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12th April 2014
Will Remedy Be At E3? (Thoughts)

Like many gamers out there, I'm so excited about E3. It's the week of new announcements, new details and new gameplay footage, which makes it the gaming equivalent of Shangri-La. As you're visiting this site, chances are that you're interested to know if Remedy will be there or not.

First of all I just want to mention that nothing concrete has been announced in regards to Remedy attending the show or if any Quantum Break news is due to be released then. This post is purely to speculate and consider what we know so far. So with that aside, let's get on with the speculation!

Unlike Alan Wake, Quantum Break's IP seems to be owned by Microsoft. There are some major benefits to that deal such as financial support as well as Remedy being able to use their facilities. However this does mean that we can't easily find out if the developers are attending a show as the space would be reserved under "Microsoft". With that being said Microsoft are attending the event and they are holding a press conference again.

A little while ago it was announced that Phil Spencer was the new Head of XBOX. In addition to his announcement he also talked about the future of the brand and their upcoming show at E3. Speaking to IGN, Spencer said "This year is going to be another really strong year for us on stage with games". OK it's not an announcement that the title will be at the show, but hopefully a tease of what's to come. Quantum Break was one of the games that Microsoft was excited to show at the reveal event and they encouraged the developers to speak out about the title at the VGX Awards.

In regards to VGX, while the concept of  the new show layout looked interesting, it's a rather unusual event to go to if Remedy wasn't beginning their promotional campaign. For instance, as it's an XBOX One exclusive title, the developer's presence at the console's reveal event felt natural. As did their demonstration at E3 last year; it was expanding on the concept that was teased weeks before. VGX is different. While it is a big show, it's not one that would be really be attended unless the project was at the stage where additional teaser/trailers/screenshots could be shown.

With that being said, because of the publishing deal with Microsoft, we don't really know much about the promotional details. In an interview with Polygon, Phil Spencer teased a possible appearance by Remedy at VGX saying "We have a pretty good piece that I'm trying to coerce people into putting out before the end of the year...Maybe VGX would be a good place for that.". The piece he was talking about was the gameplay trailer we saw. 

While both companies have said that they have a strong relationship which is beneficial to both parties, at times it's going require a little bit of flexibility. Despite working together and going for the same goals, at present their targets are slightly different. Remedy wants to continue developing the title and strengthening the product before revealing it to the general public, whereas Microsoft wants to start showing off the title and in turn promote their console. It's the natural fight between development and promotion. 

At the time of the interview, we didn't know whether Remedy was planning on going ahead with the trailer or if Spencer was hoping that fan feedback about their possible presence would be enough to tip the odds in his favour. It does mean that it's a little bit fuzzy in regard to whose decision it was to show off Quantum Break at VGX. Nevertheless it did give fans the chance of finding out a few more details about the title as well as a glimpse into the world of Agents of Storm.

So, what does focusing on last year's VGX help in predicting if Remedy will be at E3? Well... Quite a lot. If it was Microsoft who urged Remedy to show off gameplay footage at the awards ceremony, then it's a possibility that the developers might not attend this year's show, especially if they feel that they want to continue to develop the game more before showing it to the public. Given that the title is a console exclusive, the best kind of publicity for their game would naturally have been at the XBOX One's reveal event. Of course this means that if they weren't at the development stage where they could begin their promotional campaign, they still needed to release something. 

With that being said, prior to the reveal event, Remedy couldn't really talk about Quantum Break. To do so they would have to talk about the graphical and technological improvements, the inclusion of the TV series which mirrors Microsoft's direction for the console, along with a number of embargoed elements. This means that even if the title was already at the stage where it could be shown to the general public it couldn't be. From the gameplay glimpses we've seen so far it looks pretty solid, it's certainly not a concept anymore. Of course certain elements may change, some dialogue may be slightly altered, or some level design may be reworked, but they have shown a number of locations which looks incredible especially for a game which is still in production. It's getting there!

While the publishers have several titles already available as a console or platform exclusive, it's a tough market and they constantly have to prove that they are, and will deliver, the best service for gamers. With the console now released, the focus will be put on the titles. As sales for the XBOX One hasn't been as strong as the PS4's, they would need to get it right at this year's E3. For many console gamers, it feels like there is always that one game which acts as the tipping point between "I'm looking at getting this console" and actually buying it. At this year's show, Microsoft's goal is to show you the games that will create that tipping point.

As for Remedy, attending the event, it will obviously help maintain enthusiasm for the title. From what they've revealed so far, the subject matter is rich and complex so there's plenty to talk about. A few months ago, Sam Lake posted on Twitter that he had spent a week in Hollywood working on the live action show which will accompany the game. In addition to that Oskari H√§kkinen said at VGX that "gameplay mechanics are better shown then talked about" and that "the next time we show more Quantum Break we'll really show what those time powers are." 

Despite writing about the possibility that Remedy may not attend the show, I'm pretty optimistic. We've only really scratched the surface of what Quantum Break is about, and it's sounds like there's plenty to expand on. As of yet, neither Remedy nor Microsoft has announced if the title will be appearing at the show, however an announcement or tease is bound to be released in the upcoming weeks. I'll keep you updated!


Formerly "Vanguard"

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