Developing Northlight: OpenUSD content workflows

To give some context, we have historically operated in a model where our 3D artists, animators, etc. output their content from a Digital Content Creation (DCC) suite of software like Autodesk Maya directly into our data conversion process, asset by asset. This process is responsible for converting the DCC output into our different asset-type-optimized runtime data formats for geometry, animation, etc. So for example, let’s take Jesse from Control. In our current workflow, an outfit for Jesse would be assembled in a DCC by our talented rigging team, who’d then export the full outfit to an intermediate file format such as Autodesk FBX. Our data converter picks up on this FBX file and translates that to the corresponding runtime data format.

Current workflow, where character parts are collapsed to a single asset. (Note: this is a simplified workflow representation.)


This kind of artist crafted unique content has worked well for us in the past. However, with OpenUSD we foresee that we can maintain the same level of fidelity yet enable parallel editing workflows between artists; setting the stage for exploring generative ways of creating content variation and vastly improving content production workflows. In essence working smarter, and not harder.

Circling back to our Jesse example; when we consider an OpenUSD workflow, things get rather interesting. Instead of an artist assembling an outfit in a DCC and exporting it as a singular unique asset, all components of an outfit (shoes, shirt, faces, hands, etc.) could become their own assets and be combined using OpenUSD. This allows for far more flexible workflows as OpenUSD acts as a sort of intermediary “assembly” stage between DCC and converted data.

Proposed workflow using USD. (Note: this is a simplified workflow representation.)


So in this case using OpenUSD means that these individual garment pieces could be updated in isolation, resolving into much faster turnaround times. Additionally, data is no longer duplicated thus reducing loading times of the assets. There would be for example only one OpenUSD asset that represents Jesse’s head instead of having it duplicated in all outfits.

While being able to de-duplicate is a great boon for modular content, OpenUSD also offers the ability to express variations, override existing data non-destructively, create cross-engine and project-portable data, and so much more! If you want to know more about OpenUSD itself, have a look at the Book of USD, our Open-Source beginner-friendly guide to OpenUSD.

But how to get to the smarter-not-harder point in practice? We’ve been recently weighing our options for the tricky transition period where we move from our current status quo pipelines into a situation where we can benefit fully from OpenUSD. One way to achieve this would be to slowly move the underlying services to use OpenUSD but leave the content creators’ side alone. For example, we could enable our conversion process to use OpenUSD under the hood. (This implies that the conversion process would be able to ingest OpenUSD data and output into our optimized runtime data.) That said, supporting only this would still incur a disruptive change on the content creation side as the content pipelines must output OpenUSD data.

To avoid this disruption, we’ve decided to opt for a OpenUSD plugin solution, which should make the transition period much more palatable for our pipeline and content teams. We’re writing plugins for OpenUSD that can read data formats that we currently use, such as Autodesk FBX. Such plugins will allow the use of our current file formats within OpenUSD as-is. The plugins are responsible for taking format-specific data and outputting OpenUSD data, effectively enabling the OpenUSD conversion process to operate on these formats as if they were native OpenUSD.

Over time, this ensures that pipeline and content teams can migrate to OpenUSD whenever they see fit; but under the hood, they could have been using OpenUSD in the content conversion pipeline already. On top of that, there is also a plethora of existing content that we can support out of the box using this plugin mechanism without having to convert them to OpenUSD manually.

And why are we telling you this? Because even though Northlight is our own proprietary tech, we want to keep true to the spirit of Free Open Source Software that OpenUSD is – we are happy to announce that we are open sourcing our usdFBX OpenUSD plugin. We hope it can serve as a basis (or drop-in solution!) for your pipeline migration into OpenUSD.

Get the usdFBX plugin and contribute:

Read Book of USD

(Contributions welcome at


Kristof Minnaert, Principal Technical Artist/Pipeline Lead at Remedy Entertainment

A fresh and refined look for Remedy Entertainment

The new Remedy Entertainment logo

Creating a new logo and a refreshed visual identity for Remedy was an emotional journey, like anything to do with art. For longtime Remedy followers, you surely know how vital artistic direction is for us. Not just in our games but from the standpoint of how our studio identity looks. Not to mention our hoodies! 

