Of all the games to remaster, why this? Of all the games to remaster, this, yes, this, of course. What a thing it is, the action-adventure-murder-mystery-conspiracy-everything game we called Fahrenheit back when it was first released in Britain a decade ago, though you over-ponders insisted on calling it The Indigo Prophecy. And what a talking point David Cage/Quantic Dream’s 2005 oddity was, back when I was part of Bath’s game journalist illuminati.* Its incredible escape-from-a-murder-scene first section, its… troubling depiction of its main black character, its ridiculous sex scenes, its wildly over-zealous quicktime event conceits, its spiralling descent into utter lunacy. How we loved it. How we loved to talk about it, anyway. Little did we know what it would lead to. Little did we know what David Cage games would become.
And now it’s back. Remastered. Out now. Why? Why not?
I was probably more forgiving at the time, but in the cold light of 2015 it’s a struggle not to sneer a start screen which says ‘NEW MOVIE’ rather than ‘NEW GAME’. This is the kind of mindset that powers Farenheit – sometimes it achieves great things, sometimes it achieves embarrassing, clunky things. Sometimes it just really, really wants you to notice it. Check this cheeky scamp out:
OK, look, it’s really easy to scoff now at the crudity and perceived (for the record, I loathe this term) pretension of Fahrenheit, which the remastering can’t do anything about, but I don’t want to forget or dismiss that Quantic Dream were shooting for the stars back in 2005. Very, very little else was trying to be cinematic – and I mean that in terms of cinematography and mise en scene as much as I do ‘there are cutscenes and quicktime events’ – or experiment with in-game decisions having emotional consequences on your character. Or, indeed, have a narrative which began as complex police procedural alternating between culprit and detective POV, then took a sharp turn into a bewildering melting pot of sci-fi and fantasy.
Honestly, it is well worth experiencing. There are moments to truly admire, moments to laugh hysterically at (not with) and moments that will make you throw your hands to the sky in despair. And moments you probably won’t forget. Here’s the trailer proper, which has a few hints of the collision of auteur and crackpot contained within:
It would be remiss of me not to mention that there are some deeply problematic aspects to Fahrenheit however, on a level far beyond “it rapidly becomes blithering nonsense!”, but I don’t want to wade into those in what is ostensibly just a news post.
The Remastered Edition, for the record, boasts native high-res support (I’ve even had it running in 4K, though via virtual resolution stuff as I don’t have anything like that posh a monitor), better textures and stuff like that, but really it looks exactly how you’d expect a 2005 game to look with settings maxed out on an HD monitor. You can press F9 to switch to ‘old mode’ but I’m really not seeing a huge amount of difference. Native game controller support is probably the bigger win.
It’s out now. You should probably play it. Love it, hate it, or feel a deeply confused cocktail of all emotions ever towards it, you should probably play it.
* Like, eight people who went to the same pub after work.