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Quantum Break looks like Alan Wake with time manipulation

Chris Plante co-founded Polygon in 2012 and is now editor-in-chief. He co-hosts The Besties, is a board member of the Frida Cinema, and created NYU’s first games journalism course.

Quantum Break gameplay was shown at Gamescom today, the first extended gameplay presentation since the game's announcement at E3 2013. The third-person shooter resembles, in combat alone, the studio's previous game, Alan Wake.

Remedy Entertainment's Creative Director Sam Lake took the stage at Microsoft's Gamescom press conference to present the demonstration. In it, Jack Joyce, a brooding male hero in a leather jacket — who calls to mind not only Alan Wake, but Max Payne, the studio's other famous brooding male hero in a leather jacket — navigates a highway in the moments leading up to and during a horrific traffic pile-up.

The demo presents a handful of special abilities: Joyce has limited control of time, allowing him to freeze enemies in ice-like time-crystals and dash from cover to cover.

Lake says the hero is fighting to stop the end of time, the potential cataclysmic outcome of the stuttering of time shown in the demo. Stutters are the visual centerpiece of the game, with bodies, debris and fire frozen in place. One stutter, for example, involves Joyce climbing onto the raised highway, discovering a frozen semi truck, its front hanging off the highway's edge.

Joyce has the ability to walk through these stutters, as if they're museum displays, people and objects trapped in their position. Joyce's enemy, the Monarch corporation, has technology that also allows them to maneuver inside time stutters, and so naturally the tragic car crash trapped in proverbial time-Jello becomes a backdrop for a gunfight.

The gunplay will be familiar to anyone who has played Remedy's Alan Wake. Where that came required the player to shine a light on enemies before unloading a weapon into their body, Quantum Break makes use of the aforementioned time bubbles, which freeze enemies so that they can absorb a charge of lead.

In fact, the game appears to have the feel of Alan Wake. The chatty brooding hero, the magic plus bullets combat, the constant narrative momentum, even the way a battle ends with final enemy dying in slow-motion. This will probably please fans of Alan Wake, who's calls for a traditional sequel have been unanswered.

Lake didn't provide any more info about release plans, nor did he speak about the live-action television episodes that will be part of Quantum Break. We will have more on Quantum Break as it's shown throughout the week.