One of the major upcoming exclusives for Microsoft’s XBOX ONE that was absent at this year’s E3 had a major showing at gamescom 2015. We’ve got some major details about the game’s story and game play from the gamescom presentation given by the Game’s creative director Sam Lake.
First off Sam Lake gave a quick set up of the story of quantum break:
“Quantum Break in a nutshell: A time travel experiment goes horribly wrong, and time breaks down. Jack, our hero is caught in the blast of the failed experiment and gains powers to manipulate time. Jack is fighting to stop the end of time.” ~ Sam Lake
Quantum Break will be heavily focused on it’s story and the way it handles it’s storytelling is a little bit different than most other games. The most notable difference between Quantum Break and other games of it’s kind is the presence of a live action TV show inside the game. The live action cut scenes will feature well known actors like Aiden Gillen (Game Of thrones, The Wire), Shawn Ashmore (X-Men) and Lance Reddick (The Wire).
“Quantum Break is a game and a live action show fused together to form an entertainment experience. In the game you play as Jack, in the show you follow the other side of the storyThe Game is about the heroes, the show is about the villains” ~ Sam Lake
The Game’s main villain is Paul Serene (Aiden Gillen), who used to be Jack’s friend but was sucked forward into time and came back having aged 17 years and ‘changed’. He has the power to see the future and the power to choose which version of it comes to pass, this choice is left up to you, the player. The player will control Serene in what are called “junction moments”. These Junction moments will present the player with choices that effect how the story will unfold and which direction it will take.
Basically, you play through an act or mission of the game and at the end of every mission there will be a junction moment where you make a choice that will influence the story and a specific version of the next episode of the in game TV show will be unlocked depending on the choice. Each episode will last about 20 mins and will begin the next act of the game.
This is a novel and experimental approach to storytelling in games but it raises some obvious red flags. Each episode of the TV show lasts about 20 mins, will players be OK with having to sit through what is essentially going to be a really long FMV cut scene at the end of each chapter of the game? The effectiveness of the scenes will depend on the writing, production and performances from the actors and it remains to be seen whether or not this experiment will back fire on remedy.
When Sam Lake was asked by NaNoW (From Pakgamers) if the TV show would be published separately, he answered:
“Well, that’s something you’ll have to ask our publisher. Microsoft Studios” ~ Sam Lake
The presentation also consisted of a large amount of game play. The core mechanics of the game will look very familiar to anyone who’s been playing games for the last decade or so. Quantum Break is more or less another Gears Of War style cover based shooter with a little twist that Remedy hopes will differentiate it from the others. That twist is of course that Jack Joyce, the game’s protagonist has the ability to manipulate time.
“Time is breaking down, this manifests as stutters in time, frozen moments that can shift and collapse without warning or broken timelines where time is caught in violent, destructive loops. Jack must use his time powers to survive” ~ Sam Lake
This ability manifests itself in the game play as various powers jack can use during combat that have some cool down period associated with them. Some of the abilities showcased in the demo include:
- Time Blast: ‘Break’ time in a focused area or bubble on the level to cause destruction and damage your enemies.
- Time Rush: The ability to run away while time is frozen to escape dangerous situations or to gain strategic advantages over your enemies.
- Time Dodge: Dash out of harms way quickly.
- Time Shield: Forms a shield around Jack’s body that can deflect bullets.
- Time Stop: Freeze time in a focused area.
Each power has a resource bar associated with it that drains when you use it, this acts as a cool down timer for jack’s powers that needs to fill up before the ability can be used again. As the player progresses through the game Jack’s powers will get stronger and he will gain new abilities for use in combat situations.
This however does not mean that Jack is the only one in the game that has these abilities, the demo also featured some enemies of a stronger type who wear experimental ‘time suits’ that allow them to use the same kinds of powers as Jack but seemingly in a more limited capacity. These enemies did have obvious weak points on their backs but at the very least they’ll provide more of challenge than regular soldiers who can’t use time powers at all.
Overall Quantum Break had a strong showing at E3 and at this point it is one of Microsoft’s most exciting exclusive offerings.
Full audio from the presentation: