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5th April 2017
Unused Concepts from Jack Joyce's Adventure
Happy 1st Anniversary Quantum Break!

Today marks the first anniversary of Quantum Break's launch! There are a lot of special celebrations scheduled to take place across the community today, so for The Sudden Stop's contribution I wanted to talk about five ideas and plans which weren't used, but still formed the direction of the final game. Some of them are things which are hinted but never shown fully in the game, whereas some much earlier ideas dramatically changes the characters as we know them now.

In case you haven't completed Quantum Break yet, beware that this article will have MAJOR spoilers about the game!

The Joyce Farm

(The first time machine as shown in the final game) The location of Will's first time machine changed from a nearby barn at the family home to the industrial area.

After six years abroad, Jack had originally planned to return to The Joyce Farm, located just outside of town. The setting would have been used to provide further background to Jack's character; seeing how he spent his childhood and delving deeper into his memories

Had it gone ahead, the reunion would have been short lived as Monarch troops were soon to ambush him at the farm. The encounter would reduce the Joyce family home to rubble with a devastating explosion. At the time of the explosion, there's an indication that Jack is inside the house, rescued only by a perfectly timed stutter. Jack would then have to escape the burning house, continually shifting in a frenzy of broken time.

The Secret History of Time Travel book delves into why the scene was abandoned, saying that it was "extremely expensive to produce", but that several story and pacing changes led to the farm idea being abandoned. One of these possible changes could have been the new location for Will's first time machine, which had originally been hidden away in a nearby barn, instead the machine would be built in his workshop in the industrial area. Another story change saw the family house being sold by Will to finance the creation of countermeasure after the grant money ran out; an act that damaged his relationship with Jack.

While the scene was an unused concept for the game, Cam Roger's Quantum Break Zero State includes the location, using it as a dramatic showdown between Jack and Paul, as well as Beth and Gibson.

Source: The Secret History of Time Travel

Different People, Different Ties

Jack and Will from the closing scene.

Like with a lot of early concepts, the final characters were very different from their earlier designs. In one idea, Jack Joyce was a janitor working at Riverport University. In another Sofia Amaral was Jack's ex-girlfriend and Will's research assistant.

Paul's scientific knowledge varied a lot throughout early iterations, with earlier concepts seeing Paul as a fellow scientist to Will. The two would discover the secrets of time travel together, a discovery which formed a feud.

Beth's character also changed substantially, and was originally intended to a student at the university, like Amy. In later ideas, she was a member of Jack's rock band.

Source: The Secret History of Time Travel

The End of Time

Jack witnessing the End of Time

For Paul and Beth, the End of Time changed them completely. For Paul, he used it as motivation, determined to fix the fracture that his experiment had created. His plan focused on forming a company to research and build the Lifeboat Protocol in order to find a way of fixing time after a permanent Zero State. For Beth, knowing the event will happen and seeing the inevitability made her doubt the mission she had been preparing for all her life.

Living through Jack's eyes we don't see the End of Time, but we almost did...

The End of Time was originally a section of the game which would have been haunted by Shifters. It's absence is a due to technical limitations, in The Secret History of Time Travel Remedy explains that the original plan was “far too ambitious for us to actually pull off in the time we had”. While we don't see the environment ourselves, we hear recollections from Paul and Beth about their time there, and watching the faces of the characters as they step out of the time machine into a permanent Zero State gives a clear indication about the level of threat.

Not bound by quite the same restraints, Quantum Break Zero State features the unused concept as a major plot point.

Source: The Secret History of Time Travel

Building An Army

An example of repeating time, as shown in the final game.

Jack has a selection of time powers which gives him an edge in combat situations and allows him to manoeuvre through a frantically shifting stutter. In an interview with XBOXAchievements, Sam Lake (Creative Director at Remedy) revealed that an early combat mechanic idea allowed the protagonist to reverse time during a fight scene, and fight again beside their past self, creating two person army against Monarch.

While it proved an interesting puzzle mechanic, the idea was abandoned as the developers felt that it slowed the pacing down and made the action too repetitive.

Source: XBOXAchievements

Convention Centre

The train crash which was reused for Jack's attack at Monarch.

One of my favourite unused concepts was the convention centre, which gets a dedicated section in The Secret History of Time Travel book. In Jack's adventure, he arrives at the "Riverport Convention Center" where a gaming expo is taking place. As Quantum Break is owned and published by Microsoft, it opened the possibility for crossovers. The book gives suggestions into what might have been featured at the expo, suggesting "a Master Chief statue or Minecraft stands".

Remedy called it a "love letter to geekdom" but the scene was dropped later due to the story's pacing; “it would have been fun, but, it must be admitted, entirely self-indulgent - it added nothing to the story, and really just distracted us from the main goal.”

While the convention centre didn't make it into the final product, a part of that setting remained; the train crash. Derailed by a stutter, a train was originally planned to crash through the building, creating havoc. While the building and setting no longer exists, players could see the train crash in the final section of the game, when Jack reaches the Monarch Solutions foyer.

Source: The Secret History of Time Travel


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