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Alan Wake 2 studio is rebooting its upcoming multiplayer project

Remedy Entertainment, the studio behind October’s critically acclaimed survival horror game Alan Wake 2, revealed that it is reworking what was previously a free-to-play multiplayer game into a premium cooperative title.

Saga fights off a Taken in Alan Wake 2.
Remedy Entertainment

While Remedy made a name for itself with trippy, narrative-focused single-player franchises like Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Control, a multiplayer project code-named Vanguard has been in the works at the Finnish studio since at least 2018. In 2021, Remedy announced that it partnered with Tencent to make and distribute the game, which was described as “a free-to-play, co-operative PvE shooter that combines Remedy’s narrative expertise and action gameplay into an immersive multiplayer experience.” As recently as a financial report last month, Remedy said that Vanguard was still in the “proof-of-concept stage” and that it was working with Tencent on “defining the next stages of the project.”

Well, that next stage appears to be pivoting the game from a free-to-play title into a premium release, rebooting the project and changing the code name from Vanguard to Kestrel in the process. “Due to uncertainties in creating a successful game to the rapidly changing free-to-play market and associated risks, the parties have discussed a new direction for the game project, which will be given the new code name, ‘Kestrel.'” Remedy explained in a press release. “The reboot comes as the project has reached the end of its proof-of-concept phase, and after Remedy and Tencent had time to evaluate the project’s status and its next steps.”

As a result of this decision, Remedy says that Kestrel is returning to the concept phase of development with a main goal now being to create “a premium game with a strong cooperative multiplayer component.” Remedy says this new direction for Kestrel will still use some of the work already done on Vanguard and will “lean more into Remedy’s core strengths.” That last point hits home as we’ve seen several lauded single-player developers struggle to make a compelling multiplayer experience in recent years.

Titles like BioWare’s Anthem and Arkane Studios’ Redfall come to mind, while a The Last of Us multiplayer game is reportedly having a tough development cycle at Naughty Dog. It appears that Alan Wake 2 has emboldened Remedy to lean into its strengths with this experimental multiplayer game more than it was before, and we can only hope that’s for the better.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
Where to find all inventory upgrades in Alan Wake 2
Saga stands in front of an evidence board in Alan Wake 2.

While the first Alan Wake game certainly had plenty of scares and horror in it, the mechanics were not as strictly of the survival horror variety. Alan Wake 2 has gone fully in this direction, however, with a much darker tone, disturbing imagery, and restrictive combat mechanics that sustain the tension when The Taken attack.

Aside from limited ammo, low health, and tough enemies to bring down, a key aspect of survival horror games is an inventory system. The first game let you hold essentially as much ammo, batteries, and weapons as you wanted in each chapter, but the sequel introduces a grid system that will look familiar to Resident Evil fans. Just like Resident Evil, your inventory starts off quite small, but you can see there is plenty of space for it to grow. There are specific items hidden in and around Bright Falls that can let you expand your carrying capacity, but many are well hidden in dark corners. Here are the locations of every inventory upgrade in Alan Wake 2.
All inventory upgrades

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Alan drenched in green light in Alan Wake 2.

FBI agent Saga Anderson and her partner, Alex Casey, are called into Bright Falls to investigate a murder committed by a strange group calling themselves the Cult of the Trees. These dangerous cultists are your main enemy in Alan Wake 2, and they put up quite a fight despite mostly using basic tools as weapons. They seem mindless and primitive, but the fact that they have a series of Cultist Stashes hidden all around the world suggests otherwise. These treasure troves are very well hidden, and they're protected with a small puzzle to try and prevent those who may stumble upon one from grabbing all the goodies inside. You'll find yourself short on supplies essentially all the time in Alan Wake 2, so scooping up some extra ammo and batteries is always welcome. Here is where you can find all the Cultist Stashes in Alan Wake 2 and how to open them.
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The first Cult Stash you can find comes as soon as you reach the town of Bright Falls for the first time. Instead of going straight to your destination down the block, turn around and head toward the dead end. Behind the truck will be a big locked box. To open this one, all you need to do is play a little game of Simon Says. The keypad will flash three buttons in a sequence that you simply need to repeat to open the box and grab the loot.

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Alan drenched in green light in Alan Wake 2.

Alan Wake 2 is stuffed with PC tech. It feels like one of the true next-gen games that we've seen on PC, short of remakes like Portal RTX and updates like Cyberpunk 2077. From path tracing to frame generation to AI-powered denoisers, Alan Wake 2 shows off what PC has to offer in 2023, even if that means leaving less powerful rigs behind in this dust.

Although the game itself is straightforward enough, its performance on PC is anything but. Alan Wake 2 is a stunning showcase with high-end hardware and all of the modern bells and whistles enabled, but it's a slog on lower-end machines that fall outside of its demanding minimum hardware requirements. There's good and bad here, and after spending some time with the game, we need to examine both.

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