Remedy: Control Pushes the Envelope on Narrative Design
Remedy is known for exceeding expectations, with regards to storytelling. While it wasn’t the developer’s first game, Max Payne put them on the map in 2001. The Stephen King and Twin Peaks-inspired Alan Wake saw the studio flex its storytelling chops again. With Control, Remedy is aiming even higher. Apparently, the still mysterious new game is like nothing the industry has ever seen.
During an Edge interview, Anna Megill, Control’s Narrative Lead, discussed the strides Remedy is taking to innovate, when it comes to player agency and the game’s narrative.
Player volition has been a guiding point for us, letting the player choose what they want to do and still telling the story. But it’s been really challenging in that it’s almost something totally new that we’re trying—as a writer, I have never done this on any game. So we’re innovating as we go.
Remedy always wants to push the envelope. I can’t think of a game that’s doing the things that we’re planning to do.
Sam Lake, Control‘s Creative Director, expanded on the studio’s approach. Instead of chasing trends or mimicking what works for other developers, Remedy set out to discover what hasn’t been accomplished elsewhere. Lake explained,
Well, you are of course never making your games in a vacuum. We wanted to create an experience that lasts longer. We wanted to bring in new elements—more sandboxes, less linearity, a deeper action game—and see what the Remedy game version of that is. But always at Remedy, we want to find a combination of things that makes our games unique, and do our own thing. It never feels like chasing after a trend, or trying to copy a successful formula. Because then you are already too late.
For me, the interesting thing has always been finding new mediums of storytelling or meta-storytelling. In Quantum Break, it was ‘Let’s put in a TV show’. Here, it’s letting the world do the storytelling. We take elements from roleplaying design with NPCs, and opportunities to have discussions with them. You pursue the mysteries you are interested in.
The few bits of information offered about Control’s story and enigmatic setting have already suggested Remedy is crafting something special. Hopefully, the wait to learn more concrete details won’t be too long.
Control doesn’t have a release date, but is expected to launch in 2019 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.