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Quantum Break
Xbox Cover.png
Developer(s) Remedy Entertainment
Publisher(s) Microsoft Studios
Distributor(s) Microsoft Studios
Designer(s) Kyle Rowley,
Otto Kivling (Programmer)
Writer(s) Tyler Burton Smith,
Mikko Rautalahti
Artist(s) Janne Pulkkinen
Composer(s) Petri Alanko
Director(s) Sam Lake,
Mikael Kasurinen,
Miloš Jeřábek (Producer)
Engine Northlight Engine
Platform(s) Xbox One,
Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) WW5 April 2016
Genre(s) Action-adventure, third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s) ESRB: M,
PEGI: 16[1]
Requirements See: Windows 10 Article,
See: Retail/Steam Article
Next Quantum Break (TV series)

"Time Is Power."

Quantum Break is a third-person science fiction action shooter developed by Remedy Entertainment and released worldwide on April 5, 2016 for the Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms. It was published and funded by Microsoft Studios, who owns the IP. Written by Tyler Burton Smith, Mikko Rautalahti and directed by Sam Lake and Mikael Kasurinen, Quantum Break follows the story of Jack Joyce, a resident of the fictional town of Riverport, Massachusetts, who, after a time travel experiment goes wrong, gains the ability to control time and must stop a growing fracture in time from bringing about the end of the world.

Announced in May 2013, Quantum Break was advertised as an "entertainment experience" that combined live action scripted television and traditional third person gameplay. Using gameplay mechanics traditionally associated with interactive stories, certain elements of the plot can be changed based on the decisions players make during "Junction Impacts" and are reflected in the both the game and the television series. Quantum Break received generally positive reviews for its story and gameplay and heavy criticism for its Windows 10 port on account of technical issues.

September 29, 2016 saw the release of Quantum Break: Timeless Collector's Edition, a physical retail version of the game for Microsoft Windows and PCs (handled by THQ Nordic) that did not use Windows 10, that was also made available for Valve Corporation's Steam client.


Official Description

"When time breaks, catastrophe becomes your playground. As hero Jack Joyce, you'll fight your way through epic disasters that stutter back and forth in time. But surviving this unstable world--and halting the end of time itself--is only possible by mastering your new time powers."
—Xbox One Site[2]


  • Jack Joyce (Shawn Ashmore) - The protagonist of Quantum Break. Jack Joyce returns home to Riverport when his childhood friend, Paul Serene, asks for help regarding a top secret project. After Paul's time machine experiment goes wrong, Jack is exposed to Chronon energy and discovers he has the ability to control time. Jack and Paul become mortal enemies after Paul kills his brother, William, and Jack seeks to avenge his brother by stopping Paul from letting time end.
  • Paul Serene (Aidan Gillen) - The antagonist of Quantum Break. When the time traveling experiment at Riverport University creates a fracture in time, Paul is sent to the year 2021, the End of Time. Returning to the past of 1999, Paul establishes Monarch Solutions, a corporation created to ensure mankind's survival beyond the fracture in time. Like Jack, he was exposed to Chronon energy and can manipulate time.
  • Beth Wilder (Courtney Hope) - A double agent within Monarch Solutions, Beth was has been preparing for the fracture in time since she was approached by her future self at the age of eight years old. When she meets Jack Joyce, she convinces him to help her find his brother's Countermeasure device in order to stop Monarch Solutions and repair the fracture in time created by Paul Serene.
  • Martin Hatch (Lance Reddick) - The mysterious CEO of Monarch Solutions and Paul Serene's confidante. Up front, Hatch ensures that Monarch Solutions operates as it should when the fracture in time occurs. He guarantees that Paul's plans for the future go according to plan and Monarch's secrets remain hidden from the public. However, Hatch works behind the scenes with his own agenda regarding the End of Time.

  • William Joyce (Dominic Monaghan) - The older brother of Jack Joyce and the creator of the time machine, William created the Countermeasure after Beth Wilder from the future of 2016 saves him from Paul Serene, and warns him of the fracture in 1999. His own efforts to prevent the fracture are met with failure, but his apparent death at the hands of Paul Serene ensures that his brother will not only seek revenge, but carry out his and Beth's mission to prevent the End of Time.
  • Sofia Amaral (Jacqueline Pinol) - The head of research at Monarch Solutions' Chronon division department, Doctor Sofia Amaral works with Paul Serene to ensure the success of the Lifeboat Protocol, an operation that gathers Monarch's best scientists together to create a solution for the End of Time after it occurs. When she is kidnapped by Jack Joyce and Beth Wilder, they intend to use for their own plan to save the world.
  • Amy Ferrero (Amelia Rose Blaire) - An idealistic college student at Riverpoort University, Amy Ferrero is looking to prevent Monarch Solutions from erasing any more of Riverport's historical landmarks. When she bears witness to Monarch Security's raid on the university, Amy's life and family is threatened by the corporation. However, depending on the choices of Paul Serene, Amy may die or live to help Jack and Beth accomplish their goal.
  • Nick Marsters (Sean Durrie) - A former football player turned taxicab driver, Nick Marsters held Monarch Solutions in high regard for bringing Riverport out of the financial slump it had fallen into years ago. However, when he is almost killed by Monarch Security officers carrying out the Hardline Protocol, his opinion of the corporation changes very quickly. Nick does what he can to help Jack and Beth achieve their goals, all while causing minor headaches along the way with conspiracy theories.

