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Exclusive Eyes-On Impressions Of Quantum Break’s Live-Action TV Show

Quantum Break is doing something different than any modern narrative-focused game. The idea of segmenting gameplay with cutscenes between chapters is not new, but Quantum Break is opting for a live-action television show broken into a series of full-length episodes. Quantum Break is being built in Finland, but its television show is being created by Lifeboat Productions under the supervision of Remedy in the United States. During our visit to Remedy’s studio, we had a chance to see some extended clips of the show to get a better sense of how it will look and its role in the game.

For exclusive hands-on impressions of Quantum Break's gameplay, head here.

Kyle: We got to see a number of clips from the show in its current state, which is to say somewhat incomplete. The game is still months away, so the studio developing the show, Lifeboat, is still in production working on completing it in tandem with the work being done on the game. We saw an extended version of a scene shown briefly in a few trailers with Shawn Ashmore and Aiden Gillen talking to each other across a table in what appears to be some kind of prison cell, as well as a clip early in the game that overlaps with Ashmore’s character, Jack Joyce, getting a grasp on his powers.

Ben: That’s right Kyle, we saw those things with our eyes, and our eyes didn’t start bleeding. Honestly, I went into that portion of the demo expecting the worst. Video games don’t have a phenomenal track record incorporating live-action footage with gameplay, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When the game was announced, I had flashbacks of old Sega CD games like Sewer Shark and Night Trap. Obviously, those games were super cheesy – and that’s part of their charm – but that definitely wouldn't fit with Quantum Break’s tone. Thankfully, after seeing a bit of the show, I can honestly say that it seems like they’re really going for it.

Kyle: Yeah, the actor performances are good. The scenes we saw were a bit overwrought, but there was definitely a level of intensity there proving the actors are taking this seriously. I get the impression they are approaching this as they would any film or television project. They’re not treating it as some weird video game thing. You can see and hear genuine respect for the material from their performances – even if it seems like it may be capable of going over the top at times.

Ben: I know what you mean. It seems like they have a pretty solid cast. I think Aidan Gillen is a good actor and I like Lance Reddick, who played Phillip Broyles on Fringe and Commander Zavala in Destiny. They even got Dominic Monaghan (Lost, Lord of the Rings) for the game, but it seems he’s not actually in the show, just in the game. It makes me wonder if they spent their entire budget on the cast, because most of the sets we saw were pretty barebones.

Kyle: Yeah, some of the sets we saw looked like exactly that – a set or a soundstage, but I wouldn’t say it was to a distracting degree. I know something that is important to them is making sure the show and the game overlap smoothly. It’s probably hard to scout for a location that has already been created in a video game, so they had to build everything rather than find it. They told us a funny story about sending off an incomplete build of an environment for the show makers to recreate. However, Remedy had not finished creating this one lamp in the environment, so it appeared as a white box. When the show makers created the environment they were so thorough that they even built the white box to make sure the game and the show looked as close as possible.

Ben: Exactly Kyle! I also liked how the show ties back into the game. During one scene we saw two of Monarch's agents face off against each other. The action was getting heated, and they both pulled guns on each other then suddenly their guns disappeared. I know you were like, “What! that’s not normal.” But I was like, “Don’t worry, Kyle, I think they’ll explain this.” Then later on, when we were playing the game, we saw this same scene from Jack’s perspective. In the game, you witness a stutter and see how Jack uses it to break out of the back of a van they had him locked in. He discovered the two agents facing off against each other, paused because of the stutter, and he steals their guns. I really wanted him to tie their shoelaces together, but that wasn’t an option.

Kyle: Yeah, it was weird how I insisted on shouting out what I perceived as inaccuracies before they were resolved, but that's just sort of my thing. I should really just wait to see what is going to happen. One thing that irked me a bit, is how much profanity there was. It’s not that I dislike profanity, or find it inappropriate, it just felt like they were really trying to earn that mature tone by dropping as many f-bombs as possible – like a child trying to appear older than they are by using newly discovered bad language. To be fair, the scenes we saw were particularly intense, so I doubt the whole show so freely throws around bad language all the time, but in the isolated scenes we saw, I couldn’t help but notice.

Ben: One thing that surprised me the most about the show was the fact that there are only four episodes. They filmed several alternate versions of different scenes to account for the changes that will happen based on player choice, so even though we as the player only see those four episodes, Lifeboat probably did enough work to account for much more than that. Episode four has over forty variants, which sounds crazy, and I hope those changes actually make a big difference and it’s not just that one character has a black eye or not. I want these to be real important changes, which could be the case. In one of the scenes we saw a character die based on our choice, but in the alternate version of that scene she lives.

