The version of Quantum Break that is coming to PC next month appears to be one of the most restrictive major game launches on the platform in some time. The game not only requires Windows 10, due to its use of DirectX 12, but also a consistent and reasonably fast internet connection.
Quantum Break requires an internet connection because the game's live action cutscenes are not included with the rest of the game's locally stored assets. In other words, the cutscenes are not downloaded to your hard drive along with everything else during the Windows Store installation process, and instead will be streamed from the cloud.
The reason why the cutscenes won't be downloaded (or included on the physical disc) is pretty straightforward: there are simply too many cutscenes, shot at a 4K resolution, to download and store in any sort of reasonable way. As explained by the game's narrative designer Greg Louden:
"We have 40 different variations of the show in total where basically your choices get to make it evolve and change... Then combined with that, the show length can change based on your decisions because some episodes are longer as a result and some episodes are shorter."
With 40 different variations of the live action cutscenes, all shot in 4K, you can see how it mightn't be feasible to store all these video files locally. Instead, the cutscenes will be streamed to gamers' PCs at up to 4K resolution, which will require a pretty decent internet connection depending on the quality that's being delivered.
Gamers in countries with decent fibre or cable internet connections without bandwidth or data caps won't be troubled by streaming cutscenes. On the other hand, anyone with a bad internet connection or low data cap might be annoyed at this requirement, and anyone wishing to play the game offline won't be able to do so.
Only some cutscenes will be included on the Xbox One version's disc, with the majority of cutscenes also being streamed, albeit at 1080p. Quantum Break will be released on both platforms on April 5th.