Alan Wake Developer Sheds a Little Light on Quantum Break

The Xbox One sci-fi action game is the latest and most ambitious attempt yet by Remedy Entertainment's Sam Lake to fuse video games and other storytelling media.

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What is Quantum Break? After a mysterious demo here at E3 2013, I have more questions than ever about how the game actually plays. Like Remedy's previous game Alan Wake, Quantum Break takes its structural cues from episodic television. However, Quantum Break goes way beyond the Alan Wake touches like TV-style interludes that remind you of what happened previously. In Quantum Break, a significant amount of the story is presented in a live-action "television show" that's a built-in component of the game, and choices you make in the game influence both how the game plays out and how the show's story is presented.

The demo was framed as a high-level look at the world of Quantum Break and offered scant few details about how the ideas discussed would actually manifest themselves in the finished game. Instead, Sam Lake spoke conceptually about how your point of view shifts between the two main playable characters, a man and a woman who have the ability to manipulate time after being present at a science experiment that went horribly wrong. Choices you make periodically during the game influence how these shifts in perspective occur.

The most significant such choices occur at what Lake referred to as "junction moments." When these occur, you actually step into the role of the game's villain, whose time-manipulation powers outstrip those of the heroes. The villain alone has the ability to observe branches in time, and it's this ability that lets you explore diverging narrative threads. Lake stressed that Quantum Break is not a "choose your own adventure," but a single story told many ways. The choices you make, Lake said, will affect both how the game plays out and what he referred to as your "director's cut" of the show.

In talking about the game, Lake's choice of words reflected his attempt to blur the line between game and TV show; he alternated between referring to it as a game and referring to it as a "season," with indications that if the game represents the first season of Quantum Break, he has already begun thinking about what might come next. He also indicated that Quantum Break is heavily dependent on what has come before. With Max Payne, Lake used a graphic novel approach to storytelling.

With Alan Wake, he moved on to television, and with Quantum Break, he's pushing the TV show concept much farther than he did before. Lake talked about how his games have always been set in the real, modern-day world (although there's often an element of the otherworldly at play, be it the supernatural horror of Alan Wake or the sci-fi of Quantum Break) and how, since we have media like TV and movies constantly bombarding us in the modern world, it only makes sense for their influence to shape games set in that world.

It's far too soon to tell how Quantum Break's attempts to fuse live-action television and third-person shooter action will pan out, and with regard to the game's release, Lake said only that it was not going to be an Xbox One launch title. But whether or not it lives up to Sam Lake's ambitious aspirations, one thing about it already seems pretty clear: it won't be ordinary.

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Discussion

97 comments
jark888
jark888

This is the most interesting game on Xbox One for me.

damacdon
damacdon

The time-wimey gameplay sounds good...too good...

Prats1993
Prats1993

Its ambitious to a fault. I sense them pulling a Molyneux on this.

CaptainBerserk
CaptainBerserk

If i could choose the ONE thing to jump ship to Sony's side it would be Remedy, without a second thought.

Oh well, i guess we can't simply have ALL the goodies can we. :P

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

"The Xbox One sci-fi action game is the latest and most ambitious attempt yet by Remedy Entertainment's Sam Lake to fuse video games AND OTHER STORYTELLING MEDIA."

z z z z z z z z z z

megakick
megakick

This is a video game it looks surreal, real but not quite real... If I but a new console its' going to be XBOX ONE I am don't like how Sony does business. PC is still exclusive MS pretty much owns the PC market...

Beerminator1
Beerminator1

This game sounds awesome, can't wait to see some ACTUAL gameplay... Not just a cutscene

TroyTrojanGamer
TroyTrojanGamer

I love how people claim no one is going to buy the Xboxone.  It's pretty much selling out of preorders world wide....

02050muh
02050muh

waiting for pc version...(it may come to pc earlier than expected... :p )

MadaraSoul
MadaraSoul

XBOX does not do exclusive they all end up on PC or more.

Grondiggy
Grondiggy

Can't wait for this game! Xbox One Day One Edition on order!

never-named
never-named

As a MASSIVE fan of Remedy's games and someone who cites Sam Lake as being an inspiration (as far as writing goes) I must say that this sounds way too convoluted and overambitious for me to latch on to. It's more than possible that being an Xbox One exclusive contributes to some of that but it's mostly the overly convoluted sounding system, the lack of a potential release schedule, and the potential disaster that a TV/game synergy holds that's telling me to not hold my breath for Quantum Break. To emphasize, the fact that there's no solid release schedule for the game yet is giving me a gut feeling that this might turn out to be Remedy's 'Antichrist'.

