Beyond: Two Souls is an ambitious project that deviates from the norm in terms of both narrative and gameplay. Heavy Rain developer, Quantic Dream, revealed that it will star two main playable characters. The game features a young lady named Jodie and her invisible friend, which she calls Aiden, a young ghost who stays with Jodie through good and bad times as she navigates the important phases in her life, transitioning from young girl, to teenager to adult.
Speaking at a behind the scenes presentation at E3, Quantic Dream’s David Cage explains that the story of this new mysterious interactive adventure follows Aidan through the first 15 years of her life. Cage told PSU that the relationship with her ghost, or gift as he refers to it, evolves throughout the game. "Her invisible friend is a playable character with its own personality which can be nice or nasty," he explains.
The overriding themes in the game are "growing, living, being different and what lies beyond," says David. "You will discover an explanation of death and find out what the ghost is all about." We were then shown a demonstration which introduces Jodie as she lies asleep, sprawled across the seat on a train. For reasons that aren’t yet explained, the police are looking for her and are searching the train carriages. At this point, Cage shows how Aiden has to be used to wake Jodie up to warn her of the impending danger. He switches to Aidan, who is represented as a coloured trail of wispy smoke, and can immediately move freely around the train as if controlling an invisible camera.
Objects and people that Aiden can interact with have a coloured aura around them and Cage hints that different colours mean different things. He shows how Aiden can execute poltergeist-like activity, flipping a magazine out of someone’s hand. There’s a puzzle element to this section as he tries to work out a way to wake Jodie. He tries grabbing a bottle of water and throwing it toward her, but that only serves to disturb her sleep temporarily.
Eventually he spots a suitcase above Jodie and pulls it down on top of her. Jodie is now alerted, wakes up and spots the police. The next part of the sequences showcases the controls that those who played Heavy Rain will be familiar with as she battles to get away from police through a series of on-screen prompts. After a few frantic fights, Jodie escapes on top of the moving train and eventually into the woods where she attempts to find a place of refuge.
It’s hard to tell what is a cut-scene and what is real-time gameplay, but Cage assures us that everything we are seeing is player controlled. Incredibly, it looks just like a movie. There are many ways of playing through a scene says Cage and many ways in which players can use Aiden to help Jodie. During a later section, we were shown how you can switch to Aiden to help her get past more police guards. He controls the wispy trail to a sniper on a rooftop and possesses him. He can now control the sniper who he uses to dispatch the police presence below so that Jodie can safely cross the road. He pulls a police helicopter out of the sky and brings clock tower crashing down to help aid her escape.