The Internet Did It – The Indigo Prophecy Remastered

murder victims who don't scream: the bane of local police

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.

67 Comments

  1. Fnord73 says:

    It was a rythm-game! Its fantastic, the actionsequences are like I remember early dancegames to be. And the plot is hilarious :-)

  2. Viroso says:

    I recall really liking the first few parts before it descended into madness and then when I heard of Heavy Rain, and that it wouldn’t have the insanity of this game, I thought, wow, awesome, specially with all the good reviews the game was getting.

    Then I played Heavy Rain. I still don’t understand how it got so much praise.

    • karnak says:

      Every time I hear stories in which the gaming press gives ***** to shitty games I always remember this video (specially because a great friend of mine bought Renegade 3 due to the reviews):

    • skittles says:

      Yeah do people actually appreciate David Cage’s writing? Between this, Heavy Rain, and Beyond: Two Souls he just can’t seem to resist completely ******* up his own fascinating ideas. He brings some real interesting stuff to the table each time, but can’t resist going all metaphysical. The only time it worked for me was Omikron, and that was because the very setting invited and allowed for the stuff. Beyond sort of allowed for it, but went too far. Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit though would of greatly benefited from far less supernatural and more real.

  3. zhivik says:

    So I take it that not much has changed in terms of controls? To put it simply, you still need a controller to play this properly without looking like a cheap console port, right?

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      David Cage games are awkward to play with gamepads too.
      It’s safe to assume nothing less than controls that feel like they were ported from console to PC and back again.

    • bill says:

      Did the original PC version not support gamepads? I seem to remember playing it on a gamepad, but maybe my memory is flaky.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    “Fahrenheit: Our dog ate the final third of the script, honestly” as someone called it. Maybe even on this site.

    At first I enjoyed it as an occult detective/thriller game, it felt really promising the first 30 minutes or so. I was really excited that, as you say, someone was trying to tie together gameplay with cinematic storytelling. I also thought “Run Lola” split time/screens thing was incredibly cool, but as far as I could tell it only affected the plot in a minor way in two places in the game. It quickly went from mildly supernatural to completely incoherent. Both these problems were probably due to budget constraints. Much cheaper to do quick-time events than a branching storyline told from multiple simultaneous perspectives.

    Still enjoyed parts of it, and finished it, but so many eye-roll moments. Felt like people who had never experienced real cold wrote some of the scenes. Yeah, outdoor basket in t-shirt and shorts sure is popular during cold snaps.

    **SPOILER**

    Not to mention the tender sex scene in the cold damp cavern…days after it has been established he has no pulse or body heat anymore. But perhaps his Aztec-alien-Matrix-zombie granted powers included tantric sex magic to overcome those little handicaps.

    Edit: The exposition-dumping conspiracy/sorcerer hobos, did anyone else think they were heavily inspired by Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles?

  5. Ross Angus says:

    Thanks, Alec: that really captures my feelings on the game too. I was really looking forward to this game, due to the bonkers Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Back then, no-one was really trying this stuff. The tragedy of Quantic Dream is that people have taken their ideas to much more interesting places, and Quantic Dream haven’t seemed to notice.

    But yes: it’s nonsense.

    • Geebs says:

      It’s worth mentioning that Metal Gear Solid 2 came out in 2001, and MGS3 in 2004. Both had much more impressive production values and were better games.

      • Ross Angus says:

        I probably didn’t express myself too well. It wasn’t the production values I was talking about. More non-violent gameplay in 3D and a focus on character.

  6. Legion23 says:

    I still have a soft spot in my heart for this game. It´s like a post-Matrix B-movie (pun intended) with a surprisingly high budget. The game is a mess, but a enjoyable mess. Guess that makes it the most fun of all the Quantic Dream games for me.

    • Wowbagger says:

      Still better than Beyond: two souls, however you look at it.

      • draglikepull says:

        I like Indigo Prophecy a lot and Heavy Rain even more, but Beyond: Two Souls is an unmitigated disaster.

    • Emeraude says:

      I still prefer Omikron – it’s sad really to me the studio had actually scaled down its ambitions from it going into Fahrenheit , from that “complete game experience” to the “cinematic game”.

      I’d love Omikron to be revisited by a studio that can do the sandbox thing properly. There’s so much potential in there.

  7. djbriandamage says:

    “Native game controller support is probably the bigger win.”

    Also widescreen support, which was present on the console versions but not on PC.

    • SigmaCAT says:

      Oh my god! That’s what was missing from my farenheit playthrough! After years of waiting, I’ll finally be able to launch the game to visit a non-obese Lucas-and-every-other-character-in-the-game!

