|Quantum Break (TV series)|
Title card for television series
|Developed by||Remedy Entertainment|
|Written by||Tyler Burton Smith|
|Directed by||Ben Ketai|
|Creative director(s)||Sam Lake|
|Presented by||Lifeboat Productions|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||4 (List of episodes)|
Amy S. Kim,
|Producer(s)||Robert J. Wilson|
|Cinematography||Timothy A. Burton|
|Running time||22-26 minutes (estimated)|
|Original channel||Xbox One Streaming|
|Original run||April 5, 2016 – April 5, 2016|
|Preceded by||Quantum Break|
Quantum Break is a live action science fiction television series developed alongside the video game of the same name. Quantum Break follows the exploits of Paul Serene and Martin Hatch of Monarch Solutions and three Monarch employees (Liam Burke, Charlie Wincott and Fiona Miller) as they fight to prevent or survive approaching End of Time. The television series is told almost exclusively from the point of the view of the villains and is meant to broaden the narrative of the game, which is told from the perspective of Jack Joyce and Beth Wilder.
- 1 Official Description
- 2 Story
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Cast
- 5 Background
- 6 Critical Reception
- 7 Quantum Break (Season 2)
- 8 Videos
- 9 Gallery
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- "From the creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake comes Quantum Break. A revolutionary entertainment experience that blurs the line between television and gaming. With Quantum Break, Remedy Games delivers an action-packed, fast paced game in which you bend and shape time in order to survive. Master unique powers, bending and warping time to outmaneuver and outwit the enemy. Epic moments of destruction, captured in time, become your playground. How you play the game shapes a personalized version of the television show. Watching the show gives you strategies and insights that will impact the way you play the game and helps you discover unique content within the game. Together, the game and the show deliver a holistic entertainment experience, possible only on Xbox One."
- —Xbox One Site
When Jack Joyce's transport goes missing, Monarch Security operative and Martin Hatch's "golden boy", Liam Burke is sent out to recover Joyce before he can cause more problems. However, when he discovers Beth Wilder was responsible for Joyce's escape, Burke finds himself tumbling down a path ugly truths about Monarch's preparations for the End of Time with a procedure known as the Lifeboat Protocol.
Desperate to protect his wife, Emily Burke, from the End of Time, Liam works with Beth to gain access to Henry Kim's lab. However, he is double-crossed by Charlie Wincott, who uses the partial video feed of Liam attacking Monarch soldiers with Beth to have him apprehended and taken into custody.
With the security of Monarch in question, Paul Serene works to reassure the corporation's employees of his empire's control with the Monarch gala. However, he is slowly losing the fight against his Chronon Syndrome, which has become resistant against Sofia Amaral's treatments. Elsewhere, Liam plots his escape after he is brought to Gull Island with a recently apprehended Jack Joyce, who willingly surrendered himself to Monarch security.
Paul or Hatch may confront Jack on his conviction fight against Paul's plan for the End of Time. Fiona Miller works to help Beth Wilder by gaining access to Henry Kim's lab and uses Charlie Wincott to achieve her goals. When she and Charlie run into an escaped Liam, the three discover that Henry Kim became a shifter and that Sofia Amaral believes that the stutters are accelerating quicker than Paul anticipated.
Fiona and Liam attempt to escape Monarch Security after they're betrayed Charlie Wincott. Charlie reports to Martin Hatch on the situation that transpired in Henry Kim's lab with Liam and Fiona. Hatch plants the seeds of doubt against Paul Serene when he explains that Paul's power and control has made him arrogant and willing to leave whoever he considers a non-essential to the End of Time. Hatch sends Charlie to remove the CFR from Paul's control and prepares to move forward with his plans to undermine Paul's operation. When Liam and Fiona cross paths with Charlie again, Liam threatens to kill Charlie unless he helps them secure a place on the list for the Lifeboat. Charlie pretends to comply with Liam's demands, but calls Monarch Security without his or Fiona's knowing.
