CONTROL is Remedy’s Trademark Weirdness with Sandbox Action

When Sony showed off the announcement trailer for Control at its E3 media briefing last night, it had publisher Remedy written all over it. The Finnish game developer, known most recently for Quantum Break and Alan Wake, has never been afraid to experiment, and Control appears to be no exception to that philosophy. Though the hands-off demo 505 Games presented at E3 shared some atmospheric elements with previous Remedy titles, it’s also something quite different for the studio.

For one thing, Control isn’t straightforward and linear; it’s “much more sandbox” than anything Remedy has created before. The demo took place slightly before the game’s midpoint, primarily in the Federal Bureau of Control’s office building. While that might seem straightforward, we soon found out that nothing there is as it appears. With a flick of a light switch, the locale changes from cold office building to seedy motel, and it only gets stranger from there.

Backing up a bit, what the heck is the Federal Bureau of Control? That’s still unclear, but we do know that our protagonist, Jesse Faden, is trapped inside its headquarters, despite having recently been named the organization’s director. She’s supposed to find the Head of Security, but instead there are floating people everywhere, and most of her coworkers are hostile. It’s quite surreal, and only gets stranger as Jesse is thrust into combat.

There are obviously some supernatural forces at work in Control, and they’re not all in the FBC building—Jess also has special abilities that are revealed throughout the game. The early encounters had her using skills like Launch, which acts as a sort of violent telekinesis, to take down her aggressive coworkers. Later on, she can levitate herself to find new areas to explore. Even her seemingly normal service weapon can take different forms, from “your everyday supernatural pistol” to a destructive firearm designed to take on groups of foes at short range.

The use of darkness and shadow makes Control feel more Alan Wake than Quantum Break, but it’s also got a distinct Twilight Zone vibe, which is helped by the minimal use of color. With the exception of the occasional red glow, there’s only a faint hint of other hues, adding to the mysterious atmosphere. It’s spooky, okay?

Under all that supernatural goodness is a third-person action-adventure game with flexible combat that’s more open-ended than previous Remedy games, according to the developer. I loved Alan Wake, but it was pretty linear, so I’m excited to see what Creative Director Sam Lake and his team can do with more room to explore. We won’t find out until 2019, when Control launches for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Images: Remedy

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