Quantic Dream's 2010 thriller Heavy Rain is beautiful in a way only interactive drama could hope to achieve. It's a psychodrama that, in the grand tradition of Alfred Hitchcock films and Thomas Harris' Hannibal novels, examines humanity's deepest moral insecurities and motivations. How does a father feel for his lost son? How far will he go to save him? The answer, played out over hours of utterly riveting gameplay, earned a 9.0 in our review.
Thankfully, Quantic Dream's first PS3 darling wasn't just a hit with critics--it also made some serious cash for Sony. Speaking during the Digital Dragons game festival in Krakow, Poland, Quantic Dream co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumiere gave some startling financial figures to the crowd gathered. "Let's say [Heavy Rain took] $22 million to produce. With marketing it's maybe $30 million. With distribution, $40 million," he said. "Sony earned $100 million with the game, so it's very profitable. It's the sort of margin that most publishers would strive for, for any game."
$100 million is certainly an alarming figure, especially if, as Fondaumiere's words suggest, it's pure profit after deducting expenses from the net earnings. I'm glad to have seen an unconventional experience like Heavy Rain become a "box office smash" in gaming--its success gives me hope for future titles with a similarly keen eye toward narrative depth and human emotion.
Give us your thoughts on Heavy Rain and its sales success in the comments below. Did you love Quantic Dream's first PS3 outing? Are you more excited for Beyond: Two Souls, starring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe?