ALL KINDS OF TIME
Woven among the many enviable strands of Remedy’s DNA is a trait for which the studio has received less praise: its tendency towards lengthy gestations. Max Payne was trailed in 1998, and didn’t release until 2001. Alan Wake’s development cycle was longer still, nearly five full years passing between its E3 2005 reveal and eventual May 2010 release.
Quantum Break’s development appears to be operating at breakneck pace by comparison, due for release in April 2016 after its October 2013 reveal. Is there something intrinsic to Remedy’s working process that predisposes it to protracted development cycles? Other than its proclivity for conjuring up brand-new stories and settings with bespoke game engines, of course.
“It’s many things,” Lake tells us. “Just thinking about Quantum
Break, as an example, there’s a lot of new technology, [Xbox One is] a new platform, it’s a new universe, new story, there’s new core gameplay. [That means] a lot of prototyping, and a lot of discovery. On the whole show side, there are a lot of challenges to figure out. It does end up taking time and, yes, we want to keep the quality high, so we don’t want to make certain kinds of compromises, and are always making sure that this is iterated enough and polished enough and nd it’s as good as it deserves to be.” e.”
By contrast, the studio is capable of turning around a game in a radically shorter time frame when it opts to produce a sequel. “I’m still really of proud of Max Payne 2,” Lake says. “All in all, I felt that it was a really polished experience [that took] certain things from Max Payne further, and that took 18 months. Doing a sequel to something is obviously different to building something from the ground up.”