Over the last few years, games have tried to mimic the quality of a major motion picture. Games such as the Uncharted Series, Gears of War series The Call of Duty series etc… have presented the player with cinematic experiences in our play-through. Now, thanks to the advances in motion-capturing technology, we can have our favorite actors be a part of these games adding to that cinema feel. But thanks to sites like Netflix and Hulu, people are watching television series again, thus starting a new trend in the storytelling involved in games.
When Remedy released Alan Wake, it was created in episodic format. Its creepy atmosphere and dark story made the game feel like you were playing through an episode of Twin Peaks. Battlefield: Hardline also took the same approach, changing the normal Battlefield formula and creating a videogame police procedural show in its story mode. Despite what critics may say about either game, they were both examples of this new form of storytelling in games.
When the MMORPG Defiance was introduced, it boasted its connectivity to its SyFy Channel TV show counterpart. The writers of the show would follow the events in game as players took on the big community events; the outcome of these events shaped the narrative of the show. The show would also present new plot points driving the in-game narrative, creating a vast world that wasn’t bound by one form of medium. This was an unprecedented event which allowed the players to dictate the course of a show. Making fans feel like they were a part of a much larger world.
Now with Quantum Break, players get a mixture of the episodic format of storytelling with the live action story being changed due to in game actions. The live action portion of the game has the production value of any television series you would see on cable or via a streaming service. Also it doesn’t detract from the game, but instead adds an extra element to the game’s created world. The concept that the choices made inside the game determines how the episode would play out is a very interesting concept. This adds high replay value, as players can see just how much changes in the game and the show, all based on your choices.
In the game’s opening week, Microsoft stated that Quantum Break was their “Biggest selling new IP this [Console] Generation” as reported by IGN. The game also shattered UK sells records for the Xbox One in its opening week. If anything this shows that Gamers are interested in new and unique storytelling experiences. Will we see more Live Action/ Video Game mashups in the future? Guessing from this kind of reception, Microsoft is likely to incorporate this again in future games.
Now the question becomes, “ Is this the future of games?” I honestly doubt it, though very fun it’s a niche concept. It wouldn’t work for like the Gears series (with its hyper exaggerated muscular characters), or games that feature cartoon-like characters or animals. The episodic format of the game does help, so unless more games adopt this concept, I personally cannot see it going too far. Though, the idea of watching a television series on Netflix that plays out due directly to choices made by the viewers would be an interesting concept.
What did you think of the live action component in Quantum Break? Do you see more games adopting this idea, or will this just be a niche concept? Let us know in the comments below and as always for your video gaming news stay tuned here to Pop Culture Uncovered.