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The Surprising Real-World Event That Inspired Control's Objects Of Power

Remedy Entertainment has long held a reputation for using video games to explore complex concepts like alternate realities and time manipulation. "New Weird" horror title "Control" continued this trend in 2019, introducing the Federal Bureau of Control, a government agency that seeks to contain and catalogue supernatural entities and occurrences. Arriving at the headquarters in search of her brother, protagonist Jesse Faden inadvertently finds herself as the new director of the FBC, a mantle she dons in the middle of a hostile takeover by an otherworldly being.

"Control" does an excellent job of blending the bizarre with the mundane, presenting a world of office memos and seemingly ordinary items infused with potent abilities. "New Weird to me is where the mundane and grounded meets the incomprehensible and strange," world design director Stuart MacDonald told IGN. "You need that contrast to achieve the wonder to draw players in and simultaneously to get under their skin." From a merry-go-round horse capable of moving at its own at high speeds to a projector that opens portals to other dimensions, "Control" is filled with Altered Items and Objects of Power that defy reality. While corrupting innocent articles for sinister purposes has featured in the horror genre for some time, it turns out Remedy's take on the trope was inspired by a real-world event.

Floppy disks, nuclear weapons, and the illusion of control

As documented by Business Insider, the U.S. military decided to transition to a "highly secure solid state digital storage solution" to control its nuclear arsenal in late 2018, replacing the method it had used for over 50 years. What was the previous setup? It turns out the Defense Department had relied on 8-inch floppy disks to do the job for more than five decades, an oddity that inspired MacDonald while working on "Control."

"That's when it really clicked for me," MacDonald revealed to IGN, recalling the epiphany he experienced after reading an article about the new control system. In his view, those floppy disks were true objects of power capable of destroying the planet if activated. He theorized that the military had kept the outdated technology long after new and potentially safer options had emerged partially out of a sense of reverence. No longer mere storage mediums, the floppy disks possessed the ability to alter the fate of the world — a power that extended to the people who controlled them.

This concept perfectly complements one of the core themes of "Control" — the human instinct to command and decipher forces beyond our power or understanding.