As a game development studio, we have come a long way since 1995 when we got our start. Remedy is constantly evolving.  

The bullet in the letter R in the old logo represented the era of Max Payne, but the Remedy of now is much bigger than a single game; we have a whole portfolio of games, new and old.  

It was time to update and redefine our visual identity to bring more consistency, showcase our evolution over the years, and better express our vision of today’s Remedy. 

The Remedy logo means a lot to us, but we know it also means a lot to you. Like the games we create at Remedy, we approached this process with great care, consideration and a lot of passion!  

We want to create memorable worlds, stories, and characters for you to experience through our games. We wanted our new logo to reflect how we constantly evolve and continue creating exciting games with the very best people. However, it’s all still one Remedy where courageous creativity thrives. We hope you like the new look. 

Our future is incredibly exciting. Despite almost three decades in the game industry, in many ways it feels we are only getting started. You can look forward to Alan Wake 2 later this year and several great Remedy experiences to play in the coming years.  

Thomas Puha, Communications Director, Remedy Entertainment

About game engines

Here at Remedy, we have always used our own technology. Call it a Nordic thing. Many of our neighbouring studios have used their own technology for the longest of times too.

Northlight is a comprehensive game engine that, like every game engine, has a unique take on workflows and data pipelines. It has modern rendering technology, offers comprehensive solutions for most – if not all – areas of game development, and it can be used to make games for multiple console platforms and PC.

When considering the own technology vs. licensed engine question, it’s tempting to compare some specific aspects of game engines, such as perceived image quality or character animation fidelity. But on a more holistic level, it would be mostly meaningless. In my opinion, what should be considered instead is how well a particular game engine can fit the game development team’s strengths; what is the team size and composition; what is the game vision and its core pillars; what main platforms the game is going to be released on. For example, having our own game engine means we can tailor it to our team’s needs and together define the best practices so that teams and individuals can get everything possible out of the technology available.

Creating a game on top of any game engine can go from light scripting and content setup to significant customization of the engine and reworking entire content pipelines. It’s important to pick the right technology base, so that the game team’s effort can go into making that unique game. It’s also important that the game team understands the strengths of the chosen technology and embraces it; have solid plan on how to implement that creative vision with the chosen technology, instead of fighting it.

This is why our Vanguard development team went with the Unreal Engine. It has, out-of-the-box, many of the things that the Vanguard team needs for an online game. That is the right choice for that game.

Why have we chosen and keep choosing Northlight?

the in-house technology, workflows, pipelines, and game teams are in a symbiotic relationship

Northlight was born many, many hardware generations ago, when games and teams were much smaller. Times were in many aspects simpler, and commercial game engines were not really available in the same way as they are today. Remedy built its own technology, which came with custom workflows and pipelines. We kept making new games, development teams kept growing, and we kept building on top of existing technology, and more importantly, our custom pipelines and workflows. This symbiosis of tech, pipelines and workflows has defined and continues to define what kind of roles we have in our teams, which in turn defines the games that come out as a result. In other words, the in-house technology, workflows, pipelines, and game teams are in a symbiotic relationship where each part helps the others to grow and succeed.

What continues to make Remedy stay with Northlight is that developing our own technology means we keep having the full control over all content pipelines and workflows, in addition to all the runtime capabilities. We have seen that when technology is developed for and with all the game teams, it truly means that everything we build is built for our teams and games. For example, this approach has recently allowed us to introduce a new scripting system (Luau), replace our game object model (which changes the way how gameplay code is written), and introduce completely new content pipelines based on Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD). These changes are solving issues that were raised by several of our technology and content teams when they were building our previous games. We can now build and run larger, more detailed worlds, and have larger teams to create content for our upcoming games.

