Quantum Break developer Remedy Entertainment looks to perfect game narrative by taking many cues from TV dramas like Lost, which employ cliffhangers to keep people hooked into the next episode. Head of franchise development Oskari Hakkinen has explained how the studio nailed the formula.
Speaking with Develop, Hakkinen recalled that Remedy boss Sam Lake was having a rough time trying to advance story-telling in games beyond what it had achieved with Max Payne.
He explained, “It was during that time that the big series started to come out with HBO and whatnot, Lost for instance was one where people were buying the boxsets, and then watching the episodes at their own pace. Some are binging through it, some are watching one a day, some are watching one every other day or once a week, but all at their own pace.
““The great thing about it was each episode had its own three act structure and ended on a cliffhanger, which kind of prodded you on to see what happened next. Sam got the idea from that, that this would be a fantastic fit for a video game, especially a video game that has very strong narrative, because we’re telling the story over ten plus hours.
“With Alan Wake, having a very high completion rate was partly to do with the structure we built. What we read on our forums and from media and fans was that some people played through the whole experience from start to finish – the bingers – but some people, folks that didn’t have the time to do that, they’d play one episode. It was a perfect cut off point, and they’d know that the next chunk would take an hour to an hour and a half.”
We already know that Quantum Break will see you playing as the game’s villain once players hit certain ‘junction points’. This could provide more intrigue and plot development than games that see you simply pursuing the villain without really seeing what they’re up to.
On the nature of Quantum Break’s TV-gameplay convergence, Hakkinen added, “The game and the show are designed to be built as one experience, to be experienced as one package. So you play an episode of the game, then you can unlock an episode of the show, play another episode of the game, and unlock another episode of the show, and so on.
“Without telling too much, you’ll be looking at two different sides of the coin from a story perspective. In the game you’ll be following the story of one theme, in the show you’ll be following the story of another theme. These are meshing together to form the whole experience.”
Do you think Quantum Break could shake up how we digest narrative in games? Let us know what you think below.
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