hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Remedy

Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Here's the new box art for Quantum Break


Featuring Shawn Ashmore. Naturally
Aug 17
// Vikki Blake
Now Shawn Ashmore has been confirmed as Quantum Break's Jack Joyce, Microsoft has revised the game's box art accordingly. At least, that's what this Amazon Germany image implies, anyway.

Sam Lake explains Quantum Break's television show tie-in

Aug 05 // Steven Hansen
[embed]297184:59794:0[/embed] What's weird, though, is that while my suspicion and low expectations haven't changed even as the game has, there's some magic in hearing Remedy's Sam Lake tell it. Few can string together scripted nonsense like "intense story-driven action game spectacle" and still seem genuine with a kind of unassuming, unironic grin. It's adorable At one point Lake noted that the team destroyed yet another giant ship in the demo we were shown. "We are destroying another ship here as we did at last gamescom," Lake said, explaining that Remedy doesn't hate ships or the shipping industry. "We love shipping. Shipping games." Pause. "Hah hah." That was a "hah hah," not a laugh, and a perfectly delivered one. So we've seen "I'm a super badass baby-faced dubstep killer" wreck house on crews of heavily outfitted corporate military already and it's a little goofy as the guy in jeans and a Guess jacket brushes off assault rifle fire. He's aided by the time powers granted by a failed time travel experiment that is bringing about the end of time (hah). Time Rush allows Jack to run forward with time stopped, either to avoid environmental obstacles in platforming sections or to combo into running punches. Time Dodge is a quick dash out of harm's way or into an enemy to bump them a bit. Time Blast is an offensive projectile, Time Shield is a bubble shield, and Time Stop freezes time in one focused area. Some of Monarch's soldiers are outfitted with fancy backpacks that give them some of these powers, too, so you're not just up against folks shooting you. Quantum Break is "a story about warring philosophies," Lake says. The fatalist antagonist thinks the future can't be changed or fixed no matter what, the protagonist thinks that's bogus. The game focuses on the perspective of the latter, while "the show is about villains," focusing on the Wire half of the cast and what's happening at evil Monarch. So how does it work? "You first play through an act of the game, Lake says. "It culminates in a special scene that is the junction moment, where you make a choice," which opens up an episode of the show "based on the choice you make." So you get roughly 22 minutes of programming tailored to your decisions. And all of Quantum Break is "shaped by your choices." The given example of a junction moment is where evil corporate bad guy Paul Serene has to either: 1) kill a student activist who's witness to some shady things or 2) threaten to murder her family to bend her into submission. Both bad, one less bad, I suppose. Her death, should you choose, is reflected in the protest scene from last year's trailer. On the other hand, should she live, she becomes Jacks ally, helping to dig up dirt on Monarch. Sometimes these two parts of the game weave even closer. A live-action conflict between Monarch folks who've captured Jack ends at an anticlimax as their guns disappear and Jack is shown to have gotten away. On the game side, there's a cutscene of Jack waking up in the back of the van, noticing the conflict outside, and escaping (and gun jacking) during a time skip. With Xbox having killed its original programming arm, Lake also clarified that, "the game and the show ship together as one item."
Not skippable photo
'[They] ship together as one item'
It's been over two years since I first side-eyed Quantum Break, the television show and third-person shooter hybrid from Remedy (Alan Wake, Max Payne). Quantum Break finally has a release date it probably won't be delayed out...

Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Quantum Break now has an April 5, 2016 release date


Time moves slow
Aug 04
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft kicked off its gamescom press conference by bending time and slowly shoving bullets into bad guys. That's Quantum Break -- part third-person cover action game and part television show. We still don't have a goo...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

New Quantum Break trailer has a hobbit and military violence


April 5, 2016
Aug 04
// Steven Hansen
Those extreme sound cues whenever a time travel power is used are real loud watching live. I somehow missed one of Lords of the Rings' hobbits ending up in the game -- this is still half a television show? Making an extreme ...

Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Remedy taking a (Quantum) Break from E3 this year


More at gamescom
Jun 08
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft and Remedy are taking the exact same approach to E3 plans for Quantum Break that they took last year: Do absolutely nothing. The developer and publisher are opting out of the world's grandest stage in favor of...

In a better world, these games exist

Jun 06 // Nic Rowen
Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat Released on the Dreamcast in 2002 to belatedly settle the fighting game rivalry that defined the 90's arcade scene, Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat remains a legend in the fighting game community. Still considered the finest example of 2D sprite art and animation from its era, the silky smooth and obsessively detailed characters of SF vs MK set an impossible bar to follow. The almost decadent use of special purpose one-off animations and frames only adds to the visual splendor. Vega's sublimely gory “Shadowloo Slicer” fatality still elicits screams from the audience at EVO. As fierce as the fighting between the World Warriors and the forces of Outworld got, the battle behind the scenes is said to have been even bloodier; a runaway budget, arguments over almost every aspect of the design, and frequent shouting matches characterized the prolonged five year development cycle. Despite the astounding success and popularity of the title, a sequel has never been attempted. Ed Boon and Yoshinori Ono refuse to even speak to each other to this day for reasons neither of them will discuss. The licensing snake-pit of copyrights and legal redtape has prevented any other ports or remakes from ever being produced, spurring a cottage industry of Dreamcast re-sales and custom made fightsticks for the console, supported almost entirely by SF vs MK's diehard audience. Alan Wake: The Fear That Gives Men Wings One has to imagine the lengths Sam Lake and his team at Remedy had to go to to protect their secret, their lips held firmly tight, unable to tell anyone what they were really up to. Keeping things under wraps despite the kind of scrutiny placed on what would be the flagship launch title for the Xbox One. The kind of pressure they must have been under to tease even a bit of what they had up their sleeves. But, somehow they managed it, and the fourth wall shattering reveal of Max Payne as a playable character in the second act of the game will go down in history as one of the most surprising and surreal moments in gaming history. Max is every bit as cynical and bitter as ever. But this time he isn't raging against an indifferent and unfair universe with a vague sense of living a cliché. This time he can direct his anger against the very man who wrote the script of his sorry fate. The scene where he crushes Alan's writing hand with the butt of his pistol is almost unbearable to watch. Reportedly, Sam Lake spent the night of the launch locked in his office suffering an intense panic attack, a crisis of artistic confidence. He spent the last five years of his life calculating this surprise, this single plot twist. If the game failed it wouldn't just be the end of his career, it would end his self-image as an artist and writer. Hideo Kojima, no stranger to pulling a controversial character rope-a-dope called him that night and consoled him in his hour of need. From that experience, the two men formed a bond that eventually led to them collaborating on Snatcher 2, another smash success. City of Heroes: Issue 25 “Messages from a world ending” In the waning days of City of Heroes' lifespan, most of the development and design talent in Paragon Studios carefully made their exit to greener pastures. As everyone else was jumping off, one man climbed aboard the sinking ship to take over as lead designer. There would be no budget, a small (and rapidly shrinking) team to work with, and low expectations from fans and critics already aware of Paragon City's impending doom. He was supposed to be just folding up the socks and towels, putting the game to bed. Instead, Austin Grossman created one of the