Quantum Break: Everything You Need to Know

What if you could bend time to your will? That's a power fantasy you'll get to live out in Quantum Break, Microsoft's upcoming blockbuster action game launching on April 5 for Xbox One and Windows 10. Packing a star-studded cast, time-manipulation superpowers and a unique tie-in TV show, this story-driven shooter has the potential to be the biggest thing on Xbox this year. If you're curious what all the hype is about, here's everything you need to know about Quantum Break.

What's Quantum Break all about?

Quantum Break is a hybrid action game/TV show from Remedy Entertainment, the folks behind such beloved games as Max Payne and Alan Wake. After a time travel experiment goes awry, protagonist Jack Joyce must stop his nemesis and former best friend Paul Serene from destroying the very fabric of time as we know it. To ensure you'll have plenty of bad guys to shoot at, the game also puts you up against Monarch Solutions, a mysterious and lethal security firm founded by Serene.

Quantum Break

While Quantum Break is a third-person shooter at its core, you can wield some pretty awesome superpowers that Jack inherited during his time-travel accident. You can freeze enemies in a time bubble, create a time shield to slow incoming bullets, and channel your inner Flash as you dodge your way through enemies before they can even see you coming. These time-manipulation abilities also allow for environmental puzzles, as you'll sometimes need to freeze objects in time to make it from platform to platform.

It's a video game and a TV show? How does that all work?

At the end of every gameplay act, you'll be presented with a roughly 20-minute live-action episode that fleshes out Quantum Break's narrative. The TV episodes you see are influenced by your in-game choices, so you and your friends may end up seeing different sides of the story. While the gameplay segments focus on Jack and the protagonists, the TV episodes are designed to help you get to know the bad guys. 

One thing to keep in mind: Quantum Break's TV episodes are streamed from the cloud by default, so you may experience buffering if your Internet isn't great. Fortunately, you'll have an option to save the episodes to your hard drive.

MORE: Our Most Anticipated Games

Whoa, is that the guy from Animorphs? And Littlefinger from Game of Thrones?

Yes and yes. Quantum Break's cast is full of big name stars, most notably X-Men actor Shawn Ashmore (Jack Joyce) and Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen (Paul Serene). Other notable faces include Lance Reddick (Martin Hatch), Dominic Monaghan (William Joyce), Marshall Allman (Charlie Wincott) and Patrick Heusinger (Liam Burke). The in-game versions of these actors look eerily like their real-life counterparts, which makes transitioning between the gameplay and TV show portions extra-surreal.

What do I need to run Quantum Break on my PC?

Quantum Break will be available on PC via the Windows 10 store, and you'll need a pretty powerful rig for it. System requirements are as follows:

  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • DirectX: DirectX 12
  • CPU: 2.7-GHz Intel Core i5-4460 or AMD FX-6300 (Minimum), 3.9-GHz Core i5 4690 or AMD equivalent (Recommended), 4-GHz Core i7 4790 or AMD equivalent (Ultra)
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 760 or AMD Radeon R7 260x (Minimum), GTX 970 or AMD R9 390 (Recommended), GTX 980 Ti or AMD R9 Fury X (Ultra)
  • VRAM: 2GB (Minimum), 4GB (Recommended), 6GB (Ultra)
  • RAM: 8GB (Minimum), 16GB (Recommended/Ultra)

MORE: The Best Gaming PCs You Can Buy

If I buy the game for Xbox One, do I get the Windows 10 version for free?

Yes, if you pre-order the digital version. Those who buy the game or redeem a digital code for it by April 4 will get a code for the Windows 10 version. The deal doesn't seem to apply to physical copies, and it's unclear if the promotion will go on after the game's release.

No matter when you buy Quantum Break, the game will include a free download for Alan Wake — Remedy's big Xbox 360 hit — along with all of its downloadable content. Those who pre-order will get an extra bonus in the form of Alan Wake's American Nightmare. Both games are digital Xbox 360 titles that work on Xbox One via backward compatibility.

Can I keep my progress across Xbox One and PC?

Yep! Quantum Break supports cross-save across Xbox One and Windows 10, allowing you to start the game on one platform and pick up where you left off on the other.

Is Quantum Break worth buying?

From what we've played so far, Quantum Break is shaping up to be an exciting twist on the action-adventure genre thanks to its fun superpowers and unique live-action TV element. Fans of Remedy's previous titles will likely find lots to love in the game's branching story and time-stopping game mechanics, though I do wonder if some gamers will get too impatient to sit through the TV episodes. We'll be playing a lot of Remedy's hybrid action/adventure experience, so stay tuned for more coverage.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.