At Dr. Kim's lab, Hatch plants evidence against Sofia Amaral and speaks with the Chronon-distorted Kim with the promise to return him to "the others" and "the infinite". Hatch destroys the lab with the Monarch soldiers still inside and returns to Monarch Solution's headquarters in the city. When Fiona, Charlie and Liam return to the outskirts of the city, Liam is shot in the chest by Carlo, one of Hatch's men.
Fiona splits up from Charlie, furious that he led her and Liam into a trap. Charlie returns to Monarch HQ. When Carlo threatens to kill Emily, Liam slits his throat and heads for the hospital where his wife works. Upon his arrival, Liam kills Gibson, the Monarch security detail watching his wife, and hastily explains the situation to her. Back at Monarch, Hatch presents his planted evidence against Sofia to an unraveling Paul Serene, who believes himself doomed now that his treatments are destroyed.
"The Lifeboat Protocol"
With the Lifeboat Protocol initiated, Monarch's top scientists are brought down to the lower levels of the building. Sofia returns from the Bradburry Swimming Pool, agitated and wanting to speak with Paul immediately. Charlie returns to the central Monarch building and accesses the security mainframe. He places himself and Fiona on the list and joins the other essential personal down below.
Out in the city, Fiona tries with little success to contact Beth, unaware that she was killed. When she prepares to give up, she is contacted by Jack Joyce, who explains that he is still looking for the Countermeasure. When Fiona arrives back at Monarch's central building, she and Charlie make amends and Charlie volunteers to help Jack reach the Countermeasure by lowering the CFR's defenses. Liam and Emily make their way inside the Monarch building, Liam breaking through the security detail as he defends Emily from harm.
Liam and Charlie's paths diverge depending on the choices made in the forth junction. A clear headed Paul Serene will appeal to Liam's desire to protect his wife and ask him to protect the CFR from Jack Joyce. Charlie, determined to help Jack take the CFR, will try to talk Liam down only to be killed by Martin Hatch, who is later killed by Liam.
However, a paranoid Paul Serene who's given into the Chronon Syndrome, may kill Sofia Amaral or send her away to the Lifeboat and turn against Monarch. Charlie will convince Liam to help him steal the CFR from Monarch so that Jack may use it to fix the Fracture in time. However, Liam is killed by Martin Hatch after being shot in the back and stomach. Charlie attempts to kill Hatch using the defenses of the CFR, but Hatch "survives" and is later shot in the head by Emily Burke. Unable to deactivate the defenses a second time, Charlie adds Emily's name to the essential personnel list on the Lifeboat and prepares to help Jack using a tech suit.
|"Monarch Solutions"||When tasked with finding Jack's missing transport, Liam Burke starts to discover the truth behind Monarch's long-term plans.||01|
|"Prisoner"||As Liam laments his capture, Fiona gets Charlie involved in something way beyond his pay grade during the Monarch gala.||02|
|"Deception"||While Liam, Charlie and Fiona pursue the Lifeboat Protocol, Hatch makes moves of his own.||03|
|"The Lifeboat Protocol"||As the Lifeboat Protocol is initiated and the End of Time is imminent, hard decisions have to be made.||04|
|Marshall Allman||Charlie Wincott||4 Episodes|
|Mimi Michaels||Fiona Miller||4 Episodes|
|Patrick Heusinger||Liam Burke||4 Episodes|
|Lance Reddick||Martin Hatch||4 Episodes|
|Aidan Gillen||Paul Serene||4 Episodes|
|Shawn Ashmore||Jack Joyce||3 Episodes|
|Brooke Nevin||Emily Burke||3 Episodes|
|Jacqueline Pinol||Sofia Amaral||3 Episodes|
|Nelson Bonilla||Gibson||2 Episodes|
|Jimmy Gonzales||Carlo||2 Episodes|
|Rey Hernandez||Commander Pierce||2 Episodes|
|Ric Reitz||Davis||2 Episodes|
|Courtney Hope||Beth Wilder||1 Episodes|
|Robert Pralgo||Commander Brown||1 Episode|
|Matt Orlando||Brenner||1 Episode|
|Amelia Rose Blaire||Amy Ferrero||1 Episode|
|Ryan Smith||Crocker||1 Episode|
|Eugene H. Russell IV||Chronon Scientist||1 Episode|
Early Story Concepts
Initial discussions regarding the early concepts of what would become the television series began in 2012 during the pre-production of the video game. According to Remedy Entertainment's Creative Director, Sam Lake, because the story of Quantum Break was constantly changing, the development team were uncertain on how to approach the narrative component of the television series.
