If time is an egg, then that egg is fucked: Let's Play Quantum Break


Caught in an experiment that fractures time itself, two people find they have changed and gained extraordinary abilities. One will sacrifice everything to ensure that humanity can weather the storm and survive the End of Time. The other is determined to fix time before it tears itself irreparably apart. Both face overwhelming odds and make dramatic choices that will determine the shape of the future.


Quantum Break is an action-adventure third-person shooter, with time-based superpowers and occasional platforming. It was developed by Remedy Entertainment (the makers of Max Payne and Alan Wake) and was published by Microsoft Studios.

The game was first released in April 2016 for Xbox One and PC. The PC version was originally exclusive to the Windows 10 store, and had a number of technical issues, though they were mostly fixed by subsequent patches. In September 2016 it was released on Steam, and the Steam version has better performance and is not limited to running on Windows 10.

Quantum Break has fantastic visuals, with especially realistic characters and environments. The game was designed to look spectacular on Xbox One or a PC on ‘Medium’ settings, while on ‘Ultra’ settings the PC version looks almost photorealistic, though that comes at the cost of bringing even high-end computers to their knees.

The most impressive effects occur during events known as ‘stutters’, time anomalies where the world freezes and distortion waves of prisms and fractals sweep through the environment. During stutters most people and objects are motionless, but some objects experience temporal loops or become unstable, resulting in scenes of chaos and destruction that skip or rewind in broken time. The graphical and audio effects led to Quantum Break being nominated for awards for outstanding visual effects and best use of sound.

It’s a game, and it’s also a TV show!

When Microsoft launched the Xbox One they emphasised the idea of it being an entertainment hub, a home for television shows and movies as well as games. Remedy were able to use Microsoft’s multimedia aspirations to get a huge budget for an ambitious transmedia experiment, making Quantum Break part game, part live-action show. Between each act of the game we get to watch a 20-minute episode of a live-action television series. While the game is about the heroes, the episodes show what is going on from the perspective of the villains. There are multiple versions of each episode, allowing the events of the show to change according to the choices we make during gameplay.

Both the game and the show feature a great cast of actors and actresses recognisable from X-Men, Game of Thrones, Fringe, The Wire, Lost, True Blood and more.


I’m playing the Steam PC release on the Hard difficulty setting, and I am doing a thorough 100% playthrough in which I shall endeavour to show off everything that there is to show off, including finding all the collectibles, fully-upgrading all powers and getting all the achievements.

By the way, I also have a thead on the SomethingAwful forums. In fact I only just discovered Let’s Play Zone, I’m delighted there’s now another great LP forum!

:siren: NO SPOILERS :siren:

Please do not post any spoilers! If you aren’t familiar with the game then feel free to speculate about what’s going to happen. If you already know and you notice that someone has speculated correctly, don’t draw attention to it.

Decisions will be up to you, the viewers!

Before each live-action episode there is a ‘Junction Point’ where we will briefly switch from playing as the hero to playing as one of the villains, and we will get to choose what the villain should do. The choices we make will affect events in the live-action show and may also cause small changes throughout the rest of the game.

There are four of these Junction Points, and when we come to them there will be a poll for you to vote in. The winning choices will be used in the main playthrough, while the other options will become an ‘alternate timeline’ that I’ll show off in bonus videos.

Video Quality

I am rendering and uploading videos at Ultra HD 1440p resolution to take advantage of YouTube’s higher bitrate for 1440p (2K) videos. For the best visuals during scenes with lots of special effects I recommend choosing the 1440p quality setting if it is available on your device, and if your internet bandwidth can handle it. Even if you don’t have an Ultra HD (2K or 4K) screen you can still benefit from the better picture quality that comes with the higher bitrate.

When it comes to the game’s graphical options, I’ve gone for the ‘Ultra’ graphics preset, except I’ve turned down Screen Space Reflections from High to Medium. (This significantly improves performance while making very little visual difference.) I’ve also turned off ‘upscaling’ and ‘film grain’ to give us the sharpest visual quality.


Reserved for future use.

October 9th, 2016, 4:00am
Jack Joyce arrives at Riverport University to meet his best friend, Paul Serene, who needs help from someone he can trust.

Narrative Objects for Act 1 Part 1

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It’s good to see Lance Reddick continuing his string of appearances in games where just plays himself.

Here he is as Sylens in Horizon Zero Dawn:


This is a lot cooler than I remember other things making it seem. I like the change in time shenanigans where touching yourself doesn’t cause a paradox that destroys everything. Also, this gives me hope that one day we will get the Alan Wake sequel where we get an actual fitting end to that story. Also. My first guess is that who the people were firing at above was us from the future coming back to stop things.


