It’s ironic that a game about time shifting and time manipulation, seems to be stuck in an endless time loop, never getting any closer to be being released.
2015 is still so very far away!
For any gamers who are still unaware of what Quantum Break is, it’s an upcoming Transmedia AAA game and live action TV show, exclusive to the Xbox One.
Quantum Break follows protagonist Jack Joyce, who in the aftermath of a failed time-travel experiment, discovers two things; the experiment has caused time to crack and breakdown, and that he has developed the ability to manipulate time.
You as a player must find a way to stop the end of time and defeat Monarch, the evil corporation run by Paul Serene that acts as the main antagonist of the story.
Unlike Defiance, a previous, somewhat underwhelming experiment by Trion Worlds and Syfy back in 2012, which promised: “A revolutionary weekly drama that impacts the game, and gives you the chance to change the show.” But in reality provided very little in the way of narrative crossover.
Quantum Break, developed by Remedy Entertainment (of such hits as Max Payne and Alan Wake), promises to break the borders of videogame and television immersion completely.
And I for one believe them!
The gameplay will focus on the hero of the story Jack Joyce, who fights furiously to stop the end of time while the live action episodes will focus on Monarch and antagonist leader Paul Serene.
It’s here that the personalised tie-in takes shape.
These live action TV episodes (roughly 30 mins in length) are unlocked upon completing each chapter in the game.
You can choose to view these episodes now or later as a binge-watching marathon.
No matter which way you view the episodes, the content will be unique to your gameplay experience. The choices you make in the game will tailor the video episode you receive.
The people you kill, the buildings you destroy, they all have consequences, and the live action TV show will reveal these consequences from the perspective of the bad guys.
This way, each player is guaranteed to have a slightly different and unique experience.
Pretty cool, sounds like the ultimate Donut Hole* drama!
What’s more, the episodes can be viewed either on the TV or via a mobile Xbox Smart Glass app, which keeps track of your game progress and unlocked TV episodes.
Depending on the response next year, this game could very well set a new trend in Transmedia TV.
But rather than releasing a whole series on a single disk (which is how Quantum Break will release it’s episodes) this idea could be incorporated into live broadcast television.
Each week you would watch a broadcast episode as usual; with one difference. The final scene on screen contains the code needed to unlock the next level of your AAA game.
The game picks up where the episode left off, and sets the scene for the next TV episode.
Completing a mission in the game can unlock:
- Additional online episodes
- Deleted scenes from the TV show
- Downloadable comics or back stories that would enhance following week’s episodes.
- Clues to be used later
The gameplay could also embed extra story via audio (think terminals in Halo 4) or even allow you as the player to unveil websites, phone numbers even secret events happening somewhere in the world.
The upside of this, is a constant stream of entertainment, throughout the week, keeping people engaged right up until the next episode… maybe even between seasons of the show.
Of course, the downside, is the lack of personalised experiences due the televised episodes being the same for all viewers…
Somewhere In-between the Present and Near-Future
I have never had a doubt that the future of Transmedia rests heavily on the involvement of gameplay.
It’s crucial to ANY Transmedia project.
What Remedy has done is finally find an innovative and practical way of incorporating gameplay into the most popular medium on the planet… A TV show. With the added bonus of binge watching.
I cannot wait to see how this game develops.
If you haven’t done so already, I strongly advise you check out the official teaser here:
And some live gameplay here:
I will be keeping an eye out for more news in the build up to this game.
* ‘Donut Holes’ are parts of a linear drama that have different content options that can be decided by the audience (or other outside influences) and can be changed minutes before broadcast.