Is Time Travel Possible? The Real Science Behind ‘Quantum Break’

Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break is due to hit shelves tomorrow, but is the game’s depiction of time travel as realistic as the developers claim? Of course, time travel isn’t exactly possible as it’s depicted in Quantum Break, but the developers, Remedy Entertainment, did their homework — they even hired a physicist to consult on the upcoming video game.

Quantum Break, as the Inquisitr has reported previously, is a groundbreaking third-person-shooter from Remedy Entertainment and it features a protagonist who can control time, a big part of the gameplay and the story. But The Verge is reporting this morning that the time travel depicted in Quantum Break might be a little “smarter” than time travel in most sci-fi games and movies.

“Time travel happens. I will grant it’s at the not-very-exciting rate of one hour per hour, but still walking isn’t the same as sitting still. Going forward in time isn’t a problem, and we know it’s possible to slow time down by accelerating your body very fast,” said The Verge‘s science editor, Liz Lopatto, in an interview today.

According to Quartz, the time-travel-by-acceleration is relatively small scale compared to the time travel in Quantum Break, but we know of at least one case where it happened: Astronaut Scott Kelly, whose twin brother is also an astronaut, recently returned from a year in space, and NASA scientists were eager to study the differences between the Kelly brothers after one brother spent an unprecedented amount of time in orbit.

Scott Kelly reportedly returned to earth about two inches taller than his twin brother, Mark Kelly, and about a hundredth of a second younger than his brother, Mark. Quantum Break features a protagonist who can move through time at his whim, forward or back in time, a lot more exciting than Scott Kelly’s time travel — but no less interesting. Quartz reports that Scott Kelly aged less time than his brother did while he was speeding through space, where time behaves a little differently than it does on the Earth.

Though it’s not quite Quantum Break level time travel, but does the game obey the rules as we understand them? The Verge says yes, Quantum Break reportedly obeys the rules of time travel as scientists currently understand them.

“The actual time travel in [Quantum Break] does obey the rules of time travel as we understand it: you can’t go backwards in time to a time before a time machine has been built, for instance,” said the Verge’s science editor, Liz Lopatto.

Still, it seems Quantum Break isn’t totally realistic — according to the Verge, the game mostly treats the time control abilities the player possesses as a kind of “magic,” with abilities like “time shield,” which isn’t exactly realistic. But Quantum Break seems to understand its limitations, and even mentions a requirement of moving backward through time — the gravitational field of something massive, like a black hole.

Unfortunately for Remedy Entertainment, the solid science behind Quantum Break’s time travel won’t save the game from mixed reviews. Though Quantum Break doesn’t hit shelves until tomorrow, it’s receiving its fair share of mixed-to-negative reviews, as Inquisitr reported previously. Ars Technica reports that the game itself is solid, fun, and innovative, but the “TV show” sections don’t do much to advance the narrative.

“A storytelling success, a live-action failure,” reports Ars Technica, citing Quantum Break’s highly controversial choice to incorporate what amounts to a TV show into the game. Other reviewers have cited similar concerns, stating that Quantum Break succeeds as a game, but falls flat as a live-action show.

“There’s not a ton of game to be found here, and it doesn’t take long to figure out why that’s the case,” reports Ars Technica.

[Image via Remedy Entertainment]

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