October 9th, 2016, 4:15am
A Fracture in time has appeared; Jack and his brother William are pursued by armed Monarch troops as they attempt to escape.

Narrative Objects for Act 1 Part 2

Based on the real-world Glock 17, this is Jack’s first weapon, and it is the standard handgun used by Monarch’s security forces. It has decent power, and it’s a semi-auto weapon that fires one shot per pull of the trigger, up to around 5 times per second. Firing slowly at a rate of 2 or 3 rounds per second allows pinpoint accuracy, but when fired more rapidly it still has good accuracy at short range. The only downside is that it has a small magazine of 8 rounds, unlike a real Glock 17 which holds 17 rounds in the magazine.

The SMG (Submachine Gun) fires small low-powered bullets, but it fires 15 of them per second. Unfortunately that high rate-of-fire causes a lot of recoil, which means that you need to fire short bursts of 3 to 6 rounds to maintain any degree of accuracy in long-range firefights. However the SMG is quite effective when combined with the Time Stop ability, as you can quickly fill a time bubble with a wall of SMG bullets, all of which receive the damage boost from stacking bullets.

The SMG is based on the Heckler & Koch MP7A1 Personal Defence Weapon. It has been enhanced with a number of attachments; as well as a high-tech sight on top, it also has a scope on a ‘flip-to-side’ mount. (There’s no option for Jack to use the scope.) It has a 32-round magazine, although a real MP7 uses 20-round, 30-round or 40-round magazines.

The MS 512 Assault Rifle fires 10 rounds per second and has a 20-round magazine. That may seem inferior to the SMG, but the Assault Rifle makes up for it by firing rounds rounds with the same damage and accuracy as the Pistol. It does have significant recoil though, so while the first shot may be precise Jack will become less accurate with continuous fire.

If you pull the trigger and release it immediately you can treat it like a semi-auto weapon and fire a single shot with perfect accuracy. This makes the Assault Rifle a great all-rounder weapon, as it can be used for sniping heads at a distance or spray-and-pray close combat, without switching weapons.

The MS 512 is based on the real-world HK416 assault rifle/carbine, Heckler & Koch’s modern equivalent of Colt’s well-known M16 and M4 rifles.

Time Vision allows Jack to see premonitions of the future and echoes of the past, as well as sensing enemies and items through walls. This functions similarly to Eagle Vision in the Assassin’s Creed franchise or Detective Mode in the Batman: Arkham games. However, Jack cannot use Time Vision while moving, which resembles Survival Instinct in the recent Tomb Raider games.

When activated enemies are highlighted in red, useful items glow blue and destructible/explosive objects are orange. The rest of the world becomes desaturated and grey. When Jack moves the desaturation effect ends and items will stop glowing, but enemies will continue to glow for 3.5 seconds. The ‘Increased Threat Detection’ upgrade extends that time to 5.25 seconds.

Time Vision is also needed to find Time Echoes, Chronon Sources and other temporal anomalies. The Time Vision icon will blink when one is nearby, and when playing with a controller there will be a slight vibrating pulse.

Time Stop briefly creates a localised Stutter, a spherical region of frozen time that stops bullets and traps enemies caught inside. Without any upgrades the time bubble collapses after 5 seconds.

When multiple bullets are fired into a Time Stop bubble their damage is amplified, due to the target being hit simultaneously by several bullets when the sphere collapses. This trick is known as Stacking Bullets. It’s possible to kill a heavily-armoured SWAT Trooper with 4 ‘stacked’ Pistol bullets, when normally it would take 6, so the damage boost seems to be about one third. When you’ve fired enough bullets into a Time Stop for ‘stacking’ to take effect the bullets will begin to fill the sphere with an orange glow.

Security officers dressed for special operations. They wear dark grey uniforms and balaclava ski masks, with belt equipment such as an ammo pouch and a radio linked to an ear piece.

These lightly-armoured Monarch operatives are usually armed with standard Pistols, though a few use Heavy Pistols. Their lack of cumbersome equipment allows them unrestricted movement, and in a firefight they utilize available cover and try to maintain a safe distance. They can be defeated with four hits from the Pistol or Assault Rifle, or six SMG shots. Their balaclavas don’t provide much protection from bullets; they can survive a shot to the head hit from one SMG round, but will be killed by a single headshot from most other weapons.

Concept art reveals that Medium Troopers wear kevlar vests under their jackets. The original concept had them wearing caps and jackets with orange Monarch Solutions symbols and logos, but the cap was changed to a balaclava and the Monarch symbols were made smaller and changed to light grey to be less conspicuous.

