a game.”

Sign-ups for the game are still open at the Heavy Rain site (unconfirmed as of now). Heavy Rain the game is slated to release on PS3 on February 23rd.

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