Why we need more of The Ashtray Maze in the Control DLC and how will Alan Wake crossover?

Control was one of my favourite games of 2019 and, excitingly, 2020 will continue the adventures of Jesse Faden and take us deeper into the Bureau with two new DLC packs.

The burning question is, where will Remedy take us from here? The ending of the game certainly raises plenty of questions, but it also doesn’t give us an entirely clear route forward. Or does it?

*** Please be aware, this article will contain some pretty heavy Control spoilers, so if you’re not finished with the game then come back and check us out when you are. ****


 

Let’s start with what we know. The two DLC packs have already been named, with the first one called ‘The Foundation’ and the second one simply known as ‘AWE’. The second pack, especially, is really intriguing to us, but let’s first chat about what The Foundation could be all about.

The Foundation – Releasing March 26th 2020

Synopsis – The Foundation will delve into the history of the Oldest House. At the request of the ever-mysterious Board, Jesse must explore what lies beneath the Bureau as she returns order to the Foundation and the Oldest House itself. Expect things to get weird.

So we have a title and, perhaps most importantly, we have a date for the new Control DLC and it’s not too far away. We also know that it will delve into ‘the history of the Oldest House’.

So this likely won’t be a fully-fledged continuation of the story that ends with Dylan in a coma and Jesse now fully embracing the role of Director, ready to fight off The Hiss.

This seems like it will help us understand more about The Oldest House, it’s quirky mysteries and intricacies. In some respects, it seems like it could be a form of origin story.

The idea is exciting to me because we do know a fair bit about The Oldest House from Darling’s presentations, the notes scattered around the building, and the adventures Jesse has.

Yet it still remains a massive mystery. For instance, when was it built, why was it created? Who were the original architects? How does it get its power and keep shifting through time?

And through The Oldest House, how far can we go? What kind of things can we really explore? Will we get to venture into the Astral Plane, take a trip through space, reverse time and see things happen in the past? Maybe alternate timelines, or more interestingly, hint towards the future of Control? What kind of obstacles might Jesse have to face if there is a Control 2?

The Oldest House is, without question, the biggest mystery in Control, and there’s certainly much more we can learn about it.

For me, since this is about exploring the house in more detail, my personal hope is seeing more things like The Ashtray Maze. The game was never better when you were rocking out to metal music, blasting Hiss and venturing into shifting rooms.

This gave us a real feel for vintage Remedy and was the true standout moment for the game. The idea that the whole area was interactive from the very beginning of the game but had you going around in circles because it was still locked until you had Ahti’s walkman was a stroke of genius.

This was clearly a quirk of The Oldest House, an example of how dynamic and mindbending this place can be and was accompanied by some very smart design. Disappearing doors, moving blocks, upside down turns, the game just seems to go off an unexpected tangent as soon as you step through and it’s an absolute delight to be part of.

Ultimately, your actions in the maze feel similar to what you’d already been doing for the last fifteen hours, but for those ten minutes, the game manages to feel completely different. And in that moment, you feel more closely connected to The Oldest House than you have the entire time.

For me, The Foundation definitely needs more of that.

I also really want to see more mind games and trickery, Like the cool overlays that make you think you’re outside but you’re walking through an endless, empty room.

I want to explore more of the Oceanview Motel and further understand that connection. Why is it so important, where exactly is it, and what’s hiding behind those other doors.

Ultimately, though, I want to learn more about side characters like Ahti and find out where Walker disappeared to late on in the game. Will we see some of that mission play out in the DLC?

I think The Foundation will continue the story in unexpected ways, teach us much more about The Oldest House and maybe, just maybe, give us the slightest peek at what could possibly be coming next.

Something tells me this DLC is going to be an absolute mind-bender and really show more of the Remedy we know and love.

AWE – Releasing Mid 2020

Synopsis – The second expansion, AWE, will take Jesse into a new part of the Oldest House, the Investigations Sector, where the Bureau closely examines Altered World Events.

This is where things start to get even more interesting. While we’re going to see a new part of the house, the synopsis is pretty basic and doesn’t give a lot away, just suggesting the DLC will be about Altered World Events.

It’s the logo Remedy have used to promote the content that’s most interesting. Because it’s exactly the same font and style as another popular Remedy franchise – Alan Wake.

So, it would seem that we’re going to be getting a pretty massive crossover of some kind. And to be fair, the game drops far too many hints in its notes and events for this to be a coincidence.

One note, for instance, tells us that Alan Wake’s story was an Altered World Event. The document is called ‘Bright Falls AWE’ and one quick look at the synopsis tells us this content is about Altered World Events.

It seems that the Bureau have been investigating Alan Wake and his abilities for quite some time, which seems to suggest that both Control and Alan Wake are set in the same universe and timeline.

In fact, Alan Wake was actually considered a Prime Candidate for the Federal Bureau of Control’s Director. But as we know the game is focused on two central candidates for the job – Dylan and Jesse Faden.

There’s even a clue as to Alan’s fate, telling us that he’s still trapped in the Dark Place and is unable to break himself free. How do the Bureau know? Because they’ve managed to snag one of his reality-altering Manuscript Pages!

Need more evidence that there’s a connection between these games? This fantastic roundup by Gamespot seems to cover mostly everything. They’ve even come up with a hell of a theory at the end of it which is genuinely mindblowing.

And we suspect that whatever happens in The Foundation will further cement the connection between Alan Wake and the Bureau, eventually prompting Jesse to go and investigate. Will she actually be the one to get him out of the Dark Place all these years later?

If she does, then could Control 2 double as an Alan Wake sequel as well? The whole concept of the Bureau even makes it possible to explore other franchises down the road, with nods and winks to other games throughout Control, like Max Payne and Quantum Break.

No one can doubt that Sam Lake and the team at Remedy aren’t masters of storytelling and this connection to a long-dormant, much-beloved IP might just make this the most exciting DLC of 2020. Especially since there’s rumours the original Xbox Exclusive might be getting a remaster sometime soon.


Control seems to have a very exciting future ahead and we can’t wait to see where Jesse’s adventures take us next. 

What do you want to see in these two DLC packs? What’s your coolest Control theory? Shout out below.

About the author

Sam Diglett

Sam grew up with a PS2, spending hours howling at the moon in Okami and giving students wedgies in Bully. Fortunately, she also likes Pokemon because otherwise life could have been quite annoying for her.