The Control ending leaves the future wide open while closing the door on Jesse Faden's introduction to the world of the Federal Bureau of Control. Remedy's latest video game, Control, features a provocative storyline about a mysterious government organization under attack by a supernatural threat. The lore of Control is endlessly deep and full of unexplained occurrences, mysterious characters, and direct connections to previous Remedy projects.
Control is rich in narrative, and Jesse Faden can't turn a corner without encountering a readable document, audio file, or live-action video recording. On the other hand, the main story of Control is relatively straightforward, if positively laced with Remedy's signature brand of surreal weirdness. The critical path of Control sees Jesse shoot her way through the various wings of The Oldest House, trying to take it back from the insidious and mysterious entity known as The Hiss, while also searching for her missing brother and unraveling the secrets of her own past.
Closer to the Control ending, the objective is clear, but the players are mysterious. Jesse is fighting The Hiss, but the enigmatic Board who instruct her don't seem particularly better. Her brother, Dylan, believes The Hiss are less dangerous than The Board, but he's been corrupted by The Hiss to the point where he's hardly a reliable and objective leader. Near the end of the game, the connection between Jesse, Polaris, The Hiss, and Hedron is established, but not quite explained.
What Happens In Control's Ending & Credits
When they were kids, Jesse and Dylan were involved in an Altered World Event involving Polaris and The Hiss. Jesse, Dylan, and some local kids activated an Object of Power, a slide projector, and unwittingly created a Threshold event, creating a bridge between their town and another dimension, ultimately resulting in the disappearance of the town's entire adult population. They are presumed dead. Polaris, a seemingly benevolent entity came through during the AWE and bonded with Jesse. Dylan was captured by responding agents of Control, while Jesse escaped and lived on the run and off the grid, harboring Polaris inside of her. She stayed in relative hiding, slowly moving east towards New York, drawn to The Oldest House, where the adventure begins.
Near the Control ending, Jesse discovers that Polaris is being kept in The Oldest House, under the name Hedron. Polaris has been protecting Jesse from The Hiss, and the Bureau has channeled Hedron's energy to craft the HRA devices that protect the surviving Control agents. However, in her attempt to reach Hedron, Jesse unwittingly allows it to be attacked by The Hiss. After Hedron is unfortunately destroyed, Jesse is corrupted by The Hiss and Control ends. Or at least, the credits start to roll.
These aren't regular credits, however. There are odd messages hidden within the text that suggest not all is as it seems. Eventually, the white words on the black canvas start to bleed into the background, until the entire screen is white. Jesse, then, awakens in an obvious dream sequence, perhaps a representation of Hiss corruption. She's an office assistant in the Bureau, and Dylan is the new Director. This exact situation was described by Dylan earlier in the game as a dream he had. Eventually, after some psychedelic experiences with Dylan and deceased director Zachariah Trench, Jesse is able to conquer the dream and assert her authority as the Bureau's true Director.
Now awakened from the dream, Jesse is instructed by Dr. Darling to go to his office, where she makes one final trip to The Oceanview Motel, a recurring location throughout Control. Here, she finds Polaris. As far as she understands, Polaris wasn't destroyed when Hedron was taken by The Hiss. Perhaps Polaris was inside Jesse all along, but was given extra power to assert itself through Hedron. Maybe Polaris is the final vestige of anti-Hiss energy. Jesse confesses she doesn't know, and may never know, but she's nonetheless happy to be reunited with her otherworldly ally.
Jesse and Hedron make one last push against Dylan and The Hiss, and shut down the Slide Projector, the source of all the misery currently plaguing The Oldest House, and also ground zero for the AWE that separated Dylan and Jesse in the first place. Though the fight itself is maybe a bit anticlimactic, the end result is that the Slide Projector is shut down and Dylan is defeated.
Why The Oldest House Is Still On Lockdown
Unlike every Remedy game to this point, Control allows players to freely explore The Oldest House in a post-game epilogue. Jesse is now comfortably The Director, and is tasked with overseeing the final clean-up and eradication of The Hiss from the Bureau. There are many side-quests in Control, from Ahti's maintenance tasks to cleansing rogue Altered Items, to taking on the Mold that has been growing underneath Central Research. Once the main story is over, Jesse is free to chase down any leads she may have missed or skipped during the initial journey.
The new status quo at the end of the game is that no new Hiss are appearing in the House, but the ones that have already passed through remain a threat, so the Bureau is still on lockdown. Dylan Faden is in a coma, and he may never wake up. Then again, he it's possible he may awaken at any moment. He's a wildcard, since it's unknown how much of "Dylan Faden" is still in there.
All told, the Control ending is relatively straightforward compared to the likes of Alan Wake and Quantum Break, but it's still rife with mysteries that simply can't be explained. Like Remedy's best titles, it blends video games and live action, to the point of even breaking the fourth wall to bring the player themselves into the story. This arguably extends to the common Metroidvania conceit of allowing players to continue exploring, even after the main questline has been completed.
How Control Sets Up A Sequel
Finally, the story is not over yet. Later in 2019 and 2020, two expansions will be released for Control. These two new chapters may or may not shed more light on the events of the game, clear up some of the lore's many mysteries, or otherwise offer greater context to the world of Control. Then again, they might make things even more complicated, adding three questions for each answer they provide. A third option would be that the DLC might be full standalone stories that add new layers to the story without directly addressing any of its existing enigmas.
After that, who knows what the future holds for the critically-acclaimed game? Surely there are enough unanswered questions for a Control sequel to be a sure bet at this point, though a gambler would be more likely to bet a true Alan Wake sequel would be a priority for Remedy, especially since the company just regained the rights to the Alan Wake IP. Considering the distinct connections between Control and Alan Wake, a sequel to one will invariably involve the other.
Control is a game with two distinct stories being told: the straightforward narrative of Jesse becoming Director and taking The Oldest House back from The Hiss, and the story of the Bureau itself, told through lore pickups, audio files, and other forms of environmental storytelling. Both stories fuel one another, but while the greater stories of The Oldest House and the wider implications of the Federal Bureau of Control are nothing without the personal quest of Jesse and her journey of self-discovery.