Kyle: Overall, I walked away impressed with the show. There is a very apparent level of excitement and respect for the show from both sides – the show creators and game creators. Those initial fears of a modern FMV game definitely fell to the wayside quickly, and I like seeing the overlap, like the one in the scene you referenced where the guns disappear, and we later find out why during gameplay. I'm still unsure of how well the game and show will transition into one another, as we only saw one example, but I am optimistic.

Ben: Agreed, which is why it seems all the more interesting that players will be able to skip past the show if they don’t want to watch it. I’d be interested to see how well Quantum Break’s story plays out if you skip the show entirely.

Kyle: It’s a Remedy game, a studio that has always valued story as much as every other aspect of its games, so you would certainly miss out on a huge element of the experience. I appreciate, however, that the option to focus purely on the gameplay, at the expense of playing through a strange disjointed story with huge gaps, does exist. I know I won’t be playing the game that way, personally, especially after getting a chance to see some of the show.

To learn more about Quantum Break, see new gameplay, and for features such as this 100 question interview with creative director Sam Lake, click on the
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throughout the month. – The Feed

The Game Show Pack List: What to bring when you exhibit your game

“I was going to write a blog about my experience exhibiting at Paris Games Week and compare it to GamesCom, but rather quickly it turned into a list of what to take when going to a conference.” …

Gamasutra News

GI Show – Fallout 4, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, Obsidian’s Feargus Urquhart

Gaming's gigantic week of releases has arrived! Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and a little game with a heart of gold called Fallout 4 are now for sale and The Game Informer Show is here to cover it all. We'll dive deeper into the new Starcraft expansion next week when we've had more time to play, but we're ready to share all of our thoughts on Fallout 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider.  On this week's show, Tim Turi bows out after the first couple of minutes so that he can rest his voice after our intense Extra Life marathon but Ben Hanson is joined by Jeff Cork, Andrew Reiner, and Kimberley Wallace. We also touch on the rise of biographical games like the online dating-fueled Cibele and The Beginner's Guide.

After a spirited round of listener emails, we're joined by the CEO of Obsidian Entertainment Feargus Urquhart to talk about his amazing career in the industry. We cover the origins of the Fallout series and the reasons behind Fallout 4's bugs, the secrets behind some of their unreleased games, and what went right and wrong during the production of South Park: The Stick of Truth.

Watch episode 273 below or subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes. Also, be sure to send your emails to [email protected] for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the timestamps below…

7:40 – Fallout 4
28:35 – Rise of the Tomb Raider
41:45 – Cibele's relationship drama
51:30 – Tales from the Borderlands
54:30 – Listener emails sent to 
[email protected]
1:21:13 – Obsidian Entertainment's CEO Feargus Urquhart Interview – The Feed

The latest in game audio, from the Audio Engineering Society show floor

“I had the pleasure of searching the show floor for what’s new and interesting in audio tech. Here are some of the attractions that seemed most interesting for game audio folks.” …

Gamasutra News

Yakuza 5 Screenshots Show Off Combat System

Criminal goons Kiryu and Saejima bicycle kick and punch their gang rivals to a pulp in the latest batch of Yakuza 5 screenshots released by Sega today. Combat integrates weapons like wooden swords and pliers, along with special abilities.

Yakuza 5 also features dance battles for Haruka when the game launches later this year. Sega will hold part 2 of its Yakuza 5 livestream today at 11:30 a.m. PST on its Twitch channel. Part 1 has been archived on YouTube. – The Feed

GI Show – Black Ops III, Yo-Kai Watch, Making Of Fallout 4

Another fall week brings another annual gaming juggernaut release. Call of Duty: Black Ops III releases Friday, and it's one of the most jam-packed offerings Treyarch has put together. We dissect the game's insane campaign, fun multiplayer, and addicting Zombies mode (complete with Jeff Goldblum). Japan's big Pokémon competitor, Yo-Kai Watch, also arrives stateside with all its ghost-grabbin' goodness. We round out the show by looking deep into the current state of Bethesda Softworks.

Dan Tack joins us to talk about his time reviewing Black Ops III, and even drops some hints about what excitement players unlock by completing the game's campaign. Kyle Hilliard also shares his experience playing Yo-Kai, and reveals all the striking similarities and enticing differences the game has from Pokémon (including a butt ghost we think is named Squeakcheeks).