  • Clarice Ogawa (Jeannie Bolet, Jules de Jongh) - A commanding officer in Monarch Security, Clarice seeks to find out the truth about what happened during October 9th and 10th when Jack Joyce and Beth Wilder attempted to steal the Countermeasure, the Lifeboat Protocol's Chronon Field Regulator (CFR). Clarice works closely alongside Martin Hatch and aids him behind the scenes to ensure his plans to sabotage Paul Serene, succeed with little interference from within or outside Monarch.
  • Liam Burke (Patrick Heusinger) - A soldier hired by Monarch Solutions, Liam is one of Monarch Security's best officers and a former candidate in the Striker Program. Liam is willing to defend the corporation from outside threats until he discovers Monarch's intentions to leave him and his pregnant wife, Emily Burke, to the mercy of the End of Time. Allying himself with Fiona Miller, Liam tries to gain access to the Lifeboat Protocol in the hopes of protecting Emily.
  • Charlie Wincott (Marshall Allman) - Monarch Solution's hacker and security monitor, Charlie Wincott aspires to climb the social ladder of Monarch Solutions to a loftier position. But, his attraction for Chronon scientist, Fiona Miller, leads him down a path to Monarch's true intentions. When faced with the choice of saving himself or helping others, like Liam, Fiona and Jack, Charlie may choose to save himself unless given incentive to do otherwise.
  • Fiona Miller (Mimi Michaels) - A Chronon scientist who works as Beth Wilder's informant within Monarch, Fiona attempts to gain access to Henry Kim's lab on Gull Island to ascertain information on the CFR and the Lifeboat Protocol. With the help of Liam Burke, she uses Charlie Wincott to do it.

  • Summary

    October 9, 2016

    Jack Joyce returns home to Riverport after a six year absence, at the request of his childhood friend, Paul Serene, after Paul asks for help regarding a "life changing" project. While uncertain of what helping Paul means, Jack returns and heads for Riverport University's Meyer Physics Research Center where he reunites with his friend.

    Making their way to the Project Promenade lab, Paul reveals little by little what his project is until Jack eventually deduces that Paul's team built a time machine. Paul explains that he wanted Jack to help him activate the machine and prove its functionality to prove William Joyce, Jack's brother, wrong. Prior to his contacting Jack, William, saw to it that the financial backers of the project bowed out after he claimed to discover miscalculations within the machine's design.

    Jack agrees to help Paul, and witnesses first hand the time machine's power when another Paul Serene emerges from the machine. When the present day Paul prepares to travel through the machine, William appears and demands that Jack shut down the machine. When Jack refuses, William tries in vain to avert disaster himself when the core malfunctions. He fails and the core sends out an explosion of Chronon energy that renders Jack unconscious. When Jack comes to, everything is frozen in suspended animation. He finds William in the same state and manages to free him. When the stutter collapses the lab besieged by Monarch Security, which forces Jack and William to flee while Paul has no choice to use the machine to escape.

    Using the maintenance tunnels, Jack and William evade Monarch Security. William tries to explain that because of what happened in the lab, time was broken and beginning to break down. If a solution wasn't found soon, the End of Time would occur and everyone on the planet would be caught in a permanent Zero State. He created a countermeasure that could mend the fracture and avert the End of Time.

    William is eventually caught by Monarch Security and taken to the Riverport Library when Jack is separated from his brother. Jack meets Beth Wilder, who informs him of his brother's location. Though Jack is able to reach his brother and rescue him Monarch Security, their escape is halted by the reappearance of an aged Paul Serene who attacks them. Paul kills William and Jack is taken prisoner by Monarch.

    Paul Serene and Martin Hatch decide on what to do about the witnesses who saw their operation at the university. Depending on Paul's choices, he may choose to take the "Hardline Protocol" and have all the witnesses killed; or, he chooses the "PR Protocol", where he and Hatch use the media to their advantage and frame Jack as a terrorist.

    When Jack regains consciousness, he escapes during a stutter, taking a frozen Beth Wilder and Liam Burke's weapons from them. Traveling through the industrial area, Jack fights his way to the drydocks to get to Paul. Along the way he may rescue a taxicab driver named Nick Marsters, or a young college student named Amy Ferrero. During another stutter, a group of Striker units attempt to block Jack's path. He learns fairly quickly to disable their Chronon Harness as a means to defeat them.

    Jack travels deeper into the Industrial Area until he reaches a place called "Ground Zero", where time is broken and disjointed. He glimpses events that he has no context for and is left confused. Exiting Ground Zero, he catches Paul departing in a helicopter with Doctor Sofia Amaral. Jack attempts to kill Paul, but fail. Paul uses his Chronon abilities to create a wreck within a partially constructed ship to trap Jack. Jack narrowly escapes the destruction and reunites with Beth at the top of the drydocks.

    Jack decides to work with Beth to stop the fracture and heads for the Bradbury Swimming Hall. At the Swimming Hall, Beth explains that she's been working to prepare for the day of the fracture for most of her life. They discover the original time machine William built, but find the Countermeasure is missing. A video left behind by William suggests that Beth may have taken it. When they try to use the time machine, it fails to work. With no options, Jack decides to head for Gull Island (as Paul predicted he would do) to kidnap Dr. Amaral.

    Once on the island, Jack surrenders himself to Paul and Hatch. Paul may choose focus on the Monarch gala and leave Jack's interrogation to Hatch, or attempt to convince Jack that his plan to save humanity with the Lifeboat Protocol is a better plan than trying to mend the fracture. A short time afterward, Beth returns to her undercover status to break Jack out. If he was interrogated by Hatch, he was given the means to escape and waited for Beth to arrive. If he was interrogated by Paul, Beth will have to free him of his restraints.

    Once he is outside the interrogation room, Jack separates from Beth in search for Dr. Amaral. Traversing Gull Island, Jack eventually makes his way into the Monach Research Facility and encounters a Juggernaut unit and Chronon dampener, the latter of which is meant to drain his Chronon abilities. After learning that Dr. Amaral was at the gala where Beth was searching, Jack retrieves a Chronon harness for Beth to use and head for the gala.

    Beth is able to divert Paul and most of Monarch Security into the tunnels when Jack is discovered. Her reuse allows Jack to reach the gala event with little complication. Pulling Beth out of a stutter, he gives her the harness and the two go in search of Dr. Amaral. When they find her in the stutter, she is about to be killed by a drone smashing through the window of the mansion.