I wish Remedy well and hope that they achieve what they want with Quantum Break, but I will not be partaking in that celebration or the lamentation if this comes short of their expectations. Cheers, fellas!

GunEye
GunEye

CGI looks impressive. Hope to see some real-time graphics and gameplay. I loved Alan Wake, gonna look forward to this.

stanknuggetz12
stanknuggetz12

I've enjoyed every remedy game so far so ill definetly be buying this.

HisDudeness28
HisDudeness28

Too bad it's on a console I want nothing to do with: The Xbox-I-M-Constantly-Watching-You. 

jts1891
jts1891

Mixing 'Live Action' with game play and  cut scenes sounds like a mess to me.

huerito323
huerito323

Sam Lake= The real Max Payne. 

Anyway, I love Remedy. They make unique games with great story lines. I know this one will be great.


shayan_47
shayan_47

buying xbox 1 only because of you Sam Lake. 

ashyblood
ashyblood

You'll all be buying an XBox One to play this in the future.

Kyrylo
Kyrylo

"what happened previously"? ....Tv interludes? innovative?....LOL. Capcom made same RE Revelation and Asura's Wrath, so sorry old news. 

speedyg725
speedyg725

Interested to see what it actually plays like. Otherwise we really don't know what the game really even looks like. Can't wait to see more!

Hiddai
Hiddai

looks impressive

korvus
korvus moderator

Lake stressed that Quantum Break is not a 'choose your own adventure,' but a single story told many ways"...isn't that what "choose your own adventure" books are?


Anyway, didn't care for Max Payne, really liked Alan Wake so I'm moderately interested in this one...

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

So far I think Quantum Break will play like a game from Quantic Dreams (Heavy Rain). Probably walking around and pushing buttons here and there while you are surrounded by nice graphics. Eh..

lostn
lostn

Looks interesting but I still don't understand what you actually do in this game. Until I know what the game play is like, hard to be excited for it.


Looks like it would make for a great movie though, but without knowing what you actually DO in the game, it's hard to say whether or not its gameplay will be fun. Is it an action game, or an adventure game like Heavy Rain?

snaketus
snaketus

@TroyTrojanGamer If so they are people who don' know the facts, marketing victims. They will be surprised when they start to loan and trade "their" games. And in that point I hope they regret their purchase.

FreedomPrime
FreedomPrime

@MadaraSoul That's not entirely true, halo 3, odst, halo wars and halo4. gears of war 2 and 3 never made it to PC. I wish they did because halo would be awesome on PC.

CaptainBerserk
CaptainBerserk

@GunEye  Pretty sure this is real time graphics.

NaturallyEvil
NaturallyEvil

@ashyblood Nah, they made a PC version of Alan Wake, and I'm sure this will eventually be on PC too.

Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

@ashyblood I'll be buying a PS4 to play Final Fantasy XV, thanks. You can keep your Xbox One.

Geardudu
Geardudu

@Kyrylo Alan Wake did the TV thing a long time ago, now the same studio wants to do it again, but in a more ambicious way. If Capcom invented anything it's ruining games, on disc DLC, and selling 3 versions to the same game.

bluefire1360
bluefire1360

@snaketus @TroyTrojanGamer Or they just wont care, because trading games isn't a big deal for a lot of people. I never trade games, but definitely play a lot of them.

huerito323
huerito323

@Bayonetta2013 @ashyblood I'll be slaying zombies in the new open world Dead Rising game. Have fun with your over the top cheezy characters from FF. lol

ashyblood
ashyblood

@Mendax2013 @ashyblood Come on you know you will. You'll think about it and be like screw it. Who cares. And go out and buy an XBox One with your 2014 tax return.

jark888
jark888

@Geardudu Yeah, 3 versions of the same game really kill Capcom's popularity.

Fanible
Fanible

@djpetitte @focuspuller @ashyblood @Mendax2013 Exactly.  I'll just be waiting.  The only way I'm getting an X1 at this point is if someone gave it to me for free, and even then I'd only use it for games like this and nothing else (definitely not paying for XBL anymore).