most memorable final chapters to an MMO ever seen. Relying on his background as a writer, Grossman set out to recast the tone of CoH to better fit the looming ennui of a world coming to an end. CoH's final storylines were not the Silver Age dust-ups that characterized most of the game's lifespan. Instead, Grossman wrote introspective questlines laced with sharp humor about heroes and villains looking inward. What compels someone to point a laser at the moon? What drives someone else to put on a cape and jump in front of that laser? And who gives a shit about the moon anyway? Couldn't these miracle men born of science and magic be doing something better with their lives and isn't this all a little bit silly and embarrassing when you step back from it? With no money to craft new areas or other big gameplay draws, Grossman had to get clever to generate new content. Flipping the familiar Giant Monster concept on its head, instead of creating new and impressive Godzilla-esque monster for players to rally against, he instead turned a single random player into an unstoppable force of destruction. An artifact known as Mournblade, a cursed black sword, would be “gifted” to a player once a month, immediately giving them an exponential boost to their stats, constantly depleting health that could only be regenerated by killing with the sword, and flagging them as a PvP target no matter what zone they were in. When the player fell, the next nearest player would inherit the blade, and the carnage would continue until a heroic sacrifice was made -- the deletion of the character currently holding the blade. In the final hours of the game's life one lone hero remained, wielding the Mournblade against a cataclysmic invasion of blatantly overpowered alien invaders. The beauty and value of struggling against inevitable darkness was CoH's final message. A fitting tribute for the beloved and fondly remembered MMO. Springfield Rockstar has always played it's cards close to it's chest but no one could have guessed that the schoolyard based Bully was a testbed for a much more ambitious project several years in the making. When Rockstar announced it's partnership with Fox to make an open-world Simpson's game where nearly every single NPC in the game was a known and beloved Simpsons cast member, the response was a mixture of unbridled excitement and raised eyebrows. Those eyebrows stayed raised as Rockstar made design choices so bold they bordered on absurd. Rather than make Bart or any of the other predictable Simpson family members the protagonists, Rockstar reached back to its tradition with mute characters and allowed players to make their own avatar, a recent transfer student to Springfield Elementary known only as “The Kid.” The game was structured similar to GTA and Bully, but with a Simpsons twist with “The Kid” taking on all kinds of missions from notable Springfield residents. Hijinks ranging from helping Comic Book Guy try to woo a regular customer (it ends poorly), to covering up an accident at the nuclear plant for Mr. Burns (it ends poorly), to trying to elevate Bumblebee Man's stature as an actor (you guessed it, it ends poorly). 400 hours of dialog, quips and jokes make Springfield a real, living place filled with the characters you know and love. Most precious of all, though, were the inclusion of previously unused and forgotten recorded performances from the late Phil Hartman, allowing a final farewell for beloved characters such as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure. [embed]293426:58849:0[/embed] Those are games I see when I close my eyes at night. Games that I know could never have existed for a number of perfectly sound reasons, but still can't shake the feeling that we should have had them. Do you have any games like this? Titles that stick in your imagination and make you wish things had happened differently?
Dream games photo
All great ideas go to Heaven
Silent Hills was a dream game. Specifically, it was my dream game. If you asked me before P.T. crept onto the PSN servers what series I'd most like to see rejuvenated in a bold new way, I would have probably told you Silent H...

