In some ways, the long wait for Quantum Break is poetic. For a game all about time breaking down, it fits that we’ve been waiting two years on an ever-extending development schedule to see the project come together. After getting an in-depth look at both the gameplay and the accompanying live-action show, it feels like our patience is paying off.
When Remedy announced Quantum Break at E3 2013, we weren’t sure what to make of the studio’s idea for a liveaction component to the story. Now that the developer has assembled a strong cast of Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, The Following), Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings, Lost), Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire), and Lance Reddick (Fringe, The Wire), we’re feeling much more confident about how the whole package is coming together.
Ashmore steps into the role of protagonist Jack Joyce, Monaghan is playing his brother Will, Gillen is the face of villain Paul Serene, with Reddick his right-hand man, Mr. Hatch.
Just like Alan Wake before it, Quantum Break has an episodic loop. Players will complete a gameplay segment as Jack, and then watch a 22-minute television-style episode from the villains’ point of view.
Microsoft showed the world an action segment during its Gamescom press conference, which combined a number of the time-altering abilities. Jack can use his newfound powers to dash, freeze time in a localized area, blast enemies with a wave of force, or move faster than his foes in an effect that makes it seem like time has slowed around him. Jack is thrust into his conflict with Serene and his Monarch troops, but even without military training he stands a chance thanks to his abilities.
We had a chance to see even more gameplay, including a new platforming segment that takes place in a time stutter. There is beauty in time breaking down around Jack, as the environment becomes unpredictable and catastrophe is frozen moments from being unleashed.
Much like Uncharted, Quantum Break intersperses these platforming segments with action-focused shootouts. At the conclusion of each chapter, players must make a choice about the future, which in turn dictates how both gameplay and live-action sequences play out.
The short bits of filmed footage we saw were well-acted, and tie closely to the gameplay. Remedy drove the point home by showing how a gameplay segment and a live-action moment were the same, except from different points of view.
Microsoft and Remedy haven’t settled on how the television show will be distributed, which means it could be on disc or available on-demand via Xbox Live. It is included in the purchase of the game, though. Since player choice impacts both pieces of the package, there is more video than players will see in a single play-through.
Quantum Break is finally in the home stretch, and creative director Sam Lake tells us that the game is playable from start to finish right now. The studio is in the bug-fixing and polishing stage. With a firm release date now announced, we just need to wait the nine months until release. If only we could speed up time