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Behind the Scenes of Poets of the Fall's War Music Video

To celebrate 15 years of Poets of the Fall (Old Gods of Asgard) we spoke to Director, Akseli Tuomivaara, about creating the Alan Wake-inspired music video, War. [Photo by Tiia Öhman].

Community Spotlight: Fraser's Amazing Remedy Artwork

For our August Community Spotlight, we speak to the lovely Fraser about his artwork, and his influences over the years.

New CROSSFIRE 2/HD Gameplay Trailer

Thanks to Abel09 on the Remedy Forums, we have our first look at gameplay footage from CROSSFIRE 2/HD.

Max Payne Celebrates 17th Anniversary

All the tributes, celebrations, artwork and memories from the Max Payne community following the series' 17th anniversary.

Community Spotlight: Melissa [July Feature]

Our Community Spotlight for July is the lovely Melissa, melfpic on Instagram. We recently spoke to her about her stunning Quantum Break and Control-inspired artwork.

Poets of the Fall Announces Clearview Cover & Pre-Order Bundles

Poets of the Fall, the real life band behind Old Gods of Asgard, announced the cover and pre-order information for their eighth studio, Clearview.

Catch Up On Everything Control from E3 2018

All the Control coverage, from the game's surprise announcement at the Playstation E3 Media Briefing to the latest post-E3 interviews.

NEW GAME REVEAL! Learn More about Control

Remedy’s latest project, Control, previously known by its codename “P7”, was revealed on stage during Sony’s E3 Media Briefing

Charity Auctions raise £1405.60 for Cancer Research UK!

Our Monarch Gala and Spring Charity Auction raises £1405.60 for Cancer Research UK! With invaluable support from Remedy and Poets of the Fall.

Cool People We've Spoken To...

Over the past four years, I've had the pleasure of interviewing some individuals involved including Cam Rogers, Kathy Tong, Fred Berman, Ilkka Villi, Christopher Forsyth and Brett Kelly.

7th August 2018
Control Developer Diary #3: The Oldest House

Today Remedy uploaded the third episode in Control's ongoing Developer Diary series. This time the group shares details about what players can expect as they explore The Oldest House.

Like the previous two episodes, the latest video features interviews with a number of Remedy including Sam Lake (Creative Director), Paul Ehreth (Lead Designer), Mikael Kasurinen (Game Director), Anna Megill (Narrative Lead), and Thomas Puha (Head of Communications), as they discuss the new setting, the brutalist architecture that inspired the game's look, and the numerous layers the FBC building has in-store for players.

In case you missed it: in the first episode, the team talked about how they approached Control's world and how they changed their approach to narrative while still focusing on the story.  In the second episode they delved deeper into the gameplay and allowing the player to explore their own path.

Control is set to launch in 2019 on Playstation 4, PC and XBOX One.  

6th August 2018
Behind the Scenes of Poets of the Fall's Music Video, War
Interview with Director, Akseli Tuomivaara
[Celebrating 15 Years of Poets of the Fall]

This year, Poets of the Fall, the band behind Alan Wake's Old Gods of Asgard, is celebrating their fifteenth anniversary.

Even before Alan Wake, the band had a close relationship with Remedy. The group's first song, Late Goodbye, became Max Payne II's theme song. Written soon after the group had formed, it became a staple of the game. Numerous references to it could be heard throughout the levels but in the climax of the story, the credits descended to guitar strings, the first glimpse into what the band could achieve. It wasn't until 2005 that their first album, Signs of Life including the Late Goodbye single, was released and very quickly climbed the charts to reach platinum in Finland.

The group's relationship continued with the Alan Wake series as they adopted their alter-ego, Old Gods of Asgard, creating brilliant songs such as Children of the Elder God, The Poet and the Muse, and Balance Slays the Demon. Two additional songs were included in the game credited to the Poets, The Happy Song (from the album, Jealous Gods) and War (from the album Twilight Theater). Despite similarities between War and Alan Wake, the two were created separately but fit so perfectly together that in mid-2010, just months after the album and game was released, the music video of War was uploaded, a collaboration between Poets and Remedy.

