Just a little DISCLAIMER before we get into this…
I personally have not played Detroit: Become Human, as I do not own a PS4. However, I am seriously contemplating buying one just for this game.
Yes, it’s that good.
I have however played QuanticDream’s past game, Heavy Rain. (Which I played in French for some reason. I think it added a whole other level to the game, as the Fench voice acting was spectacular, better than the English voice over in my opinion (sorry not sorry). But I digress…)
If you’ve played Heavy Rain, you might have noticed that there are definitely some similarities and also huge differences between Heavy Rain and DBH. To me, Heavy Rain was satisfyingly challenging in the way that your ability to correctly perform quick time events determined whether a character would live or die, or progress the story.
(**SPOILERS** I kept getting Madison killed at the end, much to my frustration. :/ )
Like most people though, nearly all of what I’ve gathered of DBH comes from a second-hand experience, watching Let’s Plays and Twitch streams of the game online. With that said, let’s get into what Detroit: Become Human is all about.
What’s DBH All About?
Detroit: Become Human (DBH) is the long anticipated game from QuanticDream, the same makers of the highly popular past titles, Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls. Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment exclusively for the PS4, DBH was released on th 25th of May (2018). With already over a million copies sold, it is QuanticDream’s most successful launch yet.
The game can be described as a “neo-noir”, choice-based action-adventure game set in the not too distant future of 2038 Detroit. It follows 3 android protagonists:
Kara, a housemaid android who flees from the mistreatment of her owner to protect a young girl.Markus, an android caretaker, who after becoming self-aware joins the cause to liberate his fellow androids.
And Connor, a prototype detective android sent by CyberLife, the corporation responsible for the development of android technology. Connor works alongside Hank Anderson, a detective with the Detroit Police Department, to investigate and hunt down the disobedient androids known as “deviants”.
The game also explores themes related to the effects of advancing technology and its impact on other areas of society, from android sex to space exploration.
How DBH Was Made
The idea of the DBH first started as a short animated film titled “Kara“, which premiered at E3 2012 as a demonstration of QuanticDream’s technology. After it’s completion, writer and director David Cage was left wondering about the life of the character Kara beyond the short film, and thus DBH was born.
To make DBH, QuanticDream built their very own, entirely new game engine that would accentuate features such as object rendering and dynamic lighting & shading.
The script for the game was written over a two year period, reaching a length between 2000-3000 pages, with supposedly 5000-6000 more in personal reference notes involving the details of in-game choices and outcomes.
Three different composers were selected to create musical scores for each of the protagonists. Kara’s music, composed by Philip Sheppard, relies heavily on sweeping string melodies meant to sound like a repetition of the syllables in Kara’s name and to represent her emotional struggles. Markus’s theme, by John Paesano, was made to sound similar to a church hymn, symbolizing his rise to leadership, as well as his inner conflict between peace and violence. Connor’s score, created by Nima Fakhrara, uses specially designed instruments and vintage synthesizers to produce the cold mechanical sounds that reflect Connor’s machine-like nature.
Over 250 actors were used to portray characters in the game, each undergoing 3D body scanning. The actors of protagonists Kara, Markus, and Connor, portrayed by Vallorie Currie (The Following, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy), and Bryan Dechart (Commencement, Jane By Design) respectively, in addition to certain supporting character and stunt actors, were filmed performing scenes in 3D motion capture over a number of years.
The Good & The Bad: How Does DBH Play?
DBH was made, not just exclusively for the PS4, but specifically for Sony’s console. QuanticDream designed their game engine around the capabilities of the PS4 so that it runs smoothly at 30 fps in 1080p. Because of these technological advancements mentioned earlier, including graphics, lighting & shading, physical camera, as well as improving upon the game’s depth of field, every scene looks flawlessly cinematic and realistically detailed.
This realism also extends to the character models, specifically the protagonists. The motion capture technology, in addition to the magnificent performances by the actors, really adds depth and nuance to the characters and their particular personal conflicts.