    Jack pulls her out of the stutter and demands that she comes with them. The three of barely escape the building before stutters ends and the drone destroys the room. Beth separates from Jack and takes Dr. Amaral with her on boat while Jack fends off Monarch Security, providing them cover for their escape. Once he finishes off the rest of the soldiers, he steals one of Paul's sports car and escapes the island.

    Once Paul realizes that Dr. Amaral has been kidnapped and that he was mislead by someone within security, his Chronon Syndrome begins to act up and he attacks Hatch, blaming him for what happened. Hatch believes that Amaral has been working against him from the start and that she orchestrated her own kidnapping.

    Paul may choose to maintain his trust in Sofia because she helped with him with his disease; or he may choose believe Hatch and suspects Sofia. Afterward, he is given visual identification of the woman who fed the security team bad information. Paul realizes that Beth Wilder was the woman who tried to kill him during his time trapped in the End of Time. When Monarch Security suggests placing a kill order out on Beth, Paul belays the order, saying that Beth can't be killed yet.

    Elsewhere, Jack is forced to abandon Paul's car when he realizes that Monarch has blocked off all viable escape routes. He tries to reach Beth and Dr. Amaral using the docks below the Port Donnelly Bridge, but is discovered by Monarch Security. As he attempts to cross the bridge, he is caught in a shipwreck that destroys the bridge, but survives on account of the stutter. Acting fast, Jack travels down into the shipwreck and barely escapes into the water when the crash resumes destroying the bridge.

    October 10, 2016

    With Dr. Amaral as their hostage, Jack and Beth demand that she help them fix William's time machine so that they could travel into the past to retrieve the Countermeasure. Initially, Dr. Amaral argues that because of what Paul has seen, the End of Time cannot be prevented, even if William believed it could. She is given little choice but to help and cooperates with them. As they restore power to the time machine, Beth and Jack discover a mural of an eight year old Beth meeting her adult self from the future.

    Beth realizes that because she met herself as a child in 1999, the past is set and cannot be changed and believes Jack will be convinced of the same when he travels back in time. Jack, who was determined to try and change events by returning to creation point of the fracture, reluctantly agrees to do things Beth's way and go to July 4th, 2010 instead. Once power to the time machine is restored, Jack sets the time for July 4th, 2010.

    Beth gets ahead of him and steps into the clockwise path of the time machine and is trapped inside when Dr. Amaral resets the time machine for the future at the last second. Knowing that he can't get to Beth, Jack decides to go through with the original plan and travels to July 4th, 2010. Once he's there, he reunites with a traumatized Beth. Beth explains that Dr. Amaral sent her to the End of Time and that she attempted to kill Paul Serene while she was there.

    Paul managed to evade her after discovering William's time machine and traveled back to 1999, where she followed and stopped him from killing William. Jack realized that Beth was reason that his brother built the countermeasure, but asked why Beth chose to remain in the past for eleven years. She avoided his questions for a time, but when he persisted, she demanded that he let go of trying to change what can't be changed.

    The two head for William's workshop in the industrial area while William is absent (at Beth's request). Jack uses his Chronon abilities and discovers his brother hid the Countermeasure in a an electronically sealed room inside a safe. When Monarch arrives, Jack fends them off outside the workshop while Beth breaks into the safe. Once the fight is over, Jack returns to the workshop to find Paul blocking Beth's escape.

    Paul attempts to convince Beth to join him and surrender the Countermeasure. When she refused and tried to kill him, Paul shot her in the shoulder and sends the Countermeasure flying from her hand. The Countermeasure lands on the ground before Jack can reach Beth and releases a charge of Chronon energy that creates Ground Zero. The blast sends Jack back to Ground Zero in the year 2016 and he witnesses Beth's death in a time echo. Furious, Jack left the industrial area, intent on avenging Beth's death and taking back the Countermeasure.

    As Paul's Chronon Syndrome begins to advance, his state of mind deteriorates rapidly. With only one treatment left to him after the lab explosion on Gull Island destroyed the rest, Paul began to question the people he trusted the most (Hatch or Sofia). Paul may choose to remain in control and see that the Lifeboat Protocol succeeds, or he will give into his paranoia and turn against everyone in Monarch, and seek to destroy the Countermeasure.

    Time begins to collapse a much faster rate as Jack approaches Monarch HQ, with everything around him moving out of sync and order. Upon arriving, Jack may be aided by Charlie Wincott or Fiona Miller, who hacks Monarch security systems to allow him access into secured areas. On the way to the top of the tower, Jack witnesses a Shifter attack kill several Striker units, and travels through the wake the Shifter's previous attacks.

    Before reaching Paul's office, Jack is attacked by the Shifter that killed the Striker units, but survives because the stutter ends. Once inside Paul's office, Jack heads for the CFR chamber where he may encounter and fight Liam Burke, or rescue Charlie from certain death at the hands of Monarch Security. Jack retrieves the Countermeasure and uses the time machine --- relocated inside Monarch Tower --- to travel back to October 9th, 2016, to save his brother.

    Arriving moments after the fracture in time occurs, Jack remains one step behind his past self and his brother, slowly realizing that the other person Monarch had been fighting that morning during his original escape was him all along. He arrives at the Riverport Library at the exact moment he believed his brother died and prevents William's death. William explained that because the past can't be changed, he was always saved by Jack, he never actually died. After rescuing William, Jack is convinced by his brother to return to his present and use the Countermeasure there to mend the fracture. During their escape, a stutter occurs and Jack spots Beth observing his original arrest by Monarch. He considers pulling her out of the stutter but ultimately decides against it. Instead, he promises to come back for her.

    William and Jack return to the Bradbury Swimming Hall and set the time machine for Jack's present. Arriving back to October 10th, William is trapped in a stutter upon exiting the machine and Jack is attacked by Monarch Security. He defeats the initial wave of enemies and prepares to pull William out of the stutter when Paul appears. Paul either demands the return of the Countermeasure, or wants to destroy it. Jack, refusing to give up the Countermeasure, fights both Paul and Monarch Security.

