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E3 2018 Preview: Control Dives into the Depths of the New Weird

June 18, 2018Written by Chandler Wood

Control Preview

Fans of Remedy have been waiting for a long time to get another game from the studio best known for third-person shooters that feature deep mysteries. Their last game was 2016’s Quantum Break, an Xbox exclusive, and before that Alan Wake, also exclusive to Microsoft’s platform. PlayStation-only gamers have actually been waiting since 2003. The last Remedy game to appear on a PlayStation platform was Max Payne 2.

Needless to say, excitement is quite high for Control, Remedy’s newly revealed third-person action-adventure mystery. Players will become Jesse, the newly minted Director of the Federal Bureau of Control. This secretive government agency is tasked with handling the supernatural and the weird, but there are clearly a lot of other secrets present that Remedy isn’t ready to reveal quite yet. Jesse’s appointment to the Director’s seat is also shrouded in mystery right now, but along with it comes a bunch of really cool abilities and a shapeshifting gun, so it can’t be all bad, right?

The Federal Bureau of Control’s headquarters is known as “The Oldest House,” a massive transdimensional building that seems to be far bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside. At first, this headquarters seems like your typical cold and clean federal building, but the demo we saw quickly changed that perspective. From bodies floating in midair to pull-chain light switches that distort reality, The Oldest House is definitely the home base of a federal division that specializes in the weird and unexplained.

Remedy described Control’s gameplay as Metroidvania inspired. Players will explore and re-explore the secrets of The Oldest House, and new abilities and tools will allow Jesse to access previously inaccessible areas. In fact, many of the weird and supernatural items housed in the headquarters will grant Jesse these powers, as well as offering opportunities for side quests and alternate objectives. One moment put Jesse next to a man staring at an old refrigerator, calling for help. Apparently someone always has to be looking at the object or it will devour them. He wants Jesse to relieve him, but she has more pressing matters than staring at a carnivorous fridge. It’s this attribution of horrific elements to mundane things that makes Control so intriguing.

Control Preview

Mundanity meets horror: We must always stare at the fridge.

Invaders known as the Hiss have come and infected many of the people inside of the Oldest House. The Hiss is an entity with their own agenda, whether good or bad is still unknown. Right now we know that the Hiss is getting in the way of Jesse’s objectives, and because of that, FBC members infected by the Hiss need to be eliminated. Based on some things the developers said during the demo (a retort when another journalist called the Hiss “evil”), I have a bad feeling we’ll come to feel horrible for some of the actions we take over the course of Control. It seems to be a game that will present players with thought-provoking moral quandaries before the credits finally roll.

We only got to see a few of Jesse’s abilities, including telekinesis that allows her to pick up rubble as both a shield and a weapon, and the ability to levitate, which offers all new methods of traversal and combat. If you do better with comparisons, Control is a bizarre mix of Annihilation, Inception, Psi-Ops (an old P2 game), and House of Leaves, the unsettling book about an expanding house that is vastly bigger inside than it is outside. Looking at every one of those properties, I see deep, engaging, and beautiful mysteries that stayed with me for a long time. I may have only gotten a demo of Control, but I still can’t stop thinking about the game and what secrets the Oldest House holds in its most infinite depths. The new weirdness of Control arrives in 2019, marking Remedy’s triumphant return to PlayStation consoles after too long away.

Don’t miss all of our E3 2018 coverage.