As is typical of any game developed by Remedy, live-action is used in wonderful fashion in Control. These primarily come in the form of short informational clips featuring Dr. Casper Darling, the head researcher of the Federal Bureau of Control. He’s played by Matthew Porretta, who absolutely shines in these videos. If he seems familiar to you but you simply chalked that up to his role in past Remedy games, you might be as shocked as I was to dig a little further into his IMDB history.
Remedy fans may know Porretta best as the star of the Alan Wake games, in which he voices the titular character (even that might come as a surprise to you, given he doesn’t play the live-action version). But go back a couple more decades, and you’ll find Porretta also portrayed Will Scarlet O’Hara in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights. If, like me, you both watched Men in Tights numerous times as a kid and found yourself captivated by Darling throughout Control, this revelation is downright flabbergasting.
While perhaps not as memorable as some of Robin Hood’s other companions (namely, Dave Chappelle’s Ahchoo), O’Hara does have one of the movie’s best moments, in which he mistakenly cuts his pants off.
None are quite as revelatory as Porretta, but Control does have a number of other actors with past roles you might be familiar with, including Director Trench’s James McCaffrey, who starred in the Max Payne games and played Jimmy Keefe on Rescue Me. Emily Pope is played by Antonia Bernath, who’s been in a number of video games (including Hitman 2‘s Sierra Knox) as well as Downton Abbey. Meanwhile, Simon Arish actor Ronan Summers (who was in Hitman 2 as Rico Delgado, as well as in Forza Horizon 4 as Scott Tyler) is hilariously credited as “‘drop the leg’ guard” in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Whether or not the names and faces of Control are familiar to you, the performances are terrific across the board. Darling’s videos and the various Hotline calls, as well as the semi-hidden puppet show, are real highlights. The curious use of live-action, along with things like the large, bold font that announces your entrance into a new area for the first time, combine to help provide Control with an extra dose of flavor that helps to elevate an already great game into something that will likely stick with you for a long time.