    When he defeats both, Jack kills Paul with a punch that has Paul landing awkwardly on his neck and breaking it. After pulling William out of the stutter, helps his brother reactivate the Countermeasure, which successfully rejuvenates the Meyer-Joyce field and stabilizes the fracture. With Paul missing after the explosion from the time machine core, William deduces that the fracture isn't necessarily over. Jack begins to experience symptoms of Chronon Syndrome after seeing a vision of himself at the End of Time.

    November 11, 2016

    A month following the events in October, Jack Joyce is interviewed by Monarch Solutions security officer and Commander, Clarice Ogawa, about events that transpired during the 9th and 10th.

    He initially begins providing the briefest of summaries regarding his and Beth Wilder's initial failure to obtain the Countermeasure until Clarice asked him to start at the very beginning. Once Jack finishes recounting events to their completion, Clarice ends their interview.

    Outside the office, Jack speaks with Martin Hatch. After Jack mentions that Monarch has framed Paul for everything that happened, Hatch offers him a place within Monarch Solutions. He indirectly references Jack's Chronon Syndrome as incentive to join them. Jack experiences another vision, seeing himself either joining Hatch and Monarch Solutions, or turning Hatch's offer down.



    Quantum Break is promised of five acts, four Junction Impacts and four episodes. With the exception of the third and fourth acts, three of the acts are separated into three parts. All acts (except act five) end with a Junction Impact, which transitions into an episode of the live action series.

    Act 1: The Number One Killer is Time

    Act 2: Perfect Place to Hide Something

    Act 3: The Wine and Cheese Crowd

    Act 4: The Secret History of Time Travel

    Act 5: I'll Come Back For You


    Time Powers

    Jack deflects bullets using "Time Shield".

    The core gameplay of Quantum Break centralizes on Jack Joyce and Paul Serene's ability to manipulate time as time begins to break down. Jack Joyce's "Time Powers" allow players to use creatives methods as a means to defeat enemies in the game in combination with gunplay.

    Joyce can stop time temporarily, allowing him to escape from attacks or freeze enemies, unleash a "Time Blast", which is an offensive projectile[3], and reverse the direction of bullets.[4] The fluxing state of time itself allows Jack to interact with the environments, creating environmental effects that would harm hostile characters.[5]

    Abilities, such as "Time Rush", allow him to spawn right next to an enemy to perform an immediate cinematic melee takedown.[6] Alternatively, Jack can speed up the time as well and swap between covers to diversify attention from unaware enemies.[7] Additionally Joyce can protect himself from attacks using "Time Shield", which can deflect bullets, perform "Time Dodge", which allows him to dash quickly to evade from attacks[8][9] or simply hiding behind cover.[10] Time Powers can be upgraded a limited number of two to three times, which focus on upgrading and prolonging the use of the time abilities or strengthening the attacks Jack has at his disposal.

    Platforming and Puzzles

    There are less action-oriented segments in the game, where players have to solve environmental puzzles while progressing through the game in platforming segments.[11]

    With time collapsing, objects may become trapped in a time loop. Seemingly harmless objects become environmental hazards in a constant state of shifting,[12] creating dangerous environments the player must traverse.[13][14]


    As a third-person shooter, the combat in Quantum Break encourages the player not to remain behind cover during firefights as they would in traditional cover shooters, but to remain in constant movement. Players can use a variety of firearms, as well as their Time Powers, in combination to defeat enemies in the game.

    Enemy A.I. may work to constantly flank Jack Joyce during brief and lengthy shootouts. They will not remain stationary during the combat sequences. Heavier enemy types will force the player out of cover with weapons and firearms that deal heavy damage. The cinematic nature of the combat is reflective of that earlier Remedy games such as Max Payne and Alan Wake. The death of the final enemy signifies the end of a gunfight with a slow motion sequence that displays the method of their death.

    Narrative Objects

    Throughout the five acts of Quantum Break the player will be encouraged to seek out the Narrative and Intel Objects that populate the environment of a level.

    Narrative and Intel Objects serve as a auxiliary method of expanding the story of Monarch Solutions and the supporting characters outside the sphere of Jack's point of view.

    They vary from emails, document, and video collectibles. There are a total of 153 Narrative Objects and 9 Intel Objects in the game.

    Junction Impacts

    Paul Serene foresees one possible future of two paths to choose.

    While core the gameplay's time powers center on Jack Joyce, players are able to take control of Paul Serene in "Junction Impacts", branching narrative decisions that impact the plot, before an episode of the television show plays out. During Junction Impacts, players make choices from the point of view of the antagonist, Paul Serene, which in turn affects the presentation of certain plot points in the television show and game.

    Paul Serene's time abilities are limited beyond the future he can see and location of Narrative Objects that rarely appear during the four gameplay sequences. There are a total of four Junction Impacts within the game, lining up with the number of episodes presented for the player to watch.[6]


    Main article: List of Achievements in Quantum Break

    Quantum Break features 42 Achievements worth a total of 1000 gamer points.[15] 20 of the achievements are non-objective achievements, focused on the number of enemies killed, Time Powers upgraded or what difficulty the game was beat on. The other 22 achievements are "secret achievements", unlocked only when narrative choices, default and optional, are completed.



    The Alan Wake 2 prototype featured many elements that were later reworked into Alan Wake's American Nightmare.[16] The highway accident sequence echoes the accident that occurs in the fourth act of Quantum Break.

