Control is slated to launch in August, and the supernatural thriller represents a big departure for the studio. Whereas games like Quantum Break and Alan Wake took a more cinematic approach to storytelling, with plenty of exposition and cutscenes, Control moves in a different direction. It’s a more open adventure, one that uses the environment, character dialogue, and optional lore to tell its story; during a short hands-on demo with the game last week at GDC, I didn’t see a single cutscene. From what I played, it feels less like a story that’s told to you, and more like one you’re uncovering yourself. “You have to pay attention,” says Kasurinen.
The fact that Control doesn’t explicitly tell you what to do is by design. “We want people to feel like they’re in this world and that it’s up to them to figure it out,” Kasurinen explains. “We won’t hold their hands.” While he adds that it’s “terrifying” to relinquish so much control to the player, the director also says that the team was emboldened by the success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which took a similarly hands-off approach to guiding players. “I would like to believe that there’s fun in being lost,” Kasurinen tells me. (Two years ago at GDC, Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi told me that the feeling of being lost can be a “very positive thing.”)
Control is a game full of mystery and intrigue, but it’s also one that may end providing more questions than answers when it launches in the summer. Just as the world and gameplay are flexible and open, offering players a degree of choice, Kasurinen says that he also enjoys stories with a touch of ambiguity. “I definitely like open-endedness,” he says.