The game’s environment is utilized in such a way that it becomes a character of its own. It reminds me of the concepts behind parkour, the French discipline used to navigate one’s environment from one point to another in the most efficient way possible. And while there is quite a bit of parkour performed by certain characters in the game, it’s the way that the characters interact with the space and how the environment interacts with the characters, that creates a compelling dynamic towards character development and the progression of the narrative.
Aside from the stunning visuals and ambitious choose-your-own-adventure storyline, the game’s mechanics and controls are similar to QuanticDream’s past titles, where dialogue options and quick time events progress the story and provide an interesting challenge to the players.
After each chapter in DBH, players are presented with a flowchart that details the different choices and narrative pathways one could take. The storyline itself is about 10 hours worth of gameplay, but players will want to go back and play more of the game to get specific outcomes and achievements. This adds to the playability of the game so that players can explore the many endings and outcomes to see the full extent of the story and to really get their money’s worth.
However, there are a few shortcomings with the game. Some players have experienced an amount of difficulty with the controls when trying to move the character and changing camera angles simultaneously. This is kind of a gross oversight on QuanticDream’s, end as this could have been easily fixed with better button mapping. Also, the dialogue options can be a bit too vague at times leading to unexpected outcomes. Some may attribute this to David Cage’s seeming convoluted writing, but in regards to the game as a whole, these are minor criticisms.
Reception & Fandom
Fan art by Roma Gewska. Click the pic for more details and art!
Since it’s release, DBH has been received positively by fans and critics alike, applauding the gorgeous graphics and lighting, soundtrack, character models and acting, and the choice based narrative that makes players feel that their choices really matter.
The most positive reaction to the game, in my opinion, comes from the fans who share their game experience with others around the world on social media and other media sharing platforms, particularly YouTube and Twitch. Many online gamers, such as the immensely popular YouTuber, Jacksepticeye, and their own fan communities, have embraced and praised the game for its graphics, character relationships (particularly the relationship between Connor and detective Hank Anderson), and gameplay.
And speaking of a shared gameplay experience, Bryan Dechart who plays Connor in DBH has been streaming his playthroughs of DBH as well. His dedication to fan engagement really shows a level of appreciation, not only towards the game that he helped create, but towards the many people that enjoy it.
Seriously though, he seems like such a sweetheart. He also streams with his fiance/waifu Amelia Rose Blair-Dechart, who plays the Traci model androids in the game. Links to his Twitch and YouTube channels are down below.
Overall the game has become widely popular with many in the gaming community, as there are a number of memes, fanart, and fanfiction to support this claim (That’s how you know it’s legit LIT). More memes and fanart can also be found below.
The Future Of DBH & QuanticDream
Although Detroit: Become Human may have taken 4-6 years to complete, that time certainly was not wasted. There are very few “bad” things to say about the game really. Between the quality of the graphics, game mechanics, music, acting, action scenes, and storyline, many in the gaming community would agree it’s definitely “game of the year” worthy.
Personally, I’m eager for a sequel or at least some DLC for this game. Perhaps an epilogue of sorts that would expand upon the endgame outcomes. But I shouldn’t get anyone’s hopes up. QuanticDream apparently doesn’t make sequels to their games, preferring to do something new for each of their titles. Then again, their previous titles haven’t had the same success as this one… So they may yet decide to make a sequel. Who knows? Either way, I will be awaiting their next title with joyful anticipation.
Thank you for reading and I hoped you enjoyed this little look into the good, the bad, and the fandom of DBH! If you still want more DBH content, check out:
And now some parting DBH memes and fanart for your enjoyment. (Posible SPOILERS. You have been warned)
Art by AjamsDraws on DeviantArt
Art by Kibstar on Tumblr
Art by Gober-Mouch on Tumblr
Art by VASSALEXX on Tumblr
Art by Kaiseeu on Twitter
Art by KadeArt on Tumblr