Development studio Quantic Dream and its founder David Cage are certainly not strangers to controversy nor criticism, but the latest slice of gameplay from their upcoming PS4 exclusive, Detroit: Become Human has certainly drawn a hefty dose of both. Shown recently behind closed doors at Paris Games Week, and again last week at Sony’s PlayFest in Sydney, the ‘Stormy Night’ demo is an intense and confronting scene of violent domestic abuse that makes for uncomfortable viewing — doubly so in the context of a casual poolside media gathering.
The scene in question has the player in control of Kara, one of three known playable characters in Detroit. A domestic help robot, Kara is one of the first androids in this fictional future vision of Detroit, Michigan to be accidentally gifted with true, human emotion. After serving up dinner for single father, Todd, and his daughter Alice in the true Quantic Dream style of turning mundane tasks into detailed interaction, things take a sharp turn for the dark. Wracked with contempt for his ex-wife and his dependency on drugs, Todd starts to verbally abuse Alice. As his tirade worsens, Alice runs and hides in her room, and it’s here that Kara takes her first steps toward independency — should players choose.