Magnum Opus Games: Remedy Entertainment's History of Innovation

'Quantum Break' may be their latest innovation, but where did the creativity truly begin for the Remedy team?

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Complex Original

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Though most known to casual gamers as the company behind the pre-Rockstar years of the Max Payne franchise, the story of Remedy Entertainment is far deeper than the blockbuster video game that eventually spawned a film adaptation starring Mark Wahlberg. With their latest release Quantum Break now available for immersive consumption worldwide, we decided to give the Remedy team the Magnum Opus Games treatment by taking a 30-minute deep dive into the minds behind the creative madness.

"It's just row after row of everyone playing different music and everyone's hacking and everyone's just modding," Gregor Louden, Remedy's senior narrative designer, recalls of the company's early days in the digital art subculture known as demoscene. "It's ridiculous." Ridiculous or not, those years of experimentation proved crucial. The collaborative process, a core component of the demoscene vibe, greatly informed what would eventually become Remedy Entertainment. "We were just making it up as we went," Sam Lake says of the company's earliest incarnation. According to Lake, most of the team didn't really even consider Remedy a company in the early years. "It was kind of this loose group of people in one of the founding member's basement."

With their 2010 game Alan Wake, Remedy traded in the artful violence of Max Payne for the more cerebral story of Alan Wake. The psychological action-thriller, which took more than half a decade to bring together, follows novelist Alan Wake's journey to find his missing wife before (spoiler alert) learning that a novel he doesn't even remember writing is slowly but surely coming to life around him. Though ultimately very well-received by both fans and critics alike, initial press footage for Alan Wake left some temporarily confounded. As innovations go, that's simply par for the course. One press demo, as shown in the documentary, left some reviewers thoroughly "unimpressed" upon its debut. Once the final product was delivered, however, the praise started to roll in.

In fact, many may find similarities in the story of Alan Wake to Remedy's own efforts at proving (very successfully) that Max Payne is far from the best work they had in them as a creative team. With Quantum Break now hitting homes across the globe, Remedy's goals for future innovations remain as daring and ambitious as ever. "I want to ship more games, more often," Markus Maki, Remedy's Entertainment's executive chairman, says of the years ahead. "I want to keep the ambition level high. I want to give the creative guys the space they need. I want to bring great experiences to gamers, more often." We'll take that, Remedy. We'll definitely take that.

Be sure to grab Quantum Break, a third-person shooter for Xbox One, after peeping "The Remedy Entertainment Story" in full above. The latest Remedy innovation follows a time-bending gentleman named Jack Joyce in the wake of a botched university experiment. The game, which is interlaced with interactive digital episodes, features voice talent from Dominic Monaghan and Shawn Ashmore. For more Magnum Opus Games action, revisit our recent exploration of the Telltale Games universe below:

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