This year at E3 I got the awesome opportunity to see the newest game from Remedy studios (Quantum Break, Alan Wake, Max Payne) in a behind closed doors demo session with the developers. Control, was shown to behind closed doors and as a work in progress, but we were able to get the general gist of the games combat, movement, and amazing graphics from the hour or so we had. I mean just take a look at this trailer, then jump down and ill give you a walk through of what we saw from 505 games and Remedy Studios.

We started off with a short overview of the world. Control’s world is a dark brutalist inspired one, where one world has been corrupted by another, and in a quest to find the answers about her past our main character Jesse is dawn to the Oldest House. The Oldest House is the home of the Federal Bureau of Control, which has been messed the heck up by some mysterious problem, so Jessie has to go to the Oldest House and take over control of the Federal Bureau of Control and fix what went wrong. Why is Jesse the only one who can do this? Well, you see she has powers, powers no one else has, powers that will help her on her journey, as she becomes the new Director of the Federal Bureau of Control.

The developers explained to us that this demo is  half way in to the game give or take an hour or so. I quickly realized that he did this because we start right off in a room where a bunch of bodies are hanging in mid air, just hanging around with Jesse. Obviously this is not how the game will start, and hopefully in the full release we will at least get introduced to some characters before we start. But, for the sake of time in this demo we started in the middle. Our protagonist Jessie walks around with a gun that can change shape which is just awesome, man I want that gun. It reminds me of the dominator from Psyco-Pass. The games environments are beautiful, this is clearly a new engine, with full fledged reflections, hair physics. people floating around, and a bunch of demonic whispers, this is clearly a game designed to show case the tech, far from what Quantum break was back in 2016.

overlook Control
The Oldest House has a decidedly brutalist look. As do many of Control’s settings

We get our first look at Jesses powers next as she meets up with a group of enemies. She can make a shield out of debris using her telekinesis, her gun also shots debris, which she can also pick up off the ground stuff with the same telekinesis. This seems to be a primary mechanic in the game. Pick up debris, use as shield, throw at enemy. The scene continues with Jesse fighting some generic enemies, killing them with stuff from the ground, killing them with stuff from walls, killing them with her gun. The developer who is doing out walk through is quick to tell us that though we are only really seeing a couple of methods of fighting in this demo’s combat there will be many more. Both the gun and Jesse’s abilities will be up gradable, and there will be more powers than just the telekinesis.

the second sequence we see is a bunch more of the same. The developers go a bit more in to detail about how the shield and throw are working. Jesse can lock on to objects and bring them to herself as well as bringing them to bear in battle. Her gun seems too be a pistol, but it also seems to be able to adapt to other types of weapons, as next we see a first person aiming mode, that seems to be a sort shotgun. At this point our developers again mention that although we only see a couple of gun modes, there will be plenty more in the final game.

Next we see Jesse do some kind of incantation to find where her missing agents are. The developer explains that the oldest house is a living place, and that Jesse is as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Control is the only one who can ‘control’ it. Jeeses has a vision and there some story elements that play, I don’t want to spoil them so I will say no more. After the story elements finish we get told by the developer that the Oldest House has a whole lot to hide, and that because its constantly changing and we are constantly learning and upgrading, the game has a metroid-vania feeling to its map. I hope that this means it will also have a branching narrative, rather than just re-treading the same story areas again, but re-populated with enemies.

The next segment shows Jesse running up to a human worker, who does not seem to be possessed or crazy, which is quite a change from what else we have seen. Its a maguffin though and we just leave him behind in favor of a door behind him. This door turns out to be very important, as presumably most of the doors in game will be. Its not just a door, its a game mechanic. This may sound confusing (and it is) but its because the game has rituals that you need to complete, to open doors. Rituals are like mini-levels that you need to do in order to get to the area in the Oldest House you were trying to get to. Think of them as story vignettes, or stories inside stories. The developer describes them as sort of like dream sequences, the idea being that you travel to a place through a hallway, but that place is only determined by what  ritual you are doing.  Its a petty cool concept, and will allow the game to expand its story and narrative with a sort of hub and spoke style of world.

flying in Control
One of Jesse’s powers in Control that was shown in the demo was levitation, making it easy to “fly” to areas we couldn’t reach earlier.

Jesse says something about the black pyramid, along the lines she has the right and clearance. Seems like whats happening here is mostly that we are exploring the area and looking for the right ritual to open the right door. Oh dear there are SCP’s in the game, in case you dont know what SCP’s are, they are an object that holds power it should not have. The developers explain that in the world of Control, these objects warp the laws of physics, and that as they are studied and neutralized, the Federal Bureau of Control, contains them in their vaults inside of the Oldest House. Some of the SCP’s may help Jesse level up, for example they can make her levitate, or be weapons. These items are a kept in vaults in parts of the Oldest House, and I imagine that we will have quite a few missions later on that involve neutralizing these objects.

There is a also a prison inside the Oldest House, and something has escaped.  The prison is the setting for the next sequence the developers show us. We pick up a levitation power, and use it move around to an are we previously could not reach. We reach the cell we are looking for in the prison, and see that the agents that Jessie was looking for are dead. Riding an elevator up were treated to a very nice view of what I guess is a prison full of all sorts of odd entities. The narrator tells is these are alter objects, that don’t obey our laws of physics.  We go in to a cell that has a man in the who has to watch an item that will otherwise do something, presumably bad. It appears to be a normal refrigerator, but maybe its the refrigerator of lost souls? or if you don’t look at it can eat or something? We wont be finding out as the developers tell us this is a side mission and we wont have time to look at it during this demo.

Control has many enviroments
The object we needed to deactivate warped reality in to an Esher painting, making for a nice contrast to the brutalism we had already seen in Control’s environments.

A few more combat sections later, and we get to see another version of Jesse’s gun, one that has a bit more precision, and allows you to sort of scope in, as well as having an ammo counter. It is difficult to tell, but it looks like its a shot gun type of weapon. The combat sequence wraps up with more object throwing, this time larger objects, like what Darth Vader threw at Luke in Empire. After cutting, throwing, and shooting our way through some more enemies we finally arrive at Cell 715 where our agents are.

Arriving at our destination cell 715, we find a few of our fellow agents suspended in he air, and printed on a plaque a description of the Item that killed our team. We need to fix this item, or something bad will I suppose happen to the world. It seems to be an item that warps physics and were stuck in its grasp. Now we have to puzzle solve ourselves one to destroying the thing before it vanishes. The world is twisted and confusing, and I can see this being a fun platformer segment, but a series of enemies also show up, because after all this is a shooting game, so its less platform and more shooting.

Now it looks like its time for a boss fight, we are in a  room with a central enemy, whose suspended in the air, and looks very angry. He turns to us and the room turns red and its time to fight! This time we use all of our abilities we have seen so far, flying, shield, telekinesis, and the gun in both aimed mode and pistol mode to fight this scary looking boss. Gun ammo regions automatically! The boss is killed and we go to deactivate the item. Which is an old black and white TV, the developers close by telling us this is just one little mission in a branching set of many that will make up the game.

Control prison room
The prison setting from the Control demo had a very Half Life feel to it.

I am Seriously impressed with this game, Remedy has done an awesome job on it. Control looks like something we are going to see a lot more of in the coming months, its scheduled for release in 2019 on all platforms.