The following article I wrote for the latest issue of The Captured Collective. A monthly issue featuring the work of the Photography and Virtual Photography communities from all over the globe. The August edition focussed specifically on Control and its second anniversary. The issue also features all submissions and winners from their recent Virtual Photography competition. Incredible work by the community. I absolutely recommend you to click the above link and read the issue in full. My editorial piece can be read below.
Just the other day, Remedy published an investor letter that revealed their latest game, Control, reached an audience of 10 million people. I’m confident the game has managed to win a special place in the hearts of many, as it sure has in mine. As the game’s second anniversary draws closer, headlines that state success makes it easy to forget how risky Control was for Remedy. Fortunately for them (and us – considering how good the game is), it paid off.
I’ve been a fan of Remedy for a large part of my life, so perhaps I am biased. But Control is an experience like no other. The number of awards it has managed to snag in the last few months testify to that. The studio managed to encapsulate a complex, layered narrative. Tense and smooth gameplay. A fascinating environment, rich with atmosphere, variety, and a fleshed-out universe. All while reducing development time and venturing in unexplored waters. The premise of Control was new to Remedy but required as the changing gaming industry demanded flexibility. In that regard, Quantum Break and Alan Wake had taught Remedy valuable lessons. The Finland-based studio no longer deemed it healthy to be spending a large part of their time and resources on one project.
“The three actors are in large part responsible for the game’s gravitas and its unique quirkiness.”
For me, one of the game’s highlights is the cast. In the early stages of the game’s development, Creative Director Sam Lake and Game Director Mikael Kasurinen decided to continue working with Courtney Hope. Hope played Beth Wilder in Quantum Break and was seemingly the perfect fit as the game’s protagonist, Jesse Faden. The studio also hired Matthew Poretta (Alan Wake) and James McCaffrey (Max Payne) to create an all-star Remedy ensemble. The three actors are in large part responsible for the game’s gravitas and its unique quirkiness. One could say, through previous experiences, Remedy knew precisely in what role to put the talent to get the best out of them.
The studio provided me with a copy of Control for review weeks before the game would hit shelves. It was difficult not to talk with the community about all the secrets I’d found. Together we have solved puzzles and fantasized about many aspects of trailers and screenshots. Yet, here I stumbled upon the first hints of what is now known as the Remedy Connected Universe. Even though Control was a more contained experience, this revelation would set the tone of every Remedy game yet to come. That’s incredibly exciting. Especially considering Remedy is working on plenty of videogames! A few weeks prior, Remedy announced it started developing two new projects set in the world of Control. The studio is also working on two games in partnership with Epic. Thus, it’s probable these games will push the narrative started in Control forward. Characters past and present will stay with us for years to come.
There’s much to love about Control, but if one thing stands out, it has to be the people who made it. I’ve been following many of them for years, and to see them flourish has been an incredible experience on its own. When developing Max Payne, the studio consisted of a hand full of people. These days, several teams of hundreds are working on different projects simultaneously. Talent from all over the world has brought new ideas, and as their work reaches more people, the community grows. I feel incredibly humbled to be part of a group with whom I can share this passion. Years later, their games still inspire people to create beautiful art pieces, write touching poems, or the most lifelike cosplays. Recently we’ve celebrated the 20th anniversary of Max Payne. Everybody chipped in, even James McCaffrey!
That brings us full circle. Control’s second anniversary is due in a few days. I can’t wait to see what the community has in store!