At gamescom 2019 I had the opportunity to take a closer look at Remedy’s upcoming mystery shooter. Game Director Mikael Kasurinen took the time to answer a few questions about Control and introduce the game in more detail.

Below I will list the points one by one and describe the associated answers. This should perhaps clarify one or the other question from interested players.

Alex (Game-Releases): “Can you briefly describe what Control is all about?”

Kasurinen: “Control is a third-person action game about using supernatural abilities to fight an enemy paranormal force called ‘The Hiss’. You play as Jesse Faden who is in many ways an outsider and knows nothing about the secret world called ‘The Oldest House’. The house is a very strange location with movable structure and seemingly infinite. Jesse comes to this place and it turns out that there is an office called ‘The Federal Control’ which has its HQ inside. Jesse is there to find answers about what happened to her brother when they were children. However, the director of the organization has been found dead and Jesse becomes the new director. That’s a little plot twist right at the beginning. She feels compelled to figure out what to do with the supernatural power that has just taken over this place and most of the people in it. However, for some reason, the protagonist is able to resist this power and is not transformed by it. And yes, this is where the game begins – the first day as the new director, this incredibly strange power that has taken over everything and at the same time the search for the missing brother begins.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “Since Control’s story is very cryptic and intertwined, I would like to know if you will continue to expand the story through further expansions, DLCs or other types of media?”

Kasurinen: “Yes indeed. There are currently 2 expansions planned for the game, which will be released over the coming year. You will expand the story and unlock new areas in the world. We’re also learning some new things about Jesse.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “Since the atmosphere of the game is very spooky at times, can the story be compared more to some kind of horror game or is it more of an action game at its core?”

Kasurinen: “I think it’s more of an action game. It has scary elements, but when you watch horror games or survival horror, the heroes are mostly the disadvantaged. You have limited options to retaliate, and it often involves hiding or fleeing. However, in this game, Jesse is powerful enough to handle the horror she faces. She has a wide range of abilities and can, for example, control environments. She also has a weapon that can change his shape as well. So Jesse can fight back and it’s more of an action game in that sense. However, the supernatural elements in the game can be unsettling, scary, and spooky. So it’s also a bit about finding the balance between action and horror, but it’s mostly an action game.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “I like the idea of creating an action game with spooky elements. Now let’s talk a little bit about the gameplay. We use various abilities in the game, so my question is how does the gameplay change over the course of the game and what impact do abilities have on gameplay development?”

Kasurinen: “So what’s different about this game – we’ve never done that before – but it’s very open. So it’s up to the player to unlock the skills they would like to have. We don’t give them to them in the main story. Players must find the skills in the game. And if you find them and pass a test, you’ll get the ability. However, some of the abilities are only available later in the game. So as you progress through the main campaign, you uncover new sectors and find new powers. It changes the way you play the game in that sense. For example, if you learn the ability to fly, it changes the entire way of playing in terms of the combat system and opens up new tactics for you. Since the game is very open, I also find it interesting how the opponents behave. They are very dynamic and not like in a film, where exactly what is going to happen and how is planned. In Control it’s more like a sandbox. We don’t know who the enemy is and what’s even going on. So there will be some interesting and surprising moments. And when you have some of these skills, you start improvising and combining powers with weapons. So it can be very interesting and fun that way.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “Okay, so we not only get these abilities in the main story but also in side quests?”

Kasurinen: “Right. The game has a main story revolving around Jesse who struggles with the uncanny power and is looking for her brother. But what is also very important about Control compared to previous games is that we have a fairly large game world in Control. There are also many other stories to discover in the game. There are the side missions – I don’t really like calling them side missions because they can actually be really big stuff. It’s a world of wonder and mystery. You unlock two of the skills in the main story, as they are often connected to the puzzles for later. Everything else you have to look for yourself.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “I like this because it motivates us players to also play side missions to unlock new things.”

Kasurinen: “Yes, and one thing we also do differently is that we don’t constantly guide the player through the game. We give you the motivation and the story. We don’t like to keep telling you where to go. We’ll give you a goal like ‘She’s been seen in the sector and that’s where you need to look’ and then you’ll find your way. Quite a lot of time was also spent on the design of the map. You will find yellow markers on the map and they will tell you which direction to go. But to get there, you have to pay attention to the surroundings. When you play like this, you not only look at the markers but also at the world. This creates the moments when you also notice other things in the world. You will also find new lore, side quests and more things to experience. You might get a little lost, but that’s what makes the game fun.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “That sounds very interesting. Are there different customization options in terms of outfits or something like that in the game?”

