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Quantum Break

Quantum Break Is More Than The Sum Of Its Gameplay And Live-Action Parts
by Mike Futter on Aug 07, 2015 at 04:12 AM

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Platform Xbox One, PC
Publisher Microsoft Game Studios
Developer Remedy Entertainment
Rating Mature

For the first few years of Quantum Break's time in the public eye, how the live-action video and gameplay would work together wasn't clear. I also wasn't sure about the quality, with Remedy's minimal experience with film production. Consider both of these fears assuaged. While I haven't yet seen a full episode of the show, talking with creative director Sam Lake and lead actor Shawn Ashmore earlier this week gave me hope. After seeing how Remedy is linking the two pieces, I now have confidence.

In a behind-closed-doors demo, we got an extended look at Quantum Break that picks up where the Microsoft Gamescom press briefing segment left off. As Lake promised us in our interview, the adventure pieces that are expressed as clever platforming within time stutters are still in place. They look even better than they did a year ago, requiring use of time abilities to surmount. The time distortion aesthetics are even more pronounced, and look sharper and more stylized than I recall. I imagine I'll want to find safe spaces along the way to stop and watch how time is crumbling the environment as it breaks down.

After finishing the gameplay, we got to see a bit of the approach to live-action. This includes a menacing Lance Reddick (Fringe, The Wire) holding the fate of an activist in his hands. Through Reddick's Mr. Hatch (the villain Paul Serene's right-hand man), the player must choose to take a hardline approach and murder the girl or blackmail her into assisting Monarch. Lake says that choice won't just ripple into gameplay, but later episodes. The studio has scripted and shot quite a bit of alternate contant to account for the different paths.

I also saw a live-action scene between two characters that is then mirrored in-game from Jack's point of view. These cross-overs help tie the experience together. If the clever, well-acted bits I saw are representative of how the full 22-minute segments play out, I'm on board.

With a killer cast, including Ashmore, Reddick, Aiden Gillen (The WireGame of Thrones), and Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings), the star power is there. Provided the story and script match, Remedy may have a hit (and a new game genre) on its hands. We'll know for sure when Quantum Break is released on April 5.

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Quantum Break

Xbox One, PC
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