Spoilers for the beginning of Detroit: Become Human
And we’re playing Detroit!
Did the first chapter thingy. Nice of them to have chapter thingies like Beyond so we know what we did. Not so nice to have that chart that David Cage loves at the end of every chapter thingy so we can see all the shit we missed.
It’s certainly different! I mean, aside from the David Cage controls (what is his deal with those?) and the “Ha ha you missed shit” flow charts.
I’m into it! Based on the very brief tutorial.
You finish the first chapter?
After some pondering, I have a few thoughts even if you haven’t played.
I’m not sure I’ll enjoy it, and I’m not sure it will be good as I haven’t played enough of it. What I will say is the more I think about it, the more I have to say and the more I notice. That’s a good thing. The first chapter, anyway, stayed with me.
I have thoughts. Many.
I’ll also say that I’m eager to get back to it for reasons other than “I better play some or our blog will fall apart.” I’m actually eager to get back to it.
It’s early, but so far so good.
I have thoughts.
First time I played, I had only rescued a fish, but now I have completed a couple of chapters.
Yeah…once again the chart so we can see everything we didn’t do! And compare it to what everyone else did so we can feel…what? The competitive sense of wanting to measure up and do what everyone else did? The ‘too cool’ sense of wanting to do the thing no one else did? I’m not sure.
So, the first chapter…that was actually quite tense! I feel like maybe this ‘clock is ticking, every second counts, innocent life in the balance’ thing was not the greatest opening chapter in some ways, because while it definitely hooked me and got me interested in the game, it felt like I was a lot more tense and in-game anxious than was appropriate for an android. You know? I, as a human player, was getting all worked up about this, worrying about the percentage chance of successfully resolving the situation and how it was going up and down, and having to pick a conversation option before time runs out–that was great! But also, that is presumably not how the character was feeling? I don’t know. The next chapter–at least for me (judging by the flowchart there are many paths I didn’t take and some of them may have been more tense)–was a lot more chill, just walking around taking stuff in, and I think that might be a better introduction to the idea of how androids perceive the world.
On the other hand, it was also a lot less exciting, and therefore much less dramatic as an opening. So, I don’t know.
And then, too, the game recognizes that it’s a game and that we’re not androids, with that opening screen where the lady says “I’m an android and I’m here to help you set up the experience” or whatever. That’s a very self-conscious touch that suggests maybe the point isn’t necessarily to entirely immerse us in what it’s like to BE an android, maybe we’re not meant to lose ourselves in the story as much as to be reflective of it.
But definitely some things to think about, definitely got my attention, and I definitely am eager to get back to it and see what’s next.
Or else start over again, because I’m in competition with all those jerks who did things I didn’t do. I’m not sure.
Oh, great. I saved the fish, too. Here we have a game with a million choices and we’re going to play it exactly the same way, aren’t we?
On that, you playing on “experienced” or “casual?” I went experienced.
I, too, am not sure what the serious point of the flowchart is, but I do like that it lets you know things you missed, things you didn’t even notice. I think it sort of goes a ways to breaking the idea of a game protagonist. I think I’ll have more thoughts on this later.
Hmm. I see that point about choosing this as the opening scene. Though, I’m not entirely sure that there was supposed to be that removal. Connor seemed, at some level, to care. I’m not sure we were supposed to read that as “he’s just programmed that way” or “Maybe they really do care.” The bot that got shot did seem genuinely hurt that he was lied to. It wasn’t a “Your truth does not compute.”
Wait….shit, I assumed your ending to that. So I saved the girl, guy got shot, seemed upset I lied to him. You?
There were some things I think the tension really helped with, though. One thing I kinda loved was that here we are in a tutorial, and there were things that were hinted at but not fully explained. For example, when you saved the fish, this weird number thing so very briefly popped up on the screen that was pretty much impossible to read. So there’s the game being tutorial enough to say “Oh, hey, when you do certain shit like this, there’s a stat, and that matters,” but not tutorial enough to explain it to you.
I kinda loved that. It gets around the whole problem of telling a player that there were all these things they could’ve/maybe should’ve been thinking about all along, but also keeps immersion, doesn’t overexplain, and keeps enough mystery in it so that the player can’t game the same stat. The rushed, tense, atmosphere of the scene sorta supported the “Can’t talk now! We’ll explain later!” idea of that kind of tutorial aspect.
It’s funny that your worry was based on the up and down of the percentage, because I thought that was the most androidy, robotic thing about the whole scene. A human, in that situation, wouldn’t be all “There is now a 62% chance of success…..” That was so cold and calculating. I think that put us in the shoes of a robot more than anything else in the scene. You thought it was a disconnect?
Well, David Cage is prone to indulgent self awareness. He is that.
I do think it’s the game saying “lose yourself in the story.” Being (still, and always) an ex-PC gamer, I checked all the options just to see what they are. If you hit “chapters,” she’s all “This is where you can start at any chapter, replay anything you like. But the people who programmed me would urge you to play through everything once to start…..no matter what happens. Still, it’s up to you. It is, after all, your story.”
Take that for what it is.
As for competing with people who did other branches… Now Femmy….breathe. I know this is hard for you. You kinda binged on question marks there, and you know how you get when you binge on question marks. It takes you a while to come down after those binges, remember? But it’s time to stop for a while….time to get right in your head again.
Think of it this way: all those things you didn’t do? You didn’t miss any loot. No loot. Tell yourself that while taking calm, soothing breaths.
Also chose ‘experienced. I mean, we are, at this point. We’ve played a game or two in our time.
We did not get the same ending! I sacrificed myself to save the girl–Connor died. No doubt there are 5 exciting Connor chapters I will never see, as a result. Sadface.
But that objective, “save the hostage no matter the cost” or however it was phrased, it just stuck in my head. I was like “must save child.” (Because…android.) So when I got close enough, and Daniel was seeming twitchy and I wasn’t sure I could talk him down, I just shoved him off the edge and grabbed the girl at the same time (it was kind of a nifty action move!), and he shot me as he fell. So yeah, probably he was upset about being lied to, since I did tell him it was going to be OK. Oops. But I saved the hostage!
To be honest I thought it might not be that big a deal to be shot, being as I was, you know, an android, but the flowchart said “Connor died to save Emily” so I guess that was damage that was not able to be fixed. Or else it CAN be fixed and he’ll pop up again later anyway! I don’t know! I just know the next chapter is someone else. (Spoiler!)
It was kind of interesting, too, the way the cops reacted–the android was just frozen on the roof dripping blue blood (not crumpled the way a human body would fall), and they were kind of shrugging indifferently, like “whatever, it served its purpose.” It was a nice demonstration of how androids are viewed in this society.
Or at least, how androids are viewed by some. Clearly, as Emily’s video saying “Daniel is my bestie!” indicates, some people do think of and treat them more as humans. As one would expect–I mean, a lot of people treat their robot vacuums like pets, right? OBVIOUSLY people will treat humanlike robots like humans. And yet, that would also be disconcerting in some ways. There would be an urge to enforce distance: this is NOT human, no matter how it looks.
One senses that this will perhaps be an ongoing theme of the game, as it has been in many human/fake human/but what IS humanity? tales before it.
Not that I’m putting it down for lack of originality! I mean, it’s a good theme. Plenty of good material there. I’m into it.
One question that’s a bit far afield and may not even come up, but immediately occurs to me when I try to think about this society…why make them look SO VERY human? What’s the goal there? If they’re not meant to be treated as humans, why not make them look more like machines? They could be basically the same but have silver robot faces, right? More obviously mechanical. More clearly tools or servants. Why not do that?
There’s some reason to decide “we’re going to build these things to look ALMOST EXACTLY like humans, but then sell them like cars or dishwashers or office furniture.”
Like…there’s some fundamental human urge to keep slaves, that this company figured out and is cashing in on? Some desire, in a world where maybe a lot of things are out of the control of the average person, to be in control of (what looks like) another human? Are they appealing to human dominance-urges?
I find this very interesting.
The visual marker of android-ness is also interesting: the uniform, and the LED circle on the temple. Very distinctive, obvious, yet subtle. Not disfiguring, but clear. A tasteful slave brand. This society wants these tools to be easily recognizable as such, yet at the same time, again, to look as much as possible like a person in every other way.