Owning and developing proprietary engine of course has its challenges. That is definitely not lost on us. It’s a constant challenge and a huge investment to upkeep. Having full control of our technology means it has to be maintained decisively and kept balanced between smaller iterative changes and larger technology leaps. Becoming stagnant would be a slow but certain death for internal technology; you have to be able to keep taking calculated risks with technology. Our adoption of Universal Scene Description and building our new content pipelines on top of it, is a good example of a larger leap on technology and content creation. It comes with risks, and we can really only assess the benefits only after the first game has shipped on it.

Making games is, as we are fond of saying at Remedy, hard, and it is not possible to foresee all the challenges that come up during multi-year, multi-project game production, regardless of one’s chosen technology. Whether you have your own tech or licensed, there are always going to be massive challenges. Games are more and more complex, have more features and more fidelity; the work is never ending. We are well aware of the challenges of maintaining our own technology, but at least it’s in our hands.

There are always multiple perspectives to consider when evaluating which is the right technology choice for a team. It is always a collaborative effort to make a game; tech and creatives need to work together and trust that each individual in every team is doing their best and wants to ensure shipping great games. Ultimately, the kind of crafts and individuals you have defines the end result in both macro and micro scale. Having deep control of technology brings its own flavor into the games made with it. Yet the deep control is the main reason I believe many studios have been and want to keep investing into strong technology teams and proprietary game engines.

Now that we have kicked things off, you can expect more blog posts from us at irregular cadence around a variety of Northlight related topics. Thank you for reading!


Mika Vehkala, Technology Director at Remedy Entertainment

Northlight in 2023

The one constant is that we are still committed to using our in-house technology Northlight for most of our games. For many of us at Remedy, it’s highly motivating to work on the tech that enables us to try and do unique features and decide where to focus our efforts.

Back in 2022, as we kept growing, we decided we should be more forthcoming about our technology in the public domain. As more and more development team members (and external development partners) join Remedy, working both on-site and remotely, we have realized we should get a lot better about how we talk about Northlight and everything associated with it. That goes for both internally and externally.

From a public standpoint, we want to give more details on our tech and discuss what kind of technology choices we have made and why. We are doing cool stuff; we should talk about it because we can! It’s our own tech. If you are an coder interested in what we do or are considering working at Remedy, we want to give you a lot better picture of what kind of workflows, pipelines, and tools we use.

We have also finetuned the Northlight logo. We dropped the “Storytelling Engine” from the description. We are still telling stories through our games, but streamlining made sense here because Northlight is so many things to us: the engine, the tools and apps, the cutting-edge content creation pipelines, the team, and so on.

More information is available about our technology and tools on the revamped Northlight section of Remedy’s website. Internally we have a massive update to our in-house Northlight documentation and presentations.

Please take a look at a video we created, where some of our Northlight team members talk about why the tech matters to them; you can see some of the lovely personalities we have working for us, shaping the future of our technology and thus games.

Finally, please read our Technology Director Mika Vehkala’s blog post about game engines and his thoughts on this subject.

Thomas Puha, Communications Director and Northlight fanboy at Remedy Entertainment

Wrapping Up 2022

We had two very exciting announcements about new projects – Max Payne 1&2 remake and Control 2 are both in the works! Mikael Kasurinen, Game Director of the Control franchise, had this to say: “It’ll be an unexpected journey. It’ll take a while, but to put it mildly, this is the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on. It’s still early days, but it will be worth the wait.”

Speaking of the Control franchise, this year we celebrated the third anniversary of Control. Thank you to everyone who has shown us so much love, made a lot of awesome fanart over the years, and kept the community creative and thriving! During this year we took the time to feature some of the community-led initiatives in the Control fandom, such as Jesse January, Altered April, and Oldest House October.

And to celebrate the anniversary of the game’s release, we commissioned a piece of art from Sarah for the community, and you can download it as a wallpaper. We also gave the Control community a chance to talk to Jesse and Dylan Faden (Courtney Hope and Sean Durrie) and ask them anything they like. You can watch the resulting video below!

In Alan Wake news, this October Alan Wake Remastered was our first title released running natively on the Nintendo Switch. We know you’ve been hungry for Alan Wake 2 updates as well, and so we released an anniversary update and interview with both halves of Alan Wake (Ilkka Villi and Matthew Porretta).

