Quantic Dream has been developing exclusive PlayStation 4 games like Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain for the past 12 years. However, NetEase Games, a Chinese internet corporation, said today that it had purchased a minority position in Quantic Dream.
As a result, Quantic Dream will now be able to create interactive storytelling games for a broader range of devices. This is the latest collaboration between a major Chinese game publisher and a strong Western development team. According to David Cage, co-founder of Quantic Dream, in an email chat with GamesBeat, the company will now expand its employment and have the resources to invest in its next generation of games.
Under the guidance of industry veterans Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière, the 22-year-old Paris, France-based studio will continue to operate autonomously. This is critical for the survival of a studio that created Detroit: Become Human, a striking fable about modern society’s mad race to create a new generation of enslaved people in the shape of human-like androids.
Quantic Dream excels in creating realistic human faces — or, in the case of its most recent game, android faces — as well as deep, emotional stories in the form of interactive video games. One of my favorite games of 2018 was Detroit: Become Human, which took human realism a step farther than previous titles Beyond: Two Souls and Heavy Rain.
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Cage, David: We’re ecstatic to announce that NetEase has acquired a minority stake in Quantic Dream’s capital. With this financing, we can invest in future technologies and games to prepare for the next generation of platforms while maintaining the same level of originality and innovation.
Our goal is to grow our studio into a global, multi-franchised business while maintaining its independence. We want to keep making creative games in the genre we created, but we also want to broaden our audience by being available across all platforms.
We weren’t just looking for a way to get money. The future of a studio is formed by its vision and the means to realize it. It’s also about finding partners with whom you can develop synergies to build something together while being independent in your judgments.
We spoke with many people interested in cooperating with us, but NetEase’s plan drew us in. We discussed their investments in Bungie or Second Dinner, which seemed extremely relevant, and we discussed our various company visions and realized we had a lot in common. Furthermore, we sensed their real enthusiasm and passion, which is essential to us.
We rapidly developed a tight relationship built on trust and respect, even though they are a major firm listed on the Nasdaq and the world’s sixth-largest video game company.
Cage: For the past 22 years, Quantic Dream’s studio has been in Paris. The team currently has roughly 150 full-time employees. We’re growing our team and looking for talented people from around the world to work on our next generation of technology and ambitious projects.
Even though the company will undoubtedly expand in size, we do not want to become a “game assembly line.” We aim to maintain the mindset of a “handcraft workshop,” with a structure that reflects its enthusiasm and pride in producing something unique. We’ve demonstrated that this can be done without sacrificing financial success over our company’s history, as all of our previous games have been profitable.
We believe that players can sense it and appreciate it much more when you put your heart and soul into what you do.
Guillaume de Fondaumière: David Cage and I have been discussing where the company should go for a long time. We had the impression that the environment will alter dramatically in the coming years, with new platforms, business models, ways of playing, and businesses driving industry development. These changes will have their own obstacles, but they will also present incredible opportunities.
Quantic Dream is an unusual business. We’ve been developing unique engines and technologies for 22 years, creating original IP for a global market, working solely with Sony for 12 years, and pioneering the genre of interactive storytelling and emotions in games when few others did. The success of our most recent game, Detroit: Become Human, demonstrates that our format has matured and that there is a rising demand for the types of games we create. Most triple-A games today incorporate the storytelling and emotional experiences that we pioneered. Even. Television has started experimenting with ideas we’ve been focusing on for years.
For all these reasons, we believe now is the appropriate time for our studio to be more ambitious, harness our expertise and skills, and take a leading position in the gaming industry’s next evolution. We weren’t just looking for a way to get money. The future of a studio is formed by its vision and the tools to execute it. Still, it’s also about finding partners with whom you can collaborate and build something together while being independent in your judgments. NetEase provided us with all of this and their energy and desire.
GamesBeat: I like Detroit: Become Human, and I thought it did a good job tackling some intriguing AI challenges. I awarded it a high rating. However, I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback about it. What were your thoughts on the critics’ arguments?
Cage: We wanted Detroit: Become Human to be a thought-provoking experience that brought up some difficult real-world concerns. We expected the game to be divisive with some coverage, but we don’t believe any medium can develop exclusively by consensus.
For some, Detroit is an outlandish notion. Still, the most significant thing for us was the game’s incredible reception from gamers, which resulted in our studio’s biggest commercial success. We’re approaching 3 million units sold worldwide as an exclusive PS4 title eight months after its release. The game’s commercial success has been particularly impressive in Japan and Asia.
The game also received a lot of positive feedback from users. On Metacritic, for example, the average user score for Detroit: Become Human is 87 percent. That was the 7th top user-rated PS4 game of 2018, and it helped us break into the Top 20 best user-rated PS4 games of all time.
The game’s fan base is incredible, and we’re thrilled to see how Detroit can bring people from all over the world together. We are grateful that this welcome has been tremendously stimulating for the entire crew.