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Spoilers for the end of Heavy Rain

Butch:

Happy Monday! Who’s up for a good derail?

I was up until 10 again watching kid plays. Was good, though, and Junior was proud as punch. It was pretty weird watching him tech a show at the camp I used to run tech at. They grow up so fast **sniffle**

Anyhoo, kinda tired. But I have to get the miles that the doctor cost me last week, and then, hopefully, I’m gonna finish this game (it was my goal to finish last week, after all). Think I can? Am I that close? It sorta feels like this chapter is pre boss fight and then boss fight and then done. Right?

Feminina:

Yeah, you’re basically there. Scott’s place as Madison, then the big showdown saving Shaun or whatever. And some brief epilogue.

YOU CAN DO IT!

First go exercise like the doctor told you to do after you spent all that time not exercising while waiting to see the doctor.

It’s gonna be great.

Butch:

Oh dude, already wearing my ridiculous workout clothes. No, gear. It’s gear. Not clothes. You know that it’s gear and not clothes cuz it’s expensive.

Gonna meet all the damn Fitbit goals.

They really need a “time playing games” goal.

What’s kinda sad, but not surprising, is every time I see that “calories burned” number go up I mentally calculate how much more booze I can have while still meeting the goals.

Not sure that’s the goal. But who cares?

Feminina:

Just mark the calculation down as “mental exercise” and call it a win. Because you know you’ve got to keep your brain sharp too!

Something else to consider: what if you get exercise apparel cheap at the secondhand store? Is it gear or just clothes?

You know what word I miss for clothing? “Weeds.”

Shakespeare characters are always on about somebody’s weeds, but now it barely survives as “widow’s weeds,” and even that’s archaic.

I want someone to admire my weeds! And not the ones in that patch next to the yard (although those are looking extremely robust and healthy, and we should probably do something about them before they completely take over).

Derailment complete.

Butch:

Darn tootin’! Stupid judgy jocky Fitbit.

Cheap exercise wear…Zen koans for our fucked up times.

Garden weeds are fine. They’re natural. Healthy.

As for “weeds,” I think we need to bring that back. I like the idea of “Workout weeds.” We can do it! We can bring it back! After all, are terms are catching on! Don’t believe me? I was at Starbucks last week, and the guy who waited on me was dressed like all the other dudes that worked there, and when I got my receipt it said “Barista: KEVIN.”

For. Real.

Our lingo is catching on!

We’ll all be wearing weeds by Christmas.

I best go play.

Feminina:

See, you can’t even trust a barista. He was probably patrolling in between orders, going out to check on the tall grass and stuff.

You best go play.

Butch:

I went back, jumped him from behind and dragged him behind one of those fancy padded chairs by the fake fireplace. Had to. He was a Kevin.

Ok, finished. But I have to get Meatball and buy a couple of things at the store. We’ll talk. Later.

Feminina:

Nicely done!

Now to talk about that for a week and a half just to fully get the value from the time we put into it.

Butch:

Ok, let’s start.

So I let Shelby fall.

Was there a way to NOT save Shaun? Cuz that seemed like he was gonna live. Ethan even gives up on CPR. So…what?

Here’s my epilogue:

Ethan and Madison moved into a lovely apartment with Shawn, who is showing no ill effects of almost being killed and being heavily traumatized. Grace is nowhere to be found or mentioned, cuz she’s just a mother and we haven’t seen her naked.

Jayden wound up on a talk show, threw his drugs in the toilet, then was doing ARI, saw tanks, took ARI off, kept seeing tanks and that was that. So…what? He took too much? He’s in ARI forever? WHAT?

What else…hmm….

Well, I got a scene you didn’t: The very last thing I got, the final image of the game, Lauren at Scott’s grave, all “You killed my son…did you think of that when you held me? Well, I have nothing for you but contempt.” And she spits on his grave and walks away and credits.

Some very loose ends (I’m sure I’ll think of more over the next week): 1) Madison’s dreams. For fuck’s sake, that’s how we MET her. In a dream. And then….what? Nothing.
2) Ethan’s hallucinations. We see him black out. What the hell was that? A pretense to get him/us thinking he was the killer? Seriously. The fuck.
3) The whole Gordi Kramer storyline. All of it.

