story by Mike Gas

Here I am in my big expensive, disgustingly burgeousis house, running on my beautiful green lawn, under the bright shining sun, in front of my sexy wife, who of course loves me, playing hellicopter with my virtual son, JASON, whose brains are going to be splattered against the pavement in front of the world’s most crowded mall in about ten minutes. My other son, Shaun, grins at me from ear to ear, completely oblivious to the fact that fifteen minutes after seeing his brother Jason be pressed to death by a 4,094 pound automobile, he is going to be kidnapped by a serial killer.

From a design perspective, this opening chapter is integral to the foundation of Heavy Rain's narrative, as it is the only chance Cage gets to establish a relationship between the player and Shaun, before they spend the entirety of the game searching for him. So David Cage, instead of fostering a genuine relationship between Ethan and his family, instead chooses to scream in the player's ear: “LOOK AT HOW HAPPY HE IS! HE HAS A BIG HOUSE, A HOT WIFE, AND KIDS WHO DON’T HATE HIM. YOU DON’T WANT HIM TO LOSE ALL THIS DO YOU? IMAGINE IF IT WAS YOU!!!”

You may have noticed how I still haven’t extracted any dialogue from the game to prove my case, but the dialogue is so flat and so unbelievable, you would probably die from boredom reading an analysis of it. Anytime Ethan and his family interact, the game’s naturalistic presentation violently nosedives into the uncanny valley.

It’s like David Cage wrote down on his brainstorming sheet for a what a Dad does:

  1. Loves his wife.
  2. Plays with his kids.
  3. Feeds them.

And just stopped there.