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Control and Alan Wake may share the same universe

Control, the mind-bending shooter from Max Payne creator Remedy Entertainment, continues to rake in well-deserved praise, despite some initial performance issues on console. Like a gift that keeps giving, details hidden throughout the game point to a possible connection to Alan Wake, another beloved Remedy title.

Set in New York, Control unfolds in the ever-shifting rooms of the Oldest House, a powerful convergence that acts as the headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Control. The setting presents a clever mix of the supernatural and the mundane, with the Hiss spreading its sinister influence through a corporate world of desks, expense reports, and security doors that would feel right at home in a government agency. This seems like a far cry from the small town setting of Alan Wake's Bright Falls, Washington, yet, certain elements imply that the two games may share the same universe.

Some of these elements are more obvious than others. For example, one Control NPC tells you that they've dreamed of multiple worlds. "In one world, there's a writer who wrote a story about a cop," commented the character. "In another world, the cop was real." The first sounds like a reference to Alan Wake, whose main character wrote a book series about a cop. The latter statement could easily pertain to Max Payne.

You can find another clue hidden among Control's Collectibles, specifically a case file that documents the Bright Fall incident and the role that Alan Wake played in it. The game presents this as an AWE (Altered World Event) or an instance where a supernatural object (Object of Power) interferes with the lives of ordinary people. An additional document discusses the thermos collectible, an item awarded for an achievement in Alan Wake, which the Bureau has designated an Altered Item.

Alan Wake himself shows up in a hidden area of the game, albeit as some sort of projection. Finally, Control, Alan Wake, and Alan Wake's American Nightmare all feature the band Old Guards of Asgard. If you listen to the song that plays over the final credits in American Nightmare backwards, you clearly hear a voice say: "It will happen again, in another town. A town called Ordinary." As it turns out, Ordinary is the name of Control protagonist Jesse Faden's hometown.