Quantum Break is looking great!
How the TV part is integrated into the game:
Lots of info so check out the article.
How you'll play and watch Quantum Break (and why you shouldn't skip the cutscenes)
When it's released next April, Quantum Break will be mostly interactive, but it will also include a passive TV show, one that stars veterans of Fringe, Game of Thrones, Lost and X-Men movies — and one whose outcome players will control through their in-game actions.
Part of the Finnish developer's challenge with the Xbox One exclusive, though, will be convincing players to stop playing and invest about a feature film's worth of time into watching Quantum Break.
"For the show, we have four episodes," Lake says of the show that will ship with Quantum Break on a disc or as a download.
"Four episodes, 22 minutes or so each. So in total, it's around movie length of show content that you get."
But what if you don't want to watch, for whatever reason? "Yes," Lake said when we asked if they were skippable, "but you are going to miss out."
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
Quantum Break's video game portion will tell the story of the heroes as you play it. Its show component will tell the story of its villains. Players will only get the full story with both parts.
Though Remedy will allow it, the game maker doesn't want anyone skipping the Quantum Break show. So it's giving players more reasons to "tune in," in the form of something akin to collectibles.
Quantum Break's incentives sound like a twist on that common game trope — and an improvement over some of Remedy's previous collectibles.
Alan Wake used collectibles in a couple different ways, to varying degrees of success. One took the form of coffee mugs scattered around the game world. They didn't really serve a narrative purpose, and they felt more like a video game than anything else. Quantum Break will have collectibles of a sort, but they're designed to enhance both halves of the experience. They work within the narrative, like Alan Wake's other collectibles: the missing manuscript pages that filled in story gaps with each discovery.
"We are doing things like something that we are calling butterfly effects," Lake says. "There are certain trigger points in the levels that, if you trigger it, it's the beginning of a butterfly effect, and then there is a chain of events, these kind of unforeseen consequences, and you'll see something happening in the show. And with that, you are getting a certain collectible.
"Then again, the other side around, they are certain props that contain information that you see in the show, which you miss if you don't watch the show. And by finding those specific props in the following act in the game, we are unlocking further content for you."
That's part of how your in-game actions will change Quantum Break's show scenes. Remedy tailors them for players, depending on their actions, to create a player-specific version of the show. And as the game goes on and the number of possible actions to perform and items to find increases, so does the detail in the story.
"It's piling up," Lake says. "So when we get to the last episode, we have quite a few permutations of individual scenes in there."
WATCH YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
At Gamescom, we saw about 30 minutes of Quantum Break, split down the middle between gameplay and FMV. One scene presented from two perspectives showed off the interplay between Quantum Break's two distinct modes.
First, we watched a live-action conversation between a man and a woman arguing behind a van. It escalated into a Mexican standoff, guns drawn. A split-second later, both were shocked and then angered to find that the guns had disappeared from their hands. They knew what had happened and opened the van's back door to discover it was empty.
Next, we saw those moments rendered through Quantum Break's graphics engine but from a different perspective. There was a third character we didn't see, captured and hiding in the van. As the two outside argue, time stands still for everyone but the man in the van. He seizes the opportunity to escape, but before he does, he helps himself to the guns.
In the final game, Lake told Polygon, you won't watch these two scenes back-to-back as we did. The FMV portion happens in the first episode of the show. Minutes later, the in-game scene bridges the gap between the show and the game, as the players take control.
This is Quantum Break's time-shifting narrative in action, but outside the context of a battle: You watch a scene happen first, and then you make the scene happen.
"That's just one example," Lake says. "There are many different kind of crossover elements."
THE FUTURE OF THE PRESENT
Quantum Break is already playable from beginning to end, Remedy told us. And to be clear, it looks absolutely gorgeous, if not quite finished.
Remedy will spend the next few months sanding down the game's the game's rough edges. We saw a lot of screen-tearing during the demo, and the HUD that hovers vertically on the right side of the screen is still a work in progress. Lake says there's a "very clear" path to get to the final, polished AAA product, where he admits that polish is everything.
Regardless, Quantum Break seems like the kind of game that Lake and Remedy have wanted to make for a long time. It feels like a Remedy game, some of which you'll play, and some of which you'll watch. Like the studio's other projects, it layers time-bending gameplay over a deeply cinematic presentation. Only this time, perhaps finally, it's doing both literally.