Commandos equipped with full SWAT-style tactical gear. Their uniform consists of dark grey trousers, a navy blue shirt, body armour with ammo pouches, a wrist-mounted device with a yellow screen, a balaclava and a ballistic helmet.

SWAT Troopers normally use SMGs or Assault Rifles, although at the start of Act 1 Part 2 one fires a Pistol at William. Some also carry hand grenades; when a grenade is thrown a warning indicator appears on screen and there is a beeping noise for a few seconds until the explosion. It takes eight SMG rounds to kill them, or six rounds from a Pistol or Assault Rifle. They can also survive one headshot from most guns.

Monarch SWAT helmets have a number of attachments and features, including a tactical light, ear defenders and a microphone headset. It is likely that the wrist-mounted screen worn by each trooper is linked to his headset and radio. The uniform has a number of prominent Monarch symbols and logos, and the right shoulder has a special patch with a unique ‘M’ design, labelled ‘Monarch Security’ and ‘SEC-D’, which presumably stands for ‘Security Division’.


This is one of those games that I heard a lot about when it first was announced, then heard nothing about pretty much right up until this LP got posted. I’m a sucker for a fun time travel story though, so I’m on board to see how this ride pans out.


Haha, I do wonder what he’s like in real life. He ends up playing the same sort of character in most things but I’ve a suspicion he may actually be a really cheerful guy!

Same, there’s plenty of sci-fi shows that have time travel cause anomalies and disasters due to paradoxes; you’d expect the disaster to be caused by something like Paul chatting with his past self for so long that he delays himself getting into the machine. But Quantum Break defies those expectations, the trip to the past goes without a hitch, there’s no problem with Paul interacting with his past self. Instead the disaster is caused by an equation missing some variables, a flaw in operating the machine that destabilises the Meyer-Joyce Field. An engineering/maths problem rather than a time travel logic problem.

Great! This game has some nice surprises. A few of them might have been slightly spoiled by some of the promotional material surrounding the game’s release, so if you’ve managed to avoid that stuff (or forgotten it) then it should make for an even more enjoyable experience. :slight_smile:

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its really interesting looking at people you hit with the time bubble bullet combo. Their corpse as it rag dolls possess the same distorted time effect for awhile even after the bubble bursts.


I really don’t think they’re even trying to keep the fact that we’ll be coming back in time to this point hidden. Also, I noticed the device underneath the window in the courtyard is gone now. I’m sure that’ll be important.

And come on! Make the Alan wake sequel, clearly they’re thinking about the game still.

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It made me laugh when in the first part that protester was going on about the hundred-years old ‘historic’ library building. I suppose that’s an American perspective, here in the UK every other building is over a hundred years old!

Also it’s well funny when you’re talking about how it takes more shots to kill the enemies with body armour, when your character isn’t wearing any armour at all and just shrugs off loads of bullets without even saying “ooooow”. Computer games!

Gawd I absolutely love HZD… Was so psyched to see Lance Reddick in it! I’ve finished this game and the DLC. I’ve also played Quantum Break but honestly, I missed most of the stuff that YET is so thoughtfully pointing out for us, I really appreciate the game more now!

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Over here anything is historic if it’s older than you.

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considering as a country the USA as a country is barely just over two centuries old, with many colonial buildings not even being three centuries old. This is not counting from the time where the USA expanded to stretch from east to west coast, some buildings are even younger than that to count as historic. Its definitely a location thing overall. I’ll stop now, history major and archiving minor make this an area of interest.

For giggles I can recommend looking up the town of Deadwood in south dakota which was declared overall historic, meaning most of the buildings in the main area are deemed of historic value.

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October 9th, 2016, 4:31am
Separated from his brother, Jack fights his way through the campus to find him and rescue him from Monarch goons.

Narrative Objects for Act 1 Part 3

The VARG Heavy Pistol is twice as powerful as the standard Pistol, but has half the ammo capacity, using magazines that hold just 4 rounds. It also has a huge amount of recoil, so you need to wait between shots to fire accurately. The Heavy Pistol’s best feature is that it can kill any normal enemy with a single headshot. The slow rate-of-fire makes it a poor choice for Time Stop bullet stacking, but it is great for headshotting enemies, especially when combined with the slow-motion Focus Time at the end of a Time Dodge. The Heavy Pistol also has the ability to blow up explosive canisters and barrels almost instantly, unlike other weapons that cause them to catch fire and detonate a few seconds later. Like all pistols in Quantum Break Jack has an infinite supply of reserve ammunition for it.

