Remedy are an extremely talented studio- they changed the game with Max Payne, and while Alan Wake‘s impact wasn’t as far reaching, it was an excellent game that remains beloved to this day. And sure, they dropped the ball with Quantum Break, but everyone is allowed a dud or two- Quantum Break doesn’t take away from their talent and what they have accomplished so far. Especially when Remedy have a chance to learn from where they went wrong, and grow in the future.
Speaking to Polygon, Remedy’s Game Director Mikael Kasurinen got introspective about where the studio went wrong with Quantum Break, and to a lesser extent, Alan Wake.
“If you go back and look at Alan Wake ten years ago you could see us talking about it about how we dabbled with the idea of driving around in a car in an open environment. You could see even then that desire to go in that direction,” Kasurinen said.
“One way to tell a story is to create a rich world you can get to explore. When you look back at Alan Wake and Quantum Break, you can see we spent a lot of time looking at the shape of those worlds, the cities, towns, neat characters, maps. We spent a lot of time in crafting those universes, if you will. The gameplay is actually a linear story through those amazing, complicated worlds. In one way, it’s a bit of a lost opportunity.
“I think they could have been bigger [games] easily. Alan Wake had a long history of development, but it was through years of events that it took the shape it took. A lot of concepts were created through that journey. It felt like there was this world of concept and complex storyline that was left aside. The key point that we learned from that experience is that the world building we do needs to connect with the gameplay. Gameplay needs to enable organic experiences and interactions with the world. We still want to create strong worlds, but the game should be crafted in such a way that allows this exploration.”
I personally am glad to see Remedy coming around to this. While I am not of the school of thought that every video game ever needs to be open world, interactivity and player agency are still key components of a video game- the more that there is of either in a video game, the better. I am glad to see Remedy recognize that. Hopefully their next game is as much of a departure from their output so far as Max Payne was from third person shooters until then.