I’ve written three thrillers, novels with complicated plots that relied in part on big reveals at the end of the stories. Because I know so much is riding on those final revelations, one of the first things that I do is give early drafts to friendly readers and quiz them mercilessly about any plot holes. Did anything not make sense to you? Were the surprises satisfying? Are there any huge, glaring plot holes? What the hell is wrong with this thing? I always get some useful feedback. Outside readers see things in the text that I didn’t. Likewise, I’m often confronted with the fact that I’m thinking with a whole different set of assumptions than my readers are, mostly because I tend to know the ending well before I’ve written it. For me, the logic of the story has to hold together at every stage or it all just falls apart and I get angry.
For a large portion of Heavy Rain, I was angry. I think that the gameplay is fun and innovative and builds tension well. I think that it does a great job of splitting the narrative among different characters who are each distinct enough that their perspectives on the hunt for the Origami Killer are all different and interesting. There’s a lot to like and admire about the game’s structure. And when all was said and done, when all the secrets were revealed, I thought it was okay. The big, huge reveal at the end was one of the few plot points that really worked for me, and if you’re only going to have one plot point that works, they picked the right one. I was surprised, it made sense, and it made me rethink much of what I’d seen in the story up to that point. These are textbook examples of a good surprise ending. If only I hadn’t been yelling, “Why are you so stupid?!?!”, at the screen so much on the journey to those final scenes.