Just like Handel, the digital craftsman Hidetaka Suehiro seems equally excited, baffled, and reluctant to continue work on his most successful game yet, Deadly Premonition—a game that, dare I say it, could be a similarly-praised work hundreds of years from now. The game is being re-released this March as a PlayStation 3-exclusive entitled Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut. I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with the man and his producer, Tomio Kanazawa, last week to discuss the details. It was an event that was sometimes as intentionally mysterious as the goings-on in the game's fictional hamlet of Greenvale, but thrilling nonetheless.
Earlier this evening, my oldest son and I were sitting together with PlayStation Portables (PSPs) in hand, team questing in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. After a while, he randomly turned to me and gave me a big hug, telling me that I was the best dad ever. I asked him why.
I have been accused of being a chauvinist for the cause of Deadly Premonition—that my love for the game eclipses any ability to think critically about its flaws. I don't believe this is the case, and I'm happy to admit it that the game is loaded with flaws.
In the last article I skipped over yet another fascinating detail of the game's story, but not without cause. I've previously discussed just how voluminous the game's supplemental material is, and how it's profoundly worth it for the player to take the time to fully explore Greenvale—there's one problem with it, however. In order to see everything, the game absolutely must be played twice.
I've already talked about some of the moments that captivated me during my first run through Deadly Premonition, now I'd like to cover the first moment that really made me question my initial assumption that I was playing a brilliant subversion of video game tropes—the last moment during which I doubted Deadly Premonition's intentions (if not its execution—there would be plenty of doubt left to come on that front).
Information control is one of the most vital components of storytelling—deciding when and how your audience gets pieces of information can be almost as important as the details of the information itself. This is yet another place where Deadly Premonition breaks ranks with videogame convention. If the player is strictly following the storyline there's a proscribed time and place for York to meet all of the town's denizens. If, however, York and Zach decide that getting to the police station and starting the plot isn't a priority, then the the two of them are free to meet almost all of the game's characters at their own pace.
Whether you're a fan or not, the fact is that Deadly Premonition has made quite a splash, and eliciting such a response doesn't happen with just any title. Clearly, the director is onto something here, and the goal is to find out what. So, without further ado, here are twelve questions with SWERY 65.
Deadly Premonition: Shovelware or Game of the Year? We're pretty enamored with it, and we spend the entire show telling you why. We discuss its critical response, its connection to Twin Peaks, the mystique of Francis York Morgan, and why it may feature the best storytelling in the history of games. A NOTE ABOUT SPOILERS: The first half of the show is spoiler-free; the second half is spoiler-packed. We tell you when to stop listening if you want to experience the ending yourself (which you absolutely should). Featuring Brad Gallaway, Dan Weissenberger, Richard Naik, and Tim "Call Me Tim" Spaeth.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you're familiar with the game Bionic Commando for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Not the excellent remake for modern systems, or the 3D sequel, both developed by GRIN. No, I'm talking about the original version, because it's extremely similar to Deadly Premonition in one key way. Both feature crippling design flaws that result from poor documentation.
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