When things get out of control it’s very important to have a remedy at hand…
Located within the confines of a huge windowless skyscraper in New York is a world that’s been concealed for centuries. A world of the supernatural where strange and mysterious things lurk around every corner, and that’s just on a normal day.
This towering monolith is the headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Control, a secret government agency that scours the globe investigating supernatural phenomena which they try to contain and study in order to expand the limits of human understanding. It’s here that Control takes place and where the Oldest House resides. The Oldest House is a supernatural location with a labyrinthine interior that is constantly shifting to form an infinite amount of rooms and passageways.
You play as Jesse Faden, a woman looking for answers to her dark past. Jesse arrives at the bureau for a job interview but within moments the place is invaded by a mysterious entity known as the Hist. In the ensuing chaos the bureau’s director, Zachariah Trench, is killed and through a strange, ritualistic process Jesse becomes the new director. We’d call that a successful interview.
To take on the Hist Jesse will make use of the supernatural abilities that she’s acquired and a mysterious weapon called the ‘Service Weapon’ that’s been bestowed upon her. Like the Oldest House, this weapon can alter its shape to form different types of guns. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. “The Service Weapon is an important part of the lore of the bureau itself,” explains game director Mikael Kasurinen. “It’s a weapon that has existed for as long as anybody can remember. Nobody knows for sure how old it really is and it’s possible that it has served a larger purpose than that of even the bureau.”
Given the age and properties of the weapon you can assume that its form hasn’t always been that of a pistol. “Let’s say you look back 500 years, it may have looked like a sword or a musket. You can say that it’s some kind of proto-weapon, like the idea of what a weapon is, which materialises into what is suitable and fitting for the time and age.” The power within The Service Weapon is just one of the many ‘Objects of Power’ found within the world of Control, items that the FBC seek to obtain. These objects have somehow acquired powers that can have a strange effect on the world around them. By assimilating this power, Jesse can unlock different supernatural abilities that reside within her.
At the heart of Control is the sense of contrast between the mundane and the strange. It’s the combination of those things that makes it really intriguing and with both the story and the setting Remedy hopes to imbue you with awe. “When we thought about the key word for the game and we talked to [ Alan Wake writer] Sam [Lake], and worked on the concept, ‘awe’ was something we wanted to define from an experience perspective,” says Kasurinen. “Awe is a great word because it combines the idea of something awe-inspiring, or being enchanted by what you’re seeing but also at the same time there can be a hint of terror in it as well. What you’re seeing can be both beautiful and dangerous at the same time.” Seeing the Oldest House transform for the first time gives us a taste of what they’re trying to achieve but we’re assured there is so much more yet to be revealed. ■
“At the heart of Control is a contrast between the mundane and the strange”
The character Zacharia Trench is voiced by James McCaffrey, who also voiced Max Payne