Detroit: Become Human studio Quantic Dream announced its partnership with publisher Netease yesterday, using an android, Chloe, from its last game to spill the beans. It’s an odd, highfalutin video with a fictional character trying to get gamers excited about the Chinese publisher’s investment by calling it the start of a new story “full of hope, dreams and passion”. It was almost a shame that I couldn’t write about it, Quantic Dream being a PlayStation developer, but then it announced it was going multi-platform.
Quantic Dream’s last PC game was Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, depending on what side of the Atlantic you reside, and it was bonkers. A compelling mystery that suddenly pivots into this very different game, Indigo Prophecy was almost great and certainly memorable. It was remastered (opens in new tab) a few years ago. Heavy Rain, its next game, was a PlayStation exclusive, and Quantic Dream stuck with Sony for eight more years.
David Cage, Quantic Dream’s founder, appeared as himself in Indigo Prophecy, taking the role of movie director during the game’s tutorial, and making an android the star of a business announcement seems perfectly in line with everything else he does.
The announcement follows allegations made last year by three French news outlets, claiming that Quantic Dream was plagued by a toxic culture that allowed racism and sexism to seep in and encouraged employees to crunch. Both Cage and co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière were alleged to have been involved. Both denied the accusations, while Quantic Dream sued the outlets that initially made the report. There’s been one court case so far, between the studio and a former employee. The former employee won.
It doesn’t seem to have affected the partnership between Quantic Dream and NetEase. “We have been able to spend time with the Quantic Dream team, to get to know the studio culture, and we have seen nothing that points to any of the allegations published by certain press,” Simon Zhu, general manager of investment and strategy at NetEase told Variety (opens in new tab).
Cage sees the relationship between Quantic Dream and NetEase as a way to adapt to changes coming to the industry, including “new platforms, technologies, ways of playing, business models and major companies investing in the sector. It is definitely going to be a very exciting moment for the industry, with many opportunities for those who will come with the right strategy and partners.”
NetEase is one of the largest internet and game companies in China, and indeed the world. It’s worked a lot with Blizzard, most recently on the upcoming Diablo: Immortal (opens in new tab), and it also invested into Bungie (opens in new tab) for a minority stake.
No games or platforms have been specified, but it sounds like Cage wants Quantic Dream’s games to be everywhere. “Our objective is to be present on all platforms where there is an audience that can enjoy our experiences. We will, of course, continue developing on PlayStation, a platform that we know very well after having worked with Sony for 12 years, but we will also be present on all other relevant platforms.”