Kasurinen: “Yes – you can find new outfits. They are often a reward for completing difficult objectives. Sometimes they are also a reward for hidden side quests in the game. There are also a few outfits available for pre-ordering the game. In addition, adjustments are also included in the form of weapon modifications. You can craft or find weapon mods. There are more defensive mods that grant more life points or other mods that give more stamina, for example. It all depends on how you want to play the title. In this game, resources must also be collected in order to give the weapon other forms. So new weapons are not just unlocked, but upgraded with resources.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “Can you say something about the number of adjustments?”

Kasurinen: “There are so many of. There are so many different mods in the game. And even with different rarities like common, rare, etc. So there are a lot of customization options.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “Sounds really great. What about exclusive content for other platforms?”

Kasurinen: “There is an additional exclusive side quest for Playstation 4. It’s called Isolation and we showed a bit of it on the Sony screen yesterday. Jesse finds a strange tape on which a Japanese scientist talks about experiments and dreamlike imagery. Then you go to a certain area and you get psychological visions and so on. It’s a side mission exclusive to Playstation.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “Is that the only thing that’s exclusive?”

Kasurinen: “Yes, that’s the only thing that’s exclusive. You will also receive pre-order bonuses, but this applies to all platforms.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “How many difficulty levels will the game have?”

Kasurinen: “There will be no different levels of difficulty. That was a choice I made early on. I don’t like difficulty levels. I don’t think they’re helpful because when you start a game you don’t know what medium or hard means. It’s like Dark Souls. That’s the game as it is. Some missions are very difficult. The biggest challenges lie in many side quests. Anyone can take the time to learn the skills and gameplay and get through the main campaign. However, the main challenge of the game is not in the main story. Anyone can get through the game if you take your time. It’s not the easiest of games, but I think games are only fun when they give the player a challenge and the players learn how to overcome those challenges.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “Is there a New Game+ planned?”

Kasurinen: “No, that’s not planned. It’s one world, one story. The world will be expanded later. You also get the Expansion Pass in the Deluxe Edition. You can delete your profile and start over, but that wouldn’t be New Game+.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “All right. If we just play the main campaign, how long would it take roughly?”

Kasurinen: “Oh, that’s very difficult to say. The game is not designed to just progress through the main story. It’s so open that how you progress through the game is up to you. So it’s very difficult to say. What we do is QA testing where people walk through the story and we definitely don’t want to limit people on the side quests. But then they need around 13 – 16 hours. I’m sure there are people who rush through too, missing a lot of things and skipping dialogue, but I don’t see why you should play like that. Roughly speaking it is 13 – 16 hours. But if you really want to experience everything, it’s about 20 hours.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “This is a very nice number for such an experience. What about the endgame after the story?”

Kasurinen: “Yes, the main story ends, but the world doesn’t end. You can still do side quests if you want. There are also gameplay layers, like events that occur randomly. This can be either finding specific people to defeat or helping friendly people. These actions occur throughout the game and can be repeated over and over again. Then there will be more endgame oriented things later in the year that we haven’t talked much about. There are still things to do even after you’ve completed all the side quests.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “Great – I’ll keep an eye on that. The community would also like to know if modding is allowed on PC?”

Kasurinen: “Modding on the PC… Well we can’t stop them from modding the game. At least that’s what I did when I was young. But in principle this is allowed. We just don’t give them tools to support modding.”

Alex (Game-Releases): “What about aim assist? Can this be turned off?”

Kasurinen: “That’s a very good question, let’s try it directly on the screen. As you can see here we give the player a lot of freedom in the settings. For Aim Assist we have two options that toggle on and off. The Aim Assist and the Aim Stickiness. With the former, the balls fly more in the direction of the opponent. With stickiness, the camera is aimed at the opponents more like a camera magnet. And yes, that can all be turned off at will. You can even map the controls however you want. The same goes for the HUD. It is totally up to you which bar you want to show and hide. It was very important to us to allow as much freedom in settings as possible.”

At this point the interview ended and I was introduced to the game in more detail. At the checkpoints, for example, clothes can be changed or fast travel can be carried out. Also, I could take a look at the skill tree that upgrades throughout the game and weapon slots for upgrades.

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