Iceman! Merry! Littlefinger! That guy with the odd-shaped head from the Wire! Here’s me rambling for a bit about why I’m looking forward to Quantum Break.
I believe we first saw Quantum Break back in 2013 during Microsoft’s E3 event, when it was being touted as the “next big thing” for gaming, combining elements of a TV show with a video game.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2016, and the game had undergone some big changes. Out was the old cast, including that creepy kid with time-changing powers, and in was a brand new cast featuring the likes of X-Men’s Shawn Ashmore, Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen and the Lord of the Rings’ Dominic Monaghan.
We’d also seen some gameplay during E3 2015, which showcased Ashmore’s character using his time-bending powers to alter reality during combat, gaining a critical edge over the forces that murdered his brother (Monaghan’s character).
Now while the gameplay didn’t exactly get my heart racing (it looks more like Gears of War on speed), I’ll admit I’m more than a little intrigued about how the show will flip between being a video game and functioning as a TV show.
While a lot of people are sceptical about the melding of these elements, and they’re fully entitled to their opinions, I’m choosing to remain more optimistic about the extent to which the TV series can expand upon the characters and plot established throughout the game.
I’m not going to use any specific examples, but try and think of a game you’ve once played in which the characters and plot were woefully under-developed. We’re talking “typical Uwe Boll character” under-developed.
Now imagine if that game had a form of extra material accompanying it, during which you got a showcase of every character displaying defining traits, as well as giving you reasons to empathise with them.
This is what I remain hopeful that Quantum Break can accomplish through its TV show. The show could potentially allow characters to expand upon their motivations, such as why Aidan Gillen’s character killed Dominic Monaghan’s character in the first place.
I also remain hopeful that the TV show gives us some good reasons to empathise with Ashmore’s character in his pursuit for revenge. At the moment all we’ve really seen from him is the standard “white guy with a gun” look on the atrocious cover art for the boxed copy of the game, and I’m really hoping the TV show gives him a bit more complexity.
Also, let’s not forget about the credentials of the actors we’re seeing in front of us. Gillen plays the scheming villain role to perfection on Game of Thrones, and while I can’t speak for Monaghan’s role in Lost (it’s written by Damon Lindelof and so I refuse to watch it), I will say he was both charismatic and entertaining during the Lord of the Rings.
In addition to this Ashmore has proven he can be leading material over the course of the X-Men trilogy, and Lance Reddick was a key part of the Wire, arguably one of the greatest TV shows of all time. If we’re not including Hannibal. But that’s a whole other can of worms.
Now listen, I’m not saying the TV segments will be great, or that they’ll be written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Steven Spielberg. The writing will probably be atrocious, not David Cage atrocious, but hopefully we won’t be asked to equate our emotional response to the amount of polygons on the screen.
All Remedy have to do is make the TV segments serviceable to the overall plot and characters of the game, and they’ll be good to go. And hey, if they do wind up being total shite, you can always skip them.
In short, while I understand a lot of scepticism from the consumer base over Quantum Break, I’ll be remaining hopeful of what a merging of a TV show and a video game could potentially accomplish.