The second (and final) DLC for Control just dropped an Alan Wake-shaped bombshell on the entire story of the Federal Bureau of Control. Originally teased in documents and notes scattered throughout the ever-changing office space that is the Oldest House, the labyrinthine setting of Control, the Alan Wake connection is made completely explicit with a true appearance by the cult-favorite character.
For those of you new to the world of Remedy, Alan Wake was an Xbox 360-era horror-shooter all about the titular writer fighting his way out of his own horror stories. It’s a mishmash of Twin Peaks and Stephen King, with a little bit of Max Payne thrown in. Alan Wake (the game) spawned a mini-sequel, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, but the series hardly sold the big numbers like Max Payne or Remedy’s latest success Control.
So now we’re getting a continuation of Alan Wake’s story in Control. What are the connections? What does it all mean? We’re going to try to explain as simply as humanly possible. Grab your extra-strength batteries, because we’re going to shine some light on the Alan Wake / Control connection.
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10 Easter Eggs You Don’t Want To Miss | Alan Wake, Max Payne & More | 10 Mind-Bending Tips You Need To Know | Beginner’s Guide | All Optional Boss Monsters | Quest Locations Guide | How To Solve Every Puzzle | Punch Cards, Lightswitches & More Solutions | How To Get All Optional Abilities | Evade, Shield & Seize Guide | Where To Find All Altered Items | ‘Langston’s Runaways’ Locations Guide | How To Find Every Bonus Outfit | Gold Suit, Asynchronous & More | Three Lucky Players Got Free Bandcamp Albums With This Easter Egg
How is Alan Wake connected to Control?
In the world of Control, strange events are called AWEs (Altered World Events) — and the Federal Bureau of Control is what monitors these strange paranormal activities. The events that took place in the town of Bright Falls, the setting on Alan Wake, are considered an AWE in Control. And for good reason!
In the AWE DLC, you’ll visit the Bright Falls AWE chamber where the events are studied. But, you’ll have to explore the entire Investigations Sector to reach it — the sector was lost after a creature called Shade Hartman escaped confinement, rampaging through the area and spreading darkness like the plague. The Firebreaks were sealed and the people trapped inside left to their grisly fates.
So, let’s back up. Who / what is Shade Hartman? Dr. Hartman is a character from Alan Wake — he’s the psychiatrist in charge of the Cauldron Lake Lodge, the massive facility overlooking Alan Wake’s writer cabin on the lake. During the events of the game, Alan Wake is captured by Hartman and encouraged to use his strange power rewrite reality. This is incredibly important in the world of Control.
After disappearing into the depths of Cauldron Lake at the end of Alan Wake, agents from the Federal Bureau of Control were dispatched to interview anyone that could help explain things. One of those people was Dr. Hartman — and Dr. Hartman made the unfortunate mistake of admitting he wanted to encourage people to use strange powers. This is a huge offense in the world of Control, and Hartman is immediately detained.
So, why does Jesse meet Alan Wake? Jesse, the new director of the FBC, responds to the emergency in the Investigations Sector because Alan Wake writes it. Alan Wake changes reality just by writing it on his typewriter — even if he doesn’t know why he writes what he does. He’s lost in the ocean of the darkness, and his mind is fracturing. Why does Alan Wake write it? Because he needs to escape.
Alan Wake makes contact with Jesse Faden because he needs a hero for his story — so he infects the captured Hartman with darkness, mutating him into a mindless creature of destruction. It isn’t clear if Alan Wake is behind this, or his nefarious alter-ego Mr. Scratch. In addition to the evil twin, Alan Wake also has to deal with another mirror of himself — Thomas Zane. It’s all incredibly confusing, but Thomas Zane no longer appears as a man in a diving suit who was once a poet. Now Thomas Zane appears as an Alan Wake doppelganger who was once an actor.
Confused yet? Just to be extra confused, we don’t just see Alan Wake in his typing room — briefly on the television, you’ll see Dr. Darling. Dr. Darling is the Chief Researcher for the FBC and their top scientist — and he’s played by Alan Wake’s voice actor Matthew Porretta. So now we have four different Alan Wake doppelgangers running around.
The final bombshell dropped right before the final battle is the biggest. Alan Wake writes that he needed something special to make Jesse a hero — while the writing implies that he’s talking about the nightmarish form of Shade Hartman, he could also be referring to the Hiss itself. Did Alan Wake write catastrophe for the FBC to draw in Jesse, make her director, and finally help him escape his AWE-inspired predicament?
That’s a whole lot to take in. We don’t get any concrete answers in this game, but I get the feeling this isn’t the last we’ll see of Alan Wake or Control. During the last cutscene, an alert for Bright Falls sounds — but the date isn’t for another few years. Now that’s what I call a tease.