As fans of the band and to celebrate fifteen years of Poets of the Fall, we spoke to Akseli Tuomivaara, the Director of War to learn more about how the video came to be.

And here’s a new song from a band that -- they always remind me of our local rock legends, the Old Gods. I couldn’t tell you why, I guess it’s just -- you know, one of those things. Anyway, here’s Poets of the Fall and their latest single, “War".
- Pat Maine, Episode Five (Alan Wake)

Prior to War, a number of the band's music videos were directed by Alan Wake's Cinematic Director, Stobe Harju. It was through networking that Akseli's name had been put forward for the role, along with co-director Aleksi Koskinen, "I hadn't worked previously with Poets of the Fall. I believe I was recommended by Stobe Harju, the guy who directed many of their previous promos (Carnival of Rust etc.). Stobe was busy directing in-game video material for Alan Wake, so he couldn't make the video." He also added that personal connections didn't hurt either, "I'm also a cousin of Petri Järvilehto, one of the founders of Remedy - not sure, if that had something to do with them contacting me about the gig. :)"

Photo by Tiia Öhman. Used with permission.

From the start, the music video was approached as a crossover with the Alan Wake series. When Akseli joined the project, Remedy took him on a studio tour and introduced him to the game ahead of planning "[The] best part of making this video was to get a private tour in Remedy and seeing the game before it's release. Based on that I wrote a loose [first] draft of the script. To be honest the script was just a bunch of random scenes trying to mimic the mood of the game." As preparation work went forward on the music video, Akseli listened to War on repeat to make sure the shots captured the same atmosphere. "The lyrics and the mood of the song naturally had a huge impact on everything."

The main issue moving forward was the budget and the scope of the project. "Creative decisions were all limited by the budget (very small). We had to shoot in Finland and with a tiny crew, so I was a bit worried how are we going to pull of the mood of Bright Falls. Thankfully we had the actor Ilkka Villi (who plays Alan Wake also in the game) with us. Remedy games are so character driven that I knew we could achieve something cool for the fans just by shooting Ilkka doing his act in the middle of a some random forest."

Photo by Tiia Öhman. Used with permission.

Careful considerations were made to capture both the feel of the music and of the game. Locations were selected in the Finnish countryside, just a thirty minute drive from Helsinki where filming would span a full two days to capture as much footage as possible in shifting conditions. "Constant changing of the moods by lighting (from night to day, dream world to real world...) is a big part of Alan Wake. So we naturally wanted to use that in the video as well."

The daytime scenes were used to film the scenes on the field with Alice and Alan, the adventures through the forest, and the music video's opening. "Things never go by the plan, but with this one we mostly had a good luck with the weather and the locations," Akseli comments. In the game, there's an emphasis on cyclical events such as the repeated events at Bird Leg Cabin. In the music video that similar pattern can be seen especially with the start and end being a repeat of the same shot; of Alan emerging from the forest as a truck rolls by. "In the script (I believe) the beginning of the video was something different. Using the same scene twice this way is quite an old trick, but who cares if it works."

That specific shot of the truck rolling past has an interesting history, as it was one of the few shots that Remedy asked to be changed. “In the original version of the last scene we show that the lumberjacks (played by the band members) have kidnapped Alan Wake's wife, Alice, and are holding her down in the back of pick-up truck. But the guys at Remedy asked us to edit it differently, because it contradicted the narrative of the game too much. Besides that I can't remember any major changes from Remedy's behalf."

Photo by Tiia Öhman. Used with permission.

With the sun setting behind the forest, filming began on the impressive police car scene. On his travels, Alan stumbles across a police car jutting across both lanes, just metres away from roadkill. The driver is looking emotionless and still even as he approaches. Taking his eyes off the driver for a second or two, Alan returns to the seat and discovers the officer has disappeared, a scene atmospherically similar to the climax of the Bright Falls TV show. The shot was fairly spontaneous and one of Akseli's personal favourites to shoot. "My favourite moments include all the crazy improvisation we managed to pull off during the shoot. For example the scene with the police car was added very late when we found out there was a replica of an American police car available nearby. In the same scene also the roadkill fox was added on location using a fox fur from the wardrobe and some jam (as blood) from the catering."

