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Video Game / The Quiet Man

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Silence Rings Loudest

The Quiet Man is an Action-Adventure game, developed by Human Head Studios and published by Square Enix for PS4 and PC on November 1st, 2018.

It was a night like any other in New York City, when a man named Dane goes out seeking revenge for the death of his mother. When a mysterious figure in a bird mask kidnaps the girlfriend of Dane's best friend and it seems that he has a connection with the murder, Dane is determined to seek him out.

The main gimmick of the game is that it played from Dane's point of view, and it just so happens that Dane is deaf. As a result, most of the game's sound is either heavily muted or completely silent, at least on a first playthrough. The game is meant to be played twice, with the second playthrough revealing what everyone had been saying the entire time.

Not to be confused with the 1952 film of the same name.

This game contains the following tropes:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: After Taye shoots him on the rooftop, Dane becomes a supernatural, shadow-y being with Glowing Eyes of Doom, gaining increased speed and strength.
  • Abusive Parents: Flashbacks reveal that Dane suffered a horrible childhood after his mother Lorraine's death. The Answered patch reveals his father Robert resents Dane for getting Lorraine accidentally killed by Taye and Issac, and goes as far as refusing to forgive him for her death.
  • Animalistic Abomination: The titular "Quiet Man" isn't quite Dane himself, but a Plague Doctor-like identity originally created by Dane in his youth to cope with both his abusive father and Missing Mom that gets taken on by Lala's kidnapper (Robert). In the game's climax, Dane himself takes on the identity, mask included, which apparently contributes in him gaining supernatural powers after Taye shoots him.
  • Antagonist Title: Contrary to what you might expect from the game's pitch, the titular "Quiet Man" is not Dane himself, but rather the bird-masked kidnapper who sets the plot in motion.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Isaac and Taye are each the bosses of their own gang and much tougher than their Mooks in a fight. Isaac is a huge bruiser who basically fights like The Kingpin, while Taye has a unique fighting style that appears to be Muay Thai.
  • Batman Gambit: The Answered version of the game reveals that the entire plot was orchestrated by Dane's father, Robert. He exploited his son's complex over wishing he could have saved his mother to trick Dane into taking care of the men responsible for his wife's death (one of whom is still friends with Dane), by finding a woman who resembled his wife and utilizing the imagery of Dane's heroic Quiet Man persona.
    • In a specific moment, he leaves a box for Dane to find that contains the Quiet Man's mask and a dress implying that Lala died in the same way as Dane's mother, knowing that Dane's complex over the two things would cause him to put on the mask and go berserk. This convinces Dane's friend Taye that Dane was the traitor, driving a wedge between them and ultimately giving Dane a reason to go after his own friend.
    • Arguably, Lala as well. A late flashback shows Lala reacting to a picture of Lorraine, and her wishing to save both her and Dane. It's thus implied that she chose Robert to kidnap her precisely because she figured that the resemblance would affect Robert just as well and he could be convinced to save both of them.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: New York City, check. Active gang violence, check.
  • Book Ends: While there aren't that many models and it's hard to say how meaningful it is, the first two SOL33 members that you fight in game are the last two members that Dane takes down before moving onto Taye's gang.
  • Broken Bird: Lala. The Answered patch reveals that her music career took a toll on her happiness and is desperate to disappear by any means necessary. This leads her to ask Robert to abduct her and setting up the game's events.
  • Butt-Monkey: Taye's associate, Babcock, gets on Dane's bad side pretty often for no apparent reason. Dane steals his fancy handkerchief twice, getting blood on his suit, and even punches and breaks his car window for the hell of it.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: Dane calls his father Ash to his face, and calls him Robert to Lala. This is one of the more subtle ways that his terrible relationship with his father is shown.
  • Diegetic Interface: Attempted, via the excessive lens in the corner of the screen.
  • Expy: Dane looks like an odd mix between Joseph Carter Jones from Heroman, and Matt Damon from Team America: World Police.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Once you beat the game for the first time, the game rewinds itself to several previously apparently insignificant moments of the story but with the sound turned on to hint at greater twists, with the biggest being the revelation that Lala requested to be set up for a Faked Kidnapping with Dane's father.
  • Faked Kidnapping: The New Game Plus mode reveals that Lala set up her own kidnapping with Dane's father so she doesn't have to sing anymore.
  • False Flag Operation: Much of the game's events were set in motion due to one set up by Robert, who helped stage a kidnapping that looked like it was done by SOL 33 in a complex plan to spark up a gang war, with the intention of having Dane wipe out the leaders of the involved gangs.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: Dane's hairstyle in his childhood flashbacks is identical to his hairstyle as an adult.
  • Handicapped Badass: Dane, the protagonist whose deafness doesn't prevent him from beating the snot out of wave after wave of gangsters.