Why? Why do I want the machine that runs errands for me and picks up around the house to look SO human? A little human, yes, we like that, but they could be cute, vaguely humanoid figures that avoided the uncanny valley problem, and that would be fine for many purposes. Why do we want so many fake humans?
Perhaps this will become clear as we move forward. Perhaps it’s just that we as players would be less invested in the “becoming human” problems of something that didn’t look human. I could be interested in the complex inner life of a robot vacuum, sure!–but is it as photogenic and visually appealing and kind of instinctively sympathetic a story, as if the robot has the appearance of an attractive human? No. Most likely not.
Oh no, is it my turn to play an extra many hours and report back to you?
Still stunned we did this differently. Maybe cuz I got more clues (although I missed some)?
I dunno. I was talking, I knew his name, I was all “It’s going to be all right,” I called off the helicopter, percentage kept going up, etc. I used a lot of the “I’m an android, I get it” choices, I told him he couldn’t have a car but he wouldn’t be hurt, really, he wouldn’t, and he let the girl go and was immediately shot by snipers. He goes down to his knees (again, like your Connor, doesn’t really fall), looks right at the camera and says “You lied to me Connor…you lied to me….” with more disbelief and shock than anger or anything else. Like “But you said you were an android, you understood, and you still lied.”
Ooo! Nice. Another character!
Is it forward in time? Cuz I have to admit, I kinda forgot the date the first chapter was, and, if that’s going to be the timeline, I’m screwed. Remember how Beyond hopped around? Yeah…..
See, I also think that the game is going to try to rope the players into all that, make us question or “own humanity.”
Take the stat with the fish, the “who knows what that is?” stat. There, we were doing something very “human,” we were showing empathy for a fellow creature and saving the fish. That’s a good thing to do! Right? Right. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that comes back to haunt us somehow, and plays on the “was that really the human thing to do, and, if so, what does that mean?” deal. And, as that was a player choice, I think that’s how they’re going to play this.
Ooo! I didn’t think of that about the photogenic appearance! That’s a good point!
Maybe it’s storytelling, but maybe it’s because there is an expectation of companionship? It seemed Daniel was there to be a caretaker sort of thing, a nannybot. If that’s his role, then you probably don’t want him to be some metal thing with a computer voice.
But I imagine it will become more clear.
We’re off to a good start!
Yup. You play all the Connor chapters and tell me what I’m missing. It’s how we do on David Cage games.
And, assuming that he is actually permanently dead and that it does actually make a difference (neither of which we actually know, considering we’re maybe an hour in), kind of props for just going right into it like that. Story repercussions based on something we did during the tutorial phase? That’s not messing around.
And yeah, true, I see the argument for very humanlike androids, sort of…as you say, we don’t want a blank-faced, robot-voiced cipher doing childcare, we want someone who can relate to the child in a humanlike way.
But why make it SUCH a human copy? It could have been, just casting around for ideas, here, a soft-edged nanny figure like Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast (before or after her transformation from actually being a teapot–they were both lovable). Not a realistic human! But human-ish, relatable to a child. And not something that makes you feel like you’re sharing your house with a grown-ass human stranger. Why is it preferable to feel you’re sharing your house with a grown-ass human stranger?
Obviously, the human would become less of a stranger over time, and soon would probably feel like a regular member of the family, and/or a familiar appliance, depending on how you feel about your robots. But when you’re just going to the store to get one: what’s the thing that makes someone say “yup, I totally want this eerily lifelike humanoid figure watching my child because it’s so very realistic”?
Or, if we assume that by this point that’s just the way androids are and everyone is used to them and so if you go to the store to get one that’s just the way they come and cartoonlike Mrs. Potts types have never been an option…why not?
Again, this is perhaps outside the scope of the actual story in the game. But it’s interesting.
As to your question about the timing…I believe it’s chronological so far. I think the bit with Connor was in August, and the next part is in November? Both 2038. There may be some jumping around in time later, but I haven’t noticed it yet.
We do this in Cage games? What did you miss in the other ones? You failed to sneak out for that night in Beyond so you missed the offensive sexual assault scene. Other than that, what did you miss?
