Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break will reprise the episodic structure of Alan Wake, but developer Remedy warns that they will be shorter than those of the Xbox 360 horror game.
The upcoming sci-fi game’s episodes are expected to be less than two hours, because “two hours is a lot to invest in one sitting”, according to senior gameplay designer Kyle Rowley.
“People should be able to plan playing our games around their own schedule,” he said during a talk at GDC Europe.
Remedy’s use of an episodic structure for Alan Wake, and now Quantum Break, was partly inspired by TV drama series but it also served as a solution to a narrative concern the team formed while working on Max Payne.
The original Max Payne took its three-act story from action movies, but while these are usually only two hours long, the game lasted roughly ten-and-a-half hours. This made it difficult not to dilute the story of each act, something that was solved by splitting Alan Wake’s story into shorter, two-hour episodes. Quantum Break will apparently take this further.
Rowley also explained that a key role of the digital TV series that will accompany the game is to offer a better insight into the villains of Quantum Break.
“We think this is a good idea because in movies and TV, you can switch between hero and villain perspectives,” he said. “But games tend to mainly focus on the hero. It makes it harder to make the antagonistic force something you can maybe sympathise with.”
Quantum Break is due for Xbox One in 2015. Players will unlock episodes of the digital TV series as they progress through the game.