  8. DrollRemark says:

    I feel like all the action sequences in that trailer should come with the disclaimer that you’ll be too busy looking at joystick prompts to actually appreciate them.

    I expect this will be the common refrain to any mention of this game, but the first couple of scenes really did establish a potential it never quite lived up to (instead choosing tangents galore to fly off on), and god yes, the sex scenes in this game were SO bad.

    • kalirion says:

      And now you’ll be able to do thrusting QTEs with improved textures!

  9. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Like Alec, I think the game started off impressively. Playing both sides of the murder is the sort of clever idea I’d typically roll my eyes at, but it was implemented really well. I didn’t get too far into the game before I kept dying to a giant flea—I ragequit when I hit all the QTEs exactly (on my third attempt) and the game killed me anyway.

    • bill says:

      This may annoy you (if you even see this), but I think that flea section is the one part in the game where you have to do the opposite of what the on screen prompts tell you!

      I think the story logic was that you had to resist your fears or something, but having just spent an long time training you to respond to the on screen prompts, and then requiring you to NOT respond to the onscreen prompts was just plain evil..
      I think I almost quit the game right there, then I looked it up, then I almost quit the game in sheer anger.

  10. Drake Sigar says:

    It boasts the best introduction to a game ever (no, not the tutorial sequence), was one of the first instances of timed dialogue that I know of, and the cinematic multi-camera was a great idea that ratcheted up the tension. It was also perhaps the only instance (aside from Battletoads because of a silly multiplayer issue concerning lives) where I was tempted to play badly for the killer or the cops, depending on who I sympathised with more. The Youtube comments? Hatred of this Remaster. Hatred of Fahrenheit. Hatred of David Cage.

    Yes I know, I probably shouldn’t use Youtube comments to represent public sentiment, but the point I’m trying to make is that as messy as it was, a lot of people won’t give the game an inch.

  11. commentingaccount says:

    I’ve not played the game, what is the issue with the main black character exactly?

    • Shazbut says:

      I have played it and would also like to know

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      In one of the few scenes he gets he suddenly dresses and acts like something from a 70s blaxploitation film (“and now I’m gonna seduce my woman!” *funk music starts playing*). Don’t know if it was intended as an homage or a comic exaggeration, but considering how little screen time he gets compared to the other protagonists, it was maybe a bit unfortunate to make a caricature of him.

      That’s one example I remember, I seem to remember he had little personality beyond “stick it to the man” which seemed at odds with him being a police officer. Still, kudos to them for making a woman and a black guy playable, though secondary, protagonists. Delivery needs improvement.

      • draglikepull says:

        He’s also really into basketball, which is a stereotype. I think the game is a bit clumsy about how it handles that character, but in general I appreciated the way it presented a diverse cast. I think Indigo Prophecy was the first game I played where there was a gay character who wasn’t intended to be a punch line (I hadn’t played The Longest Journey at the time, which certainly predates it).

        • Premium User Badge

          Lars Westergren says:

          There was a gay character?

          • draglikepull says:

            Carla’s neighbour who visits her apartment to drink wine and read tarot cards.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lars Westergren says:

            Oh right, forgot that scene.

          • April March says:

            Carla’s gay neighbour may not be a laughing stock, but he scores high enough in the Gay Stereotype Chart that he feels like he stepped out of a 90’s sitcom.

        • Eschatos says:

          Liking basketball is a stereotype? Oh shit, I guess I better never watch another game.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lars Westergren says:

            > Liking basketball is a stereotype?

            If it’s one of the few character traits they can think of to give to a black character, maybe?

      • Shazbut says:

        I thought he was quite well handled. He had a lot of black masculinity tropes but I don’t think they have to be subverted in order to create a strong character. Broader strokes are always painted when it’s a supporting character. They decided that they wanted a character that lived in that kind of world and while you could say it’s a missed opportunity, it’s no worse than that.

        Otherwise, he was good. He was smart, sensitive, laid-back, professional, kind of under the thumb of his girlfriend a bit…all in all pretty well rounded. Not, for example, a Magical Negro as in so many other games

        • Premium User Badge

          Lars Westergren says:

          That’t true, he might have been a better character than I remembered. I do recall caring about him and his girlfriend, but after the first chapter he was just gone and never mentioned again…

          • BooleanBob says:

            To Cage’s credit, that’s actually the much-vaunted dynamic scripting in action. There weren’t many changes you could really effect to how the story progressed, certainly not as many as the rainbow of cascading complexity digi-David promised us in that tutorial, but Tyler could leave at various points in the story and and the main character’s brother took part in some (spoilericious) events that you could change the outcome of.

          • Jackablade says:

            I don’t remember a hell of a lot about Fahrenheit (by Gar, it’s been a while), but one scene that sticks in my mind is a nice character moment where Tyler down and comforts Carla if you let her have a panic attack in the library archives, then takes over the research himself.