    Pre-production for Quantum Break began as early as 2012.[17][18] The concept for Quantum Break was developed during the time Remedy attempted to approach a sequel for 2010’s Alan Wake. Remedy worked on a concept and pitched it to several publishers, including Microsoft, the publisher of the first game.[19] Microsoft, searching for something else, asked the developer to create game with an interactive story element. Remedy initially approached the concept as a story for “Alan Wake 3”, centralized around “a mysterious agency that investigates the supernatural forces of Alan Wake’s world”.[20][21]

    They ultimately decided that the interactive story Microsoft was looking for would work better as a new IP, feeling they could not mold Alan Wake to serve another idea. While Remedy had other publishers interested in Alan Wake, it was apparent that a sequel was too risky at the time the company was helmed by 50 employees. The idea for Quantum Break stemmed from these circumstances.[20]

    One concept proposed for Quantum Break was one had the working title “Quantum” in it and dealt with time travel. This was taken from an early stage in Alan Wake’s development. There had been a draft for a scenario dealing the quantum physics theory of many worlds, and included a plot thread where a particle accelerator situated outside Bright Falls brought to life Alan Wake’s writing within a parallel reality.[21]

    While those ideas were left out of the final Alan Wake product, it inspired Mikko Rautalahti’s idea for a “TV-show episode within a game”. The Night Springs episode, “The Quantum Suicide” was one such example of the television show within a game that inspired the initial “Quantum” titled game.[21][19]

    Remedy ultimately decided to focusing on developing an interactive story focused on quantum physics, but instead of parallel realities, they chose time travel. Using that template, Remedy pitched several ideas to different publishers, including Microsoft Studios. Their presentation for the idea used the solgan, "If you could travel back in time, what would change?" Microsoft saw potential in the early idea for Quantum Break and Remedy entered into negotiations with the publisher regarding the new Intellectual Property.[21]

    During the six month negotiation period, Remedy worked on the Xbox Live Arcade game, Alan Wake's American Nightmare. By American Nightmare’s release in February 2012, Remedy had begun pre-production on Quantum Break.[20]

    Early Production

    Remedy began Quantum Break with Microsoft as a prototype deal. Microsoft funded their project “for a few months” and Remedy would use the money given to create a demo to prove their concept could work.[22]

    Early Gameplay

    The initial concept behind Quantum Break’s time travel was broken down into "three layers". The first was gameplay, revolving around Jack’s time powers, called “second-to-second gameplay”. Players would be able to rewind time and have several versions of Jack Joyce replaying moments already experienced while the player continues onward in realtime. Upgrades would enable multiple versions of Jack with the ability to fight alongside each other. The gameplay was in its early tech stages, but it was eventually scrapped when Remedy believed it was becoming too repetitious and “too strategy oriented”.[21]

    The second was Junction Impacts, which originally took place in past and would influence changes in the future. The player would be able to change their choices if they did not like them. Ultimately, Remedy felt the idea was confusing and that set rules would be required to avoid plot.[21]

    During the development of the game, Microsoft wanted Remedy include an Xbox Kinect element. Remedy considered a Co-op mode with one player using the controller and the other the Kinect wand. Sam Lake states that the development began to feel like two different experiences were being crafted for a single game and was too daunting a task to take on. The idea eventually was one that both Remedy and Microsoft agreed could not be implemented in the game’s interactive elements and it was dropped from the game.[23]

    Early Story

    The third layer was Time traveling, which was far more prominent in the story. The premise behind it was that time was a closed loop and nothing could be changed, but in certain circumstances change could occur, creating paradoxes. Microsoft producer, David Holmes, felt the concept was confusing. Sam Lake noted that plot holes were easily spotted in his, Rautalahti, Tyler Smith, and Cam Rogers' writing and often required reworking.[21]

    While developing the game, Remedy consulted a scientist lecturer who had worked with CERN, who taught them how to write the plot in such a way that it adhered to current theoretical physics.[24]

    Similar to Alan Wake, Remedy’s intention with Quantum Break was telling its story in an episodic format. Lake, wanting to push forward with the format in games, expanded their focus to other characters. “Remedy’s previous games have been named after the main character, Max Payne and Alan Wake. Quantum Break is different," Lake explained. "I wanted to create an ensemble cast. Yes, this game is and always was Jack Joyce’s story, but the idea was that going forward there would be other characters, as well, characters who could step in and take the lead role.”[23]

    The original story of Quantum Break featured four playable characters: Jack Joyce, Beth Wilder, Kate Ogawa and Nick Marsters. The Kate Ogawa character had originally been conceived as Paul Serene’s ex-wife and security professional that defected from Monarch Solutions to help Jack; Nick Marsters was originally a con-man and ex hockey player.[23]

    Beth Wilder and Jack Joyce’s roles as leads took various shape. In one version, the two were in a rock band together. In another version, Beth was a college student and Jack was William's "slacker" brother that worked as a janitor at Riverport University. Another version of the story had Jack as the ex-boyfriend of Sofia Amaral, who was William Joyce’s assistant.[25]

    William discovered time travel with Paul Serene and was the head of the time traveling experiment instead of Serene.[25] All four playable characters had the Junction Impact ability. Paul Serene was never a playable character in the initial concept. Lake felt the story had become too fragmented and re-centered the narrative on Jack’s story only, with Beth surviving as a supporting character. Similarly, the Junctions were also restructured and Paul Serene was made a playable character.[23]

    Remedy completed a demo, referred to as a “Guided Experience”. The demo included an action sequence, Junction, story and character moments, set within the Riverport University library. The demo was directed by Saku Lehtinen (art director of Alan Wake) and featured Game of Thrones actor Gethin Anthony as Jack Joyce and Erin Richards was Beth Wilder for the early demo. Microsoft accepted the demo and proceeded with Remedy into a full production deal of the game.[22]

    Sound and Visual Effects

    Jack Joyce stands outside of the normal flow of time, referred to as "Zero State" or "Stutter", identified by the over saturated look and "long exposure" visual effects above.