It’s not messing around, true. I’d kinda admire that.
On that, we agree that we’re not going to google, like, anything until we’re done, right? I’m always tempted in these things, like, what did we MISS? But I have a feeling that if we go down that rabbit hole there’s no fucking way to avoid spoilers.
I don’t think this speculation is outside the scope of the story. You mentioned peoples’ desire to own and subjugate people in history before, and there’s no doubt that this game isn’t shying away from race and discrimination themes, either. You even referred to the LED ring as a “slave brand.”
David Cage is many things. Creative. Self indulgent. Tone deaf on women. One thing he is not is subtle.
True, you haven’t noticed jumping in time, but, on details like this, neither one of us can really rely on the other to notice. Unless there’s a helpful, very fucking obvious timeline like in Beyond, we are equally myopic.
Naw, I was mostly just thinking of that bit in Beyond. Although wasn’t there another bit I also missed in that game, along the same lines? I remember at one point saying “gee, I missed all the sexist stuff that would have made me hate this game” or something. But in any case, it was mostly a humorous exaggeration to say that this is a real pattern for us.
Oh, and I also probably missed some options. I got the video with his name so I was able to use that, and I tried the “I understand, this is just a glitch in your software, you’re not bad” conversation options, and the percentage WAS going up! I sent away the helicopter, probably I could have successfully talked him through it. But it was still only 60-something, and that objective, save the hostage at all costs, just made me feel like that wasn’t good enough and that I had to act fast.
It was interesting, as you say, that the issue was apparently Daniel’s relationship with Emily…”you said you loved me, but you lied!” What did he mean by that? What happened between them? (If there was any clue to this, I didn’t find it.) And was he right to say she lied to him? Or did she, in fact, love him in the way children love someone who takes care of them, but she said that made him realize she didn’t see him as fully human, and that made him feel unloved? Is it love if you don’t think the thing you love is human?
Also interesting that when android software glitches, it apparently can make them behave in a very (specifically modern US) recognizably human way–because it’s very human in the US today, isn’t it, for someone (generally a white man, as we note Daniel was designed to appear) to react so badly to feeling unappreciated that he grabs a gun and kills some people?
Was THAT a conscious choice that’s saying something in particular, about our society or the one in the game, or is it just general David Cage-iness?
And yes, I’m going to stay away from the Google. Except for the part where I looked up the timeline to see if it has in fact been chronological so far, and it has. I hastily looked away before I could see if it stays that way, because as you say, once we get into the vortex of possible spoilers that is game wikis, it’s very hard not to learn something I don’t really want to know yet. But the first three chapters follow a single consistent timeline! This we know.
Oh, I know what it was–not Beyond, but I missed the part in Heavy Rain where you could leer at what’s-her-name naked in the shower. Madeline? I feel like it was Madeline. I can’t be bothered to check, though.
If this historical pattern continues, all of Connor’s future chapters will be based on sexual objectification and grossness. I look forward to you telling me all about it!
Oh, right. Madison, I think. Though I missed the part where she got tied up by the crazy doctor, so we’re even.
That game had a lot to answer for…..
Huh. I missed shit, I know I missed shit, because of things like not for the life of me being able to find the fourth clue on the dead cop and feeling time pressure, and yet I was able to get the chance of success up to 100%. At that point, I felt pretty confident.
I think I picked some different conversation options. Maybe I’m just good at diffusing fights between crazy people. I do practice that every weekend.
I laugh so I don’t cry.
I didn’t think it was explicitly clear that he was talking to/about Emily when he said that about lies. He wasn’t looking at her. He could’ve been, but he might have just been talking to himself/someone who wasn’t there. Remember, the mother (I think it was the mother) was there, and was being hustled out when Connor came in. If Emily was the source of his anger, why did he want to (apparently) leave with her? He killed the hell out of the father, but he didn’t seem to be in a rush to hurt Emily. She was a hostage, not a victim.
It’s….hard to say with Cage, isn’t it? And we’re just assuming that it was just a feeling of being unappreciated that led to this. We (at least I) didn’t learn a whole hell of a lot other than Daniel had a good relationship with Emily and now Daniel is very upset.
