Ellen Page was eager to take on the challenging Beyond: Two Souls
Ellen Page’s new project isn’t a film. It’s not even a TV show. It’s a video game, and it’s a challenge she was eager to take on, even after she learned the amount of commitment it would require. Beyond: Two Souls, available on Tuesday (October 8), was developed by Paris-based Quantic Dream for the PS3.
The game’s producer, Guillaume de Fondaumière, told the Straight that even though the Canadian actor liked the script, he and David Cage, who designed and directed the game, insisted on meeting with her. As the central character in a video game, Page would have to learn a 2,000-page script and perform it on a sound stage over four weeks using the performance-capture process refined by the likes of filmmakers James Cameron and Peter Jackson.
“We explained everything to her—the technical aspects, the creative aspects of the project. And still she wanted to do it,” said de Fondaumière.
In Beyond, Page stars as Jodie Holmes, a woman who is able to communicate with an unseen, supernatural entity named Aiden. The game takes place over 15 years of Jodie’s life—when she is a young girl, a teenager, and a young woman—and is presented out of sequence, so that players will often understand “consequences before causes”, according to de Fondaumière, who was discussing the game at E3 in Los Angeles in June.
Because players step into Jodie’s life at three ages, Beyond has three distinct flavours. A 2012 demo of the game showed her as a teenager escaping the police. At E3, the sequence that was presented was of 20-something Jodie on a CIA mission in Somalia to take out a warlord.
And even though certain plot points in Beyond are unavoidable, de Fondaumière explained that players have choices as to how they achieve the objectives of the game. A Somalian soldier is killed, for example, in all instances of the game. But the circumstances and consequences of his death vary depending on how players get Jodie to that sequence.
Players don’t just control Jodie. They also control Aiden, the mysterious entity that’s connected to Jodie in some way. Aiden can be used to attack or distract, or even for reconnaissance, but he can’t get too far away from Jodie, as if the two are attached by an unseen umbilical cord. And Aiden has his own objectives, de Fondaumière explained, which he can express by taking control of Jodie and acting on her behalf. “Aiden is a character in his own right,” he said.