Developer memories from the making of Quantum Break

It’s been a while since Quantum Break shipped, you know, like a year, so we thought it would be fun to go back and try to remember all the things that went on during production.

A few brave souls from the Quantum Break development team were able to jog their memories (that we dare to print), some of which you can read below. You might also want to watch this video we put together while shipping the game.

On to the memories…

“After one long day in January, it was so cold outside that my car wouldn’t start. Luckily, we had an apartment close to the office where we could spend the night in. The flat was completely empty, but there was a sauna there. As we didn’t have anything to cast water to the stove with, we used disposable paper cups from Mickey D’s. They melted instantly. Good times.”
Elmeri Raitanen (Senior VFX Artist) / Jussi Kemppainen (VFX Artist)

“My favourite moment was getting to design the opening of the game. I had always dreamed of doing a game opening like Half-Life and Bioshock, and with Quantum Break I got to design my own with the rest of the team.”
Greg Louden (Senior Narrative Designer)

“My nemesis in Quantum Break was the system that would kill characters on physics impact. You know, getting hit by a fast moving object and such. It had the tendency to randomly kill friendly NPCs (non player character). I remember this one time when it took me almost two hours to load a level, export, launch the game and play it to the right spot to test my animation. And what happens? The guy dies. Just like that. Probably run into some debris and got that deadly impact or something.

Now you might wonder why I didn’t speed up my process by playing the game at 4x speed to reach the critical place faster? Well, that would speed up physics and turn everyday objects into killing machines. For example, when trying to open a door under a 4x speedup, the door would almost certainly kill the character!”
Ilkka Kuusela (Senior Gameplay Animator)

“Coolest and scariest for me in making Quantum Break was to have Johannes (Remedy’s business director) asking me really nicely, ‘Hey, would you like to make a Quantum Break cover image for a magazine?’ I was like, yeah sure, you know I’m your guy! Then, later on, going to a meeting room to have the brief, he commented really fast the name of the magazine (Game Informer), and almost whispering, ‘millions of readers’. That was bit of a (positive!) shock and very intimidating at first. At that meeting I only registered the word million… only later on I did read and realize that they have something like 6 or 7 million readers.”
Aureo Lorenzo (Concept Artist)

Prepping to fight crime.

”Microsoft asking me to change one of my textures because it contained ‘explicit nudity and an anthropomorphic lion smoking a joint’ was one of the highlights of my career.”
Nazareno Urbano (former Environment Artist)

“With Quantum Break I got really lucky. After several years of trying to break into the industry, Remedy gave me the opportunity to not only work on a game, but to work on a game that was right up my alley. Through QB I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot and work with an amazing team. Meetings with the audio team proved to me that people like Michael Winslow from Police Academy are real. They’re all audio designers making weird noises to describe what the game should sound like.”
Lennie Hakola (Producer)

”I was one of two people who worked on the optional storytelling content like emails, posters, etc. Since the other person was busy fighting other fires as well, making sure no funny business was going on fell mostly on me. I was new to the project, so it took me a while to get my head around the story. It wasn’t until a couple of months before shipping I spotted a placeholder poster art right at the start of the game spoiling the fact that (the future) Paul Serene was the CEO of Monarch. We of course replaced the poster with something less spoilerific.”
Eevi Korhonen (Game Designer)

Shawn Ashmore was a real gentleman and great to work with. Between the all day long VO sessions, he would casually sit in the red chairs we have in the 1st floor lobby and talk with anyone who walked by. He once told me that he hadn’t gotten a chance to taste Finnish salmiakki (salty liquorice), so I offered him some. It really looked like it wasn’t the best experience for him, but he was too polite to say that!”
Camilla Taipalvesi (HR)

“It took a long time to get Time Rush right. Originally the way it worked was that the player had to hold down the ‘rush button’ which made the game stop. Then you used the analogue stick to choose where you would run. I thought the system was poor and difficult to use, so just before the summer holidays in 2013 (I think…) I built a prototype which was more like the bullet time in Max Payne. The difference being that everybody else freezes and the player keeps moving in ‘normal time’. This worked so much better, it didn’t interrupt the flow of the action like the old system did. When I finally cracked it, it felt great.”
Tommi Saalasti (Senior Scripter)

“We wrote and shot an episode of an in-game soap opera called Time and Time Again that takes place inside a Time Egg in space. We couldn’t ship it with the game, because it included a scene where mind-bullets were being shot at the crotch of the male actor. It was considered too aggressive sexual innuendo for our rating.”
Production team

”Late in production the writers came up the idea of creating William’s video diaries from different time periods. We got only one day from Dominic Monaghan to shoot all four videos, meaning that our jetlagged star had to be gradually transformed 20 years younger within 12 hours.

Last take of the day.

SPOILER ALERT: After several wardrobe, makeup and lighting changes, we wrapped with our last shot: William lying on the floor after being shot, with blood oozing out of his shoulder and Dom screaming bloody murder between takes.

Fun fact: the videos were originally meant to have music playing in the background to identify the different eras, including hits like …One More Time by Britney Spears and Livin’ la Vida Loca by Ricky Martin. Both songs would’ve been perfect for the gunshot scene.”
Lauri Haavisto (Senior Media Producer)