Because, while we’re on timelines, I did notice something odd: The father died at about 730. The first cop who showed up, the one that SOMEONE shot, showed up at eight. There was half an hour between dad’s death and the cop showing up. Had Daniel wanted to kill everyone, he had time.
Possibilities: Daniel shoots dad, says “Mother! Now we can be together!” (that sounded odd), and mother rejects him and calls the cops.
EVEN MORE INTERESTING POSSIBILITY! Mother shoots father, tells cops that Daniel did it cuz she knows that cops will believe her! Or mother TELLS Daniel to do it, all “We can be together!” then throws him under the bus cuz she wanted her husband dead!
Make not the assumptions in mystery games.
OK, now I know not to ask you questions about times, cuz you’ll look.
And I’m gonna go play. You’re two chapters up on me?
Ooh! I like that! Mother shoots father and blames Daniel, Daniel flips out because she lied about loving him! That could work.
Although the ‘reconstruction’ (that’s an interesting mechanic–we haven’t even really talked about mechanics here yet) where someone pulled the case off the shelf and took out the gun, it appeared to be a male figure…but that’s just based on a shadowy outline wearing pants and without obvious breasts, so more fool me if I made an incorrect assumption based on easily-manipulable gender signifiers. Or maybe Connor made the assumption! The notes from his analysis said things like “deviant retrieved gun,” “deviant fired shot” or whatever, but maybe he was just programmed to believe what he was told about the situation by the human cops (though you wouldn’t think that was a very good idea from an objective fact-finding perspective, since human cops could be mistaken or lying), and what they said was that the android had shot the guy.
Hm. Hm indeed.
But 100%? Man, mine was nowhere near that (hence my decision to sacrifice myself). I must have missed a lot. Ah well. He’s dead now and there’s no going back!
And right, right…Madison. Good point, too, that you missed the scene with the doctor. Perhaps we’re even after all.
That game did have a lot of issues. I thought Beyond was a lot better…maybe this will be even better still! You can do it, David Cage!
The “reconstruction” is kinda cool. Though, now that I played two more chapters and they were nothing like the tutorial, I’m starting to worry it’s a Heavy Rain kinda deal where everything was a certain way until that dude put on the magic glasses and then it was totally different.
We shall see.
Anyway, finished the next two, so if you have, we can dish.
I certainly see how shit lacks nuance. There, with the black dude, we have BOTH androids riding at the back of the bus AND androids, being second class citizens in society, having to wear triangles. Two for two there on the whack them over the head with obvious imagery. I get it, dude, I get it.
One interesting bit I found myself doing was listening to the guitar player all the way through. Not sure why. I like game songs, I guess, and it was a good song. It was interesting it kept panning to “HUMAN music, listen to music with a soul” and that’s exactly what I was doing.
Did the preacher yell at you?
Anyway, you up to speed with me?
Yes, I did that one, and the one with Kara.
THE SUBTLETY. TAKE A MOMENT TO APPRECIATE IT.
“The androids are taking our jobs!” (No doubt they are. Just like robots are taking jobs today. But no doubt it feels a lot more personal when the thing taking your job looks like a person.)
The back of the bus…and then, for whatever reason, they have a WINDOW from the back of the bus. So that humans can see the androids back there, and androids can see out. Why? Do androids want to look out–and if so, why do humans care about that? We did see Markus’ eyes kind of moving, as if he were interested in the view, but why would someone designing this bus plan for that?
And on the other hand, do humans just like to see the androids crowded politely in the back? Back to this idea, is it humans wanting to feel superior to someone? Needing clear, visual proof of their superior status? Needing an underclass of something that looks human enough that other humans have something to feel better than?
I mean, it’s no fun feeling superior to an answering machine or an ATM, but if I can see a bunch of apparent-humans deferring to my higher position in the world…is this some brilliant plan to overcome racism and sexism? And/or to help convince people that the status quo is good for them?
“Let’s all unite in the harmonious certainty of being better than androids!” (Never mind that they’re taking your jobs.)
I listened to the guitar player for a couple of minutes. Not all the way through. I looked at his can and thought “I’d like to give you a dollar, but I don’t have cash, only electronic funds I can transfer through the logo in my head.”