They were certain that the series would take place in the fictional city of Riverport and would involve the corporation Monarch Solutions. However, at that point, they had not decided on who would be the main characters of the series. One of the earliest concepts for the series was the idea of government agents investigating Monarch Solutions.
Using the money Microsoft gave them to create a prototype demo early on in their negotiations, Remedy Entertainment produced a "Guided Experience" that would demonstrate the ideas of the video game component of Quantum Break, and a ten minute "prototype episode" the development team codenamed "QUEST". The ten minute episode was designed to showcase an idea of what they intended to do with the television series, but additionally demonstrated how the branching narratives created by the Junction Impacts would work.
Like the Guided Experience demo, the "QUEST" prototype episode was never made available for public viewing. Elements of the prototype episode were included in the May 2013 announcement trailer that debuted at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The footage in question involved an early story concept in which a woman was taking a "spooky girl" (named Peyton), who had the ability to see the future, to a "safe place" to protect her. According to Sam Lake, they produced the episode knowing they would scrap the idea.
Remedy Entertainment used the prototype episode to create a basic skeleton of what they wanted for the television series' story. Another idea they led with focused on a journalist and a "disgraced former Monarch employee with a dark background" --- investigating Monarch Solutions. This premise was closer to the early structure of The X-Files, featuring a "Monster of the Week" that would set up exploration into Monarch Solutions and its secrets. Eventually, the idea was dropped because it failed to sync up with the time travel story written for the game and Remedy's idea for Monarch Solutions did not mesh with the concept of random characters with supernatural powers, or monsters.
Remedy Entertainment did not want to approach Monarch Solutions as a inherently evil corporation because they felt it echoed too much of what they had seen before (a secret organization that committed crimes against humanity and manipulated everything behind the scenes). Additionally, Sam Lake states that because the "Fracture" event that occurs in the final version of the game was such a key event in the story, focusing on anything else would alienate viewers and players.
Early Format Ideas
During the pre-production stages of the television series in 2012, Remedy Entertainment was uncertain how to approach its presentation. There was discussion about whether or not the format could be a miniseries or a traditional television series that would be broadcast or available to purchase and stream digitally, separate from the video game.
Despite the possible audience they could gain with mainstream television viewers who weren't gamers, the disadvantage was that there was no guarantee that the audience that watched the show would play the game, or have the ability to access it. If the choice to pursue a traditional television production was chosen, the connection between the game and the series would have to be minimal.
"It was clear to continue along those lines would've meant really creating two very different products," Lake explained. The development team moved away from the idea of creating separate products and moved closer to the idea of integrating the television series into the interactive element of game requested by Microsoft Studios.
- Main article: Quantum Break (video game)#Casting and Motion Capture
Much of the production for the television series was handled in the West Coast of the United States by Lifeboat Productions. The narrative of the series was not finalized until the development team working on the game solidified the story and visual direction. The final rewrite of the series did not take place until a month before principal photography. Once rewrites were complete, filming officially began in February of 2015. The television series and video game were designed to tell the same story from different perspectives.
The video game would explore the narrative from the perspective of "the heroes" (Beth Wilder and Jack Joyce), but the television series would focus on the perspectives of "the villains" (Paul Serene and Monarch Solutions). While protagonist-antagonist Paul Serene, and Martin Hatch are featured in the series, the story unfolds largely from the point of view of Liam Burke (a Monarch Security officer), Charlie Wincott (a technician at Monarch), and Fiona Miller (a Chronon scientist).