    When working to realize the breakdown in time and the Time Powers, Remedy wanted to create a visually distinct look within environments that would create a stark difference between “normal time” and “broken time”. According to Sam Lake, the development team referred to artform of Cubism. “We looked into Glitch art, slit-scans, long exposure photos, strobe photography”.[26]

    Using the aforementioned art and photography techniques, Remedy created a work base of different visuals. Additionally, Remedy referenced infrared photography to create the overexposed look of stutters. In order to create the look and feel of a “dangerous environment”, Remedy inserted distortion waves, animated with 2D fluid simulation, and projected them over the environment.[26]

    Audio in Quantum Break is directly rendered from its engine.[27] Music adapts to the effects of the actions reflected within the game. With regards to Time Powers, the music adapts to the specific ability --- notes stretching when “Time Dash” or "Time Rush" is used, or becoming muffled and slowing down using “Time Shield”. Sound effects and dialog in the game isolated from music become equally distorted around the in-game engine’s time scale. Similar to Alan Wake, yellow was incorporated in the design of the environment to help players navigate the stutters jagged and distorted design.[27]

    The music of Quantum Break’s video game was composed by Petri Alanko. At the request of Microsoft, Alanko composed a score that was largely electronic. Alanko drew inspiration from the German electronic music group Tangerine Dream, and also referenced Glitch hop artists.[17] Alanko stated, "I immediately felt some of T[angerine] D[ream]'s early Moog system arpeggios were almost mirroring some of the emotions inside the storyline".[17]

    Public Demo

    Sofia Amaral in the 2013 E3 Trailer, rendered by the Northlight Engine.

    Following the “Guided Experience”, Remedy worked on the public demo, referred to by the development team as the “Sofia Scene”. The purpose of the public demo was to demonstrate the strength of their new in-house, the Northlight Engine, and how stutters would be realized in the game.[22]

    The public demo was directed by Stobe Harju and featured Sean Durrie as Jack Joyce, Jeannie Bolet as Kate Ogawa and Jacqueline Pinol as Sofia Amaral. Durrie would later be replaced by Shawn Ashmore[28], but Remedy wanted to keep the actor on as a part of their ensemble, so Durrie was recast comic relief character, Nick Marsters.[22]


    Quantum Break was officially announced by Remedy and Microsoft May 21, 2013.[29] It was promoted as “one of eight new franchises” that would be exclusive to the Xbox One console coming out the following year.

    The announcement trailer featured a mixture of live action footage and early demo sequences from the “Guided Experience” demo that was never released to the public.[30] Remedy’s official channels on twitter advertised the game as a blend of games and blockbuster television coming together to combine one whole.[31]

    Sam Lake assured fans waiting for an Alan Wake sequel that a second game was still happening, but “when the time is right”.[32] The game’s initial tagline, “Time is the fire in which we burn”, was a line from Delmore Schwartz’s poem, “Calmly We Walk Through This April's Day”.

    June 12, 2013, the public demo was presented during Microsoft’s Xbox One presentation at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Following the trailers, Remedy released information regarding what was, at the time, the general plot of Quantum Break.[33]

    The story had now been redesigned to focus on three playable characters: Beth Wilder, Jack Joyce and Paul Serene.[34] The three characters gained the ability to control time after a time travel experiment gone awry. Paul Serene was a capitalistic villain who killed Jack Joyce’s brother, William, and uses Monarch Solutions and his ability to see into the future to control the outcome of events.[24]


    In November of 2013, a Quantum Break teaser trailer for SpikeTV's 2013 Video Game Awards debuted.[35] The presentation by Sam Lake reiterated previous information about the then current state of the game, and showcased gameplay footage unseen from the public demo and concept art of Monarch Solutions.[36][37]

    Jack Joyce as he appeared in the 2014 Gamescom demo presentation.

    Summer of 2014 Quantum Break was officially scheduled for release in 2015.[38] Sam Lake also relayed that new gameplay footage would debut later that year in August.[38] Following the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios in July, a statement from Microsoft sent to Polygon reassured that the game would not be impacted and the plan to present it at Gamescom 2014 was still in place.[39][40]

    Quantum Break premiered at Gamescom 2014 in August as scheduled. The gameplay demonstrated an early version of the first part of "Act 4, Part 1: Port Donnelly Bridge" and featured Sean Durrie as Jack Joyce and the voice of Courtney Hope and an uncredited actress[note 1] as Beth Wilder.[41] During the event, Sam Lake explained that the Junctions played during the game would see players take control of the antagonist, Paul Serene.[41]

    The gameplay demonstration was previewed with a uncut (sixteen minutes)[42] and short version (eight minutes long).[43] The latter debuted August 12, 2014. The former was not shown to the public until a month following the Gamescom event, October 24, 2014.[42][43] As a result of the game's presentation at Gamescom 2014, Quantum Break saw a 77% increase in pre-orders on Amazon.com.[44]

    April of 2015, Remedy Entertainment and Microsoft announced that they would be delaying Quantum Break until 2016. According to Microsoft, the game was delayed to avoid clashing with other exclusives scheduled for release in late 2015.[45] Sam Lake added that the delay was necessary to make the final product more "polished" before release.[46]

    Summer of 2015, Remedy Announced that Quantum Break would see a release date during "Spring of 2016".[47] That same month, Remedy confirmed that the game would not appear at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo, but would make an appearance at Gamescom 2015 as one of Microsoft's main presentations.[48][49]

    Quantum Break debuted at Gamescom 2015, presented by Sam Lake and actor Shawn Ashmore. It's exclusive demo and trailer featured gamelay to reflect the changes in the cast and graphic fidelity. The game would see a worldwide release on April 5, 2016.[50] Additionally, more information regarding the live action series was revealed.[51]

    The final iteration of story remained centered on a time travel accident gone awry. However, the story focused on squarely on Jack Joyce's attempts to master his abilities to manipulate time after he and his best friend, Paul Serene, are exposed to "Chronon particles" that give them their abilities. Paul Serene, a changed man after traveling through time, killed Jack's brother, William, because he could prevent the "End of Time". The December issue of Gameinformer detailed gameplay focused on upgrade incentives called "Chronon Sources". Beth Wilder was regulated to a supporting character and was no longer playable.[52]

    January 2016, Remedy Entertainment announced that Quantum Break was near competition.[53][54] The following month, Remedy announced via twitter that Quantum Break had "gone gold" and was completed.[55][56] In the following months after the game's completion, players were given an opportunity to play the first two acts of Quantum Break before its release on April 5, 2016.[57] Similarly, fifty-five minutes of early gameplay from the final version of the game was released for public viewing.[58]

    PC Announcement

    Main article: Quantum Break (Windows 10)#PC Announcement

    Casting and Motion Capture

    Shawn Ashmore and Dominic Monaghan during motion capture performance in Los Angeles.

