Detroit: Become Human presents players with all kinds of choices, from the mundane to the heart-wrenching, but an upcoming patch for the sci-fi adventure will allow players to take back a decision that seemed like the only permanent decision in the entire game.
[Warning: This post contains mild spoilers for Detroit: Become Human.]
An android named Chloe serves as something of a guide to Detroit. Appearing as a white woman with blond hair and blue eyes, Chloe hangs out behind the main menu. She explains the basics of the game, points you to an optional survey and checks in on you every so often.
Once you’ve finished Detroit and gone back to the main menu, you’ll get to make one last choice: Chloe gives you the option to set her free. You can let her go join the android revolution, or decline to release her from her imprisonment as the game’s hostess.
In a tweet from Detroit’s official account Sunday night, developer Quantic Dream said that “a lot of players” who let Chloe go had been asking for a way to bring her back. So the studio “decided to follow the popular vote”: The game’s next patch will add the ability for players who have released Chloe to “acquire a brand new model” of her. The studio noted that the original Chloe model “will still be free.”
(Spoiler) A lot of players asked us to « bring back Chloe » after her release. We decided to follow the popular vote: @Detroit_PS4’s next patch will allow you to acquire a brand new model (but your original Chloe will still be free). pic.twitter.com/FBt59FrJC2
— Detroit: Become Human (@Detroit_PS4) June 10, 2018
The option seems like it undermines the story that drives Detroit: Become Human forward. One of the core themes that writer and creative director David Cage tried to get across — albeit perhaps not as effectively as he wanted — is the idea of androids as intelligent, autonomous beings that deserve the same rights as humans.
Deciding whether to release Chloe from her enslavement in the game’s main menu is an important choice, and the finality of it is key. People who decide to let Chloe leave get to watch her walk off screen, never to return. It’s a little lonely for the player; the welcome screen returns to a generic video game menu. But there’s relief and bittersweet feelings in knowing that Chloe is no longer trapped within the virtual walls of Detroit: Become Human. Replacing her with another Chloe model goes against everything that might have gone into the original decision.
Quantic Dream did respond to replies to its tweet to note that the patch will only introduce the option to obtain a replacement Chloe model. So players who are happy with their decision to free the android can continue playing as if they never changed their mind, giving Chloe’s freedom the meaning that it deserves.
The idea of restructuring games, or informing them based on data from the very beginning, is becoming more and more prevalent. As EA Motive Studios founder Jade Raymond told Polygon out of this year’s E3, studios are increasingly looking to develop brands that are “owned by the by the players from the start”:
If you take Game of Thrones, you know, let’s say at one point in the story you’re going to have the Red Wedding. You know that at one point, some family is all going to be obliterated. You can put these kind of big story beats there in your overall story. Then you could say, we’re going to do it based on data.
Let’s say you have a traditional faction system. And let’s say players are really gravitating towards this one family, and they’re the most beloved. If you really want to shock the community the most, those are the ones you plug in to kill off — based on who players are really interacting with.
Detroit: Become Human’s decision to cater to players’ wishes is a proto-version of Raymond’s grander vision. How it evolves from there may be in the hands of fans.