Applying Remedy to one of gaming’s favourite pursuits
As Steven Poole notes elsewhere this issue, the drive towards photorealism doesn’t have an intrinsic value that makes it appropriate for all videogames. But when Remedy came up with the concept of blending a story seamlessly across actors in live-action footage and 3D models of them in realtime on an Xbox One, it had no other option. In our cover story, the Helsinki studio’s team, led by creative director Sam Lake, explain the innovative techniques and technologies behind the unique amalgamation that is Quantum Break.
This blurring of lines echoes throughout the issue. In Knowledge, we look at how Ubisoft, a company famous for bankrolling some of the biggest and most lavishly produced games in history, woke up to the possibilities that exist for smaller-scale invention within its studios, resulting in the creation of a division dedicated to experimental projects. Meanwhile, Inside The Writers’ Room sees Telltale Games explain what it’s learnt from the world of episodic TV as it’s found massive success with story-driven games such as The Walking Dead.
And in our Play section, Super Mario Maker, Disney Infinity 3.0 and Volume demonstrate how the player’s role within videogames continues to change. In this DIY age, which can make celebrities out of people titting about in front of webcams in their bedrooms, it’s no surprise to see consumption and creation increasingly sitting side by side across various genres of game, in indie productions and mega-bucks franchises alike.
Simply smashing stuff together doesn’t work. These parts need to exist as interlocking cogs. Remedy could have taken the easy option years ago, establishing itself as the company that turned out an endless stream of sequels to its 2001 hit, Max Payne, but it took a risk with Alan Wake, and again when it cooked up Quantum Break. As fond as we are of the Bullet Time pioneer, these richer projects are considerably more interesting to write about.
But of course we need to kick back, too. In Hoard Mode, we follow one man’s quest to accumulate the world’s largest collection of videogames, and manage to avoid discussion of chronon particles for an entire afternoon.
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