Alan Wake photo
Alan Wake

Alan Wake port might be heading for Xbox One


And the sequel could be coming to any major platform
Apr 22
// Vikki Blake
Further to yesterday's revelations that a sequel for Alan Wake was still very much on the cards, Polygon has managed to squeeze even more information out of Remedy's chief creative officer, Sam Lake, including confi...
Alan Wake photo
Alan Wake

Remedy plans to Wake up Alan once more


Developer says horror sequel may still return
Apr 21
// Vikki Blake
I loved Alan Wake. Maybe it's because I overdosed on Stephen King as a kid and have always had a particular penchant for that whole fiction-becomes-fact thing (if only to keep alive the dream that one day, McDreamy is go...
Quantum Break delay photo
Quantum Break delay

Quantum Break slips to 2016


Time extend
Apr 02
// Jordan Devore
Max Payne and Alan Wake maker Remedy has delayed its next major game, Quantum Break. The third-person action title will now bring its slick time manipulation to Xbox One next year. "We thank our fans for their patience," said...
More Alan Wake plz photo
More Alan Wake plz

The Alan Wake franchise has sold 4.5 million units (so make another game already!)


You know you wanna
Mar 25
// Jordan Devore
According to Remedy CEO Matias Myllyrinne, who is "happy on behalf of the team," the Alan Wake franchise has sold more than 4.5 million units across Xbox 360 and PC to date. I can't hear numbers like that and not call for a s...
Demo with Sam Lake photo
'Intense story-driven action game spectacle,' barf
Have we even seen this much Quantum Break gameplay? The half television show, half videogame from the developers of Max Payne and Alan Wake is coming to Xbox One next year. Everything about this is hokey and trite, a Marvel ...

Quantum Break piqued my curiosity, but it still has a lot to prove

Aug 21 // Brett Makedonski
The majority of the challenge in Quantum Break will come in the form of third-person combat sequences. As Monarch unleashes an army of ground troops to deal with Joyce, he combines his newfound powers and good ol'-fashioned lead to fend off the threat. In the hands-off presentation that we saw, Joyce could freeze time in small pockets, effectively bringing a single enemy to a standstill. Turns out that soldiers aren't too difficult to dispose of when they literally can't fight back. Alternatively, Joyce could (presumably) speed up time around him, zooming from spot to spot, and bashing unaware guards into submission. There's an obvious concern here: Is the time-warping mechanic enough to sustain the humdrum that usually accompanies cover-based shooting? Although we really only saw one combat section, the fear is justified. Despite the fact that there are some more explosive elements sprinkled in (typically literal explosions) and some stylish kill cams, it has potential to turn into a rote affair if Remedy isn't careful with the variety and frequency of these sections. Although humans wielding guns are certainly a formidable and dangerous opponent, Joyce's battle against time is a more intriguing prospect. As a result of the experiment gone wrong, time will suddenly stutter, creating large sections where everything is frozen in place. It can come at any time like in the middle of a firefight, or as we saw in the demo, as a cargo ship was about to collide with a bridge. These stutters mark the second style of gameplay in Quantum Break, and they appear to be crafted to be action-puzzle sequences. Rightfully unpredictable as time fractures, people and items within these areas exhibit all sorts of different behavior as Joyce moves through the stutters. Bullets in mid-air that can be examined from a 360-degree view could suddenly pop to life without any warning, or other objects that are stuck in time-loops can serve as obstacles that need some well-timed platforming to clear. From the demo that we saw, Joyce needed to use his own powers to best these areas. As objects snapped to life, he'd freeze them or move them to create a path across the crumbling bridge. In the event that he was too slow, well, it probably would've resulted in a truck landing on his head. What the presentation didn't make apparent was how scripted these sections would be. Do you have a set amount of time to get through an area before the stutter passed and all hell broke loose? Or, would the events trigger upon reaching a certain point? Is there any room for creativity with how things are handled? Or, will it all be very guided, and lead to instant death if you don't play the exact way Quantum Break wants you to? These questions all hang over the game, and we won't really know what kind of beast Quantum Break is until they're answered. The stutters look fantastic to walk through and explore, and it's amazing to see the destruction frozen in place in a way that lets you inspect all the detail. But, whether they'll create unique and memorable experiences for each player, or are simply glorified, over-the-top set pieces remains to be seen. When initially introduced in 2013, Quantum Break was designed to meld the television and videogame mediums. During our presentation, creative director Sam Lake did a bit to outline the strategy for this. The videogame bit will focus on heroes, while the television part will center on the villains at Monarch. Actions in-game will supposedly affect the video series, and it sounds as if the two halves will seamlessly interweave at designated points throughout. While it's all shipping together on the same disc, it's unknown if the television parts are optional or mandatory watching. Any finer details surrounding the plot are also predictably unclear, as Remedy wasn't willing to discuss it at all. By the time that the half-hour demonstration was over, we had seen a lot, but maybe came away with more questions than answers. It's always aggravatingly cliché to say that a game has potential, but that's exactly what Quantum Break has. Potential to be a fine cinematic experience whose core mechanic leads to larger-than-life sequences. Potential to be the example that the videogame and television mediums can exist in blissful harmony. And, potential to be a linear, disjointed affair whose shoot-'em-up and time-stutter sections never complement one another and are underwhelming on their own. We'll have to see more of Quantum Break before we get a better idea of how it all comes together, but for now, it has potential.
Quantum Break preview photo
It could go many different ways
Remedy Entertainment has made a living by following a tried-and-true formula: take a third-person shooter, support it with a catchy and innovative gameplay mechanic, and wrap it all up with an emphasis on narrative. Max Payne...

Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Here's the Quantum Break demo from Microsoft's presser


Shoot, shoot, TIME STOPS
Aug 12
// Brett Makedonski
One of the hands-down biggest hits of Microsoft's press conference at gamescom 2014 was the Quantum Break demo. In case you missed the show, here's the eight-minute demo that played. I could do without all of the third-...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Microsoft killing its original programming won't affect Quantum Break


The half TV show will be fine
Jul 18
// Steven Hansen
Remember the Quantum Break, the literal half videogame, half TV show from Remedy (Alan Wake, Max Payne). Details have been sparse since the showing two E3s ago that failed to sell me. Despite Microsoft abandoning its att...
 photo

Quantum Break: Coming to Xbox One in 2015, reveal at Gamescom


New trailer shows gameplay -- finally!
May 29
// Dale North
Quantum Break, Remedy Entertainment's latest, is coming to Xbox One in 2015. A new video released this morning shows brand new gameplay. It feels like we've been waiting forever for some solid looks at gameplay, so this is g...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Quantum Break maxes out on painful time troubles


They broke the quantums
Dec 08
// Jonathan Holmes
The next big thing from Remedy is not an "immersive" iPad game about telling ships where to sail. It's Quantum Break, a game that looks to combine everything Remedy has learned from developing games like Alan Wake and Max Pa...
Remedy photo
Remedy

Former Epic Games president joins Remedy's board


Mike Capps joins Alan Wake studio in advisory role
Sep 11
// Jordan Devore
Earlier this year, former Epic Games president Mike Capps announced that he was no longer going to be affiliated with the company in an advisory role as originally expected. He's since ended up on Alan Wake and Max Payne crea...
Remedy photo
Remedy

Remedy needed a company like Microsoft for Quantum Break


'The bets are getting bigger,' says CEO
Jul 18
// Alasdair Duncan
Quantum Break looks to be one of the more compelling exclusives from the next generation of consoles. The game is attempting to be an ambitious blend of TV show and videogame and such ambition doesn't always pay dividends. In...
 photo

Take a closer look at Remedy's Quantum Break


Good times messing with the laws of quantum mechanics
Jun 10
// Jason Cabral
During the Microsoft's press conference, Remedy Entertainment co-founder and Max Payne impersonator Sam Lake introduced the audience to a bit more information on their upcoming Xbox One exclusive, Quantum Break. The trailer ...
 photo

DmC and all its DLC 40% off over on Steam


Plus Alan Wake franchise is 90% off
May 31
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
DmC: Devil May Cry is 40% off for Steam's weekend deal. You have until June 3 to score the game at $29.99. Plus, the same discount is applied to all three downloadable content offerings. Vergil's Downfall, the story expansion...
Alan Wake photo
Alan Wake

Alan Wake Humble Bundle and sale on Xbox 360


Creative lead Sam Lake also talks about the franchise's future
May 22
// Alasdair Duncan
At yesterday's Microsoft press conference, Remedy Studios unveiled its new game Quantum Break which looks to mean there won't be any more Alan Wake games coming any time soon. It seems fitting then that the two series titles...
 photo
New IP from the Alan Wake folks
[Update: Official trailer added.] Alan Wake developer Remedy is making Quantum Break, a new game for Xbox One.  The trailer begun in live action with a mother and daughter. It then showed a ship (which seemed to be glit...

 photo

Mega64: Alan Wake and his magical flashlight


Oct 08
// Tony Ponce
After the Bayonetta 2 video, this one is much, much, much better. Here is Mega64 at their finest -- harassing the crap out of people! I love how after a minute Derrick just fesses up to being a d*ck for kicks and giggles. Th...