This year, we also launched our very first public Remedy newsletter! You can read our first issue here, and you can read our most recent issue here. A Dose of Remedy is coming out on a regular basis, and it’s for those of you who prefer a way of communicating slower than our social media, and might not always catch all the announcements we post on, for example, Twitter. If that sounds good, you can go here and subscribe to the newsletter!

Tivi magazine company of the year. Photo by Outi Järvinen

Our studio achieved two big milestones this year. First, the Finnish IT and communication technology magazine Tivi named us their company of the year. Remedy is the first video game company to receive this award, which is a huge honor!

An important part of our development as a studio is the opening of our Swedish office – Remedy Stockholm is in the trendy Södermalm neighborhood in Stockholm, and we’re currently working hard internally on making sure that the Remedy studio culture is equally strong both in Finland and in Sweden. More on that next year!

Exciting things are happening on the side of our proprietary engine and tools, Northlight. One of them is USD, or Universal Scene Description, and Remedy is one of the very few game studios in the world currently using it. Our Principal Technical Artist Kristof Minnaert gave an exhaustive presentation on how USD will be used in the future of Remedy’s development, and our goals for the technology, and you can watch it here. We’ll talk more about Northlight and USD in the new year, so please look forward to that.

2023 is going to be an exciting year for our studio. We’ll further establish Remedy Sweden, we’ll have more exciting Northlight news, and oh yeah… Alan Wake 2 is coming out! We can’t wait to share more information about that with you all.

Stay tuned, and stay in the light!

Vida Starčević, Senior Community Manager

Our annual holiday card was drawn by Jenna Seikkula, concept artist at Remedy

The sequel to Control: Remedy Entertainment signs a co-development and co-publishing agreement with 505 Games for Control 2

Control 2 concept art

With Control, we leaped into the unknown. We wanted to create something new. Something different and unexpected. A world like no other. Thank you, the audience, for making Control such a success for us.

With Control 2, we’ll take another leap into the unknown. It’ll be an unexpected journey. It’ll take a while, but to put it mildly, this is the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on. It’s still early days, but it will be worth the wait.

Mikael Kasurinen
Game Director of the Control Franchise

Alan Wake desk standee competition

1. These are the official competition rules for the above-named competition. The competition is organized by Remedy Entertainment Plc (“Remedy”). No purchase is necessary to enter or win, i.e., participation in this competition is completely free of charge and does not require ownership or purchase of any games or other merchandise.

2. The competition starts on 20 January 2022 at 18:00 (EET) ends on 31 January at 18:00 (EET).

3. All participants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Remedy assumes that by entering the competition (and the participant warrants that), the participant has the legal capacity to enter the competition and agree to the terms and conditions. Only one entry per participant is allowed. Remedy employees and directors cannot take part in this competition. Entries worldwide are welcome, but Remedy expressly waives any and all responsibility and liability for compliance with any other laws and regulations than those applicable to this competition under section 12. Furthermore, this competition and participation therein is automatically void where and to the extent prohibited, restricted or taxed by law.

4. To enter the competition, participants must have a Facebook account. Participants must log into their Facebook account, like the Alan Wake Facebook page, and then leave a comment mentioning their favorite thing about Alan Wake under the specified post on the Alan Wake Facebook page within the competition period.

5. Only one entry per person will be accepted. If multiple entries are posted, only the first submitted will be accepted. The submission must comply with any channel specific rules or terms and conditions.

6. By entering, the participant confirms that they have read these terms and conditions and agree to abide by them. Remedy reserves the right to disqualify any entry if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the participant has breached any of these terms and conditions. Participants further agree that Remedy has no liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, incidental or punitive claims, losses, damages, costs or expenses of any kind resulting from entry and/or participation in this competition.

7. Remedy is not responsible for entries not received for whatever reason.

8. There will be a total of 3 prizes awarded, each comprising an Alan Wake cardboard desk standee. There are no alternative prizes. The prize(s) of the competition are “as shipped” and non-transferable. There is no cash alternative, and the prizes cannot be enforced by any legal means. Remedy reserves the right to substitute prizes of equal or greater value at any time.