The Martin Hatch character did not exist in any version of earlier concepts of Quantum Break until the current story for the television series was nearly finalized. Following his creation, Lake explained that Hatch took on a larger role in the overall narrative.
How certain events in the television series would unfold were based on the player's choices made by using Paul's ability to see alternate futures during Junction Impacts before each episode.[note 1] Choices made in Junction Impacts would not create a entirely different episode in the same way making a choice might in a Telltale Games point and click adventure or Mass Effect.
Casting for the television series and the video game occurred simultaneously. The cast was required to audition for their roles as they would for a traditional film or television production. In addition, they were given scripts that contained scenes from either the game or the television series, but details about the story was kept from them.
Once cast, the actors spent spent roughly two years recording dialog for their characters and working on performance capture with their co-stars. In order to get actors who appeared in the television series to resemble their in-game character models, they were required to pose in in front of DSLR Cameras, which captured the finest detail of the actors faces. Additionally, the actors were required to get dental molds of their teeth.
Post production on the series was handled by Juan Ignacio Cabrera, who worked for Bad Robot Productions and currently helms LightBender studios. Post production (color correction, editing and visual effects) for all four episodes took a total of eight months to complete. Cabrera used SGO Mistika, post-production software created by Soluciones Gráficas por Ordenador (S.G.O.). Cabrera acted as VFX supervisor and colorist on the series; scenes that featured stutters were shot with a hand-held camera to produce a off-balance effect when the visual effects were used.
Quantum Break was filmed using Alexa XT, using the latest firmware in ProRes 4444 XQ files. Because Mistika did not support the file type used by the XT at the time the series was being film, Cabrera requested the G.S.O. team in Spain to create a support for the Mistika. Additionally, 16bit TIFF files were created for the VFX based on its original ProRes 4444 XQ files, which preserved the 12-bit format and latitude.
Announcement and promotion
The television series was announced alongside the game during E3 2013. The first teaser trailer containing footage from the "Guided Experience" demo and "QUEST" episode, was revealed May 21, 2013. Quantum Break was promoted as a "video game and television hybrid that mashes together real world actors and traditional filmmaking with computer graphics and virtual settings in the same fictional universe".
Quantum Break was announced during Microsoft Studio's promotion of Xbox Entertainment Studios, which was established in Santa Monica, California in 2012. As a result, the game, developed apart from the studio's filmography, was believed to be among the studio's roster of produced and cancelled television series. The announcement of Quantum Break drew comparisons to Syfy Channel and Trion Worlds's Defiance series, which produced a television and video game as separate experiences.
In July of 2014, Microsoft Studios declared that Xbox Entertainment Studios would be shutting down. They assured the general media that the television production of Quantum Break would not be affected by the studio's closure.
Finalized Format and Release
The length of the episodes in Quantum Break is estimated to be no longer than a half hour long. Each episode of the series can be accessed at the end of every act in the game, prefaced with "previously" and "next time" bumpers. “You’ll unlock the live-action episode at the end of the [gameplay] episode," explained Oskari Hakkinen (former head of Remedy Entertainment's franchise development), "but you can choose when you jump into that."
The original intention for the television series was to have it included on-disc with the game.[note 2] Eventually, however, the decision to include the series on-disc was changed. All four episodes are currently available for streaming or can be downloaded for free from the Xbox One store instead. It was also the intention to allow all four episodes of Quantum Break to be watchable on external hardware such as the iPhone and iPad.
Remedy Entertainment expressed that the "optimal" way to play game and watch the series is to jump back and forth between both. However, the choice is ultimately up to the player themselves.[note 3] Lake hoped that the integration of both the television series and the game would keep players invested in both mediums the narrative is presented.[note 4]
Originally, Remedy Entertainment confirmed that Alan Wake composer, Petri Alanko, would be the composer for both the video game and the television series. However, in interview with GameSpot.com, Alanko admitted that he did not have time to compose both and focused solely on the video game's score.