Getting It Right: Max Payne

May 10 // Allistair Pinsof
Max PayneDeveloper: Remedy EntertainmentPublisher: Rockstar Games, Gathering (PC)Released: July 23, 2001In a nutshell: With only a PC arcade-style racing game behind them, Death Rally, Remedy spent half a decade developing Max Payne: An ambitious shooter set in NYC that told a contemporary noir story through comic book panels, cutscenes, and action. It stood out in 2001 for its photo-realistic graphics, cinematic presentation, and slow-mo mechanic. Spotlighting the player’s actionsI often find myself slowly panning the camera like a E3 demo guide when I play a Call of Duty game -- going against the game’s player direction in order to give myself a more cinematic experience. But, when I play Max Payne I feel like the ideal performance leads directly to the ideal visual feast. This is a rarity in videogames, but I’m not sure why it should be. Game developers must always perform a balancing act in giving players space to perform while also giving them rewards for their performance. The key to Max Payne’s success is its ability to highlight player action in a flashy way without taking away their influence or ruining the flow of action. Max Payne was revolutionary in combining these two aspects into a seamless experience. Where other games might put you in a fight and then present a cinematic of the events following it, Max Payne’s visual flair in battles came directly from the player’s actions -- letting a well-aimed bullet and bold dodge trigger brief cinematic moments.Metal Gear Solid made me feel like I was watching an awesome action flick, but it wasn’t until I played Max Payne that I felt I was in one. By framing the player’s actions with panning camera angles, dramatic zooms, and mesmerizing slow motion, Max Payne put the spotlight on the player’s actions in a way never attempted before.Developers shouldn’t be inspired by the mechanic of player activated slow-motion. Instead, they should focus on the effect framing a player's actions can have on combat. God of War and Uncharted achieve the same impact by presenting wide cinematic angles during platforming segments. Ninja Gaiden 2 applied this by highlighting deathblows in spectacular fashion, while Deus Ex: Human Revolution added spectacular visual animations to certain abilities when successfully performed. Even Resonance of Fate, a Japanese RPG of all things, managed to make a rote battle into a John Woo fever dream where characters endlessly jumped and fired guns when given the order. In years since Max Payne's debut, God of War, Fallout 3, and other games have done this in their own way to great effect. It’s easy to look at bullet time as a gimmick or a novel feature. In truth, it changes everything: the tone, the pace, and the spectacle of combat. There is nothing else like it. Even though others games replicated this feature, as in the F.E.A.R. series and Stranglehold, it never felt quite as special as it did in Max Payne. Versatile arsenalA good selection of weapons in a game is defined by its strengths as much as it is defined by its shortcomings. On the surface, Max Payne has the most generic set of weapons a videogame could possibly offer. As it should -- after all, the story is based in New York City, circa 2001. While sci-fi and arena shooters may have more imaginative weapons, few games strike the near perfect balance of Max’s arsenal. Due to careful calibration on the developer’s part, each weapon has its ideal time and place. Even during the game’s final hours, I found myself reaching to weapons obtained hours earlier out of strategic necessity. Sure, the Striker may have terrible spread (in the first Max Payne, at least) -- and you can cheat the reload of every weapon by quickly swapping them in-and-out -- but otherwise the entire weapon selection is pretty much flawless. In one instance, you may assume a door in front of you leads to a narrow hallway, so you equip dual Ingram uzis to deal maximum damage in a short amount of time. Turns out it’s a wide open courtyard with enemies above and below. Oops! So you snipe an enemy above, pull out the M4 Carbine on enemies below, and dive into an incoming group of enemies with dual Desert Eagles.As good as the first Max Payne’s weapons were, the sequel perfected it by giving projectiles a dedicated button and rebalancing other weapons (although the grenade launcher and baseball bat were sorely missed). While many games have a loadout similar to Max’s, it’s rare they strike the same balance. The difference it makes is drastic. Instead of leaning toward the vastly superior weapon, Max Payne’s intense combat scenarios and challenging difficulty demand the player to know what’s right for a specific enemy type and setting. Every battle is a victory well earned in Max Payne, even when it leaves poor Max hobbling on one leg toward the next ambush. Emotional complexityWhen David Cage and Jenova Chen speak of “emotional complexity”, I roll my eyes. After all, who is to say a father grieving for his kidnapped son is more emotionally complex than Kratos’ endless rage at the gods? From a distance, every emotion is equal in its potential for impact. It all depends on delivery and the player’s value judgement.However, I don’t entirely dismiss the idea of “emotional complexity.” It’s just that to me it means something much different. It’s not about the value judgement of a specific emotion but the layering of contrasting emotions: The way a Smiths song can sound so dour, while Morrissey’s sardonic lyrics can make me smile. The way George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead can make a zombie a source of fear seconds after being a source of laughter. Max Payne is also full of emotionally complexity. In play, the game can be harrowing depending on player health and ammo. In storytelling, the game can be freighting or