  • Hate Sink: Robert, Dane's father who hated him from birth for stealing away his wife's attention. After her death, Robert puts all the blame on Dane and becomes a physically and verbally abusive monster throughout his childhood. As an adult, Robert uses Dane as a tool for revenge, manipulating him into killing the two people who had also played a part in his wife's death. One of which, happens to be Dane's best friend. After all is said and done, Dane goes to jail and Robert gets away with everything. While Robert does seem to want to make amends in the New Game Plus ending, it all rings hollow, as up till that point, he had done nothing to earn Dane's forgiveness.
    Therapist: It's natural. He (Dane) created this... Quiet Man to manifest his feelings.
    Robert: No, no... Why does he need an outlet for the pain? He deserves it. Every inch.
  • Identical Stranger: For reasons unclear in a first playthrough, much of the plot centers around a kidnapped singer named Lala, who bears a striking resemblance to Dane's mother, Lorraine (and they're both played by the same actress). The New Game Plus mode doesn't explain why she looks so similar, but it does help in Robert's plan to string Dane along for the ride by evoking his trauma.
  • Idiosyncratic Menu Labels: The game completely eschews text for the menus (with the exception of the difficulty selection screen and the PC-exclusive graphics settings section) and depicts the menus mostly with symbols.
  • Idiot Ball: Really, young Dane? Was running up to two guys fighting over a loaded gun to say hi really the best idea? His mom also gets points for accompanying and allowing him to do this, and she fatally ends up caught in the crossfire as a result.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Double Subverted. Dane's knuckles get noticeably bloody after his constant fistfights through the night and he's shown cleaning them in a few cutscenes, but otherwise, they don't really affect his ability to fight.
  • Jealous Parent: Robert reveals that he had resented Dane from birth because of the time that his wife, Lorraine, would spend with him. Lorraine was at least able to keep him from going overboard at the time, however.
  • Karma Houdini: Robert was an abusive father to Dane and spied on him as an adult. Using information gained this way, he psychologically manipulates Dane, causing him to relive his mother's death, leads him to a psychotic break, and destroys his relationship with the one person he was ever on good terms with. While the targets Robert leads Dane to are Asshole Victims themselves and Robert serves as the True Final Boss, he ultimately survives and the happy ending involves Dane making up with him and Robert suffering no consequences for his actions. In fact, Dane is seen leaving prison, but there's no indication that Robert served time for abusing his position as a cop and all of the laws he broke.
  • Le Parkour: Dane does this a few times in the game, mostly when giving chase to the kidnapper's van. One particular stunt has him running through a laundromat, where he vaults off a random bald guy's head.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: "The Quiet Man" himself is not Dane, but rather the crow-masked kidnapper who serves as the primary antagonistic force, whose guise was created by Dane as a child as a representation of his pain and purposefully evoked by his father.
  • Manchild: Isaac, the leader of SOL33, shows this trait for most of his screentime save for one shot where he accidentally murders Dane's mother - though based on Dane's flashbacks, Isaac doesn't seem to be any fazed after the fact.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Robert, Dane's detective father, has a very complex Batman Gambit running throughout the game, aiming to get Dane to escalate the Mob War and get both gang leaders killed, using Lala's request to fake her kidnapping to kickstart everything, evoking her coincidental resemblance to his dead mother as well as Dane's image of "The Quiet Man" to quietly goad him into cooperating.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The game has a handful of seemingly supernatural elements. By the end, it seems pretty clear that the disappearing Quiet Man in the street was simply a hallucination, and Dane's rampage in Club Moonrise was a mental breakdown, but Dane's apparent resurrection and super form at the end of the game is never explained. It's possible that the first shot wasn't fatal and that Taye intentionally missed the head shot (it's off screen and Lala only screams at the first shot), and it's possible that Taye's reaction to Dane getting back up was simply that he assumed he was already dead and not reacting to Dane's appearance. Dane appears to teleport after this, but this could be part of his superhuman fighting ability which is never treated as particularly unusual. Dane is not shown leaving this form (the FMV starts with him already out of it) and no characters comment on it afterward, giving no confirmation one way or the other.
  • Medium Blending: The cutscenes periodically shift between live-action FMV and in-engine animation, sometimes seamlessly fading into each other.
  • Mob War: The backdrop of the game and explanation for the gameplay. Dane is muscle for an unnamed mafia-style gang led by Taye that operates out of the Club Moonrise, which is in direct opposition to a rival group of Gangbangers led by Isaac called SOL33, whose thugs are your Mooks for most of the game.
  • New Game Plus: Beating the game once unlocks The Quiet Man: Answered, a patch that restores sound to the story.
  • Once More, with Clarity: The point of the Answered patch, which turns on the audio to reveal what had previously been muted, providing some unexpected twists on the way.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Part of the ambiguity of the morality on display is that we don't get much in the way of actual proof of what the gangs in the game do. Aside from Dane's initial mission of retrieving a case of drugs from SOL33, we don't know or see what the gangs do. SOL33 is portrayed as aggressive and its members do attack at least one man in Club Moonrise, but they're mostly encountered minding their own business or chasing Dane as a result of a cop's machinations. Taye's gang, on the other hand, is never seen doing much of anything except running a club that they appear to take seriously as a business.