    Casting during the production of the game and the television show was largely kept out the news regarding the development of the game. One of the earliest demos for the game, created exclusively for Microsoft Studios, featured Gethin Anthony as one of three actors who would portray Jack Joyce. Erin Richards was the first actress to portray Beth Wilder.

    Sean Durrie would later appear near the last two years of the game's development as Jack Joyce before he was recast as a supporting character.[21] Courtney Hope's voice is briefly heard in the 2014 Gamescom gameplay demo alongside another actress.[43][42] Official announcements and references to the cast was not made by Remedy or Microsoft Entertainment until November of 2014. A photograph of LOST actor Dominic Monaghan and Shawn Ashmore during a Motion capture session in Los Angeles was posted on Remedy Entertainment's official twitter.[59][60][61] Earlier, Monaghan made a tweet in reference to the game that was later deleted.[61]

    At least most of the core cast auditioned for their parts like they would a traditional film and television audition. They were given scenes from a moment in the game and asked to perform, but were never told what the entire story was about. If chemistry readings succeeded, they then spent two years recording dialog for their character and working on performance capture with their co-stars.[62][63][64] “It’s totally stripped down,” Ashmore explained in an interview with Daily News. “There’s no lighting, you have only basic props. You’re not in the actual environment, so it’s a lot of imagination. In that sense, it was really raw and really pure; it felt more like theater.”[65]

    The stages of rendering Jacqueline Pinol's character model.

    In order to recreate their likeness in the game, Remedy used DSLR Cameras. The camera captured the finest detail of the actors, down to their pores, complexion and eye color, irises, and their particular way of smiling.[25] In addition, actors were asked to provide the developers with molds of their teeth in order to accurately capture the way they smiled and spoke.[29] Actors were also required to pose fully clothed and in their underwear on in order for Remedy to create a believable model.[25]

    In order to capture facial performance, Remedy used a DI4D capture system[66], which are used for Neuroscientific studies at the University of Glasgow. The camera system captured over sixty frames per-second "nearing high definition". Four teams within Remedy worked on the facial performance capture. The tracking cameras resulted in five hours and 120 terabytes of information for face models built. Remedy then used the information and "augmented the data with wrinkle activation trained against the range of their facial motion".[25]

    Motion capture studios used for the video game were situated in London, Finland, Los Angeles and Atlanta. The cast was asked to remain silent about their involvement in the project.[25] Jacqueline Pinol, who had been cast for the public demo as Sofia Amaral, reprised her role in both the television series and game.

    Because of stretches of time where the actors were not working either the game or the series, Pinol notes that the Lifeboat Productions and Remedy were meticulous about ensuring that the actors appearances continued to matched their in-game and rendered models.[63][64] The lead and supporting cast of Quantum Break, which included the likes of Lance Reddick as Martin Hatch and Aidan Gillen as Paul Serene[67], was not officially announced until the 2015 Gamescom event.[68][69] Shawn Ashmore was officially unveiled as Jack Joyce and Dominic Monaghan as William Joyce during the presentation.[28]

    Television series

    Main article: Quantum Break (TV series)

    The live-action series was well into production by the time the game was officially announced in 2013. Remedy Entertainment worked with Microsoft Studios and Lifeboat Productions to create the series. Remedy explained that the choices made by the player in the game impacted the show, creating a personalized "director's cut" of the game.[70]

    The Quantum Break television series was touted as a "revolutionary entertainment experience" and was marketed heavily by Microsoft Studios, who promoted the series and the Ridley Scott produced "series", Halo Nightfall, as a major part of their Xbox Entertainment Studios platform.

    July 2014, Microsoft Studios announced the closure of their Xbox Entertainment Studios platform, but assured that the live action segment of Quantum Break would not be affected by the studio closure.[39][40] The original intention for the television series was to have it included on-disc with the game. Eventually, it became a streaming and downloadable option instead.[71]

    Marketing Promotions and Release

    A customized Xbox One Controller for Quantum Break.

    Custom Controllers

    Prior to the release of the game, Microsoft began promoting the availability of customizable controllers for the Xbox One. During the promotion of Quantum Break at 2015 Paris Games Week, players could purchase one of the customizable controllers at the Xbox One booth.[72] During the 2016 Pax East event, Microsoft held a contest for custom controllers.

    If a picture was taken of the customized controllers, players posting a picture of the photograph on Twitter with the hastag "#XboxSweepstakes" had a chance of winning a customized controller for Quantum Break, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, Gears of War 4 and Overwatch.[73] The Sweepstakes began April 21 and ended April 24, 2016.[73]

    Pre-Order Incentives

    Xbox One's 500GB Special Edition Quantum Break Bundle

    February of 2016, Microsoft began promoting a special edition Xbox One console. The bundle included a copy of Quantum Break, as well as the digital download of Alan Wake and the accompanying DLC specials, The Writer and The Signal. The bundle contained a "cirrus white" 500GB version of the Xbox One and cost $349 USD.[74][75]

    Players who pre-ordered a digital copy of Quantum Break from the Xbox One store, or the special edition bundle, were given a free token that unlocked the Quantum Break release for the Windows 10 operation system.[75][74]

    Quantum Break (Original Soundtrack)

    Main article: Quantum Break (Original Game Soundtrack)

    The original game soundtrack for Quantum Break was composed by Petri Alanko and released for digital download April 5, 2016.[17] The soundtrack features nineteen tracks, but does not include the licensed music featured at the end of every act in the game, nor the music for the television series, composed by John Kaefer.

    Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel

    Main article: Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel

    Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel is both a instructional manual and artbook written and published by Prima Games for Quantum Break. The book provides a behind the scenes look into the development of the game, as well as a helpful guide through all five acts of the game. The book was released in hardback format, April 5, 2016.[76]

    Quantum Break: Zero State

    Main article: Quantum Break: Zero State

    Written by Cam Rodgers, Quantum Break: Zero State, is was alternate telling of the events of Quantum Break. While considered non-canon with events of the game, the story provides greater background on the characters Beth Wilder, Nick Marsters and Martin Hatch. The novel was released in Hardback, Paperback and digital download April 5, 2016.[18]


    • During an interview with Redbull.com, Remedy Entertainment confirmed that they had no plans to release Downloadable content for Quantum Break.[note 2][77][78]
    • October 9, 2016, to celebrate the fictional "Fracture in Time" event that occurs in Quantum Break, Alan Wake fansite, alanwake.info, sponsored a charity auction (dubbed "The Monarch Gala Charity Auction") with Poets of the Fall and Remedy Entertainment, to garner financial support for the Cancer Research UK foundation.[18]
    • Originally, Poets of the Fall intended to work with Remedy Entertainment to release a single for Quantum Break (as they did with previous Remedy games, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Alan Wake's American Nightmare). However, according to Sam Lake, contractual issues arose that prevented their collaboration.[79][note 3] Sam Lake later revealed the Poets song intended for the game was an early version of "Labyrinth" from the album Clearview.[80][note 4]

    External Links


    1. Beth's voice alters significantly after the action sequence on the pier, right before Jack heads for the ladder.
    2. Thomas Phua: "There are always plenty of ideas discussed in the initial stages of creating a game – way more than humanly possible to fit into one game. That said, we are very happy with what we are shipping, but there have definitely been challenges along the way. We don’t have any DLC plans, but that’s not to say we don’t have plenty of ideas for the future of Quantum Break".
    3. @SamLakeRMD: "We had a @PoetsOfTheFall song for #QuantumBreak, but sadly ran out of time with dumb contractual complications neither of us could affect"
    4. @SamLakeRMD: "The song The Labyrinth from the @PoetsOfTheFall album #Clearview was created for @QuantumBreak but sadly we couldn't get it into the game." [...]"Silver lining: the version of The Labyrinth on @PoetsOfTheFall #Clearview is even better than the version we'd have used in @QuantumBreak."


    1. Parents’ Guide to Quantum Break (PEGI 16+)
    2. Quantum Break | Xbox One
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    17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Listen to Quantum Break's Soundtrack Early
    18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 10th April 2016 Exclusive Interview with Cam Rogers, Author of Quantum Break: Zero State Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "alanwakeinfo" defined multiple times with different content
    19. 19.0 19.1 New Quantum Break Gameplay and Insight into its Origins
    20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel: "Alan Wake and American Nightmare", page 15
    21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 21.7 Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel: "Before Quantum", page 18, 19, 20
    22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel: "Before Quantum" Page 25, 26, 27
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    25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel: "Roads Not Taken", page 223 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "artbook5" defined multiple times with different content
    26. 26.0 26.1 Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel: “Visualizing Breaking Time”, page 30, 31, 32, 33
    27. 27.0 27.1 QUANTUM BREAK: Time Powers and Secrets
    28. 28.0 28.1 Quantum Break's hero was always going to look like Iceman
    29. 29.0 29.1 Remedy Entertainment unveils Quantum Break, one of eight 'brand-new franchises' coming to Xbox One in first year Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "polygon2013" defined multiple times with different content
    30. Quantum Break trailer melds live-action and gaming on the Xbox One
    31. Remedy Entertainment @remedygames - May 21, 2013
    32. Sam Lake @SamLakeRMD - Alan Wake 2 and Quantum Break
    33. E3 2013: Xbox One’s ‘Quantum Break’ wants to marry games, TV
    34. Alan Wake Developer Sheds a Little Light on Quantum Break
    35. Microsoft Hints at Reveals, Quantum Break Details at VGX
    36. Quantum Break Debuts New Trailer at VGX 2013
    37. VGX 2013: Quantum Break Gameplay Trailer
    38. 38.0 38.1 Quantum Break coming to Xbox One in 2015
    39. 39.0 39.1 Quantum Break Unaffected by Xbox Entertainment Studios Closure
    40. 40.0 40.1 Quantum Break 'not impacted' by Xbox Entertainment Studios shutdown
    41. 41.0 41.1 Gamescom 2014: Quantum Break Looks Fun to Play, But Will it be Fun to Watch?
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    43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Quantum Break gamescom 2014 Gameplay Demo
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    45. Remedy's Quantum Break delayed to 2016
    46. Quantum Break Delayed to 2016
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    54. Thomas Puha @RiotRMD - January 7, 2016
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    62. QUANTUM BREAK | Gameplay With Shawn Ashmore
    63. 63.0 63.1 Quantum Break: Interview with Jacqueline Piñol
    65. EXCLUSIVE: Shawn Ashmore, who stars in Quantum Break, on being latest actor to carve role in video games
    66. Quantum Break uses 9-camera facial capture, Remedy striving for new levels of realism
    67. Aidan Gillian Quantum Break interview
    68. Quantum Break Cast Announcement Trailer Shows the Stars Behind Characters
    69. Shawn Ashmore And Sam Lake Give Us Hope For Quantum Break's Live-Action Segments
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    73. 73.0 73.1 Win An Xbox One And Custom Controller At PAX East 2016!
    74. 74.0 74.1 Xbox One Quantum Break Bundle Available Next Month
    75. 75.0 75.1 Xbox One 500GB Special Edition Quantum Break Bundle
    76. Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel: Prima Collector's Edition Guide (Hardcover)
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    79. Quantum Break Had a Song by Poets of the Fall But Complications Occurred
    80. Sam Lake @SamLakeRMD - October 1, 2016