With the worlds of Alan Wake and Control set to collide this month, we speculate on how the two might be linked.
Alan Wake is entering the world of Control and we've known about it for quite some time. The time that's passed has, therefore, let us come up with a heap of theories as to what could await players in the AWE expansion for Remedy's latest title. Be warned though, Alan Wake crossover theories come with a spoiler deep dive deeper than Mrs Wake's Cauldron Lake mishap, so if you have yet to play the two games, you're in for some potentially game-ruining spoilers below. You have been warned.
Remedy's 2010 game Alan Wake told a tale of a man and his wife who, after a time of hardship, both personal and professional, decided to go on a retreat together to clear the stress said hardship had caused them. Unbeknownst to Wake, however, his wife had a plan pertaining to her husband's professional life as a writer, wanting him to try writing in seclusion, something that Wake was less than enthused about upon finding a typewriter upstairs in the lodge the pair found themselves in. The struggles of their relationship, however, would soon take a backseat in the narrative as the lodge wasn't the one they'd planned on staying in. You see, when the keys switched hands upon arrival at the quaint town of Bright Falls and its Oh Deer Diner, Wake met with a strange woman rather than Carl Stucky, and the woman was no ordinary dame but an entity of sorts. It turns out that the lodge where the pair ended up staying, Bird Leg Cabin, hadn't existed for decades following a volcanic eruption - but there they were.
The false backdrop was made apparent to the pair once Alan found the typewriter set up in the lodge by his wife, prompting him to flee outside to clear his mind in the night, leaving his wife, who's deathly afraid of the dark, in the lodge as the power goes out. A scream is heard and upon arrival back in the cabin, Alice's body is pulled through the patio fence and into the black lake below. Alan jumps in after her but when he comes to again, he's in his car that lies a wreck in the mountains and shadowy figures roam his surroundings. Corrupted beings who are far from in control of their bodies, chanting mundane sentences as if spoken by an entity trying to appear human.
It can be theorised that these beings are tied to the events of Control as well, because Barbara Jagger, the shadowy dame from the diner, isn't the true antagonist of Alan Wake, the entity or 'The Dark Presence' controlling her husk of a body and the people of Bright Falls is. Could this entity be tied to the one corrupting the people of Control? Is it the same entity and, if so, has its preferenced for artists changed or expanded since the Bright Falls debacle? Technically, there could be a whole heap of variations considering the fact that Control's Jesse Faden has an entity as a companion. That said, we'd assume The Dark Presence to have lingered in the Oldest House for quite some time, alongside Wake, since an Easter egg can be found in a closed-off space showing Alan typing away as a projector image hovers over a manuscript page.
When thinking back to the aforementioned introduction to Alan Wake after having played Control, it's hard not to view Bird Leg Cabin as a place of power and a place with frequent Altered World Events (AWEs), especially considering the fact that the two experiences have been tied together for a long time. While not apparent back then, the song by the Poets of the Fall-portrayed in-game band Old Gods of Asgard's that featured in Alan Wake's American Nightmare, Balance Slays the Demon, hid the message 'It will happen again, in another town, a town called Ordinary' which was discovered when playing the tune in reverse (mind you, this was in 2012). Ordinary is, as you'll know if you've played Control, the town which Jesse and her brother Dylan are from in Control and it's also the place where Jesse made contact with the entity that follows her through the game. A place of power. Thus, by what we now know, it seems that the events in Bright Falls were similar to those in Ordinary. It did happen again.
Going back to the Alan Wake base game, we also know that Alan Wake has the power to essentially pave his and others' futures by writing up scenarios on his typewriter, be it conscious or not. We also know that the clicker (which is initially brought up as a gift for his wife to bring her peace of mind when the lights go out - a metaphorical light switch, if you will) had immense power - enough to eradicate the threat and send Alan's wife back to the land of the living while he was left behind, stuck in a hostile dimension.
Of course, all of these theories are just that, assumptions based on old information, but I think that both the clicker (which has been confirmed as a suspected object of power via document pages in Control) and the typewriter - or both - are objects of power, capable of altering events around them. The typewriter ignited the spark that was Alan Wake's narrative and the clicker suffocated the flame of its antagonistic entity. Considering the fact that a different Alan took the real Alan's place, I'd also assume that Mr Scratch, as he's called in the game, was either a corrupted husk-like Barbara Jagger and that Alan's real self exists outside of the boundaries of reality, or that Mr Scratch managed to cross into the real world through a mirror dimension similar or identical to the one you venture into as Jesse. While the Control mission is a side quest, it has Jesse cross into a mirror dimension through an actual mirror in which everything is in reverse. Listening to recordings of the mirror dimension while on the outside plays the audio in reverse and vice versa. Jesse finds a mirror image of herself in the dimension which is hostile. Could Mr Scratch be an escaped mirror image? The Mr Scratch-centered Alan Wake's American Nightmare had its secret message recorded in reverse, after all. All theories, again, but it is interesting to speculate.
I leave you with some final thoughts: I think that Alan Wake will be writing the story for Jesse to live through in AWE. I even think this could have been the core plan all along - perhaps Control as a whole is written by Wake. In Control, you can find information mentioning Wake as a Prime Candidate (much like Jesse), presumably for his ability to partially control such an uncontrolled environment. I think that the husks that roamed Bright Falls in the dark are corrupted in similar ways to Jesse's brother Dylan as they all seem to act like they're strangers trying to fit into a body and mind they're not familiar with. I think that we'll meet Mr Scratch and I think we'll get to see a lot more objects of power in AWE. I also think a majority of the collectables will be well-written manuscript pages hinting at what's to come. Alan awaits, presumably deep within the building, and soon, theories won't be needed anymore.
AWE is set to release on August 27 of this year for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so make sure your save file is one in which the story is cleared, as you'll need to complete the game ahead of starting AWE.