Night time was dedicated to the final scene, and while Akseli couldn't remember the most challenging shot, he remembered this one being one of the trickiest: "The scene we had most trouble with was the night scene where Alan and Alice are surrounded by the Taken-like lumberjacks. We shot it really fast and late in the night, which kind of shows in the end result." Despite the difficulties in bringing the final shot together, it features an impressive slow motion pan around the scene as the Taken stumble back into the darkness, blinded by the flare

Photo by Tiia Öhman. Used with permission.

The music video was released on the 9th of June 2010 and was uploaded to both Poets of the Fall’s and Remedy’s YouTube channels, to a very positive reception. "The moment that made me proud was reading trough all the (mostly) positive feedback from the fans of Alan Wake and POTF." In post production, additional work was done to make the Helsinki horizon resemble that of Bright Falls. "What made me especially happy was the comments by some fans in the US, who thought the video was shot in the same epic locations as the Bright Falls TV-series. In reality everything was shot just thirty minute ride from Helsinki and I added the mountains digitally by myself in the post production." In the eight years since the music video was launched, it's accrued 5.1 million views across both channels.

With the shoot lasting two days on a tight budget, a question I wondered about was how would the music video have been different with a larger budget and a longer shoot time. "If we had the budget I would have loved to really do justice for the visually stunning world of the game - camera flying on top of mountains and rivers, weather changing in the middle of the shot etc. On the other hand I'm quite happy with the video the way it is. With the tiny budget we were kind of forced to be do things in an original way instead of trying to copycat the game. After all it's just a music video, not a game commercial. ;)"

The future looks busy. Poets of the Fall will release their upcoming album, Ultraviolet, on the 5th of October 2018 with an international tour in the following months. For Remedy, they are set to release their upcoming title Control in 2019 with publisher 505Games. As for Akseli, he’s in a similar position: "Currently I'm working a feature film project I hope to shoot in 2019. I have two small sons which is also keeping me busy!"

A big thank you to Akseli for the interview! 
To follow his upcoming projects, check out his website, HERE.

4th August 2018
Juha's Control-Inspired 3D Printed Pieces

Juha Vainio is the Lead Producer working on Control but in his free time lately he's been playing around with different 3D printing techniques and created some very nice Control-inspired unofficial designs.

To date, he's made four different designs of every day items; two versions of a FBC branded beard combs and two versions of FBC branded earrings. In addition to documenting the progress with photos on Twitter, he has also uploaded some of the designs to Thingiverse so that other fans can print off their own inspired pieces too.

Check the beautiful designs out below:

3rd August 2018
Community Spotlight: Fraser's Stylish Remedy Sketches
[August Feature]

Community Spotlight is a regular feature which highlights amazing fan projects in the Remedy community. For 2018 we're switching things up a little with each month having its own spotlighted fan and fan project. For our August feature I'm excited to talk to Fraser, a dedicated artist and Remedy fan living in Lithuania.

There's something about Fraser's work that is uniquely his; with each sketch there's a different emotion behind it and something new being expressed. The artwork style can vary with some posts being a full colour piece, and others being a line art sketch, with a style unique to that piece. His work is not predictable but it's something that makes his work especially interesting, and makes each drawing completely its own.

While also inspired by Alan Wake and Control, when it comes to his artwork Fraser is more at home publishing his Quantum Break-inspired pieces and with sketching Will, especially in the burdened-state the character was in while creating the Countermeasure. Fraser's artwork is distinctive with sharp lines and a focus on the character's features, whether it be a slight frown at the corner of their mouth or tired eyes from a long day of saving the world. It's the little nods to the characters that makes his work shine.
Traditional artwork featuring Will Joyce.
The artwork is usually created in a traditional style with line-art sketches carefully created by hand with pencil, but on occasion he will post a full-colour piece and those are especially gorgeous. The colours are bright, strong, and complementary, really making the artwork pop. As they're bold colours, they're used minimally and carefully to not overwhelm the piece, and it's something that Fraser does particularly well in all his full-colour pieces, whether created by hand or digitally.