Bethesda releases the much-anticipated Falllout 4 next week, and it feels like the entire gaming population is holding its breath in anticipation. GI's Andrew Reiner visited the studio as they were just preparing to ship the game and spoke with game director Todd Howard along with other key Bethesda developers about the creation of the game. Matt Bertz also joins us for this final segment, coming to the table with years of experience covering Bethesda games, such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Watch episode 272 below or subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes. Also, be sure to send your emails to [email protected] for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the timestamps below…

3:00 – Visiting Remedy Entertainment for our Quantum Break cover story
13:55 – Call of Duty: Black Ops III
31:00 – Kyle's red-hot Pixels review
35:15 – Yo-Kai Watch
49:40 – Listener e-mails
1:29:20 – Breaking down Bethesda/the making of Fallout 4 – The Feed

GI Show – Halo 5, Overwatch, Geoff Keighley Interview

This week's biggest release is the latest in Microsoft's Halo series: Halo 5: Guardians. Much of the gaming conversation revolves around 343 Industries' Xbox One-exclusive juggernaut, but we also dive into our impressions of Blizzard's Overwatch beta and the conclusion of Telltale's Tales from the Borderlands. Video game personality and creator of the Video Game Awards, Geoff Keighley, also joins us for the final segment to to talk about his career and friendship with Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima.

In addition to talking all about Halo 5 on its own merits, we also discuss the bizarre feeling of switching between that game and Destiny, created by the original Halo developers at Bungie. We also have a great email segment after the specific game chat, covering everything from memorable video game sound effects to some of the most influential Final Fantasy games.

Watch episode 271 below or subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes. Also, be sure to send your emails to [email protected] for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the timestamps below…

2:30 – Halo 5: Guardians' campaign
19:25 – Halo 5's multiplayer
36:30 – Overwatch's closed beta
56:25 – Tales from the Borderlands' conclusion
1:01:05 – Answering listener emails
1:30:15 – Geoff Keighley interview – The Feed

Ninja Thoery Explains, But Doesn’t Show The Secret Face-Scanning Tech Of Hellblade

Developer Ninja Theory contracted a company called 3Lateral to scan the face of its model for Hellblade's protagonist, Senua, and it explains, but does not show the process in a new video.

The company 3Lateral doesn't want to share their secrets, so you won't see the technology, but it is apparently so big, that 3Lateral had to rent an apartment near its studios and use that to build the technology. Melina Juergens, whose face was scanned to represent Senua, explains that getting into the mystery contraption felt like getting into a spaceship, and she had to sign onto Skype while inside in order to communicate with everybody.

As mentioned previously, we don't get to see 3Lateral's mystery face-scanning spaceship machine, but we do get to see the results, and they do impress.

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For more on Hellblade, the new game from the creators of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved, and DmC: Devil May Cry, head here and here. Hellblade is coming to PlayStation 4 and PC next year. – The Feed

Her Story takes home the top honor at IndieCade 2015 awards show

Last night indie dev Sam Barlow’s Her Story earned the Grand Jury Award at the annual IndieCade 2015 award show, which also recognized game makers like Brenda Laurel, Ben Esposito and Naomi Clark. …

Gamasutra News

GI Show – AC: Syndicate, Zelda, Most-Anticipated Holiday Games

The holiday video game release engine is just warming up, and one of its first monster releases for the season is already upon it. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is out tomorrow, and by all accounts Ubisoft's adventure through industrial revolution-age London is far and away better than Assassin's Creed V: Unity. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes also arrives on 3DS this weekend and the final episode of adventure game Life is Strange is out. We wrap up the show by running down the list of big games still coming out in 2015 to help everyone prepare for the entertainment onslaught still to come.

This week's cast include you usual hosts, Ben Hanson and Tim Turi, along with guests Kyle Hilliard and Joe Juba. In addition to the new and upcoming game release chat, be sure to listen to the email segment, where we talk about everything from bad video game movies to dead musicians. 

Watch episode 270 below or subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes. Also, be sure to send your emails to [email protected] for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the timestamps below…

3:00 – Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
28:00 – The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
44:20 – Life is Strange's finale
54:50 – Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
1:03:29 – Listener emails
1:35:45 – Breaking down the year's remaining game releases and our most anticipated titles – The Feed