After 4 years in production, neither Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream nor its publisher Sony expected the game to be a financial success. Fortunately for adult gamers, their expectations were wrong.
"Heavy Rain is a commercial success and that's not something Sony or Quantic Dream expected, to be honest," Heavy Rain director David Cage told GDC Europe attendants.
The gamble did pay off well for Sony and Quantic Dream however. Heavy Rain sold 600,000 units in copies in its first two weeks on sale and passed 1.5 million units sold to date - 4 times Sony's initial estimates. Cage hopes to reach 2 million units sold "real soon."
Cage explained that clear communication with the publisher is essential for truly innovative games since the publisher would have no other reference to compare an original game to. "If I showed you the alpha [build] you would kill the game. It looked ugly. Many publishers would have killed it. The game comes together very late and you need to communicate with your publisher because he doesn't have any reference," he said.
Cage then gave the following advice to game developers: "My advice is to make something new. If there is not a very strong barrier to what you do, don't do it. Try to find something that is really unique because this is the best business proposal. Have balls, be courageous, not adventurous, be crazy, not insane, be creative, not lunatic."
"Publishers in general don't have balls. You need to come with a new idea and give them reason to trust you."
"Stop making games for kids. Adult is a huge, untapped market - there is almost nothing for adults, I'm not talking about casual or family games. There is a real market based on sophisticated values. See yourself as a creator, not a toy-maker. Ignore the rules."