When a studio like Remedy Entertainment announces that it's going to deliver a new multiplayer spin-off, it's all too natural to look on with some skepticism. After all, Remedy as a developer is historically known for its strong single-player offerings, with the likes of Alan Wake, Quantum Break, and Control. But it's also incredibly exciting to see the studio go in a different creative direction and play around with its established franchise in a new way. Not only will it show us another side of the development team's talents, but it could also bring something distinctly fresh and Remedy-shaped to the multiplayer gaming landscape.
Working to co-publish the project with 505 Games, the multiplayer experience is currently codenamed Condor, and while we don't know a whole lot about it just yet, we do know it's going to be a four-player PvE game. What's most interesting of all, though, is that it will be set in the world of Control, which is exciting in more ways than one. The supernatural elements of Control and the shifting nature of The Oldest House are ripe for the picking when it comes to creating a multiplayer experience with a difference. And with Remedy trying to establish an expanded and connected universe through all of its games, Condor could also present a new and unique way of building on the foundations of the franchise in an experience that brings players together.
It's all about connection
Ahead of the release of the AWE Control DLC last year, Mikael Kasurinen, the creative director of the Control franchise, explained that the team is building a "connected Remedy universe". The surprise Alan Wake crossover demonstrated how the struggling writer existed in the same world as Jesse Faden, thanks to the strange nature of the Oceanview Motel. Quantum Break also contained several Alan Wake references, as well as allusions to the Federal Bureau of Control, helping to further solidify this idea that Remedy has spent the last 10 years quietly building out this wider world. With Control firmly setting the stage for Remedy's connected universe, Condor is also set to fit into this interlinked worldbuilding and introduce more social aspects to the franchise that brings players together in a shared experience.
In a recent blog post announcing the upcoming multiplayer experience, Kasurinen touched on the way Control has set the stage for all manner of stories, events, and characters. "Control is first and foremost a world, a place for multitudes of stories, events, and characters. A place where unexpected, strange, and extraordinary things occur," he says. "We kicked it off with Jesse’s entry into the Oldest House, but there is more to this world. Oh, so much more. And Project Condor will be an expression of that."
Even though Alan Wake, Quantum Break, and Control are distinctly different, each has a signature supernatural edge that feeds into the idea that this interconnected universe behaves in many unexpected ways. The strange nature of the intertwining world opens up the door to endless possibilities, which is partly what makes the prospect of a multiplayer experience in this world so tantalizing. Condor could show us a new side to the universe, and go in any one direction outside of the Oldest House setting we got to see in Jesse's shoes.
The added appeal of a four-player experience in Remedy's connected universe also comes from imagining just how the combat and action of Control could lend itself to a co-operative game in interesting ways. The supernatural powers Jesse is outfitted with are endlessly fun to play around with in Oldest House. From hurling objects to throwing around enemies, and causing explosions, the abilities present a veritable playground of opportunities.
At this early stage, it's difficult to know just how well Control's haptic action will translate to the realms of multiplayer, or how well Remedy's in-house Northlight engine (an upgraded version was used to power Control) will scale to support so many players, but this is a studio that's known for surpassing expectation – it deserves the benefit of the doubt. While it may be difficult to imagine the telekinetic powerset and destructible environments working between four players, studios have come up with creative ways to leverage unique combat systems in the past – just look at what Rockstar was able to achieve with Max Payne 3 after it took the reins from Remedy so many years ago, pushing its bullet-time shootouts into an online arena in style.
After 25 years of building single-player experiences, it's good that Remedy is beginning to experiment. As Kasurinen went on to explain, the team is drawn to working on a multiplayer game because of the way it allows you to create a social, collective experience you can share with other people. The sense of shared participation that multiplayer games can bring to the table, as Kasurinen writes, can elevate it into something that's impossible to achieve in the same way in a single-player format.
While it's exciting to think about the ways Condor could shape up and how it will likely offer something new and different in the universe of Control, you really get the sense from Kasurinen that it will still retain that Remedy feel that fans have come to know and love: "We are approaching this with a mix of excitement and respect," he says, "We want to create something that is engaging, yet familiar, something any of our fans can jump into and feel at home in. Together."
For more multiplayer goodness, here are 30 of the best co-op games to play right now with friends and family.