Quite how Quantum Break's TV element is meant to work has been a bit of a mystery. The two are interlinked, and the show ships on the disc, but the finer details have been vague. Now, creative director Sam Lake has explained a little more.
Firstly the show's not started filming yet but will "be shot in coming months". On that front, Lake is promising more info soon, most likely a casting announcement – so place your bets now. However, the most interesting element is the way the game and show fit together as alternating segments of the story. "The optimal experience is to play the game, watch the show, play game," explains Lake, "because we have other stuff, things that you learn from the show that will give you an edge in the next act of the game. So it’s back and forth between the game and the show".
According to Lake, "Quantum Break is a fusion of a cinematic action game and a top-of-the-line live action show", he says, reiterating the idea that "the game is about heroes, the show is about villains". In this case the hero is the time manipulating hero Jack who stars in the game. The villain, and star of the TV show, is former friend Paul Serene who can see alternate futures. While the two elements are separate (although both come on the disc) Lakes says that they are "tied together in multiple ways that the player can affect with their choices".
How exactly? Here's Lake's explanation:
"You play an act of the game and that culminates in something we call a junction in time. Our bad guy Paul Serene has time powers and he has the most powerful time power of all: power to see glimpses of future timelines, and in these moments you actually play him. So it’s our equivalent, interactive equivalent, of the bad guy planning and making his moves. You make a choice and that becomes, in your game, the future that comes to be. And after that junction moment we go into an episode of a show and immediately you start seeing the choice you made, the consequences of it in the live action show and after that we go to the next act of the game. And obviously when you make a choice that carries over, you see things become reality from that choice for the rest of game."
An example Lake gives as one of those choices happens early in the game: after things go wrong for Paul Serene's Monarch Corporation you're able to choose, while playing as Serene, how to deal with the botched operation:
"One option is to take a really hardline reaction, no nonsense, no explanation, firmly in a military approach, find Jack and stop him. The other approach is more PR friendly. They do a cover up, they feed their own version of the story out there, gain the support of the Riverport population and paint Jack as a terrorist. Then you have slightly different outcomes to things."
These choices won't create completely different episode however, says Lake. "[These aren't] entirely different episodes but there are alternate things happening and your choice carries over. It’s not like two different episodes. It’s still one story told in many ways depending on your choices". During the interview it's summarised crisply by another Remedy representative:
"Junction moments are in the game and then you get your personalised director’s cut of the show according to the decisions you make. The show then will give you small moments that feed back into the game."
So there you go. You don't have to alternate between game and show but Remedy thinks that's how you'll get the best from it. Interestingly, considering that level-to-episode matching, Lake won't clarify the episode count, saying only that "we are thinking of this as season one of Quantum Break".