John Kaefer, a television composer who worked on Good Morning America and 20/20, took up composing duties for the television series. According to Kaefer, he referenced material Alanko had composed for the game prior, and consulted with Lifeboat Productions on the direction they wanted for the television score. "The production team gave me a good idea what they were looking for, which happens to be a comfortable style I write: ambient drone, electronic acoustic hybrid". With regard to the branching narrative of the game, Kaefer believed composition for alternate scenes proved a unique challenge which allowed him to explore the varying emotions of each scene.
April 2, 2015, Remedy Games announced that the Quantum Break video game being produced alongside the television series was delayed until 2016 in the hopes to polish or refine the game more and avoid clashing with other major releases being published by Microsoft Entertainment.[note 5] In light of their dual production, the television series was likely delayed at the time as well.
The reception to Quantum Break’s live-action television series has been mixed. General praise for the show was given toward the performances of its more seasoned cast members (such as Lance Reddick and Adian Gillen), writing and pacing; while similarly, criticisms of the show lay with it's focus characters (Marshall Allman's Charlie Wincott and Patrick Heusinger's Liam Burke), middling production quality and lack of character development. An equally common complaint toward of the series was the abundance of Microsoft Product placement throughout the four episodes.
IGN's Tristan Ogilvie praised the production quality of the series, considering the four episode breaks a step up from gaming's Full Motion Video attempts of 32 Bit era. Ogilve goes on to say that the television segments were important to humanize the villains, but doesn't necessary require the player to question the decisions of their protagonist during the game segments. Similarly Arthur Gies praised the series for being a far more successful translation of the cinematic format than the traditionally lengthy cinematic sequences of a Hideo Kojima game.
Hardcore Gamer's Adam Beck noted that the central characters never experience any development, and criticized that the structure of the episodes focused less on narrative points that didn't not impact the plot of the game concerning Paul Serene and Martin Hatch. "Liam, Charlie and Fiona’s plots mainly only reflect a few moments near the end of the game, whereas the effects are shown more in Aidan and Lance’s characters throughout the course of the story, most notably at the end of each act".
Sam Machkovech of Ars Technica.com believed that the series broke the momentum of the game and never quite recovered from schmaltzy dialog, unlikable characters and thin character motivations such as Burke's want to protect his pregnant wife. Machkovech criticizes the game's method of delivering character lore through lengthy text files, believing that information on auxiliary characters would have been utilized in the show instead. Feminist Frequency criticized the both the game the show for not better utilizing its female characters beyond the framing of their male significant others story arcs.
Quantum Break (Season 2)
Prior to the release of the game, Sam Lake hoped to produce a "second season" of Quantum Break if both the series and video game was successful.[note 6] Despite it's general positive-to-mixed reviews, there were reports of low sales following it's first week in the United Kingdom and United States. Four months after its release, Microsoft stated that, despite Quantum Break selling better than what they had expected, there were no plans to produce a sequel.
- Lake: "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."
- Gamerant.com: "[...]for months, it’s been unclear exactly how Remedy intended to release the Quantum Break episodes – recently clarifying that the live-action component will actually be included on the game disc (not downloaded or streamed separately), unlocked as the story progresses."
- Hakkinen: The best experience would be to play the game, watch the live action, then play the game some more, but if you’ve chosen to dedicate your two-hour slot to gaming and you don’t want to watch live action straight away, you can continue on with the game and pick up on the live action from your iPad or phone at a later date.”
- Lake: "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".
- Shannon Loftis: “With so many Xbox One games launching this year, moving Quantum Break to 2016 extends our incredible portfolio into next year with a monster new IP,” said Shannon Loftis, Head of Publishing at Microsoft Studios."
- Gamerant: "Those already anticipating the game’s story and structure will be pleased to hear that Remedy is thinking long term with the series, operating with the assumption that an extension of Quantum Break (a ‘season 2’) will be made sooner rather than later. A similar strategy was planned for Alan Wake, but the future of that series – while still being discussed by Remedy – seems uncertain. Hopefully, the Xbox One exclusive Break won’t face the same clouded future."