9. The winners will be decided by Remedy through a random drawing among all entries, and this decision will be final. Remedy retains full right to change or amend the terms and conditions, postpone or terminate this competition or any portion thereof or alter the competition or any portion thereof without prior notice or any compensation to any participant. Remedy further retains the right to award the prizes among the eligible, non-suspect entries in accordance with Remedy’s consideration. Worldwide entry notwithstanding, such eligibility may also be limited by country or region-specific limitations on posting or receiving a prize. Remedy assumes no responsibility for the receipt of any prizes (for example, lost, mislaid, damaged or delayed prizes) or any related obligations. Winners will apply their claims following from responsibility for faults of the prizes directly to entities given in warranty or shipping conditions. Except for the shipping cost of the prize to the winner, all taxes, insurances, transfers, out-of-pocket expenses, and other expenses are the sole responsibility of the prize winner.

10. By entering, the participants guarantee that all information submitted by them is true, current and complete and that they own all rights to the entries, and the entries as such or as part of this competition do not infringe on any copyrights or other intellectual property rights. The participants shall indemnify Remedy for any and all related claims.

11. The winners will be contacted via Facebook message within two weeks of the end of the competition. If the winners are not reachable, Remedy will contact the runners-up until a winner is selected.

12. Any personal information provided to Remedy in connection with this competition will be handled and protected by our Competition Privacy Policy. By entering in into this competition, participants give their consent and grant Remedy the right to process their personal data in accordance with the above-mentioned policy.

13. This competition shall be governed by Finnish law, excluding its choice of law and any disputes shall be resolved by the Finnish courts.

14. For clarity, it is noted that to the extent participation solely in accordance with Finnish law and the above-stated dispute resolution is not possible, participation is automatically void.

Wrapping up 2021

Dear Remedy community,  

In 2021, time ended.

On January 5th this year, we reached the end of time, as predicted in Quantum Break. 

2021 will haunt us too, although… only in a positive sense. It was a year full of announcements and exciting new ventures for us. At the same time, it was our second year of remote work and rising to meet the challenges of the global pandemic. 

Come take a journey back through time with us and read on to see what 2021 looked like for Remedy!

To start with the most recent, and most exciting thing – Alan Wake 2. Confirmed. It’s coming 2023, on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on the Epic Games Store. It will be our studio’s first foray into survival horror. We’ve seen your tweets and your reaction videos, we know how excited you are for this. We are just as excited! We can’t wait to share more information about the game with you in the summer. It’s going to be a twisted, weird, and thrilling story, but – more about that later. For now, we leave you with the announcement trailer.

We’re so lucky to have such a passionate, devoted community of Alan Wake fans, and this year we wanted to give back. Therefore, back in September we chose to announce Alan Wake Remastered on The Sudden Stop, one of our longest standing and most loyal fansites. You can read Sam’s letter to the community right here on The Sudden Stop. 

Thank you to everyone who played Alan Wake Remastered, whether it’s your first or seventy first time!

This year we celebrated a big milestone – Max Payne, one of our most iconic games, turned 20 years old in July. We got our Creative Director Sam Lake (Max Payne), and one of our most iconic voices James McCaffrey (Max Payne) together for a special tribute video, featuring a unique and well-known jacket. 

Although the Max Payne intellectual property is no longer owned by us at Remedy, we recognize that the game still holds a major place in the hearts of so many in our community, and that you indelibly associate it with the Remedy name – thanks for the love! 

We went a bit retro in a different direction for April Fools, and released a gameplay trailer for the 1996 version of Control. A surprising number of you said they’d want to play it… Instead, you got Control Ultimate Edition, which we launched in February for next generation consoles. 

The Control franchise continueswe announced Condor, which is the code name for a multiplayer spin-off game set in the world of Control. Read more about Condor in a post by Mikael Kasurinen, Game Director of the Control franchise. 

