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Breaking down the Remedy Connected Universe

Explore how Alan Wake and Control are connected, and what that means for Alan Wake 2.

There was a time when the concept of a connected universe was fresh and innovative. It seems so passe now, especially in film, but the idea that two otherwise separate works could be connected in the same universe was a novel one. And at least in video games, the Remedy Connected Universe stands out among the crowd.

Simply put, the Remedy Connected Universe bridges a handful of games by Remedy Entertainment. Not every game they put out falls under this moniker, but most of their well-known titles are united by this common aspect. Alan Wake and Control, specifically, are the cornerstones of this universe.

With Alan Wake 2 around the corner, the next chapter of this universe is set to unfold. Naturally, this may lead newcomers to wonder about this shared universe and what it means for the sequel. Or you might need a refresher on how these games tie together. Let’s explore everything we know about the Remedy Connected Universe before the game launches on October 17.

What is the Remedy Connected Universe?

Remedy Connected Universe
Let’s shine a light on what the Remedy Connected Universe is all about.

Remedy has always had a cheeky tendency to hide references to their other titles in new releases. For the most part, these served as nothing more than fun Easter eggs that clever players can get a quick giggle at. Until 2010’s Alan Wake, rumors of an actual shared universe were slim and, at best, shaky.

That all changed in the wake (no pun intended) of the game’s release. With a heavily ambiguous ending and plans for a sequel underway, fans knew that Remedy had more in store for them. Supplementary materials like the This House of Dreams blog, an official side project from Remedy that tied into the events of Alan Wake, confirmed the company’s desire to go even further.

It wasn’t until 2018’s Control, however, that the Remedy Connected Universe was officially established. That game not only introduced the ties that bind this universe together; it also introduced the first crossover between two games in Remedy’s catalog. With that, the shared universe was firmly solidified, no longer confined to Internet rumors and speculation.

What games share this universe?

Jesse Faden
2018’s Control established this shared universe.

There’s a bit of debate among fans as to which Remedy titles actually belong to the Remedy Connected Universe. While all of them share common ideas and most directly reference each other, the official in-universe status of these games is a bit more controversial.

To date, the only games 100% confirmed to take place inside this universe are Alan Wake, Control, and Alan Wake 2. The Max Payne games have questionable ties to the series; most notably, the in-universe book series written by Alan Wake containing similar plot threads to Max Payne.

Given that Rockstar Games still evidently has some control over the Max Payne IP (which is why Remedy is coordinating with them on the Max Payne remakes), it’s likely that Remedy doesn’t have full creative control over this franchise. Thus, they may not be able to fully incorporate it into this universe. Plus, Max Payne is far more down-to-Earth, and wouldn’t fit inside a shared paranormal universe like this one.

Quantum Break is another example. That game has enough sci-fi elements to work inside the universe, and contains even more direct references to Alan Wake. Unfortunately, Microsoft owns that game, so Remedy can’t really put its stamp on it anymore.

Explaining Remedy’s universe

Alan Wake Control
Alan’s a part of this shared nightmare, whether he likes it or not.

Control finally firmly established the foundation for the way this universe works. The game’s main setting, the Bureau (specifically: the Federal Bureau of Control), is an organization that investigates alleged and real paranormal phenomena. They’ve handled cases like those that brought Control protagonist Jesse Faden to its headquarters, the Oldest House.

These phenomena (called Altered World Events, or AWE) can take several different forms, usually operating around specific objects and locations. You can think of it almost like the SCP Foundation — which Control was directly inspired by. Jesse comes to the facility to search for her brother, inadvertently taking over the position of Director in the process.

Another AWE happened in the town of Bright Falls, Washington in 2010. Alan Wake, a critically-acclaimed but struggling writer, is vacationing here with his wife. When she disappears into the nearby Cauldron Lake, Alan dives in — and in the process, begins losing himself to a mysterious world called the Dark Place.

For 13 years, he has tried to escape by writing stories that foretell of his survival. One such story involved Jesse Faden hunting down a monster born from Cauldron Lake. Apparently, Alan was involved with Jesse’s appearance to the Oldest House — thus, directly tying the events of the two series together.

How do the games connect?

Control is mostly standalone, despite its connections.

Alan Wake and Control directly tie together when you consider the AWE DLC. This is the DLC campaign for Control where Alan Wake appears to Jesse in a vision, setting her on a quest through the Oldest House to take down Emil Hartman (an antagonist from Alan Wake).

That’s the largest direct connection we’ve seen so far with these games. In terms of other story connections, that’s where this universe feels much looser. Unlike the common interpretation of a shared universe nowadays, where the cast constantly interacts with each other in a large ensemble, the Remedy Connected Universe takes things in a much simpler and subtler direction.

We’ve already talked about how referential Remedy’s games are to each other. But it’s important to note that most of these references are background details. If you’re not looking for them, you might not even pick up on the connections. In essence, details for the eagle-eyed fans to point at and get a chuckle out of.

And perhaps that’s for the best. The success of Remedy’s games doesn’t have to deal with any connective tissue between them. You can play Alan Wake and Control separately with no knowledge of the other, and still enjoy it on as many levels as a Remedy mega-fan. That’s not just a testament to the quality of Remedy’s games. It’s a testament to how connected universes don’t need to be tangled, complex webs.

The next chapter of the Remedy Connected Universe

Alan Wake 2 Remedy Connected Universe
Play the next chapter of the shared universe in Alan Wake 2.

We won’t have to wait much longer to see how Remedy will extend this connected universe. With the oncoming release of Alan Wake 2, we’ll likely see some answers to some 13-year old questions. And undoubtedly, there will be plenty of new ones raised.

Remedy is keeping a fairly tight lid on story details for its upcoming game. We don’t know how much Alan Wake 2 will tie into its universe, or if Remedy is going all-in on a standalone story. Regardless, it’ll be exciting to see what they have in store.

Alan Wake 2 is developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Epic Games Publishing. It will launch for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Epic Games Store on October 17, 2023. As of now, the game will be a digital exclusive. There are no plans for a physical disc version at this time.

What do you think of the Remedy Connected Universe? Are you looking forward to Alan Wake 2? Let us know!

Daniel Hein

Daniel Hein is either A) a lifelong video game fanatic, writer, and storyteller just sharing his thoughts on things, or B) some kind of werewolf creature. We're not quite sure which yet. He also makes mediocre video game retrospectives (and other content!) on YouTube where you can watch him babble on for hours about nothing.
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