When I heard that Quantic Dream are making a Star Wars game, I felt much as I did when I found out my home town Swindon had been twinned with Disney World: you'd have expected Disney to Google some stuff first.
Still, last night at The Game Awards we all got a first look at Star Wars Eclipse in the form of a cinematic trailer. And let's be honest: that trailer is cracking. It's really good. And it's so good that I think we all need to remember that there is absolutely no way QD aren't going to spectacularly boot this.
Like, credit where it's due. That trailer is magnificent. The pounding chorus of drums, the bustling alien market, the asteroid fields, the ships, the battling jedi... it all screams not only "Star Wars!" but "well cool!". I got excited and watched it a few times in a row. But well all have to remember that after the screams die down there is a faint whisper of "David Cage is involved in this somewhere." Imagine his glee at being allowed to work with an IP that canonically has the choice between evil and good baked into it.
Because making games that look cool has never been Quantic Dream's problem! Look at Bryan Dechart licking up robot blood in Detroit, and be amazed! Then remember the rest of the content of Detroit, and grow concerned. And let me be clear: I am inordinately fond of Quantic Dream games. They are very adept at making games that play well, and look good while they play.
And this Eclipse is going to be a story-heavy game, right? QD don't make combat games, so you're not going to be actually being a jedi like in KOTOR (although, on the Star Wars Eclipse Bingo Card that writes itself, one square will definitely have "QTE lightsaber fight" on it). According to the official site, Eclipse is set during the High Republic era and I am told it will "build upon Quantic Dream's expertise in delivering deeply branching narratives", with an emphasis on player choice affecting the story. So that sounds like the most recent QD games, right enough.
But those are the very worst QD games, aren't they? The problem with Quantic Dream's games, especially the recent ones, is that they are - and I say this with all the love my heart can muster - awful terrible, no good messes with some of the worst, most facile writing you will ever experience in the medium of video games. Detroit is a game in which a robot character who has been tortured by a human turns to camera and says "who is the real monster?!" out loud. I will never stop talking about how bad the writing was on Detroit. Remember how you could give your group of political activist robots the slogan "I have a dream", yet Cage insisted the game was just about androids? Or, as my friend Chris text me this morning: "I want R2D2 to do a heartfelt speech about race".
So don't be fooled. It doesn't matter that this is a Star Wars game. It doesn't matter that the trailer is cut together really well. This game is going to to be ridiculous and terrible, unless someone has wrested creative control from David Cage in the same way you would gently take a mouse away from Lennie Small. If Eclipse comes out and there isn't a scene where a Twi'lek woman has a shower then I believe it will only be because someone at Quantic Dream saw this post and was like, "Aw man, we have to take the shower scene out or she'll post about how she was totally right about the shower scene."
Look, I'm not trying to be a Scrooge. This game is going to look great. I really want it to be good in other ways. If it is I will come back here and eat all the space crow you want. But it will be less psychically damaging for all of us if we accept, right now, that Star Wars Eclipse is going to be bad.