GC2015 Preview: Quantum Break

Prior to Gamescom Remedy had been keeping very quiet when it came to Quantum Break, but as the event took off Microsoft and Remedy showed us the next chapter towards Quantum Break, and what its story and gameplay will hold in store for players next year. Behind the scenes we got an in-depth by Remedy members Sam Lake and Thomas Puha themselves, who taught us quite a bit when it came to the ins and outs of Quantum Break.

Quantum Break is the story of Jack Joyce (voiced by Shawn Ashmore), who gains the ability to manipulate time after a disastrous accident with a time machine. As time starts to break down Jack must find his brother, who may be the only person in existence that can fix the flow of time and stop the time/space continuum from collapsing on itself.STILL_QB_0001_Quantum-Break-Jack-Joyce-jpgAs our presentation started we were introduced to the main characters, which consist of Shawn Ashmore as Jack Joyce, Dominic Monaghan as William Joyce, Amelia Rose Blaire as Amy Ferraro and Aiden Gillen as the game’s main antagonist Paul Serene, founder of Monarch Solutions, the corporation pursuing Jack following the events of the accident. These characters aren’t only voiced by these actors, but also act as part of an actual series of episodes that are weaved into the narrative of Quantum Break. Following each chapter of Quantum Break you’ll be shown 22-minutes episode that continue the narrative of the game, which are even influenced by the decisions you make in the game, which result in alternate versions of episodes. The game’s story by effect is essentially set-up as an episodic series, that will take you throughout its story step-by-step.

We were then briefly shown the conference demo and the main trailer to refresh our memories to their contents, but this was followed by an extended demo that showcased many time-based gameplay features. Our character finds himself at a dock, an area now called Ground Zero by Monarch, the villainous corporation within the game’s narrative. Jack receives a phone call from Serene (funny enough with an Alan Wake ringtone on his phone.) The exchange ends unpleasantly as Jack goes further onto the docks. Serene and co arrive on sight with a helicopter, but as Jack tries to make his way towards them it seems he might not be the only one with powers at this point. STILL_QB_0005_Quantum-Break-Time-Stop-jpgThe antagonist uses a time-blast to bring down a huge cargo ship on the dock, which completely changes the upcoming area you’ll have to move through. To navigate through the area the player must use multiple time-based powers to move certain objects back and forwards in time to clear a path or reach certain parts of an area. An example of this is when Jack uses time blast to move a shipping crate up and down, which is possible due to the fact that it probably dropped down when the ship did, creating an opportunity to use its timeline to your advantage.

But traversal isn’t the only power you’ll have, and in combat you’ll be just as effective. Your powers consist of; Time Blast (damage enemies or objects in an area), Time Shield (a protective bubble to stop bullets for example), Time Stop (freezes time and everything within it at a certain spot), Time Rush (used to run through frozen time), Time Dash (used to move out of harms way in a quick fashion) and Time Dodge, which can be used to push enemies away from the player. Each power can be used effectively in traversal and combat, though each power has a meter that is drained when used, resulting in a cool-down moment for each individual power. The best comparison I would be able to name looking at the gameplay would be a linear-driven version of inFamous: Second Son, looking at the movement and use of powers (which I would mean as a compliment in that regard.)STILL_QB_0004_Quantum-Break-Takedown-jpgOf course a combat-based game is only as good as it’s enemies, and from what we’ve seen there is a decent amount of diversity within the world of Quantum Break. You’ll encounter plenty of regular enemies who are heavily affected by your powers, but the real power-players are the Technicians and Strikers, which have special equipment that allow them to operate in stutters, which are the areas you or the game itself have frozen in time. These enemies can rush through time as well, and can most easily be taken down by shooting the tanks on their banks, which give them the ability to operate. Of course with each enemy you’ll have to think strategically, but when a Technician or Striker sets their eyes on you, you’ll have to adjust your strategy accordingly.

The team notes that there is a specific dynamic between the cutscenes in-game and the episodes throughout, where the theme of the game itself is heroes, whilst the show bases itself around villains. We were shown an example of the effects of decision-making as we were met with short clips of the alternate outcomes of an episode; where for example a character may live or die depending on your decisions in-game. This is also to add to the replayability factor, so players can choose to go back and see what happens had they done things differently the first time going through the game.STILL_QB_0003_QB-Live-Action-In-Game-Show-Hatch-and-Serene-pngWe haven’t gotten hands-on moments with Quantum Break as of yet, but what Remedy has shown us has been promising so far. When it comes to gameplay everything has been looking solid, though of course we’re eager to see more as our race to the release date continues. Releasing live-action tie-ins for games hasn’t really been that successful overall in recent history, let alone a tie-in, but Remedy’s talent for storytelling, the talent involved with these characters and the footage we’ve seen along with the gameplay itself lead us to believe that Remedy has been working in an excellent direction so far.