laugh-out-loud funny depending on what it’s presenting at the time. In one instance you are in a nightmare having a dead baby shoved into your face, while another stage contains a parody of BBC’s Upstairs Downstairs. Having contrasting emotional elements isn’t a key to success, as Fez and Sword & Sworcery recently proved. Both games have dialog and elements that break the game’s fiction for a cheap, self-knowing laugh. It all comes down to delivery. While Max Payne 2 may take itself a bit more seriously, both games succeed in skillfully telling a story while giving the player enough opportunities to laugh, tense up, and occasionally shit themselves. True emotional complexity -- that is contrasting emotions piling into each other; not sappy music playing over pastoral landscapes -- makes for games with more depth. Whether it’s melancholy music playing over an upbeat adventure or comedic dialog overlapping a harrowing scenario, layered emotional tones can create unique, memorable moments in games. Start with a bangNeither Max Payne has a good story. Sure, they have great atmosphere, personality, and characters, but they hardly make up a tale we haven't heard before. What these games do have, however, is an immediate and clear goal given to the player by a time-tested story method: starting in media res.For you illiterate swine, in media res is a Latin term which means “into the middle of things." It’s when a story begins without introducing the setting, characters, and/or scenario. The audience enters into the story at a mid-point. The result is two-fold: positive and negative. On one hand, it creates an indifference in the viewer by distancing them from the characters’ reality. On the other hand, it creates a goal for the viewer: “I must figure out how things got to this point!”Thankfully, Max Payne is such a great narrator that we feel connected to him despite not understanding his situation. Max’s goal and our goal both intersect and conflict: We want him to get his revenge but we also want to know how he got his revenge. It’s an odd thing.I can’t tell you how many games I’ve played that start me from square one. Whether I’m a soldier in a training course or an orphan boy in a mystical village learning ancient mythology, I’ve been through the ringer so many times in games that I now find starting a new one intimidating due to the inevitably dull opening act. Max Payne’s approach is refreshing. I don’t need to have everything spelled out for me. If a developer feels that they must slowly initiate the player to the game world's history, please have the restraint to hold back until an hour or so into the action. Exposition is a cheap tactic in film, but in games it can be devastating to immersion and flow. Not every game needs to follow suit, but if games considered reining in the exposition early on we could tell familiar stories in new ways. Which is what storytelling should be about! Intelligently varied enemy encountersIndividuality is overrated. Location is everything. Just look around your day job or school. Are the most successful workers/students so stunning or are they just the product of fortunate events that lined before them?Sure, Max Payne may not have the enemy variety of an id Software game, but it makes up for it through economical placement. The game consistently changes things up when it comes to enemy positioning and strategy. Sometimes you’ll open a door and a thug will be standing in front of you with a shotgun pointed toward your face, so you point one right back at him. Another time you may have thugs running away from you for cover -- when do you ever seen that in games? Thugs come in through windows, elevator shafts, and occasionally grapple down from above. You are constantly on your toes. A far cry from Call of Duty, where enemies shuffle out of the same door and line up behind the same wall.It’s hard to give enemy variety to a game grounded in reality. Uncharted and Call of Duty throw heavily shielded enemies for challenge, but they are a nuisance that ruins the flow of combat. Max Payne shows that being creative with simple enemies and increasing their numbers can be much more engaging than one super-powered enemy with a shotgun -- though even Max Payne makes this mistake with a couple lackluster boss encounters. Thankfully these are the exception rather than the rule. I’ll be completely honest: I was worried I would have to force this entry or completely abandon it all together. As much as I loved Max Payne in 2001, I wasn’t sure it would hold up. I was pleasantly surprised than to rediscover how fantastic it is in nearly every aspect. The sequel made some major improvements in combat, but I still prefer the tone and quirks of the first. It’s hard to pick between the two but thankfully no one is forcing us to.I find Rockstar’s changes to the series very disconcerting as a fan, but I’d rather they make it their own than force themselves to fit into the mold Remedy made. The offbeat humor and tongue-in-cheek story of Max Payne definitely isn’t something most developers would attempt, which is a big factor of why it’s still a refreshing play. One thing I trust Rockstar will get right is the series' penchant for turning combat into a spectacle worthy of a Hollywood action film. So many developers today fail to realize that having action surrounding the player isn't the same as them contributing to it. There are only so many times you can watch a scripted sequence of a helicopter crashing and feel impressed. As the middling Modern Warfare 3 proved, having more helicopters falling and more explosions isn't the answer. The answer, upon revisiting Max Payne, is painfully obvious: Let the player tell the story through their actions and make the presentation so smooth that it feels as if the camera, animation, and enemy reactions were choreographed all along.
 photo

