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5th January 2021
Quantum Break's End of Time [Story Spoilers]

If you've played Quantum Break, January 5th 2021 is a date that might have been in the back of your mind. It was on this date that Paul Serene and Monarch Solutions predicted would be the End of Time, a permanent Zero State in which everything and everyone will be frozen.

In Quantum Break, it is the greatest threat and one that both Jack Joyce and Paul/Monarch are trying to prevent. For Jack, his introduction to the End of Time is through his brother, William Joyce, after the collapse of the Meyer-Joyce field during the illegally-ran Project Promenade experiment. For Paul, it was the result of the failed experiment which led to him travelling forward in time to witness the End of Time first hand. Following his experiences during this period, he travelled back to 1999 to start work on Monarch Solutions, a company dedicated to rebuilding and resuming time after the break. While working towards the same goal, the two had vastly different plans, while both needing the power of the Countermeasure (also known as the Chronon Field Regulator). Jack wants to use it to prevent the End of Time from ever happening, whereas Paul, accepting that time is fixed, needs it to operate the Lifeboat Protocol.

Concept artwork by Ville Assinen, featuring Monarch Solutions' Juggernaut lab. Juggernauts are heavily armoured Monarch troops that can move within Zero State. [Source: Escape the Level]

As the game progresses, more of Quantum Break's complex story reveals itself; we learn that William Joyce had built two time machines, that Beth experienced the End of Time alongside Serene, and that Jack and Beth had been involved in the same accident that caused Paul's Chronon Syndrome. In the end, after a final battle over the CFR, William and Jack uses the device to fix the fracture. It's in these closing moments that we learn that they had prevented the fracture from occurring in 2016, as they were always scheduled to do, but the 2021 threat still looms.

So what you can expect to find at the End of Time? Well, not a lot. The End of Time marks a permanent Zero State in everything is frozen, with the exception of Chronon-active individuals (people who had direct interaction to Chronon particles) and Shifters (creatures who live within Zero State). Shifters are also referred to as "Chronon Disrupted Lifeforms" or "Chronon Disrupted Wave Function Subjects", and consists of a number of different versions of a person from different timelines existing within one point in time. They can only exist within a Zero State, with certain exceptions, and in their domain they can be extremely hostile to anything alien to them. Outside entities that move within Zero State causes them great physical pain, whether that's Monarch soldiers with Chronon Dampeners or Jack himself. After Paul returned from the End of Time, the Shifters regularly haunted his mind, leading to Monarch developing the highly weaponised Juggernauts prototypes.

Concept artwork by Ville Assinen, featuring early designs for the "Time Monsters" aka Shifters. [Source: Escape the Level]

While players didn't get a chance to explore Riverport when the End of Time came, Remedy originally had plans to feature it in a playable segment. According to Quantum Break: The Secret History of Time Travel, the level would have been too expensive and too large in scale to develop within the remaining time. From the playable sequences set in the game's temporary Zero State, we do get an idea of what the scene would have looked like though, with people frozen in mid-task, their final words or sounds stretching out, and everywhere slightly drained of colour and life. While we know that it was possible for Beth and Paul to survive at the End of Time, as the player we don't learn a lot about the specific difficulties they faced during this time or how they survived long enough to return home. Although, Cam Rogers' novel, Quantum Break: Zero State touches a little more on that, exploring the interactions that they had and the trust that Beth manufactured.

What we do see in the game is their reactions when they release that they've travelled to The End of Time, and learn that in travelling there, it has become a fixed point in time. It's only in the closing moments that we see Jack step out of the time machine and realises that the future is still fixed and 2021 is still looming ahead.  


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