The first “Alan Wake” came out all the way back in 2010 and was exclusive to the Xbox 360. Developed by Remedy Entertainment, this was their first title since “Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne” and was a new and original IP that gave us cinematic third-person shooting and a really good narrative. Everyone’s favorite Sam Lake returned to write the script once again, and this time instead of taking the comic book style approach they did for “Max Payne,” they went for a more episodic way of storytelling that took heavy inspiration from TV shows like Twin Peaks. How was the game, then? It was loved by critics and fans alike, with everyone singing the praises of how expertly the game was crafted and how cinematic it felt. Remedy is no strangers when it comes to making cinematic third-person shooters; they are the guys who invented bullet-time after all, but “Alan Wake” didn’t bring bullet-time back but instead came up with its own mechanic.
The game took us to the small town of Bright Falls, Washington, where our main protagonist, Alan Wake, arrives to spend some time away from the big city and enjoy a vacation with his dear wife. Alan is a popular writer and is also seeking motivation to write his new book, and the events that take place once he arrives may as well change his life forever. The town seems normal at a glance, but at night, things take a turn for the worse. Enemies known as Taken awaken in hordes during the night, who are basically the townsfolk of Bright Falls who are corrupted by darkness, and Alan, being the video game protagonist, ends up in a situation where he has to fight through them and get to the bottom of the mystery of this town. Long story short, his wife goes missing, he learns about the mystery surrounding this town, and he embarks on a journey to save her. The story here is full of twists and turns and is an incredible romp that is as cinematic as it is mysterious and thrilling and plays in the form of episodes, with each episode ending with a song, all of which are fantastic.
The gunplay, on the other hand, is as amazing as you’d expect from Remedy. Weapons look and sound incredible and pack a punch, and it’s always satisfying to pull the trigger in this game. Remember how I mentioned that Bullet-Time didn’t return for the game? Well, it was replaced by a new mechanic, which is quite unique and fun if you ask me. Alongside your gun, you always carried a flashlight in this game, and as all the enemies you fought were shrouded and corrupted by darkness before you could shoot them, you had to point the flashlight in their direction to cleanse the darkness from them before pulling the trigger. This mechanic seems gimmicky and pointless, but both in the context of the game and in terms of gameplay, it was implemented incredibly well. There’s a lot to this game, so feel free to check it out and discover it on your own, especially now that the game is available on all platforms with a remastered version available for grabs.
So, the game was loved by critics and fans and had solid gameplay and an intriguing story; it was a smash hit, right? Yes and no. Everyone who played it loved it, but the game itself never gained that much attention and remains underrated even to this day. You could theoretically even call this one a cult classic, and despite its lack of popularity, fans have always asked for a proper sequel. They did get a spin-off short game called “Alan Wake’s American Nightmare,” but as I mentioned, they wanted a full-blown sequel. Remedy has always stated that they’d be interested in making one, but it’s up to Microsoft as they hold the rights to the IP. That changed almost a decade later when Remedy retained the rights and released “Alan Wake Remastered” and went multiplatform with the game. a sign of good things to come, and they did, as back during The Game Awards 2021, Remedy Entertainment took the stage and announced the game everyone was waiting for, “Alan Wake 2.” There isn’t a lot of information to go by for this one yet, but we can still speculate a bit, so let’s take a look at some reasons to be excited about “Alan Wake 2.”
Obviously, the first thing to be excited about here will be the story. The story for the first game was convoluted at times but fantastic all the same, so it’d be interesting to see if they continue where they left off or take a new direction. They did set up something with the “AWE” expansion for “Control,” which officially brings these two worlds together, and from the only teaser trailer we have for this game, it does look like we are getting a more hardened version of Alan, who has seen some stuff and is practically ready for anything. The original game ended in a weird spot, and the DLC that followed did rectify some of the errors, but at the same time, it was a somewhat fitting conclusion, so it’d be interesting to see where we go from there. If the trailer is anything to go by, then we may also see a more monstrous side of Alan this time around; maybe he is possessed himself. No matter how it goes, storytelling is a department where Remedy excels, alongside gameplay, of course, so despite it being confusing and convoluted, it’s a safe bet to place that the narrative of this game will be fantastic, and we are eager to learn more about it.
