You think of a developer such as Remedy, and you think of their hit games: Max Payne and Alan Wake. Two games that were distinctly different in the manner that they told their stories. While Max Payne was a grim tale with noir undertones, Alan Wake was a thriller inspired by Twin Peaks.
The next game from Remedy however, is a proper sci-fi tale with a wibbly wobbly timey wimey bend, as players have to navigate through a fourth dimension that is slowly unravelling. It’s a massive leap away from the horror of Alan Wake. But according to Remedy’s big cheese, the two properties do share some thematic threads.
“In some ways it’s completely different,” Remedy creative director Sam Lake said to MCVUK.
[Quantum Break] has a techno-thriller plot vibe, and obviously we watched all of the possible time travel stories multiple times.
But with [game location] Bright Falls in Alan Wake, our thinking was that even though it was set in present day, it is leaning backwards – it had a timeless feel of it, in the sense that this small town has been this way for a long time. In Quantum Break, we have consciously decided that this is present day, but let’s lean forward.
It is modern. We have done a lot of research on the art side. We watched a lot of footage from CERN and NASA and done our spin on that to try and make the game’s tech feel believable.
What really sets Quantum Break apart from other Remedy games, is the manner in which the tale is told. To do that, the game will ship with four 22-minute episodes on disc. Episodes that will air after a game chapter is completed, with your actions in the core game affecting what happens in that episode.
“This story is told from multiple perspectives. In the game you play as the hero Jack while the TV show shows you what is going on inside the enemy camp,” Lake explained, detailing how the initial Xbox One drive to bridge entertainment (TV TV TV TV!) resulted in this narrative format.
Since then however, the Xbox Entertainment Studios have faded away in order to allow games to focus on being just that: Games. But according to Lake, this closure didn’t hurt Quantum Break:
Xbox Entertainment Studios was consulting on the show, but it was never being made by them. We have an outside production company called Lifeboat working on the show, and that’s been the case from the start.
All of this is combining for a high-stakes game. One that Lake says is their most ambitious game to date. And if Quantum Break wants to be successful, it’s going to need to sell itself above and beyond to a wide audience.
“This was something that we talked about a lot, and it was important that we learn from Alan Wake,” Lake said.
We’ve set out to do a big new IP for as wide an audience as possible. That was our own mandate, that is our goal. We’ll see if we succeed. We want to make this cool for as many people as possible.
Quantum Break as a game, looks fantastic so far. Quantum Break as a series however? I’ve got some doubts about that, as I’ve got the feeling that having to watch entire episodes of a show might not be a great idea, even if they are based on your actions. Guess we’ll find out in April.
Last Updated: August 31, 2015