You can check out more of Fraser's work on his Instagram page, HERE.

We recently spoke to Fraser to learn more about his artwork and what has influenced his style over the years. Check out our interview below:

Tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, I’m Fraser. I am a 21 years old from Lithuania, currently studying at University. Also, I really like Alan Wake a ton. My other hobbies are writing and video editing. I’m lacking confidence in my work, but I hope to one day be as good as the rest of the featured artist on this site!
Fraser's adorable dog, Winston.

Where did you get your passion for art?

Growing up my older brother wanted to be an architect. Obviously, he drew a lot. I thought how cool that was, but it wasn’t until I saw legitimate fanart on a topic I was at the time passionate about that my mind clicked and I went “Wow! I could, too, draw characters I like!” and while of course my skill thankfully improved over the years, I think it’s that magic that really keeps me going. I never feel as much interest in drawing my own characters as much as I adore creating fanart. It’s kind of like taking somebody else’s work that makes you happy and writing a love letter to the creator… just taking out the mushy part.

How and when were you introduced to Remedy’s games?

Somewhere 2010-2011, one of my older brothers was playing Alan Wake and I saw just some of it and shamefully wasn’t too interested at the time. It’s when the American Nightmare’s trailer came out 2012 that I got a little curious, but even then it took me till 2013 for when I asked for the novelization for my birthday, then ended up spending nights till the book arrived watching gameplay videos. Later, I played the game and then read the novelization. Totally fell in love with every detail in the game. Alan Wake is just a very important piece of art to me, truthfully.

What aspect of Quantum Break interested you that made you want to be a part of the community and to create artwork?

Funnily enough, I was around pre-Quantum Break, but as much as I drew Alan Wake artwork it got scrapped or deleted or laid in my sketchbook for forever to be forgotten. In Alan Wake, it was the characters, the scenery and overall aesthetic, the feeling the story gave me and the story’s beauty that really dragged me in.

As for Quantum Break? I was also equally impressed with the characters, aesthetic and story to create work for it. But it was mostly the existence of William Joyce that got me to keep an interest. I thought he was such a great character! I most likely popped up and became more visible in the community because I started using some amount of tagging occasionally and because I already knew a ton of great people from before who made me feel encouraged to create more work. Along with making me feel all right about sharing some of it.

From left and clockwise: Will Joyce, Mr Scratch, Barry Wheeler.

You’ve drawn a lot of different Remedy characters over the years such as Alan, Scratch, and others, but you keep coming back to Will Joyce. What is it about that specific character that appeals to you?

Well, Alan and Scratch are my Remedy favorites; they occupy my mind most of the time. But they also give me an anxiety that I won’t do them justice, so most of the doodles of them get buried away (and that’s a good thing). William, on the other hand, reminds me of myself in an odd way. I might not relate to the genius scientist who can create a time machine, but I sure as hell can relate to the mental illness. I’m pretty open about it, mostly because I believe that shutting people down and making them embarrassed and ashamed of an aspect of themselves they have to live with every day is just plain wrong and awful. As for me and William, well… it just hits close to home.

What would you like to see in a potential Quantum Break sequel?

Oh, that’s a hard question. I’d like to see much, much more of William Joyce. For one, and most importantly, the Joyce bros reconciling their relationship and William trying to figure out how he could help Jack, given his current predicament. Jack mourning the loss of his friend and the dramatic attempt to save Beth. Just more angst and emotional moments, please!

Thank you for the interview, Fraser! 
You can see more of Fraser's work on his Instagram page, Seraphimcorpse.


In Development

Quantum Break Series

Alan Wake Series

Max Payne Series

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