This year we released The Art and Making of Control, a gorgeous, enormous and incredibly detailed art book of Control, featuring everything from interview, concept art, early sketches, to photos from the development of the game. Thank you to the talented people at FuturePress for making it happen! Click here for a small unboxing TikTok. 

Speaking of TikTok… you should follow Sam Lake on the clock app. Sam opened a TikTok account, and we’ve seen him wrapped in Christmas lights, drinking coffee in a dark forest, and most strikingly, diving into a freezing cold lake (not an ocean) with a steaming cup of coffee, all in the name of entertainment. And to share his excitement about Alan Wake Remastered.

Our publishers at Smilegate Entertainment announced a release date for CrossfireX! Players will be able to enjoy the game, and Remedy’s single-player campaign, on February 10th, 2022. It’s been a long time coming, and we are eager for you to meet the members of Global Risk and Black List, and to hear what you think of Remedy’s first foray into the FPS genre.  

In other Remedy news, we launched several new, exciting things! Firstly, playtesting. Click on that link to find out everything about how we playtest at Remedy. Although we’re currently only looking for playtesters in Finland, our user research team wants players of all skills and with all kinds of interests. That way we can hear your honest opinions and feedback, which helps us to keep creating games of the best quality for you!  

By Leonel Bruzzese

We also started our community hub, where we display the fanworks created by our community, and share content we think our community might like. Check out that submit button there – that’s for all your art, cosplay, and anything else you might make that’s inspired by our games! Every month, we spotlight a very special piece of fanart. 

And… something that’s been on the cards for a long time was finally realized this year. The official Remedy merchandise store! You can visit it for all your Control, Alan Wake and Remedy merch needs. We’re trying to create small batch, well-crafted merchandise at affordable prices and made with sustainable materials. The whole Remedy Store operation is run by a very small team, and we are learning a lot as we go. Hopefully we can only improve. Please look forward to more merch drops, and exciting stuff in the future! 

Last but not least, we are still hiring. We are accepting applications from all over the world, as always, but this time round, we are also looking for talented people who are willing to work from Sweden. As we’ve embraced a more hybrid model of working, we’ve had multiple Sweden-based senior developers joining our studio and working fully remotely from the second-best Nordic country. (We all know what the best Nordic country is.) You can read more about our plans for Remedy in Sweden right here. 

Check our careers page to see our current open roles, and yes – some of these will be for working on Alan Wake 2. And remember our newest recruitment video, which we filmed from home! Watch it here for some interviews with our developers about what it’s like to work at Remedy, and their thoughts on Finnish liquorice. 

We are hoping for a bright and exciting 2022! There’s the release of CrossfireX to look forward to, and in the summer, more Alan Wake 2 news. And who knows… maybe other things? 

Stay tuned, and stay in the light! 


Vida Starčević, Community Manager

Alan, wake up – Announcing Alan Wake 2

Alan Wake is getting a sequel. 

Trust us when we say that we appreciate your undying support for us and a certain writer through the years and believe us when we add that we at Remedy are just as fond of our lost hero as you are (wild, we know!).  

“Where is Alan Wake 2?” 

Along with our partners at Epic Games Publishing, we have worked tirelessly to shed some light on what has long been obscured by darkness. After 11 long years, the writer’s return is a reality and the dangers lurking in the dark are even more sinister than the Taken roaming Bright Falls.  

Alan Wake 2 has been written into reality and it’s coming your way in 2023 for PC via the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X.

You read that right – Alan Wake 2 will be a truly next-generation experience.  

Not only that, but Alan Wake 2 also turns up the level of dread as our very first dive into the survival horror genre, so expect a chilling experience with familiar psychological horror elements. 

Now that the sequel has been announced and the trailer is out, we are going to go “dark” until summer of 2022 when we’ll return to shed more light on the game. 

Thank you for your support through the years. For now – back into the darkness we descend. In the meantime, we’re thrilled to leave you with the announce trailer. 

Be careful out there. Monsters wear many faces. 


Lisa Dahlgren, Communications Specialist