Do Synthetics Deserve Rights and Freedoms?

By, William Griston, For Love of the Game – Gigamax Games Contributor

Do Synthetics Deserve Rights and Freedoms?

That’s the question that Detroit: Become Human is asking of us, and for me, that answer was an emphatic “Yes!”.

Ever since I started writing for Gigamax, I’ve been relatively diligent with taking screenshots.

Detroit was different, it is such an engaging game that I forgot to take any screenshots while doing my playthrough. Detroit has the best story that I have had the great fortune of having experienced in a video game since the first Mass Effect, the story was so engaging that I stayed up until 12:30 am on a work night doing “One more Chapter’ because I knew I was close to the end of the game and I wanted to see how it finished. The alarm going off at 4:50 am was painful, but it was oh so worth it. I reflected on the game and my experiences with it most of the day at work. I’m honestly on the brink of starting another playthrough and making different choices to see how much it impacts the story.

I’m not normally the type of person that plays story-driven adventure games, or as the creative director of Quantic Dream calls his games(Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit(region depending), Heavy Rain, Detroit: Become Human): Interactive movies. This game plays you as much as you play it. If you’re like me, your choices are a reflection of your personality and the characters within it play out their roles based on your decisions.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

On the surface, Detroit is a glorified choose your own adventure with some hamfisted civil-rights allegories(Underground Railroad, Segregation, Equal Rights) thrown in to evoke some base emotions in people. In my case, these parables worked exactly as they were intended to, even though I knew what they were referencing and recognized how crass it can be to use real-world events in this way. Regardless of all of that, I still felt for the androids. Most of that was the acting, and a good part of that was how real the world feels. The level of detail in every chapter is intense, everything(except Sumo) looks so realistic that I sometimes forgot I was playing a game rather than watching a movie.

detroit become human gameplay art

Markus’ first attempt to Broach peace with the Humans(I apologize for the chop, I need to adjust my OBS settings):

Detroit is semi-linear and each chapter has its’ own endings and they reward you for exploring all the little nooks and crannies with more dialog options later on in the game and most of the choices are meaningful as they develop your character and drive the story along(People you saved/didn’t save show up later on, and may or may not be antagonistic depending how you handled them earlier). My Kara gunned down Alice’s father, but that encounter is never really mentioned in detail, they just tell people something like “We left because he was abusive”. My Connor spared the two sexbots at The Eden Club, which enabled a little scene at Jericho once he finally reached it in the latter parts of the game. There are multiple endings for each of the three main characters(Your choices impact when, how, or even if they die) as well as a slew of endings for the game overall. The major divergence in the story is “Did you attempt to broach peace with the humans or did you lead a violent android uprising?” I chose the former, as Markus, I broached peace with the humans, and the other two of the three characters that I was controlling made heroic sacrifices(One of whom came back, much to my surprise).

Markus leads a rally for freedom days after the speech(I apologize for the chop, I need to adjust my OBS settings):

I had a dream…

The world and lore behind Detroit: Become Human is what first grabbed my attention when I saw the E3 trailer for it years ago in the ancient times of 2016 and the gameplay reveal the following year. It was one of three games that I came very close to buying a PS4 to play, the other being Horizon Zero Dawn. Both of which were ported to PC not that long ago(much to my great joy), though HZD has a bunch of issues that render it borderline unplayable for a lot of people as of the time of this writing. At least now I have no reason to get a PS4…. except Spider-man. Curse you Sony, why are your exclusives so good?

I can’t be alone in hoping that there is a sequel/spin-off to Detroit down the line that follows Conor and Hank.

I need a Conor and Hank buddy cop game in my life. I know I already got a buddy cop game with  Garrus/Wrex/Shepard in Mass Effect 1, but there’s always room for another one. 

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