I’m sure I’ll think of more.

Feminina:

Oh yeah, you could fail to save Shaun. I think all the characters who try to save him have to be dead, though (or, in Ethan’s case, in jail, as mine was during the final fight). As we know there are opportunities to die earlier, and apparently all of them can also die during the final fight. So you have to be pretty bad at QTEs, but it can happen.

I either shot Shelby or let him fall, I don’t remember. (I must now confess that I lied when I said all the playable characters survived my game, but I didn’t want to give anything away by saying “except for the one who turns out to be the killer!” In truth, not all of them survived.) So yeah, he was dead.

But Lauren, also being dead, never learned the truth and spit on his grave.

As for loose ends, OK, here’s what I’ve got:

Madison’s dreams are just the thing that keeps her from sleeping and makes her be there to meet Ethan at the hotel. That’s all. Madison’s dream SEQUENCE is utterly and absolutely pointless in the narrative and exists only to let us see her naked. It is in every way gratuitous.

Ethan’s blackouts/hallucinations are, apparently, just a red herring, and yes, a HUGE loose end. I mean, OK, I could reluctantly buy that he coincidentally has blackouts related to the trauma of losing a kid, and maybe wanders around and can’t be sure he doesn’t commit horrible crimes.

I CAN’T buy that he coincidentally has blackouts after which HE WAKES UP HOLDING ORIGAMI, and that he also has dreams of drowning. That is TOO COINCIDENTAL, way too closely connected with the origami killer, and yet apparently we’re meant to accept that it’s just a coincidence. I blackout and fold origami! What can I say?

According to something I read in a comment thread (so, obviously, grain of salt!–but it makes sense) there was an earlier draft of the story in which Ethan and Shelby have some kind of psychic connection, and so the blackouts and visions of drowning WERE meaningful. Possibly in that earlier version Madison’s dreams were also significant.

In the version we have, though, all traces of the supernatural have been removed (which I think is for the best), EXCEPT for the glaring loose end of Ethan’s blackouts. Bah.

Gordi Kramer…yeah. Just another red herring. I mean, the older Kramer, whatever his name was, is involved because it was his construction site that Scott’s brother (Johnny?) died on, right? Which is why he was putting flowers on Johnny’s (?) grave. So I’ll give them that. But then ALSO having Gordi be a copycat criminal who accidentally killed one of the missing kids, but had nothing to do with the rest of them, or whatever…that was a bit much.

Meh.

I mean, as I’ve said, it was an exciting, fast-paced beach game that I definitely wanted to keep playing while I was playing it. It was tense and engaging and I really wanted to see how it ended, and that’s a form of successful narrative. I will give it that.

Another form of successful narrative, however, would be the kind that makes sense and has believable character development and tidies up its plot holes and so forth, and I won’t really give it that.

I’m not sure what went wrong between my Madison and Ethan…my epilogue didn’t show them together. Mine had Ethan getting out of jail and Grace bringing Shaun to meet him, and he promised Shaun he’d never leave him again.

And my Madison was on a talk show, and then she was at a book signing with copies of her book based on the killings, and an ominously smooth-talking man said “you’re very impressive, you deserve a more dangerous opponent” or something, and then she looked up and he was gone. So possible sequel hinting?

And my Jayden end was the same as yours…stuck in ARI forever, I guess? Oops.

Ah well. Now we’re done. I’m not sorry I played it, it was interesting and I did enjoy parts of it, but I won’t have it on my replay list anytime soon.

Butch:

Ah, yes. The dead thing. So I guess he can get away with it, huh?

Makes sense. You didn’t want to spoil. Poor, poor Lauren.

I’ll say Madison’s dream was gratuitous. Cuz there could have been any number of ways to get her to the hotel that did not involve nudity and violence against women. Maybe something that…I dunno…established her as a character?

As for Ethan… Well…hmm. If I was taking a cue from you and stretching things and reading between lines, I COULD say that the origami killer had been on the news a whole lot, and was on the minds of lots of people in the city. So it wasn’t like no one knew about the origami and he just thought “Hey! Origami!” So people knew that SOMEONE was drowning kids and doing origami, so it could have gotten into his head that way.