And then probably only when my owner has authorized the purchase.
I did not get yelled at by a preacher. I did see a bunch of paths I hadn’t taken on the flowchart, so I probably missed a lot.
On that, and on the lack of subtlety, did you turn on the TV in Todd’s room? And change the channel? To the news?
Humans want a class to feel better than, and that has to stand, all crowded? Because there was also that slow pan forward, as we see the rest of the bus is humans sitting down all comfortably, with plenty of empty seats.
But yes, it does seem that androids have some degree of interest. We see Kara looking around when she’s driving during the opening credits (Why don’t more games have those? Thought it set the mood nicely). We see one of the “parked” androids watching a pedestrian.
Hey, man, I DO feel superior to ATMs! I’m always “HA! Made you give me your money! Who’s the man now?”
I did listen to the musician. He was good. David Cage does do music and sound well, I’ll give him that.
If my owner has authorized the purchase…Or not? I did notice that Kara was able to order a part for the dishwasher, something I doubt Todd would’ve given a fuck about.
I did get yelled at. There was this preacher dude in the street, and I stopped to look, and I always look a long time in case something happens, and eventually he stopped preaching, came right at me (and this was done in first person, so the dude was right in the camera, close in) and he says “You’re the one! The demon! You’re the one who’s going to destroy Detroit.” Not “you are the ones,” “You are THE one.”
So what did you do in the Kara chapter?
I didn’t order a part for the dishwasher! I picked up a few things around the place, and then I got to the end of that chore list and went upstairs to do that stuff. Then at the end I saw that there was basically AN ENTIRE SECTION of first-floor stuff I didn’t do. There must have been a bunch of other chore lists I didn’t even see. Damn it!
Gotta look at things longer and harder.
But that is interesting, that she could order a part without running it by him. Maybe you can authorize your android to make certain categories of purchase as needed. I mean…it’s kind of like setting up direct payment for your utility bills, right? A machine calculates that you used x amount of electricity, or that you need y part for your dishwasher, and you don’t need to be bothered with the details.
Maybe ‘donating to street musicians’ could be one of those.
Oh, and I did watch the news. And the weird children’s show. And the sports. It’s an interesting world we’ve got here.
Dude, use R2, get the WHOOSH, imagine all the orange box “Do this” icons are question marks.
I picked up the dishes, it said “wash dishes,” so I did what I always do and tried to use the dishwasher. It’s busted. Kara goes “zoop, analyze,” discovers the part that’s busted and “zoop” orders it. Without even talking. Little ring turns yellow.
Did you redo the laundry?
But would Todd have cared about the dishwasher part? I think not.
Did you watch ALL the TV? Oh, it’s getting late. I’ll just tell you.
So if you turn on the TV, it’s sports, but you can change the channel. If you do, it’s the news, and they’re saying “Despite rising unemployment President [wait for it] Warren has authorized the purchase of androids for federal jobs, and is pressing Congress for funds to buy the combat models for the army.” It even refers to President Warren as “she.”
Now….this game came out last year, and had been in development long before that, as games are. But….
That can’t be an accident, can it?
True, this game takes place in 2038, so it couldn’t be, like, actually Elizabeth Warren…but….
They do do a nice job fleshing out the world. That’s no small amount of work, making all that content.
I did notice that it said “President Warren”! And I must say, although it can’t actually be her, this IS about what I expect of a world where Elizabeth Warren is president. She’s always come across as SERIOUSLY pro-android-servant to me. Ha.
It really did. That COULD be a coincidence, but damn.
Gotta say, it’s nice to have a game with themes.
And no fucking Minotaurs.
The Minotaur is my giant robot. Always will be.
Did you do the laundry?
No. Apparently I’m a terrible housekeepingbot.
Dude, I’m back with Connor.
Damn I’m into this game! Is your Connor really dead?
No, he showed up to drag Lt. Anderson out of the bar to investigate that half-rotten corpse like nothing had happened. No one even mentioned his “death.” Apparently the damage was trivial after all.
Still haven’t done any laundry.
Huh. So they can be repaired. Probably should’ve figured that out when Kara got repaired.
You rarely do laundry.