Gamers will be so emotionally engaged with upcoming games Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins that they will cry, BioWare's Dr. Ray Muzyka reckons.
Speaking to VideoGamer.com in a wide-ranging interview, Muzyka said the goal of all BioWare games is to "try and make people feel the same emotions they feel in real life".
Fans of emotionally engaging games regularly point to Square's role-playing masterpiece Final Fantasy VII, in particular a scene that depicts the death of Aeris, as evidence that games can cause players to cry.
It is a debate, however, that rages on. Most admit that truly emotionally engaging video games are few and far between.
Muzyka believes, though, that we are there in terms of emotionally engaging players on the same level as literature and film.
When asked if he thought BioWare's upcoming games will cause people to cry, he replied: "Yeah I do. I think that's the goal, to try and make people feel the same emotions they feel in real life."
But, according to Muzyka, it's an extremely difficult job.
"People know when they see something that's not real and credible - like your eyes not moving right. It makes you realise maybe it's not real. Or the facial expression's not quite right, or too much dialogue or too little dialogue, or a whole range of things that could be just not quite right about looking real and making you feel like the character you're talking to is credible.
"If you don't have all those things just right, you can't break through that barrier to get the genuine emotional engagement with characters. That's where you get some of the more difficult emotions to convey, of love, sadness, regret, fondness, hatred, dislike, these are all valid expressions and emotions we strive for, and they're hard to do."
Quantic Dream head honcho David Cage recently told VideoGamer.com that making players cry was "really the goal" of upcoming PS3 exclusive Heavy Rain.
"Our starting point with Heavy Rain was to say look, all the games around here are just based on adrenaline," he told us. "It's just on excitement and frustration and competition - all these simple and primal emotions.
"What about all the more complex emotions like empathy, sadness, happiness? Can we make you smile or even laugh in front of your TV? Can we make you cry? Can we make you feel something different than just shooting and jumping? That's the challenge of the game. I hope we succeeded. There are some very unique scenes in this game, things that, when I play them I really feel something and hope players will feel something too."
With Dragon Age: Origins out on November 6, and Mass Effect 2 and Heavy Rain pencilled in for a release early next year, it may now be time for gamers to grab their tissue boxes and steady themselves for genuine video game tearjerkers.
Will Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2 and Heavy Rain make you cry? Are we there yet? Let us know in the comments section below.