Quantum Break: Controlling Games and TV

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May 4, 2013
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Splinter Cell creator and Far Cry 2 mastermind Clint Hocking coined an academic phrase that almost hurts to read: “Ludonarrative dissonance” is the inconsistency between player action and narrative intent.

Let’s unwrap that. Niko Bellic’s philosophical principles in Grand Theft Auto IV -- becoming a reformed man via the American Dream -- directly opposes the player’s freedom (to fall on a tired but relevant staple of the series) to murder a paid-for prostitute to get his cash back. What he stands for and what he does don’t align.

Quantum Break has an elegant solution to the problem of player control compromising the authored story: it embraces ludonarrative dissonance, giving players the power to change the story for advantageous gameplay reasons. The consequence of that, however, is that it has a significant and direct effect on the events of Quantum Break’s multiple stories.

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