The original Alan Wake is a game that went through quite a troubled development before it was finally released. After many iterations and changes in scope and direction, the final product was initially a cult hit but didn’t hit the mass market it needed — at least not initially. After two DLC episodes, a sequel was in the works to build upon the first game and revive some of the elements that had to be cut from the first in order for it to ship, but this was ultimately not meant to be. The sequel was canceled and a smaller downloadable game, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, was released instead.
Since then, we hadn’t heard from our intrepid writer until he showed up in a very unlikely place. Featured in the AWE expansion for a completely different game, Control, Alan was back in the picture. With a remaster of the initial game catching everyone up on his first appearance, now was the perfect time to announce that the long-awaited sequel was back in development. We haven’t found all the manuscript pages yet, but here is everything we know about Alan Wake 2.
Alan Wake 2 will arrive just in time for the spooky season on October 17, 2023.
The initial trailer did make it clear where we would be able to play Alan Wake 2. It will launch on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, as well as the Epic Game Store for PC.
The announcement trailer is brief but has some interesting details hidden within it. It opens on a taped-off crime scene in the woods that looks very much like a location from the first game. There’s a dead body on a wooden or stone table and a shadowy figure in the distance. Alan begins a monologue about stories as the scene shifts to a city street, possibly New York, on a rainy night, with that same figure remaining in the scene.
The camera continues to pull in as the scene warps once again to a street in Bright Falls, the location where Alan Wake took place, before shifting back to the city location. Alan finishes his monologue as the camera reveals that the figure we’ve been drawn to is, in fact, Alan Wale himself. He turns around, holding up a light, claiming that “This story will eat you alive.” As he turns and reveals his face, Alan whispers the final line: “This story is a monster, and monsters wear many faces.” We’re treated to a flash of Alan’s face, cheeks, and bared teeth splattered with blood before the title drops.
Without getting too deep into spoilers or lore, based on the conclusion of Alan Wake, that final face likely doesn’t belong to Alan himself, but rather to his doppelganger, dubbed Mr. Scratch, who torments our writer, who himself was in the Dark Place beneath a lake (or is it an ocean?). The new game is also going to be set post-Control DLC, where Alan made an appearance, though Remedy states that playing that story isn’t required for understanding Alan Wake 2.
The last hint we could tease out of this teaser was a tiny detail in the moments we see of Bright Falls. The streets are, while deserted, decorated for the annual Deer Fest celebrations. In Alan Wake, you visit the town as it’s being prepared for the 68th Deer Fest, but in the trailer, the sign reads “Deer Fest 81.” That would set the sequel 13 years after the events of the first game, the same gap between the first game and the sequel’s release.
Outside of the trailer, one note Sam Lake confirmed on Twitter was that the original voice and live-action actors, Matthew Porreta and Illkka Villi, respectively, would return to bring Alan to life.
The Gameplay Reveal Trailer was featured at the PlayStation Showcase and gave us a deeper look at the story. What was most surprising is that the narrative will be broken up into two sections where you will play from both Alan’s and FBI Agent Saga Anderson’s perspectives. Anderson is new to Bright Falls and tasked with investigating the various murders in the town.
What we know about Saga Anderson is that she has earned a reputation for solving impossible crimes. She arrives in Bright Falls after a series of ritualistic murders but quickly gets wrapped up in the dark workings of the town when she discovers one of Alan’s manuscript pages at a crime scene.
Alan is still trapped in The Dark Place and has been fighting to survive in its twisted environment for the past decade.
Before we saw gameplay, Remedy creative director Sam Lake and the team spoke about what we can expect Alan Wake 2 to play like in a few brief quotes. First, this game is said to be the studio’s first true survival horror game. The original Alan Wake, as well as Control, both had horror elements but didn’t lean fully into that genre. Control in particular was much more of an action game. Alan Wake only had some light resource management with your ammo and batteries but was more about exploring scary places and fighting horror-themed enemies than actually trying to be scary. As Lake himself put it: “The first game had horror elements to it, but it was an action game … The story, horror story, is at the very heart of this, and it’s a psychological, layered, deep mystery.”
In an interview, Lake stated that “we are diving deeper than ever, into an ocean of darkness,” and that Alan Wake 2 would be a “chilling experience with familiar psychological horror elements.” We also learned that the age rating would be bumped up to an M, while the first game received a T rating. This could allow for far more freedom in how the team wants to capitalize on this new focus on horror.
In the first game, light was a safe space from the primary enemies called The Taken, who were people, animals, and even objects that had been corrupted by darkness. Light was also needed to burn away the darkness protecting The Taken in order for you to be able to damage them with your normal weapons. Considering Alan Wake 2 is being billed as a more survival horror game than action, we suspect there to be some changes to this mechanic. Perhaps light remains a limited resource and an indication of safe locations but can only be used to stun or avoid enemies rather than open them up to attack.
The glimpses we’ve had of combat look to be a beefed-up version of the first, with the familiar light mechanics coming back, but with new and more terrifying enemies to face. We only see a pistol and shotgun so far, but expect more in the final product. That said, the tone of combat feels much tenser and horror-focused than the original, just as Lake hinted at early on.
The narrative is told through both Alan’s and Anderson’s perspectives, and players will be able to choose what order they unravel the story. Anderson’s will primarily take place in the Pacific Northwest in Bright Falls, a new town called Watery, and the nightmarish Dark Place where Alan’s journey will be set.
Preorders for Alan Wake 2 are live on the game’s official site! This horror tale will come in a Standard or Deluxe edition, so let’s run through what you get with each!
Standard edition: $50
- Digital copy of the game
- Ornate Revolver skin for Alan
- Survival Resources Pack for Saga
Deluxe edition: $70
- Everything from the Standard edition
- Expansion Pass (Night Springs and Lake House expansions)
- Nordic Shotgun Skin for Saga
- Parliament Shotfun skin for Alan
- Crimson Windbreaker for Saga
- Celebrity Suit for Alan
- Lantern Charm for Saga
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