How Remedy Masterfully Create A Shared Universe

Ever Wondered How Remedy Created A Connected Universe From Max Payne to Alan Wake 2?

Remedy Entertainment Connect Universe
Remedy Entertainment Connect Universe

Remedy Entertainment has definitely created its mark on the gaming landscape. They are known for creating some of the most popular franchises including Max Payne and Alan Wake.

Their games feel unique and unlike games, you have already played before. Creative writing and a passionate team add story moments and mechanics that truly set their games apart.

So who better than Remedy Entertainment to carry the banner of an interconnected universe within their video games? Remedy effectively creates their very own universe that ties in most of their popular franchises. Although this officially started with Control, the roots of their creative easter eggs go back to their first popular title.

Key Takeaways
  • Remedy’s been dropping hints of a connected world for years, even in games like Max Payne.
  • Control officially launched the RCU, directly linking it to Alan Wake with the AWE expansion solidifying the connection.
  • The upcoming sequel features Alex Casey, bringing back the Max Payne voice actor and facial model.
  • Remedy draws inspiration from Stephen King’s interconnected stories, where easter eggs enrich the world-building.
  • With Control 2 in development and hints of a larger world, the RCU has exciting potential for fans and newcomers alike.

A History Of Hidden Connections

Long before the official formation of the RCU, Remedy has hinted at connections between their games through clever Easter eggs and meta-humor. Max Payne even though now being more than 20 years old, features a scene that bends its universe. During the event of the first game, Max Payne is drugged and starts hallucinating.

Max Payne Realizes He Is Inside A Video Game
Max Payne Realizes He Is Inside A Video Game

It is during this when Max suddenly hints at being inside a video game. He starts being self-aware of his place as a video game character and starts seeing the character stats and weapon wheel. This was Remedy’s first major title, and even here you can see Sam Lake‘s meta-writing in action.

Alex Casey's Story
Alex Casey’s Story

In the original Alan Wake, players could find manuscript pages detailing the adventures of Alex Casey, a hard-boiled detective penned by the protagonist himself. This was a not-so-subtle nod to Max Payne. This playful connection established a sense of shared DNA between the two titles, hinting at a larger world lurking beneath the surface.

Sam Lake even said in an interview how this was done intentionally as they do not have exclusive rights to the Max Payne character. Alan Wake is already a reality-bending character, who can use his writings to bring characters to life, and Remedy effectively uses this to tie their universe together.

Max Payne and Alex Casey
Max Payne and Alex Casey

The Alan Wake Connection

Alan Wake in Control
Alan Wake in Control

Remedy has been leaving behind breadcrumbs hinting at their larger universe. However, it was during the campaign of Control that we first learned of the official connection between the games. Here, players encounter references to the events of Alan Wake, such as a Federal Bureau of Control (FBC) investigation related to the fictional town of Bright Falls.

This established a concrete link between the two games, suggesting they existed within the same universe. Remedy further solidified this with the AWE expansion for Control.

During this campaign, players directly get to see Alan Wake for themselves stuck in the Dark Place. Moreover, the game even featured a news alert hinting at future events in Bright Falls.

Alan Wake
Alan Wake

This technically does mean that the original Alan Wake is the first game in this connected universe. Now their most recent release Alan Wake 2 is taking their shared universe even further. Alan Wake will not only encounter the FBC, but a central character in the game is a new iteration of Alex Casey, the fictional detective from his novels.

This ghost of a character trapped within the Dark Place pushes the boundaries of the RCU, blurring the lines between reality, fiction, and the player’s perception. Remedy even hired the original voice actor of Max Payne to play Alex Casey and obviously, Sam Lake lent his face to the character. 

Unlike the first Max Payne game, this time around Sam Lake fully performs as himself in Alan Wake 2, due to the modern motion capture technology. 

Future Of The Universe

Lead creative writers at Remedy, including Sam Lake have referred to Stephen King as their inspiration. Stephen King is known to leave easter eggs and references to his other characters in different books. Even though The Shining and IT are two completely different stories, the powers from Shining play an important role in the finale of IT.

Stephen King
Stephen King

Creative connections like these are necessary to create a universe that feels natural and cohesive. Stephen King did not create the Shared Universe for any commercial reasons. I mean he isn’t marketing his stories like the MCU. The shared universe exists to further enrich the world-building of his stories and make them feel part of something bigger.

Remedy Entertainment in this respect has been quite successful. Their universe connections aren’t forced and from my experience a complete surprise. I did know about the nod at May Payne in Alan Wake, but I did not expect the official confirmation in Control.

Hopeful Universe

The future of the RCU is brimming with possibilities. With Control 2 confirmed to be in development, the potential for further expansion is exciting. Remedy has already hinted at the existence of other Bureaus beyond the FBC, hinting at a vast world waiting to be explored.

With their talent for weaving narrative and gameplay, Remedy is destined to create a truly unique and engaging shared universe, one that rewards dedicated fans and newcomers alike.

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