It’s worth stating up front that gamespulp really enjoyed Remedy’s time-travelling shooter – but talk about Quantum Break as a massive game-changer whose ripples will be felt for years to come is overstating the case.
Quantum Break was heralded in some parts of the media as a big game-changer, marrying gaming and TV in one happy package. This was the future of games, or TV. Folks threw around the term ‘Transmedia’ with that smug little look that people who use ‘transmedia’ always have.
Did it work?
Well… It didn’t not work.
The original vision for Quantum Break was slightly different to the game we got this year. Back when it was revealed, it was all about TV, TV, TV – A phrase we fear will be etched on Don Mattrick’s tombstone. So the initial concept was to play the game, then go off and watch a personalised TV show based on the choices the community made.
After Microsoft’s post E3 U-turn, the game was re-jigged, with the TV show sections completely integrated into one package.
The real problem lies in Quantum Break’s primary ambition: to tell a story through ‘transmedia’.
A video game is perfect to explore time-travel intricacies, family relationships, and the theme of man’s desire for absolute power. Bioshock Infinite did all of that without ever once popping Troy Baker in front of a camera.
In its delivery, you could argue that Quantum Break was ground-breaking. For instance, the game’s decent graphics helped smooth over what might’ve been a jarring blur between CGI and live-action. And sitting back for 20 minutes to watch a TV show is still a novelty in 2016.
But we grew up with the original Resident Evil, with its live-action openers and closers. And before that, we had Wing Commander. And super-long and occasionally indulgent cut-scenes have been a staple in the Metal Gear Solid series since forever.
Our point is, Quantum Break didn’t offer anything we hadn’t seen before. Like LA Noire, with its incredible MotionScan facial capture, it’s an innovative and ultimately expensive idea, but we’re unlikely to see replicated in games again for a while.
That’s a major blow, maybe, but while it may be ground-breaking in modern console gaming, a game-changer it ain’t.