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1. Musical Maestro These days, Cage is mostly known for being the CEO of Quantum Dream and a writer and director of a multitude of successful games. All of this serves to make his entry into the gaming industry that much more surprising. Before creating Quantic Dream, Cage created a company called Totem Interactive that specialized in creating music and sound design for multimedia. Cage was also a freelance musician for some obscure games back then, including TimeCop and Cheese Cat-Astrophe Starring Speedy Gonzales (no, really). And David Cage wasn’t “Cage” back then. In those days, he went by the name David De Gruttola. But he changed his very French-sounding name to the more American-sounding “David Cage” when he founded Quantic Dream in 1997.
2. Living the (Quantic) Dream As a studio, Cage’s Quantic Dream established a well-earned reputation for quality over quantity. Since Cage founded the company in 1997, Quantic Dream has only released five games. However, these games (especially Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human) helped stretch the boundaries of what games could do. And Cage himself rapidly became a celebrity in his own right. It helps that he hit the ground running with The Nomad Soul, a game where he managed to snag David Bowie to voice multiple characters and create an album of new music. And despite his success and rising fame, Cage came across as a CEO who understood what it meant to be a modern gamer. He didn’t want to crank out countless sequels and prequels. Instead, he wanted to create new properties that challenged players to think about things in a brand new way.
3. Video Game Auteur What do you picture when you imagine the CEO of a major gaming company? Chances are you're imagining someone who sits in his office counting money all day. And that money comes from the successes of people much farther down on the food chain. With David Cage, we should give credit where credit is due. He is not simply the CEO of Quantic Dream. He has also been the writer and director of each of their games. Because of this, Cage’s celebrity among gamers was a bit like Steve Jobs’ fame with Apple. Cage was more than just a name at the top of the company mast: his name and success were synonymous with his company and with his games. While that would eventually bite Cage in the ass, it led to many successes very early on.
4. Decorated Designer As writer and director of some innovative and commercially successful games, Cage attracted a lot of attention. And eventually, numerous organizations rewarded him for his efforts. In 2010, he won two BAFTA awards for Heavy Rain: one for Best Story and one for Technical Innovation. Fast forward to 2019 and he won BAFTAs for Detroit: Become Human, including awards for Artistic Achievement and Audio Achievement. Perhaps his prestigious honor came from Cage’s home country of France, where Cage was awarded the Legion of Honour for his creative efforts, making him the first-ever video game developer to win the award.
5. Serious Allegations Surface For a while, it seemed like David Cage’s star would continue to shine bright indefinitely. But in 2018, everything began crashing down. In early 2018, a variety of news outlets ran stories about the toxic work environment of Quantic Dream. There were allegations of a hostile work environment that encouraged things like misogyny and racism. And Cage was specifically named as someone who encouraged the kind of environment in which employees’ faces were Photoshopped onto naked porn stars and even Nazis. Both Cage and Quantic Dream have pushed back against these allegations as a smear campaign against them. But the increased scrutiny over David Cage brought some more unfortunate incidents to light.
6. The Past Comes Back to Bite David Cage Cage pushed back against these allegations and has had numerous dealings with various courts. However, things fell apart completely once he had to testify in court. David Cage had to appear in court as part of his fight against two French newspapers. He saw this as a matter of fighting for his honor and the honor of his company. But none of this went how he had planned. The defense lawyers began by listing some of Cage’s public comments. This included some eyebrow-raising comments such as “in my games, all women are whores,” “in the open space, there is a lack of tits,” and “at Quantic Dream, we do not make games for f-gs.” Witnesses say that when confronted with his own ugly history, Cage could barely get words out and was reduced to tears. He ended up blurting out “you interfere with my business” before running out of court. Obviously, these public statements really hurt Cage’s claims that he did not run a toxic workplace. And while the legal matters are not finished yet, it is amazing how far David Cage has fallen from his place of prominence just a few years ago.