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"Alan Wake's Return" trademark may hint at long-awaited sequel

Quantum Break developer Remedy filed to trademark the name “Alan Wake’s Return” Tuesday, suggesting the developer may have resumed production on a new entry in the franchise.

The patent application comes just over a month before the studio’s upcoming project, the TV-game hybrid Quantum Break, sees wide release. Microsoft, the game’s publisher, announced earlier this month that players who pre-order the game on Xbox One will receive a free download code for the Xbox 360 version of Alan Wake and its post-release DLC, which will be playable on the Xbox One. Pre-ordering the game at certain retailers will also net players a download code for the 2012 follow-up, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare.

Meanwhile, an intrepid NeoGAF user also discovered the studio had discretely purchased the web domain “alanwakesreturn.com” last year. The user also pointed out that the second and final piece of Alan Wake DLC, “The Writer,” ends with Wake typing out the title of a new book called “Return.”

Related: Quantum Break will be the first of many “Xbox One exclusives” that will also come out on Windows 10.

A new Alan Wake sequel seemed less than likely after a report from Polygon revealed that Remedy had created a working prototype for a game they called Alan Wake 2. That sequel was eventually shelved when the studio started working on Quantum Break, and some gameplay elements from the prototype were folded into Alan Wake’s American Nightmare.

That said, the studio has always insisted it would return to the franchise, even as it publicly announced it would no longer be developing the sequel in earnest.

“It wouldn’t have been the sequel that Alan Wake deserves to get,” Remedy creative director Sam Lake said in 2014. “But the possibilities are still out there.”

Now, it seems the studio may be ready to try again. Earlier this month, Lake told a masterclass at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris that the studio had been “iterating” on its plan for an Alan Wake sequel in the years since the sequel was shelved.

“I think that it as been, in a way, fortunate,” Lake said during a masterclass at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris, “because, you know, we have been iterating the idea of what an Alan Wake sequel could be, and along the way there has been much better ideas that what the concept coming out of Alan Wake was for the sequel.”