It’s been three years since David Cage, the divisive developer/writer behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, introduced the world to Kara, an android who, over the course of a seven-minute short film, develops emotions and escapes from her factory. At the time, Kara’s story was nothing more than a demonstration to showcase Quantic Dream’s powerful new creepy-face technology, but today, Cage took the stage at Sony’s Paris Games Week keynote to announce a new PlayStation 4 game that depicts what happens after she busts out of that facility and stumbles into a dystopian city by the name of Detroit. Detroit also happens to be the game’s title. No release date information was announced.
According to Cage, Quantic Dreams settled on Detroit because it has a meaningful connection with Kara’s story and is a city with “a history and a future,” by which he means: “That’s where they made cars, so in our game, it’s where they’ll make robots. Get it?” But much like the near-future Detroit of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which was thrown into violent turmoil after the collision of humanity and robotic technology, the near-future Detroit of Detroit is not the most hospitable place for these androids. The announcement trailer shows them being corralled into tight quarters at the back of commuter trains, used almost exclusively for labor, and targeted by fleshy protestors who are angry about losing their jobs to a robotic workforce.
Kara enters this world of ham-handed symbolism to see her peers treated as little more than fancy roombas, and the trailer implies that the game will tell the story of what she decides to do with her newfound freedom and sentience when confronted with this reality. “We didn’t want to do another story on AI (there are already so many great ones),” Cage wrote on the PlayStation Blog, “we wanted to talk about what it means to be human and what it would be like to be in the shoes of an android discovering our world and their own emotions.” Yep, nobody’s devoted great stories to those ideas before.