  • Pretty in Mink: In a flashback, Lala wears a faux fur jacket over her jewelry and evening dress.
  • Plot Hole: During the final boss fight, Dane is somehow able to understand what Robert is saying even though Robert is wearing a mask that would prevent any attempt at lip-reading. He also occasionally responds to what people are saying when they aren't looking at him.
  • Punch Parry: Done at the conclusion of the boss fight with Babcock. While the latter recoils in serious pain from the maneuver, Dane doesn't even flinch, allowing him enough time to land a final blow.
  • The Quiet One: Dane has a handful of spoken lines, but communicates mostly in sign language.
  • Reading Lips: It's implied that Dane can read lips, as there are instances in which he directly responds to dialogue that isn't signed to him. However, the game is inconsistent about this. In the Answered version, it's revealed that Isaac is taunting Dane about his inability to understand anything he says throughout the whole fight, and Dane clearly misses out on important exposition that is said within view of him. There is never any implication that it's difficult for him and he can't always make out what someone is saying this way either, he simply understands some dialogue and doesn't react at all to other dialogue. What's worse is that, at least once, he responds to dialogue spoken while the person has their back turned to him.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Dane's mother was killed as a result of a stray bullet fired in a fight over Horus-brand sneakers. Horus is usually depicted as having a bird's head, and is known in Egyptian myth as "the righter of wrongs", thus the Quiet Man's bird mask. Moreover, Horus is said to have had the Sun for one eye and the Moon for the other; Dane's mother is only seen in daylight shots, while Lala is only seen at night. Going one further, Isaac's gang is SOL33, while Taye's club is Club Moonrise. Now, what any of this actually to do with anything...
  • Shock and Awe: The Quiet Man's weapon is an electrified baton, which, in a game where enemies (outside of cutscenes) fight using melee weapons at the most, makes him especially dangerous. The fact it appears to be a police-grade stun baton is actually a clue as to who's behind the mask.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Despite the big pitch of the game being that it's almost completely devoid of proper dialogue and sound, this is shockingly subverted, with its storytelling being less visually-focused than one might expect, often focusing on several scenes of significant two-way dialogue that are paradoxically completely inaudible, thus incomprehensible until your second playthrough.
  • Silence Is Golden: The selling point of the game is that the protagonist is deaf and 99% of the dialogue is muted. However, the lack of subtitles on the first playthrough turned this into a Scrappy Mechanic.
  • The Stinger: The game has two, one for the deaf playthrough and the other for beating New Game Plus.
    • After beating the deaf playthrough, a flashback is shown. Robert drops his keys on the table before Lala gives a call. Not long after he picks up the phone, a countdown for the patch's release date is shown. Now that the patch is live, Lala tells Robert that she wants to disappear and he promises to kidnap her.
    • After concluding New Game Plus, you'll get a scene that ends long after the game's events. In this stinger, Dane is shown leaving a correctional facility on parole. There, he meets his father where the two reconcile for everything in the past.
  • Subtitles Are Superfluous: Only the second playthrough features the full subtitles, which leaves the player with few, if any, non-verbal clues as to what's going on. And that includes a few instances of non-subtitled American Sign Language!
  • Thicker Than Water: Dane is very quick to commit to the betrayal of his friend for the sake of his abusive father, even when he was initially tricked into the betrayal and his friend is ready to forgive him.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Robert believes this of his revenge for Lorraine's death, partially because he sees Dane as one of the culprits and not a victim. However, he does eventually decide that Dane makes a perfect tool for his revenge.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The masked kidnapper makes his first appearance simply entering the Moonrise Club during Lala's performance. Aside from Dane, a few bystanders shoot him some brief looks, but otherwise don't react at all until an unrelated gang breaks in and starts an uproar.
  • Villain Has a Point: Taye says he is speaking the truth to Dane in his final speeches, and he's right as far as the information we're given. Robert was an extremely abusive father to Dane and he (and Lala, to a lesser extent) had been manipulating him throughout the whole game without his consent. We also have no evidence to show that Taye wasn't a much better family to Dane aside from simply not helping him with his mental issues (which family doesn't have to be qualified for). This even leads into a justified Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? moment, where Taye has decided that he needs to kill Dane, but he hesitates long enough for Lala to intervene, and his choked up voice, tears, and wildly shaking hand seems to prove that he really does care about him and doesn't want to have to do it.
    • Isaac as well. While he's a huge jerk about it and makes jokes about Dane not being able to understand him, he's totally right about all of them just being manipulated and not for their own good (although it turns out much better for Dane in the end).
  • We Don't Suck Anymore: This Accolades Trailer showcases the game's negative reviews and a few positive ones that are Damned by Faint Praise, but then shows reviews that turned positive after the patch that added sound.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: At the end of the game, Robert calls Lala "Lorraine", the name of his wife, revealing that he didn't have as much control over his reaction to her death as he had been pretending.