Control's AWE DLC Points To Alan Wake 2 As Remedy's Next Game
It might be combined with a future Control game, but the big takeaway from AWE is that Remedy is setting up the continuation of Alan Wake's story.
Note: This post spoils some of the story points of Control's AWE DLC. If you'd rather experience those moments in the DLC, hold off on reading this until after you're done.
The folks at Remedy Entertainment have mentioned several times over the years that they would really like to continue the story of 2010's Alan Wake. Despite two DLC additions and a smaller, combat-focused pseudo-sequel, there's been no resolution to the story of the titular writer, who ended the original game trapped by an evil supernatural entity called the Dark Presence.
There are connections to Alan Wake in other Remedy games, but up until now, we've only gotten them as Easter eggs and hints. But Control's final DLC addition, AWE, is very focused on tying the world of Alan Wake to the world of Control. And the end of the DLC makes it very clear: We're headed back to Bright Falls in the future to continue Alan Wake's story.
The AWE DLC sees Wake using his ability to alter reality through his writing to send a message to Control protagonist Jesse Faden, which directs her to the previously sealed and unknown Investigations Sector. There, we see the conclusion of one of the hanging story threads of Alan Wake--the fate of Dr. Emil Hartman, the psychiatrist who tried to understand and utilize the reality-bending powers of Cauldron Lake and artists including Wake, the Anderson brothers, and Thomas Zane. In Alan Wake, Hartman gets nabbed by the Dark Presence, but apparently survived the run-in. What happened to him after that was a bit hazy, and Control fills it in: He became a big gross monster and got locked in the Oldest House.
Jesse's big goal is hunting down Hartman before he can get loose and murder everyone in the Federal Bureau of Control, and along the way, she uncovers a bunch of lore tidbits about him, Alan, and Alice Wake, Alan's wife. Unlike the rest of Control, there's not really much to spoil there, even at the end of the DLC. The final moments of the story of AWE are more of a teaser for the future than a conclusion of what we've seen so far.
After removing Hartman, Jesse and Langdon, the guy in charge of the FBC's Panopticon area that contains and monitors all its supernaturally alive Altered Items, receive a message in the Investigations Sector. It suggests that there's some kind of new Altered World Event occurring in Bright Falls, Washington--the setting of Alan Wake. Bright Falls is the location of at least two different past AWEs, with one in the 1970s and another in 2010, which is the story of Alan Wake. As a result, the FBC has had a monitoring station in the town for years. The message is coming from that station, but here's the weird thing: The signal says the event is happening years in the future. And because of the lockdown, the Bureau shouldn't be able to receive a signal at all.
There's also some telling dialogue from Wake himself, which suggests an explanation for what this whole Hartman hunt is really about. Wake gets in touch with Jesse because he "needs a hero." The implication is that AWE is a try-out for Jesse and that Wake is planning to write her into the story that will finally save him from the Dark Place 10 years after the events of Alan Wake put him there. The last dialogue he has sounds like Wake's next step will be to write Jesse into his story.
We also get some implication in all this that the events of Control are actually Wake's creation--he's using his ability to alter reality through his writing to create the world of Control, specifically to then create a way to save himself. Whether that means Jesse is a creation of Wake, just being driven by him, or just intersecting with his story now, however, is unclear.
Altogether, the signal mentioning a Bright Falls event happening a couple years in the future really sounds like Remedy pointedly saying Alan Wake 2, or some variation thereof, is on its way, probably dropping in or around 2022. It might also be that Control 2 and Alan Wake 2 are one and the same. But we know from a blog post from Remedy creative director Sam Lake that AWE is only the beginning and that the studio is working on another game in the shared universe. It really sounds like the end of AWE has just confirmed what we can expect: the conclusion, or at least continuation, of Alan Wake's story, more than 10 years later.