The Heavy Pistol has a weaponlight attached below the barrel, though neither Jack nor the enemies ever use it. Presumably Remedy added it to make the weapon look beefier and more distinct from the standard Pistol. The Heavy Pistol’s design is based on the FN Five-SeveN handgun, a weapon named for its specialist 5.7x28mm ammunition that is smaller and lighter than conventional 9mm pistol ammo, and is better at defeating body armour. These small bullets allow the real FN Five-Seven to have low recoil and a large 20-round magazine. The game’s Heavy Pistol bears little similarity to this, as it is a hand cannon with high recoil and low ammo capacity. Markings on the side indicate that it uses a fictional ‘5.7x15mm’ calibre ammo. My guess is that Remedy did not want their high-powered handgun to look similar to the typical Magnum or Desert Eagle featured in most other shooters, so they chose the appearance of an FN Five-SeveN and took quite a bit of creative license with how it works.

The Semi-Auto Shotgun briefly appears at the end of Act 1 Part 3, but with little opportunity to use it. We will take a closer look at the Semi-Auto Shotgun when it is next encountered.

Jack’s Time Dodge ability allows him to ‘warp’ or ‘blink’ a short distance. While Max Payne’s ‘shootdodge’ allowed him to leap across a room in slow motion, Jack shifts from place to place by creating a time warp. The resulting shockwave knocks back enemies and briefly staggers them, making Time Dodge a great offensive power as well as a way of evading enemies.

It is not teleportation, however. Although Jack might seem to be an insubstantial blur during a Time Dodge, he does actually travel through the intervening space. This means Jack will still take damage if he dodges towards an enemy who is firing at him.

Pressing and holding the Aim button at the end of a Time Dodge will trigger ‘Focus Time’, a second of slow motion that can be used to precisely aim a weapon at an enemy. Upgrades can extend Focus Time to last 1.25 seconds and then again to 1.5 seconds. Although these small increases may seem barely noticeable, an extra 0.25 seconds of slow motion is just long enough to allow a couple of extra rounds to be fired from the SMG or Assault Rifle before time returns to normal.

Time Shield surrounds Jack with a spherical time distortion that deflects enemy bullets, while allowing Jack’s to pass through. This protects Jack from enemy fire when no cover is available, and gives a chance for his health to recover. With upgrades the shield can also accelerate healing, and can slow time outside the shield to allow Jack to carefully aim shots.

Activating Time Shield near to enemies will shove them outside the area of influence and leave them staggered and vulnerable, similar to Time Dodging into them. However once the shield has formed enemies can step inside of it, and also the shield does not protect against grenades, so it is not a completely impenetrable barrier.

It is important to note that although the Time Shield forms around Jack, it does not travel with him. It is possible to take a few steps within the shield, but if Jack steps outside of it (or tries to use it while on the move) the Shield will immediately dissipate. At least one third of your Time Shield meter must be full to activate this power. The shield will stay up for as long as you have energy available, assuming you do not voluntarily deactivate the shield or step outside of it.


it really seems like every new power seems to break how reality/time is supposed to work even more. The visual effects on the dodge in particularly are distorted reality, its actually similar to the effect Jack had on frozen objects in the beginning of the game visually. The time shield and overcharge of bullets really look similar to a glass pane that has been cracked.


Yes all the time powers, phenomena and anomalies all have a shared ‘prismatic’ visual style, like shattered glass. As you say, it’s not just the big, obvious distortions… even the bullets that are ‘overcharged’ by Bullet Stacking in Time Stop bubbles have those effects.

Which makes sense given that they are all using the same kind of time energies (‘chronon particles’ and the ‘Meyer-Joyce field’), but it does also give the impression that Jack is smashing time whenever he uses his powers!

When I first played I wondered whether there was might be a twist that Jack was worsening the Fracture in time by using his abilities. Time is breaking down due to a shortage of chronon particles, resulting in Stutters where time stops… and there’s Jack creating mini stutters all over the place, which presumably means he’s creating bubbles of low-chronon density. That sounds like a terrible idea when the fabric of time is already weak due to low chronons!

But I guess Jack’s powers are like a drop in an ocean compared to the damage caused by the malfunctioning time machine. (Jack’s powers only influence a few seconds of time, in a very localised area; the machine created a tunnel that connected the past and the future.)


The dash seems almost more like items are disintegrating or spaghettifying instead of the shattered glass bit.

Heh, yeah I guess the powerful distortion around Jack could be likened to black hole spaghettification. And then when the time warp collapses it does create the impression that the world is disintegrating. It’s certainly a violent-looking effect.

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Fortunately he can do it again.

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It is certainly interesting to see Paul come back in this way. I suppose he had to come out at some time, I just wasn’t really expecting the past like that.