Remedy Entertainment’s Control is a very strange game, but in the best of ways. It explores myriad ideas of a supernatural and science fiction nature, shaping them into a wholly unique experience. One of the title’s more unique qualities appears in the form of the “Threshold Kids,” an incredibly creepy puppet show that works to explain some of the game world’s complex ideas. The show, which players view via VHS tapes, almost didn’t make the cut, however. Yet, its fascinating evolution throughout development ensured it received the green light.
According to Control’s Narrative Lead Anna Megill, who now works at Ubisoft, the Threshold Kids were born out of a desire to simplify the goings on in the Oldest House for Remedy employees. She explained as much in an interview with Fanbyte, noting that even some developers had a difficult time understanding the how the game world fucntioned.
One developer joked that using puppets would be a great way of conveying the basic points. Megill ran with this notion, devising a sock puppet show pitch that hardly anyone was willing to invest in. For a AAA game of Control’s magnitude, from a studio like Remedy, sock puppets seemed a cheap idea.
Thankfully, a member of the cinematic team, Mircea Purdea, had history working with puppets. He offered to help see Megill’s vision through to fruition. Using YouTube’s Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared as an influential guide, Purdea returned with what we now know as the Threshold Kids. Because of his background, having grown up in a community where puppetry was considered an art form, Purdea wasn’t too pleased with his work. Megill, however, thought the puppets were perfect. Sure, they were rough around the edges, but they “need[ed] to have a homemade-look,” since, in-game, they were designed by an Oldest House employee.
Control is in stores now for the PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One. Here’s to hoping that if Control does receive a sequel, the Threshold Kids return in some capacity.