[Getting It Right is a monthly series in which I take a look at the elements that make up a classic game. What were the key ingredients that set it apart and make it hold up to this day? Read on to find out.] It’s not e...

 photo

Part one of Max Payne 3 comic out now, read it for free


May 05
// Brett Zeidler
As was previously promised just a few weeks ago, Rockstar and Marvel have released the first part of the Max Payne 3 comic. Written by Dan Houser and Sam Lake, "After The Fall" explains a bit of Max's childhood and some event...
 photo

Mr. Scratch responds to critics of American Nightmare


Apr 05
// Conrad Zimmerman
In this new promotional video for Alan Wake's American Nightmare, the villainous Mr. Scratch presents a slideshow of critic responses to the game, replying to them and adding his own commentary. Our very own Maurice Tan is e...
 photo

Remedy is working on a game for next gen consoles


Mar 22
// Dale North
Remedy Entertainment is hiring for their next game, which they say is a project 'targeted at future generation consoles.' A posting on Remedy's community forums let members know that more than 20 job openings will open up in ...
 photo

Alan Wake hits two million sales, has legs as a series


Mar 13
// Jim Sterling
Remedy's Alan Wake has topped two million sales on Xbox 360 and PC, becoming enough of a success to secure its future as a series.  "We've moved over two million copies -- that's including PC," Franchise development head...
 photo

Alan Wake PC vs Xbox 360: Gah! So pretty on max settings


Feb 21
// Dale North
I spent some time with Alan Wake on my beastly [brag] PC rig (featuring dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 cards) last night, running this already pretty game on max settings. As you'd imagine, it looks sooo much better th...
 photo

Alan Wake PC recoups costs within 48 hours


Feb 20
// Jim Sterling
Oh PC gaming, that hotbed of piracy where developers can never make any money. That's where Remedy was able to make back all of its porting and marketing costs for Alan Wake within a 48-hour period. DAT PIRACY! The game becam...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...