            Considering how screwed up a lot of the writing I don’t think they did too bad a job with him. He could probably have added a lot to the later parts of the story playing the regular guy who’s trying to work out what the hell is going on audience proxy character. Actually making he and Carla the main protagonists and letting Lucas flit about in the background probably would have made for a far more coherent game.

        • kwyjibo says:

          His relationship with his girlfriend is the most human thing in the entire game.

          He does like basketball though.

          • April March says:

            You’re all forgetting the most important thing about that guy: he’s the only character, in any media that I’ve seen, that is a self-identified gamer without it either making him a loser or being the central aspect of his character. He’s a competent cop, a loving boyfriend, a fan of basketball, an awful ice skater and a fun of vidyagayms. Though he has memorabilia from David Cage’s earlier work, so his taste may be a bit dubious…

  12. Orix says:

    I already own Indigo Prophecy on Steam… I’d kinda appreciate it if you could upgrade to the remaster for free, or a minimal fee, rather than having to buy it again for the support it should have had in the first place.

    Yes I know its only £6, but that’s like 6 pints of terribile [sic] beer I could be having!

    • TheDreamlord says:

      In what part of this world does a pint of beer cost a quid only??? It’s almost a fiver here nowadays. (unless you mean the supermarket….)

  13. malkav11 says:

    I’m guessing they probably didn’t take this opportunity to go back and put in the chunk of game that’s clearly missing in the last couple hours. The sense that the game spirals into complete incoherent madness seems to be more an artifact of a sudden rush towards conclusion in the very late game than that the narrative couldn’t have gotten there intelligibly with a bit more space and maneuvering, so that’s what I would want from a “remastered” edition. Oh well.

    It’s still pretty much the apex of their output. The execution is more genuinely intriguing and tense early on than Heavy Rain ever manages, and Heavy Rain looks like Shakespeare next to Beyond: Two Souls.

  14. 2late2die says:

    I actually really liked the game at the time, though I get the feeling it won’t hold up as well today. With that being said, this looks like one of the laziest “remastered” games I’ve seen. Higher resolution support is a few lines of code and higher-res textures is just re-saving bigger images from source files and overwriting the old ones with them. Disappointing.

  15. muira says:

    why is no one mentioning the hd mod

    – has anyone tried it out? the screenshots suggest the mod looks better?

  16. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    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.

    Oh, come on. Do tell.

    • Premium User Badge

      neffo says:

      * Like, eight people who went to the same pub after work.

      I thought those events were banned after the AP incident?

      EDIT: was supposed to be a reply to the article, not this post.

    • BooleanBob says:

      No, see. The whole point of dropping the p-word is to score a euphemistic side swipe on your objet d’frowny face without having to go to any effort to justify it.

      • pepperfez says:

        Or, y’know, “its… troubling depiction of its main black character, its ridiculous sex scenes, its wildly over-zealous quicktime event conceits.” But no, it was probably just another passive aggressive PC attack on games.

        • BooleanBob says:

          I don’t think anyone who’s played the game is likely to dispute any of those things (although I think Tyler was easily the warmest and most believable of the three main characters, and had a right to dress his apartment in whatever decor he and his partner took a fancy to).

          But they were.. from a different part of the article entirely? And Alec had mentioned them, so if they were the elements he thought were problematic, why would he need a further disclaimer to avoid being remiss in, uh, not mentioning them?

  17. farglebargle says:

    Here’s a little known trivia about Fahrenheit: It’s dumb right from the start! Yeah escaping the dinner is exciting and everything, but the story is pretty stupid from the very beginning. It also uses a lot of “tropes” that Cage had already used in Nomad Soul (and has used in every one of his other game since), like a protagonist falsely accused of a crime, the police being mindboggingly incompetent, hot, darkskinned women in white uderwear, nothing making any sense etc.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Yes, but the beginning was also promising, and back when we didn’t know what was in store, it was easy to believe that, if nothing else, the resolution would be forgivably stupid.

  18. Timbrelaine says:

    Such a fantastic opener. Bold in a way the rest of the game wasn’t, terrifying and exhilarating in a way the rest of the game wasn’t, fresh and new in etc etc. Too bad about all the campy nonsense that was shoveled in after.

  19. Zallgrin says:

    Fahrenheit was the most funniest game I ever played. (Yes, even if we include Portal) Fun in the B-rated movie way and soon derailing into insanity&hilarity

  20. cylentstorm says:

    Wow. So much hate for Quantic Cage and his Indigo Rain of Heavy David Fahrenheit Prophecies. Wait… Anyway–I thought that QTEs were all the rage, considering how I hear everyone gushing about those boring Walking Dead Button-Pushing Sims and the Telltale signs of lazy tie-ins.