The first game was mostly an action game with elements of survival horror sprinkled throughout, and while I am not saying that the game suffered an identity crisis, it’d be a much better experience if it went full survival horror if you ask me, and low and behold, it is doing that for the sequel. After the game was announced, Sam Lake did come to the stage, and while he didn’t utter much about the game’s plot and gameplay, he did confirm one thing loud and clear: the game will be a survival-horror experience this time around. This is a first for Remedy, as their pedigree lies with action shooters, so it’d be interesting to see how they handle this. Besides, “Alan Wake ” always had survival horror elements to it, so it’s about time that they are fully embracing that side finally. Now, we don’t know what this means, as it remains unclear if the game will take a more “Resident Evil” style approach or if it will still be full of action and bullets flying everywhere with an added layer of crafting, hiding, and using your smarts. Another thing that’d be interesting to see is the horror element and how scary/horrifying the game will be. The first game was eerie and creepy and definitely sent chills down your spine, but I won’t classify it as scary, so it’d definitely be a thing to behold if they could truly deliver some scares and make this an experience that is full of horrors. Now I know survival horror doesn’t mean scary but a tenser and nerve-racking experience with limited resources and the ability to think on your feet to overcome the odds, but then again, it’s worth pondering exactly what kind of approach they will take for this one. Remedy Entertainment is no joke, and they are perhaps some of the most talented developers in the industry, so they will easily tackle this challenge they picked for themselves, I am sure, but once again, we’ll learn all about this in due time.
Return Of Matthew Poretta And Poets Of The Fall, Maybe?
I can confirm that Matthew Poretta will be returning to reprise his role as Alan Wake, as his voice is clearly heard in the trailer, and he also played the role of the author in the “AWE” expansion for “Control.” It’s awesome that he is coming back, as he is perfect for this role, and his voice is just fantastic. One thing that gets kind of messy is that he also played the role of Dr. Darling in “Control,” and now that we know these two universes are connected, it gets a bit haywire that there are two characters portrayed by the same person and have similar character models, but then again, it’s fine. Another thing that is exciting to me personally is the potential return of my favorite band, Poets Of The Fall. Every Remedy game features a Poet’s song in it, and since their latest album Ghostlight came out in 2022 and this game is slated for 2023, the possibility of us getting a new song is slim. They can use a song from Ghostlight, which will be fine, but if you have played the first game, then you may have heard the name “Old Gods of Asgard.” It’s a fictional rock band from the town of Bright Falls who, you guessed it, is portrayed by Poets Of The Fall. They did a couple of original songs for the first game, so there’s a high chance that they’ll be back with yet another original for “Alan Wake 2,” and I can never say no to Poets Of The Fall. Seriously, go and listen to their music; it’s fantastic.
Finally, let’s talk about the experience a bit. The game will use Remedy’s in-house Northlight Engine, and it will look fantastic because of that. Seriously, that engine knows how to render realistic-looking faces and environments, which is a testament to Remedy’s commitment to delivering world-class experiences. Because it will be a current-gen game only, we will more than likely also see raytracing alongside the stunning visuals. The game will play in the third person, obviously, and will be a top-shelf experience at that. Remedy are masters of third-person shooting. Finally, the story and presentation are going to be damn good. I am certain of that; the story can be hit or miss, I get it, but Remedy never fails when it comes to the presentation department, and this being their first current-gen only game, there’s no doubt in my mind that the experience for “Alan Wake 2” will be one to remember.
I want this game in my hands. We have waited for 13 years at this point, and it still feels unreal that we are finally getting a sequel. They said that the game would release in 2023, but I won’t count on that as Remedy is known for delaying their games again and again, but at the same time, delays are always worth it when it comes to this studio because their products are polished as hell for the most part. Whatever this game turns out to be, I am all in for it when it hopefully arrives in 2023 for Xbox X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. The future of Remedy Games is looking bright for them and exciting for us as they come out with “Alan Wake 2,” the remakes for “Max Payne 1 and 2,” a sequel for “Control,” and a secret new IP they are cooking. Third-person shooter and Remedy fans, myself included, will be eating well throughout this generation of consoles.