GAMING, at its finest.
For those of you who follow the world of gaming, Gamescom just came to a close last week and brought some very wonderful news. My one key takeaway that sparked tremendous excitement was: Quantum Break. That’s right…my beloved Remedy is at it again! Remedy is the studio that brought you Max Payne and Alan Wake…both of which are a couple of my favorite games. Ever.
The story of Max Payne — refraining from too many spoilers, is the tragic tale of a broken man who was torn from everything to nothing in the blink of an eye. After his promotion at the precinct, Payne returns home to find his wife and child attacked and eventually killed at the hands of junkies, high on a new street drug called Valkyr. It’s a downward spiral from there, and the deep, gravelly voice of James McCaffrey narrates the game in a stylized fashion, inspired by graphic novels and film noir, bringing the gritty world to life. Over the course of the first 2 games in the trilogy, the player ultimately experiences experiences the fall of Max as he tumbles farther and father down the rabbit hole, fending off mobsters, soothing his own physical and mental suffering with painkillers, and fighting for his life. Max Payne was released in 2008 by Remedy and Rockstar, which was one of the very first games to feature the bullet time mechanic, for which the series is very well-known.
Two years later, Remedy released Alan Wake, a writer on the cusp of finishing his ultimate masterpiece. The story to me was reminiscent of “The Secret Window” by Stephen King, as well as other works from Neil Gaiman to Brent Easton Ellis (American Psycho). The game even gave slight nod to the shows Twin Peaks and Twilight Zone. Throughout the journey of Alan Wake, the writer’s internal monologue is the gloomy overlay to his fall into restlessness and madness.The woods of Bright Falls, Washington was a very creepy and intriguing backdrop, providing the beautiful scenery in this psychological thriller.
Everything about both of these titles captivated me from beginning to the very end. That being said, I have not yet finished Max Payne 3 to it’s very end but I hear that I have come very close as of my last save file — which shall be resurrected with The Unfinished Gamer. The beautiful part to me, as a writer, is the hints of Norse mythology influencing themes in both games; i.e.: Valkyr and Ragna Rock nightclub in Max Payne, as well as the band Old Gods of Asgard and their members Odin and Tor in Alan Wake.
Now for the main event…
From what we have seen, the theme of Quantum Break shows us the great power, consequence, and sacrifice when a time travel experiment goes wrong — leaving three victims with strange, time bending abilities in the process. Quantum Break is going to be told in two ways: The game, which follows the character Jack Joyce played by Shawn Ashmore (The Following, X-Men) will show the player the side of the heroes, while the skillfully paired live-action digital series is going to be seen from the “enemy camp”, which follows the character Paul Serene, played by Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones). After the incident, both men are being pursued by Monarch Solutions. It looks to be a star-studded cast, including the two gentlemen listed above as well as Dominic Monaghan (LOST, Lord of the Rings) and Lance Reddick (Fringe, John Wick), Courtney Hope (Prowl) and more.
Choices in the game will influence the episode of the show that you unlock, and vice versa. The concept of game/tv running in tandem isn’t new, however — as I took part in the launch of DEFIANCE the game and its Syfy Network counterpart. Though reception of that MMO interaction was mildly received, from what I have seen of Remedy’s new game so far and the efforts put in by not only development studio and show producers, but the cast as well– I can only hope that this release will be as compelling as the last two Sam Lake/Remedy games I played and fell in love with.
Remedy wowed the gamers at E3 in 2013 where they debuted the new IP in a trailer that has since been changed, due to the new cast, notably the lead actors, and offered more information on the story and the full concept of the game. This was by far, my favorite announcement from Gamescom.
The fact that this is Sam Lake and Remedy has already got me on the hook.
Come April, we finally get to see the final products, and I cannot wait.. 🙂