Quantic Dream is an intriguing gaming developer. Having been around for more than 20 years in the video games industry, the French company has crafted some quite weird games. Since its founding in 1996, the various projects they created have been legendary for both good and bad reasons. And despite the bumps in the road, there have been some pretty major successes.
According to the company, this 23-year legacy can only go one way, “We want to face new horizons, to keep our passion alive, and keep trusting in the idea of making games that are different.” There have been no details on what new games they could be working on, but the previous titles like Detroit: Become Human and Beyond Two Souls suggest a willingness to experiment. And now they’re charging into a brand new chapter. The company is now moving to self-publishing with all of their future games, based on a new announcement from the company.
“Those 23 years have been a phenomenal ride. We’ve collaborated with David Bowie in Nomad Soul; we’ve directed performers like Clancy Brown and Lance Henriksen, Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, Jesse Williams and Bryan Dechart, Pascal Langdale (Heavy Rain’s Ethan Mars) and Valorie Curry (Detroit’s Kara); and we’ve worked with composers like the late Normand Corbeil, Philip Shepphard, and Hans Zimmer, amongst many other talented partners. It would be impossible to mention all the extraordinary artists and creators we have had the good fortune to work with, but each and everyone has been a special collaboration and a unique moment in our 23-year journey.”
Quantic Dream has long been a fixture on the SOny line of consoles, hitting a major stride in the PS3 and PS4 eras with multiple hit narrative games that pushed visual and gameplay boundaries. The company recently began its return to the PC space with PC ports of its three most-popular titles from that aforementioned era.
Breaking away from publisher relationships can always be tumultuous, as a studio can grow used to that financial security and expertise always being at hand. With Quantic Dream, there’s a meme among fans that publishers helped temper the ambitious visions of designer David Cage, who has come under increasing ridicule over the years for various issues.
The most recent major project from the French developer, Detroit: Become Human, was critiqued as being an over-the-top allegory for slavery and civil rights narratives while being extremely hamfisted in its writing. Admittedly, the gameplay and polish of the visuals were top-notch, and the actors were some of the best elements of the game. Older Quantic Dream titles suffered from other controversies as well, like the incredibly inappropriate handling of a graphic abuse scene in Beyond Two Souls. It was later discovered that unused audio files existed suggesting that a much more graphic version of the scene was recorded earlier in production.
Most recently though, Quantic Dream as a whole came under fire during legal proceedings over allegations that the developer allowed “homophobic, misogynistic, racist, or deeply vulgar” images and comments to thrive in the workplace, leading to claims of targeted harassment and a falling out with some fans.
This combines to raise questions about the future of more controversial topics in Quantic Dream games, hopefully, this doesn’t lead to more problems and hamfisted writing.