Beyond: Two Souls to feature mobile app, lowered difficulty for control on touch screens
Heavy Rain was a game that could be just as much fun to watch as it was to play, especially if you were playing with a significant other or family member who liked to yell out decisions for the game's many branching paths. This sort of adventure game, and I know we're going to get yelled at in the comments for calling it an adventure game, is perfect to play alongside people who don't normally play video games. They're engaging, cinematic, and often feature storylines that grab a variety of people.
The Walking Dead had the same power, and I've talked to many people who played it with loved ones, or groups of friends, including those who don't normally game.
In multiplayer or solo, Beyond is playable with iOS and Android touchscreen devices, with the “Beyond Touch” app. It's a free app that allows players to control a character – it's a blank slate, with no buttons or on-screen sticks, that players use like a touchpad. Slide one finger around the screen and the character moves. The game automatically switches to easy mode when a touchscreen controller is in use.
Dear god in heaven that's exciting. There are many people who may want to play a game like Beyond, but they may be intimidated by, or unfamilar with, the standard controller. Allowing them to play on a tablet or phone will make the game more welcoming and intuitive, and the fact that the game adjusts the difficulty for these players is even better.
Beyond is the sort of game that many of us play for the story, decisions, and character development, and there's nothing wrong with making the controls easier for those players and bringing down the overall difficulty somewhat.
While this bit of news says the touchscreen device is blank, it would be very easy to add buttons that illustrate decisions, or simply separate the screen into two images to show a binary choice. Dialog trees would also be simple to navigate and control using a touchscreen.
This is the perfect sort of game for this control scheme, and there are many neat ideas that can come from using these sorts of devices to directly control games. Imagine handing someone an iPad or just installing an app to their phone to play the latest Walking Dead episode.
The controls are easier for non-gamers to grasp, literally, and the second screen could be used to share more information, or to make the inventory and item use easier to understand. If you don't want to use the touchscreen, go back to the controller.
It's easy for us to take the controller for granted, but keep in mind that it's an incredibly abstract way to move a character in 3D space, and it took us hours, if not weeks, of practice to get good at its use. The maze of analog sticks, buttons, and triggers can be intimidating for non-gamers, to the point where they may not be comfortable trying at all. A blank screen that can be manipulated with a finger or stylus? That's something else altogether; the majority of people have such a device in their pocket or at home already, and they're comfortable with its use.
This is a great idea, and a good game for this sort of controls. Let's hope it catches on.