Anyway, did he wake up with it? I kinda read it as it was a dream that he was holding it.

But psychic connection? Oh dude I’m glad they took that shit out. Just….no.

Gordi: Meh, and the fact he was a copycat criminal never came up again. I dunno…sequel? Revenge of Gordi? Meh. So it wasn’t just he had nothing to do with any of the others, he had nothing to do with the narrative except to be yet another red herring. So double Meh. And kind of icky that he’s gonna get away with it, as everyone will think Shelby did it. Maybe it was there to be icky? To taint the “victory” of the player?

Meh.

So yes. Exciting narrative…mostly. When it wasn’t making me cringe. Successful? Nope.

But, from our perspective…do we forgive it cuz it was a GAME narrative a long time ago? I still say no. We had had Fallout 3 the year before, and ME2, and all sorts of other good game narratives long before that.

So I dunno. I don’t feel like reading reviews to see what everyone was thinking right now. But, at the time, people fucking loved it and called it a video game* narrative masterpiece. * cuz video game, not a great narrative in general.

As for your ending…Huh. Weird. So Grace WAS in the picture? That sorta makes my ending even ickier. Grace was all the faithful wife, off screen, standing by her man when her man was in jail for allegedly murdering their son, and it turns out he spurns that for a reporter chick that gets naked all the time?

And Grace doesn’t even get an epilogue?

This game. Being icky to women until the end.

There was some DLC I think. Your Madison end does sound very sequel hinty. But I got none of that. No hinting.

He hinted at sequel in Beyond, too. Fuck, all but PROMISED sequel. And nothing on that front, either.

I agree with you on all counts. No replay. And I’m glad I played it cuz it still comes up a whole lot in discussion of game narrative, so now I’ll get all that, but…yeah. Glad it was free, that’s for sure.

But let’s do a callback. We were on the fence about Detroit. We played Beyond, and agreed that that pushed us towards wanting to play Detroit. We both liked Beyond better than this. Does this put us back on the Detroit fence? I would say no, as Beyond came after Heavy Rain, so the trend is towards the better. But, as my faithful blogmate, I will listen to any dissent you may have. And assent to dissent, cuz whatever.

Feminina:

Yeah, that’s true, Gordi Kramer will totally get away with it, won’t he? Protected by his father’s wealth and influence, just as his father hoped, but also by the fact that the guy who inspired him to do it, and who seemed genuinely annoyed by the copying (Shelby seemed really angry about that, didn’t he?), is going to end up blamed for it. Poetic injustice.

I read about the DLC. Apparently it took place two years BEFORE this game, and involved Madison on the trail of some story/serial killer, and the killer is chasing her around his house or something. Probably she takes a shower at some point, because players gotta be able to leer at something.

Anyway, didn’t sound like anything I care about.

Which, come to think of it, any ‘sequel’ would actually HAVE to be a prequel, wouldn’t it? At least, if it involved any of the same characters. Because all of these characters are potentially dead, depending on how you play this game.

Hm. OK, yeah, probably not exactly sequel-hinting, then, so much as “here’s the direction her life story is going to go”-hinting.

I don’t think my Grace was back together with my Ethan…she’d brought Shaun to meet him when he got out of jail, but then they went their separate shared-custody ways again. At least, that was my impression. They didn’t embrace or anything.

But it’s true, at least I SAW her. She definitely continues to exist, and to be involved in Shaun’s life, in my game!

I will leave Detroit on the to-play list, but not at the top. Something to get to sometime, ideally once it’s free on PS+.

Butch:

Yeah, I don’t care about that DLC either.

But, again, we have the problem of how to make a sequel for a game with multiple endings. We’ve talked on that a million times, and, over the course of what promises to be many moons of additional bloggage, we will likely talk about it millions more. Shit, just in the other day’s blog post I was like “Wait, they set that up for a sequel and in the credits there’s another person. Who’s that?”

It’s a problem.

I GUESS they could deal by doing something like bioware or CDPR and have old games imported, but that seems like a fuckton of work. But, I guess if other studios can do it….

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