The PC version of Quantum Break was confirmed in February as a Windows 10, Windows Store exclusive. So it came as a very big surprise today when Microsoft and Remedy announced that a special boxed edition of the game will be headed to retail next month, and that it's also coming to Steam.
The Quantum Break CE is actually being published by Nordic Games, which seems set on becoming a force as a mid-tier PC publisher: It scooped up much of what was left behind by the collapse of THQ (including the name), and in recent years has published games including Ori and the Blind Forest, Darksiders 2, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Remedy's previous release, Alan Wake.
“We are proud to announce a new triangle-collaboration with two of our trusted partners,” Reinhard Pollice, Nordic's business and product development director, said in a statement. “Apart from being a new IP (which is always a brave step), Quantum Break turned out to be a sophisticated, visually stunning shooter with a top-notch cast of actors.”
The boxed release will include five game discs (although a one-time Steam activation is still required), a “Making Of” documentary on Blu-ray and companion book, a soundtrack CD, two posters, and a quickstart guide. Both it and the Steam release will have all previously-released updates included, which is good news, given some of the optimization issues Quantum Break suffered from at launch. And to assuage any doubt, Remedy confirmed on Twitter that this version will run on Windows 7 (64-bit) and up, meaning that DirectX 12 is no longer mandatory.
This really is an unexpected move. The Windows 10 adoption rate is chugging along nicely (although not quite as nicely as Microsoft had hoped), and despite the company's insistence that it is “not intending to compete with Steam,” the focus was clearly on making the Windows Store a relevant platform in PC gaming. It was just in June that Xbox boss Phil Spencer touted the benefits of Windows 10, when he talked about “learning to ship PC games again.” So to let a semi-flagship title slip to Steam so quickly—remember, it took two years for Alan Wake to get from the Xbox 360 to the PC—is legitimately surprising. Maybe it was a little too soon to make a clean break?
Whatever the reason, it's good news, and that box will be mine. The Quantum Break Steam and Timeless Collector's Editions are set to come out on September 14, and will sell for $40/€40.
Update: Quantum Break is now listed on Steam, as are the system requirements. They're identical to those of the original release (although there's no "Ultra" spec), but for two significant changes: The minimum OS requirement is now Windows 7 (64-bit) and DirectX 11.