‘Quantum Break’ carries Remedy’s narrative aspirations into the next-generation

quantum break leadRemedy Entertainment hasn’t ever been shy about toying with the shape that narrative structure in a video game can take. Max Payne and its sequel delivered exposition using between-mission graphic novel-style panels back in an era before touchscreen tablets and smartphones brought forth the idea of motion comics. Alan Wake made no secret of its love for episodic television, using intro sequences, dramatic breaks between levels, and “previously/next time on” teasers to keep players invested.

Quantum Break represents the next evolution of the Finnish studio’s philosophy, an Xbox One exclusive action shooter that blends in a live-action component that is influenced by player choices throughout the game. Many of the finer details remain murky at this point, but we walked away from a behind closed doors E3 2013 appointment with a bit more info to flesh out the broad overview presented at Microsoft’s press conference.

Story/Concept

The theater of time play. Two playable characters sit at the center of Quantum Break‘s time-shifting story: Jack Joyce and Beth Wilder. This pair, along with the villainous boss of of Monarch Security, Paul Serene, are in attendance at a time-travel experiment gone awry at the start of the game. The incident leaves them all powered up with the ability to influence and manipulate time in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, the failure also leaves the temporal balance of reality in a state of flux which … you know … isn’t a good thing.

The point of junctions. Quantum Break‘s story on the gameplay side leads players through multiple “Junction Points,” which are choice-based moments that give players the ability to influence the unfolding story. The choices made in these moments – which see players deciding on a course of action as either Jack, Beth, or Paul – then impact how the live-action portion of the game plays out. The idea here being that the choices you make as you play effectively author the story that you watch between levels.

First season of programming. The live-action portion of Quantum Break is described as a full season’s worth of episodic content. Remedy isn’t speaking in specifics about the length of any given episode, but the team wants players to be clear on one thing: these are not YouTube-length clips. The content of each episode changes according to the choices that you make at each Junction Point, and while players won’t be penalized for skipping past the exposition and focusing only on the game, the story is built to have one weave in alongside the other.

Gameplay

It’s a Remedy game. The behind closed doors E3 demo featured a total lack of action-oriented gameplay. A brief playable sequence – the same one seen during Microsoft’s press conference – was used to highlight the fact that even expository moments offer some degree of interaction. The demo was really about showcasing bigger concepts, however, so we’ve only got Remedy’s word plus a few brief clips to go on.

The play portion of Quantum Break is an action-driven shooter with cover mechanics and time manipulation powers. A short sizzle reel at the end of the demo offered a tantalizing glimpse of what these characters are capable of. Incoming projectiles as large as a car – perhaps even larger – can be stopped in mid-flight. The time powers also seem to include a bit of telekinesis, as we got a brief glimpse of one character using a floating wall of debris like a shield.

Presentation

Timely visuals. The graphics in Quantum Break – the little that we saw – look … next-gen! Surprise! Remedy’s E3 demo focused almost entirely on concept, so there’s really very little to say at this point about how the game looks. You can get a sense of it in the newly released trailer. We’ll surely see more in the coming months.

Takeaway

It can’t be stressed enough that, at this point, Quantum Break amounts to a whole lot of promises. Remedy took the time at E3 to lay out its vision for the game and some of the high-level concepts at work, but there’s really not much here yet to really preview. This is a developer that deserves the benefit of the doubt, and we remain excited to see what more comes out about the game. Expect a wait though. Probably a long one.

Computing

AMD says it duped Nvidia with a price fakeout, escalating a two-front chip war

According to a recent interview with Scott Herkelman of AMD's Radeon Business Unit, AMD successfully convinced Nvidia they would launch their new GPUs at a higher price than they did, sabotaging Nvidias RTX Super launch.
Gaming

Player-made mod brings an Easy Mode to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

The FromSoftware developers skipped on improving the accessibility of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but someone has created Sekiro The Easy, a mod that changes player abilities, enemy stats, and more to make it a bit easier to complete.
Computing

Upgrade your gaming rig with our favorite graphics cards for every budget

If you're serious about games, a good graphics card is essential. There’s no one-size-fits-all option for graphics cards, but our recommendations can help you pick from the best graphics cards for your needs.
Deals

We have all the biggest gaming deals you can find on Amazon Prime Day

Prime Day is here! If you aren't sure which Prime Day gaming deals are available for PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch, we have you covered. Now you can get to playing those games at big discounts.
Computing

AMD or Intel? We take a look at the pros and cons of both processors

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.
Gaming

This Prime Day Sony PS4 bundle deal comes with God of War and Days Gone

Amazon is currently offering a PS4 Pro bundle with the games God of War and Days Gone at a substantial discount. God of War was one of our favorite games of 2018, and it can be played in 4K on PS4 Pro.
Computing

The Logitech G502 Lightspeed is the wireless gaming mouse of your dreams

Logitech's G502 Lightspeed represents the pinnacle of wireless gaming rodents. It's fast, accurate, and wireless charging means that you never even need to think about plugging a cable in. But is the price worth paying?
Deals

Walmart Prime Day sale: 4K TV, Apple Watch, and Nintendo Switch Deals

The Walmart Prime Day sale continues to go strong as the first day of Amazon's 48-hour deals event comes to a close. There are loads of great Apple Watch, Nintendo Switch, and 4K TV deals going on right now.
Deals

Looking for a gaming headset? Amazon cuts prices of Corsair and HyperX for Prime

Whether you’re building a gaming setup or looking to upgrade, now’s your chance to score amazing deals on gaming headphones. The HyperX Cloud II and the Corsair HS60 are both available at hefty discounts for Amazon Prime Day.
Gaming

Get ready for the Nintendo Switch Lite with cool new accessories

The Nintendo Switch Lite drops the dock for ultimate portability, but that doesn't mean you won't need a few accessories. From extra controllers to chargers to memory cards, you'll have plenty to choose from come September 20.
Gaming

Grab these hot video game deals before Amazon Prime Day is over

Amazon's Prime Day is almost over, but you still have a chance to grab some hot deals on some of the best video games and accessories. From PS4 to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, these are the deals you can still get.
Deals

Amazon Prime Day deals continue with big 4K TV and laptop discounts

The best Amazon Prime Day deals have finally arrived. 4K TVs, Nintendo Switch bundles, iPads, and more are all on sale during this 48-hour stretch. Now is the time to find the savings you've been waiting for.
News

Tetris Effect, no longer a PS4 exclusive, hits Epic Games Store with VR support

Originally a PS4 exclusive, Tetris Effect is coming to PC gamers and can be purchased on the Epic Games Store. It will feature support for VR, ultrawide monitors, and 4K or above resolution.
Gaming

Everything we know about Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne adds the largest region in the game to date alongside new monsters, mechanics, and much more. The expansion launches on PS4 and Xbox One on September 6.