Control is a 2019 action-adventure video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by 505 Games. Control was released in August 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. A cloud-based version for the Nintendo Switch was released in October 2020. The versions for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S were released in February 2021. Upon release, Control was met with positive reviews from critics, with several gaming publications naming it among their top games of 2019. The game was nominated for 80 video game awards, winning several related to the game’s art and design. Control was followed by a downloadable expansion, The Foundation, which was released on 26 March 2020. A second expansion, AWE – a crossover with Remedy’s previous game Alan Wake – was released on 27 August 2020.
Control revolves around the titular Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), a clandestine U.S. government agency which investigates supernatural Altered World Events (AWEs). These AWEs are affected by the human collective unconscious and have a variety of “paranatural” effects, including the creation of Objects of Power, archetypal items which grant special abilities to their wielders. Objects of Power are connected to the Board, a black pyramid-shaped entity which exists within the Astral Plane, an alternate dimension. The individual chosen by the Board to wield the Service Weapon, an Object of Power, is considered by default to be the director of the FBC. Control takes place entirely within the Oldest House, a Brutalist skyscraper in New York City which is the headquarters of the FBC.
The Oldest House is larger on the inside than on the outside, and constantly experiences shifts in which its architecture unpredictably rearranges. The FBC controls the Oldest House using Control Points, which stabilize the building’s resonance. The protagonist of Control is Jesse Faden (Courtney Hope), who at the start of the game is chosen by the Board to replace the recently deceased Zachariah Trench (James McCaffrey) as the director of the FBC. Seventeen years prior to the game’s start, Jesse and her younger brother Dylan (Sean Durrie) were involved in an Altered World Event in their hometown of Ordinary, Wisconsin. After discovering an Object of Power in the form of a slide projector, the two children accidentally unleashed paranatural forces which caused Ordinary’s entire adult population to vanish.
Control is played from a third-person perspective, and is built using Remedy’s proprietary Northlight Engine, which was first used on the company’s previous title Quantum Break. Control is built in the Metroidvania format, with a large world map that can be explored at a nonlinear pace, unlike Remedy’s previous titles which were primarily linear. As the player completes main story missions, they will encounter areas known as Control Points, which can be unlocked after clearing the area of enemies and then used both as save points and for fast travel throughout the building to previously-unlocked Control Points. As the player completes missions, they unlock more of the building to explore along with additional side quests, in addition to various rewards. These include skill points which can be used to improve psychokinetic.