Whatever Happened To... Alan Wake?
Hey everyone! Has there ever been a point when you’re looking through your gaming library and wondered, “Huh, whatever happened to this series?” Well, I’ll be taking a look at videogame franchises and the lead up to their eventual absence. With that being said, today I’ll be asking the question: “Whatever Happened to...Alan Wake?”
To begin, let me tell you about storytelling. Storytelling is a gameplay aspect that allows designers and writers to convey characters and worlds to a player in a narrative based fashion. Storytelling can make or break a game depending on how it’s done. For example, MindJack, a Square Enix vehicle, had an absolute garbage story that I wouldn’t play again in a million years. That was a bit more direct than usual, but I refuse to put more effort into thinking up a witty insult than the developers did making the game.
Examples of good storytelling, however, fall under titles such as The Last of Us and Spec Ops: The Line, which do an amazing job at making the player lose themselves in the experience and thus, becoming more engulfed in the story. This brings us to Alan Wake, a game developed by Remedy Entertainment which is well-known for it’s dark atmosphere and well-crafted game world. For those who aren’t sure, Remedy is also known for developing the Max Payne series and Quantum Break, so it’s not hard to see why they’re so good at what they do.
I must say, as an avid reader of Stephen King and his works, Alan Wake’s world grabbed me right off the bat as it features, more or less, the same style of writing that one could find in King's’ novels. Moving along from that and into the plot, the first game follows Alan Wake, a professional writer who’s on vacation with his wife in the town of Bright Falls. Before Alan can begin to settle into said vacation, tensions start to arise after Alan and his wife break out into a shouting match which, after Alan leaves to cool down, leads to his wife’s disappearance. After her disappearance, Alan learns that not all is at it seems in Bright Falls as he fights against the Darkness with the power of light in order to save his wife.
All in all, the first Alan Wake title had a few bugs here and there but was still regarded as good overall. The then Xbox exclusive now having found a decent audience allowed the series to branch out and, not only expand to PC but also garner a sequel, or rather a spin-off, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare. The semi-sequel found Alan Wake in his continuing struggle against the darkness, but much less green and much more equipped. Alan Wake’s American Nightmare found similar success like it’s predecessor, but unfortunately, not all for the same reasons. Reviewers enjoyed the gameplay and in-game atmosphere same as the first, but the game was criticized for lack of story direction and poor dialogue.
Rumours began swirling after American Nightmare’s release in 2012 about a new Alan Wake title that was to be ‘on the way’, but this was to no avail. Quantum Break, on the other hand, apparently contains several easter eggs based around Alan Wake, which has led many to believe that Alan Wake 2 has been officially confirmed for sequel treatment.
So, what happened to it? Or rather, why has it taken so long? I believe that Remedy has, quite simply, been too busy or perhaps they just haven’t figured out a proper way in which to continue the franchise yet. Either way, this writer is more than ready for another adventure with Mr. Wake as he continues to fight the forces of darkness. Until next time!