    • ffordesoon says:

      The difference is that Telltale, er, tells good tales. They make games which lean heavily on their narratives and cinematic framing, but there is no problem with that if said narratives are good.

      Cage’s stories are bad. Telltale’s are good. Ergo, people mock David Cage’s storygames and laud Telltale’s storygames. It’s really that simple.

      • malkav11 says:

        They also pretty much never make you wade through minutiae that is only there to provide an “immersive” experience, which Cage does constantly. That said, neither are any of Telltale’s games as ambitious as Fahrenheit’s earliest scenes.

        • cylentstorm says:

          You’re absolutely right about the sheer quantity of mundane actions and “steps” required to progress in linear fashion though Cage’s projects. Exhausting, really. In contrast, Telltale usually uses only one or two button-mashing, stick-twisting, patience-dissolving hoop-jumping sessions to run from one cutscene to the next. Advantage: Telltale for brevity.

      • cylentstorm says:

        Um, no…it really isn’t that simple. I don’t particularly like or dislike either developer’s games. The most interesting thing to be squeezed out of Telltale’s overworked sphincter is The Wolf Among Us, but that’s probably just me, and due in part to the fact that I am completely unfamiliar with the Fables source material. Helps it to seem fresh….but it is still a mess of scripted choice branches and annoying QTEs that distract from the storytelling in any sense.

        Enter Quantic Dream: where would-be movie producers make interactive films mired in the very same video-game trappings that no one really likes.

        If story and narrative are so important, i wonder which I can/will/would remember? Walking Dead? Doubtful. It’s more of the same derivative fluff that fuels the extremely long-winded TV series but manages to look like the comics/graphic novels. IP/Fahrenheit/whatever? Not really–mosty just a jumbled recollection of Theory of a Deadman (the other, slightly-less-annoying but similar-sounding version of Nickelback) songs and weird forced/timed events. Borderlands? Nah–could be good for a chuckle, but I’m more than burnt out on that cashcow. Heavy Rain? Vague memories of repeating scenes unti I managed to get the outcome that I wanted or the game had its way with me and made me sit through some undesired cutscenes. Game of Thrones? Hmm–tempting…although I’ve only managed to wade through around 2.5 of Martin’s books. Love the characters and setting, so that’s a definite “maybe.”

        So: no–I’m not likely to remember any of the “stories” involved if the game mechanics surrounding them provide yet another obstacle to overcome, and do little, if anything, to add to the experience.

    • PsychoWedge says:

      And a lot of people are quite critical with the direction the “gameplay” in Tell Tale games has gone into. Just because someone praises one aspect of a game (the stories), that doesn’t mean they automatically praise everything else as well, because, you know, they in fact don’t.

      • cylentstorm says:

        Very true, Mr. Wedgie. There really is no accounting for taste, is there? Honestly, what has happened to storytelling in this medium that has left us so desperate for something of substance that we latch on to watered-down ale and moldy old nuggets of bread as if they were a gourmet feast that the gods would envy?

  21. PsychoWedge says:

    Maybe this ReRelease of Fahrenheit is the plot of the next David Cage game, where he finally completely transcends the medium and becomes the protagonist in a simulation of his own life as a game-director from the moment he started making Beyond: Two Souls up to the point of the release of this new game, which is called Beyond: Four Walls. Of course, the role of David Cage will be played by Willem Dafoe, while the Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page in the game who are making Beyond: Two Souls will be played by Brandon Fraser and Danny DeVito. But obviously in the ingame version of the ingame version of Beyond Two Souls, Brandon Fraser and Danny DeVito will look like Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page, while the real David Cage will provide a meta director’s commentary to every single layer of the new game via screaming in your ear in the real world, because there will be only 5 copies of Beyond: Four Walls and you’re only allowed to play it, when David Cage is sitting behind you on a bar stool, watching and judging and observing you.

    In the end you will be in a Diner, stabbing someone to death with no memories of why you’re there or why your weapon looks as if it was carved from a ps3 gamepad.

  22. April March says:

    The only way I’d buy a remake of Farenheite Prophecy Indigo 360 is if it was broken into two games: a chilling, noirish supernatural game that properly finishes the first bit, and an over-the-top Matrix like superpower rumble that offers a fitting beginning ofr the final bits.

  23. bill says:

    Did the original have a demo that was just the diner scene? I vaguely remember that.

    If so, play the demo. that diner scene is awesome. The rest of the game varies from ok to bad to interesting, but nothing really comes close to the diner scene.

  24. Christian Dannie Storgaard says:

    Native Linux support is also a pretty good reason to pick up the remaster.