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5th April 2019
Our Top Five Favourite Moments from Quantum Break
[Celebrating Quantum Break's 3rd Anniversary!] SPOILERS!

Today, we are celebrating Quantum Break's third anniversary with a series of articles dedicated to the amazing title.

Quantum Break is a game that is close to my heart. It was the first Remedy adventure that I had posted about from the day that it was announced at the XBOX One reveal event, all the way to its launch in 2016, and on top of that, it's a title that I very much adore. Today, to celebrate the occasion, I wanted to write about five moments from the game which stayed with me long after the credits fell.



Project Promenade

"Welcome to Project Promenade" - Paul Serene

Remedy starts off Quantum Break strong with an impressive and showy introduction. As Jack meets Paul at the entrance to Riverport University's Physics Center, we're introduced to Project Promenade through Jack's eyes. We trust Paul and want him to succeed, but we also share the protagonist's concerns and the feeling of being out of our depth.

As we walk with Paul through the research centre, he introduces us to the situation; Paul and his team have been working on something big which is at risk of losing financial support after our brother (Will) suddenly deterred investors. Without proof that the project works, there will be no funding, and without the funding, the project stops. Paul has asked Jack back to Riverport to help him test drive the project... It just so happens to be that the project is also a time machine.

Accompanied by Petri Alanko's impressive soundtrack, stepping into the room housing Project Promenade is an incredible feeling. The room itself is huge with a time machine housed in the middle, surrounded by watching platforms and desks. If creeping into a classified lab in the middle of the night wasn't a red flag, well... you're also going to be starting it up. Of course, things don't go quite to plan.



Will's Workshop
"Will's here... even when he's gone. A puzzle trapped in broken time. Glimpses of the first prototype time machine. The origin of time travel." - Jack Joyce

Originally shown during Microsoft's Gamescom Media Briefing in 2015, Will's Workshop is without a doubt the coolest looking moment from Quantum Break. After battling to get to Ground Zero, Jack enters a seemingly abandoned warehouse, which had been boarded up over time, and since reclaimed by nature. While uneventful and quiet from the outside, once Jack ducks inside, he is pulled back in time, witnessing the creation of the first time machine.

Objects are placed and removed from the tables, daylight turns to night and to daylight again, makeshift rooms are rearranged. It's little things at first as we see Will busily dash around the area, propelled forwards in time. As the years tick by, all in front of Jack, we see the initial plans for a time machine, at first on a chalkboard, then on paper. The nearby wall comes down, expanding the area even more as Will begins work. Initial supports are put up. Then a frame. Then the corridor is constructed. Bit by bit, the time machine comes together until a light bursts from the exit and out steps a man, ending the vision.

It's a complex scene which beautifully and elegantly describes the process of how the first time machine came to be. While it would make a gorgeous cutscene, it's even more impressive that you can control Jack as the machine is being built, adding to the awe factor of the scene, and topped off by some wonderful dialogue.



Ground Zero
"We failed. We created Ground Zero. Caused everything to happen how it always did. Every piece falling into place." - Jack Joyce

Perhaps the biggest shock in Quantum Break happened in Act 4. After travelling back in time to 2010, Jack meets up with Beth Wilder who is now eleven years older and is also now sceptical that the End of Time can be prevented. After getting the Countermeasure, she is ambushed by Paul Serene at Will's Workshop.

As Jack rushes to the workshop, Paul and Beth have a tense standoff; Beth holding the Countermeasure and Paul persuading her to hand it over, stating that they both know the End of Time is coming. A brief lapse of concentration from Beth, and Paul darts to the side. Beth shoots but misses and instead receives a bullet to the shoulder from Paul's gun. The device slips from her hand and splits open, releasing heavy amounts of Chronon Radiation. Jack, Beth and Paul and pushed back by the blast, the radiation proving too painful. In an attempt to reach the Countermeasure, Jack's abilities propel him into the future and back to 2016, leaving Paul and Beth alone to face the blast of radiation.

Witnessing the events six years earlier through fractured echos, he sees Beth struggle to the CFR and close the leak. Exhausted, she's unable to reach her gun as Paul Serene quickly recovers, walks over to her and, without flinching, shoots her.

It's an emotional scene, especially with the heartbreaking acting by Shawn Ashmore as he reacts to the situation but is unable to be a part of it. At the end, Jack stands up with a look of defiance as he strides out of his brother's workshop in the present day, while the end of episode music blares the appropriate Ten Tonne Skeleton by Royal Blood.



Meeting the Shifters
"I too became chronon active. I too developed Chronon Syndrome. And in time, I too lost control and became a shifter, became at once everything and nothing, was everywhere and nowhere, died countless deaths and was still alive, my every probability, every possibility happening at once." - "Untitled Note"

If you've read my Halloween post last year, you would already know that one of my favourite moments in the game was encountering the Shifters at Monarch. The atmosphere was so tense and thick that, every second I was preparing to fight a futile battle that I know I was going to lose.

At the start of the level, Jack runs into Monarch Tower in a last minute attempt to fix time. As he approaches the entrance, a train crashes into the side of the building, a consequence of time breaking down and creating world-wide stutters. While Monarch troops are ready for resistance from Jack, they're not the only beings in the building. With Zero State triggering every few minutes, it has also awakened the Shifters.

I love Shifters. They're so delightfully creepy and weird and oddly sympathetic at times. They're also incredibly unpredictable with an animalistic instinct that makes them interesting to watch and terrifying to be trapped in a small area with. While you see the evidence of Shifters even from the building's foyer, the most memorable encounter happens a little later in the act.

Jack squeezes through a door and into a corridor filled with corpses of Monarch troops, caught in trapped in Zero State and hovering in mid-air. Something has gone down here, but the corridor is suspiciously quiet. The player gets a closer look at the end of the corridor before Jack notices, but a Shifter is watching him investigate the room. As Jack realises he is being watched, the Shifter launches towards him suddenly. Time resumes as Jack trips over backwards and the entity disappears. Weirdly the Shifter shares similarities to Monarch's own, Martin Hatch.



The End
"The Countermeasure. It stitched time back together everywhere. The destruction couldn't be undone. The lives we lost were real, but we fixed it. The clocks kept on ticking." - Jack Joyce

While raising additional questions, Quantum Break's ending always felt like a satisfying conclusion to me. While there are clear areas for a potential sequel, the questions raised in the beginning are either addressed or clarified upon in greater detail by the end of the game.

With Paul Serene dead, and Monarch's forces depleted, Jack and Will use the Countermeasure's energy to sew time back together. While they work, Serene reanimates as a Shifter, and launches himself at the device. The Countermeasure receives the final jolt of energy it needs and, as time snaps back, it disperses an energy wave. Will and Jack are pushed back, and Serene disappears.

As Will wonders where Serene has gone to, and examines the extent of the damage on the Countermeasure, Jack has a vision of the future. In the vision, he sees himself walking down the time machine's corridor and witnessing the End of Time. As he stirs back to the present day, he starts to cringe in pain as he begins his battle with the Chronon Syndrome. The title's twist ending of seeing the world saved but Jack begins to turn into the enemy leaves fans both satisfied with the conclusion and wanting more.

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