New Mediums: Blurring the Lines between Television & Games

Quantum Break, Xbox One Exclusive

Is Quantum Break the next step in the Evolution of Gaming?

When Sam Lake took the stage at the Xbox One Reveal in May we were teased with an idea that would revolutionize the way we play games forever. That idea was Quantum Break; an experience of watching a television series and playing a game merged into one. It blew everybody’s mind, and then confused some. There were too many questions and too little answers, everyone wanted to know; how exactly was all this going to work? And then E3 happened.

Revolutionary Entertainment Experience:  The foundation of Quantum Break is built upon a system of choice. The choices you make in-game will essentially affect the outcome of what you’ll be watching, and as you progress your player experience will define your version of the director’s cut, by triggering events in the timeline you’ll be able to unlock corresponding video content on XBL, predictably in an episodic format. While all this may sound convoluted, it’ll actually work really well – seamless play/view transitions with options for streaming or downloading for later means all you’ll have to do is press play.


As for the game, Quantum Break is a cinematic-shooter that plays on the  themes of Quantum Physics, big surprise there -But what’s exciting is that a subject matter such as this inadvertently opens up the prospect of a hyper-threaded story, almost perfectly suited for this particular branch of the sci-fi genre, featuring gameplay elements that transcend bullet-time and old mechanics from the post Matrix era. With abilities to bend and shape time, you as the player will be able to create temporary breaks  in time causing the world around you to come at a stands-still – modifying minute details in these junctions will have consequences, altering the course of your story. Being a big investment on Microsoft’s part, all this is being achieved with incredible visual fidelity; Quantum Break looks really really good and has one of the most beautiful scenes of destruction you have ever seen, if any; Zero-states that will stutter and jump from slightest of disruptions…

 “A Grain of Sand”


However executing a concept as complex as Quantum Break with finesse seems to be a particularly daunting task and wont be achievable without its fair share of obstacles; television and video games are two very different formats; the disparity between them is increasingly apparent; from basic story-telling dissimilarities such as pacing on television and the interactive nature of games to more glaring concerns of production and budget. Where no doubt the game can achieve its Remedy-reputed polish it’s certainly possible that its TV counterpart does not. And despite the absurdly slick side of the equation we’ve seen so far, maybe together it fails in its coherency. Who knows?…

Managing the Illusion of Choice

…Another dilemma that plagues Quantum Break is “Choose your own story”. Previously, in video game history  poor Illusion of choice was due to technical, monetary and time constraints, it still is!  But with the Xbox One being extremely powerful in comparison to  the 360, It’d be nice to know to what extent will our decisions affect the version of the game we play and the show we watch – My guess is, not much, at least not here. Quantum Break is not your average game, its special times two, which inevitably means time and money should be no object, and even with Microsoft’s backing, it’ll be foolish to expect  too much. You might get three endings, but the journey will be more, or less the same.

Whatever the case, experiences like Quantum Break won’t be considered uncharted territory for long; Microsoft is committed in pursuing this medium, having already partnered with numerous television studios in bringing original and exclusive content to the Xbox One, and I won’t be surprised if we hear about other similar IPs in the near future – predictably even from Sony considering they get a lot of their inspiration from the Xbox.

I am hopeful about Quantum Break, but If it wasn’t for Sam Lake & Remedy then it would’ve been a completely different story.



One response to “New Mediums: Blurring the Lines between Television & Games

  1. Pingback: New Mediums: Blurring the Lines between Television & Games - Blog by 7kayhan - IGN·

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