Yesterday, August 7, Remedy Entertainment confirmed the next Control Expansion. As we all expected, Remedy named it “AWE,” and it features the return of a fan favorite. The “Remedy Connected Universe” kicks off by connecting Alan Wake with the Control series.
We talked about this on our previous list of PS4 games confirmed on the last State of Play. Still, I couldn’t let this go. As an Alan Wake fan, I think this is pretty big news.
Control AWE and Alan Wake are not the first video-game shared universe, but it’s undoubtedly the most exciting. More on that later!
The “Remedy Connected Universe” is real
Remedy creative director Sam Lake made some changes to the original AWE post on Control’s website.
Instead of a “what if” scenario, the exec made the studio intentions reasonably clear.
On Remedy’s site, Sam Lake wrote it as a possibility. He shared the idea of an “RCU,” various games of the studio living on the same universe. It had a “what if” at the end of the post just to tease the fans.
Now, though, it’s no longer a possibility. It’s a fact:
“You know we love to put Easter eggs into our games.But what if some of them were more than Easter eggsWhat if… it’s all connected? – Sam Lake
What is the Remedy Connected Universe?
“This is just a humble beginning”. – Sam Lake
Sam Lake wrote a special post to showcase AWE’s trailer. Its next Control expansion is part of a 10-year journey to create the Remedy Connected Unirse.
The director explains each game is a stand-alone experience. However, each game is also part of a larger universe.
That gives the studio the opportunity for “crossover events“. In-game expansions, DLCs, and events could be exploring the settings of another Remedy title.
AWE is the first step in that direction. Short of Altered World Event, Control’s expansion takes place in Alan Wake’s original setting.
Alan Wake is an Xbox 360 exclusive that debuted in 2010. It was considered one of the best games of the decade. Whatever took place in Alan ake is now a case the Federal Bureau of Control is investigating.
That brings Control’s protagonist, Jesse Faden, into Alan Wake’s Bright Falls town. And that’s how the trailer starts with Alan Wake’s voice.
It might be the first interconnected experience on the RCU, but the studio assures it won’t be the last. Lake confirms they are developing the next chapter of the Remedy Connected Universe.
Let me give you some context, as I want you to understand.
For now, I invite you to check Control’s trailer:
Control is one of the best 2019 games
Release Date: August 26, 2019
Studio: Remedy Entertainment
Control is an action-adventure third-person shooter. Most of its elements follow the survival horror scheme formula.
The game follows Jesse Fanden, a Federal Bureau of Control (FBC) agent. The FBC is a secret U.S. government agency to contain paranormal phenomenons.
“Smart, savage, and bat***t crazy” – IGN
Jesse Faden is the organization’s newest director. As the boss, you explore the FBC’s New York headquarters. As this is a shooter, it’s going to be infested by monsters.
You’ll have to use your guns and super-human abilities to defeat an evil entity known as The Hiss.
Following its debut, Remedy launched the first expansion, The Foundation. It premiered in March 2020. AWE is debuting on August 27, 2020.
The original twist
Don’t mistake Control for another shooter, though. It had something that sets it apart from the rest, other than its stylized aesthetics.
The highlight is the setting, the Oldest House. It’s a skyscraper in New York with a shifting interior. It’s vast, it’s massive, and it’s dangerous.
The map is non-linear. You need to learn new powers and progress the story to access certain parts of the map. Likewise, as you access new areas, you unlock more side quests. And there’re a lot of side quests.
Additionally, you can perform “rituals” to make the Oldest House shift its topography. That’s another way of unlocking new areas.
Lastly, the Oldest House contains rooms that lead you to alternate dimensions. These “mirrors” affect how the bureau’s HQ looks from the interior.
The result is a gameplay-driven experience. Players are encouraged to go back and forth the plot to story the map at their own pace.
Better yet, every side quest gives you a tasty reward. Learning about the Oldest House or gaining a new ability is equally compelling.
How are Alan Wake and Control connected?
Release Date: May 2010
Studio: Remedy Entertainment
Some weird stuff happened in Alan Wake about 12 years ago. The game follows a famed horror author on his travel to Bright Falls.
At the time, though, he was falling down the rabbit hole. He had just lost his wife and his inspiration. Sadly, he thought Bright Falls might clear his head to keep working.
Alan, wake up!
He didn’t meet his expectations. Instead of peace, he found shadow monsters lurking on his shadow. Now there’s no peace; there’s only survival. Every night, things went crazy. You had to defeat the shadow by wearing it down with a source of light. Then, only then, you could beat the monsters and “wake” up for the next day, where everything seemed normal.
And albeit he had some fun playing around a weird Viking classic metal band, he ended up trapped in another dimension.
It seems that dimension is part of an Altered World Event in Control. How cool is that?
Let me remind you of something. Alan Wake never had a sequel. Remedy and Microsoft had major disagreements regarding how to follow the story. Now, though, they are releasing AWE for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.
Remedy doesn’t have the right to create a full Alan Wake title. Yet, they had enough to kickstart the Remedy Connected Universe.
The Control AWE expansion
The AWE expansion takes Jesse back to the Oldest House. Her job is to re-open a sector that has been closed for years.
When the director enters the Investigations Sector for the first time, she unleashes madness. An Altered World Event happened, which is when paranormal forces attack our world.
Everything goes wrong as darkness pours out the breach and consumes everything. Saving Alan Wake, trapped in this dimension, might be the only salvation.
Inside the breach, there are various worlds you’ll need to explore. Bright Falls are amongst those places. That’s where we last saw Alan Wake, and it seems it’s going to be the expansion’s primary setting.
Most probably, we’ll see other Remedy Connected Universe experiences through Control’s multiple dimensions.
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Aside from the single-player campaign, AWE brings new game modes. For example, you can replay certain boss fights or go to the fan-favorite Ashtray Maze.
On top of the paid expansion, all Control owners are getting a free update in August. The upgrade brings more checkpoints plus some quality of life improvements.
The future of the Remedy Connected Universe
Remedy now has a publishing deal with Epic Games. Rumors say the company is pushing the Remedy Connected Universe with exclusive deals.
For example, the deal covers 100 percent of development costs. That includes salaries, QAs, events, marketing, localization, everything. On top of that, it gives Remedy full creative control plus 100 percent ownership.
Remedy is already working on the next RCU game. It will share universe with Control and Alan Wake.
All of this makes me feel excited about the RCU. On the downside, there’re not many Remedy games that would fit in the same universe as Control and Alan Wake. I don’t think Max Payne or Max Payne would make much sense there. We’ll have to wait and see for the upcoming Remedy Entertainment title.
I do hope we get more than “cross-over events.” I want full games to share a universe. I want a new IP as Control’s sequel.
As for other games sharing a universe, there’s nothing too obvious or too exciting. So far, the best we’ve got is the Half-Life series universe, where the puzzle-master Portal game also exists.