Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer

Crossing Boundaries – Quantum Break concerns and thoughts

Quantum break is the latest game claiming to cross the boundaries between television series watching and playing a game with the first example being the poorly received Defiance MMO. Developed by Remedy this third person shooter with time manipulation will include an on-disc series of episodes that players can dive in and out of as they progress through the game. An idea that already in execution sounds ALOT better than Defiance’s play the game collect data and then attempt to change episode storylines off this and yet never really do. The idea of bundling a series with a game is a great idea and can serve as a nice little sideline activity giving added depth and back-story to game characters that whilst in the action you may not care much about, however my concern is how engaged the two will truly be.

‘A crack in time saves nine’

Hardcore gamers i.e. those who are very involved in the play experience are likely to progress through the game until it bores them with game sessions reaching long spans at a time IF they are having fun. The experience someone has whilst watching a film or program is different to that of playing a game, a good game engages with user’s actions giving a sense of empowerment typically. Watching a film or television show typical is a mass social engagement i.e. a good show or film is a conversation piece and whilst both forms of media can go hand in hand a reliance on each other for information can underpin both. Thankfully Quantum break does not seem have this issue by both media forms being packaged together from the start, as such there is not this need to watch a show on TV to understand a game or vice versa. This is arguably one of the reasons a lot of film to game based releases commercially do not do very well sales wise, the experiences of one are hard to replicate in another.

Film games shouldn’t have this tarnished record IF they were developed correctly, take the transformer movie games for example they tie into the movie’s plot by acting as a what happens before and after story segments trying to place the player in the role of the characters they have watched on the screens. However let down by hastily rushed releases and this sense of over reliance on the movies branding to try to sell the game not on its own merits rather its ties.  A show, game, film or even book must be able to stand up on its own if was to be split up from the rest and entice its audience into further exploration, if Quantum Break can do this by making its game plot enticing then the show included will be watched and the game sales will reflect its success.

When the phase ‘your choices impact’ the show or games direction this is always a phrase of concern and although being a companion piece can help being too interactive can distract the audience, interaction is something gamers want but if it is slapped on it can cheapen the experiences. Until I can have a go and see Quantum Break hands-on as it were, struggle to see what will make this any different (it’s the cynic in me, I want it to work but depends on how story is).