How Remedy harnessed the ethereal beauty of brutalism to shape Control

"The mundanity of the space is important, because 10 seconds later everything's going to be trashed, and there's going to be chaos."

The folks over at Eurogamer have posted a fascinating interview with Control art director Janne Pulkkinen and world design director Stuart Macdonald that looks at how Remedy's lynchian shooter uses brutalism to (rather literally) shape the game world and draw players in.

The pair explain Remedy decided to have the game take place in The House, a giant monolithic structure comprised of concrete blocks and overwhelming sculptures that serves as the headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Control, because it evokes power, order, and crucially, mundanity.

"The mundanity of the space is important, because 10 seconds later everything's going to be trashed, and there's going to be chaos. We play on that contrast," explains Macdonald. "We're using the scale and heaviness that comes from the idea of government bureaus and repetitive office life. 

"There's that feeling everything's safe if you can stick a label on it. There's this human need to try to explain things, but the problem is that in this game you face a lot of things that are strange and unexplainable. There's an interesting futility there."

On a technical level, having Control take place in what's essentially a series of blocky rooms and corridors resulted in some interesting design challenges, and at times forced the dev team to abandon old habits in favor of letting the environment speak for itself.

"To have these sculptural spaces takes really good lighting. Before, what would happen is you would end up [placing] loads of marks, water stains, cables and pipes all over the walls [to add] visual interest," continues Macdonald.

"But because of what we can do with our technology, we now have this freedom. We can be brave and have [bare] wall surfaces, and trust the lighting artists to give it all life. It was actually really interesting, trying to convince environmental artists to leave wall surfaces alone."

You can learn more about the inspiration and design choices behind Control by checking out the full interview over on Eurogamer.

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