For the past few years, Remedy Entertainment has toyed with different ways to tell its stories. Its thriller game Alan Wake played out through episodic installments, not unlike a TV show. Sci-fi action-adventure game Quantum Break took the idea of television more literally, with a live-action series grafted on to a game. If players expect the developer’s latest game, Control, to follow in these more experimental footsteps, however, they’re in for a surprise. “With Control, we’re focusing on other ways of telling stories,” says game designer Sergey Mohov. Rather than toying with the conventions of television, it will be a game focused on environmental storytelling, and the missions that players embark on will be more than just linear fetch quests.
Control is a supernatural action-adventure game set in a reality-bending version of New York. Its lead, a woman named Jesse Faden, becomes entangled in a struggle between mysterious invaders known as the Hiss, and a secret government agency called the Federal Bureau of Control. After the Hiss invades the Bureau and murders its director, Jesse is chosen to take on that mantle through “a strange and ritualistic process,” says Mohov.
Rituals appear to be a huge part of Control. In a demo for the game I watched at E3 last week, Jesse could be heard quietly repeating incantations or mantras to herself. As she explored the Bureau’s building, also known as the Oldest House, what she encountered defied explanations. Bodies floated above silent office spaces and walls shifted and spiraled from their architecture. Jesse is gifted with abilities that allow her to levitate or launch items into the air. She wields a special gun that splits like a Rubik’s cube when used.
“we’re focusing on other ways of telling stories.”
The Oldest House is a sprawling, deceptively large building that can change at a moment’s notice. In Metroidvania style, players will gain additional access to its secrets as they learn more abilities. A previously unreachable door, for example, becomes easily accessible once Jesse can levitate.
The game is still early in development, Mohov says, though it’s slated to launch next year on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. For now, its strange, occult-filled world looks promising.