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.
We’re not out of the woods just yet. Alan Wake 2 is still a far ways off from completion, with the release window putting it sometime in 2023. Considering the only trailer we have is fully CGI, with no hint of gameplay at all, anything before late 2023 doesn’t seem likely.
Howver, Remedy’s CEO Tero Virtala announced in February 2023 that Alan Wake 2 “is in full production … and is playable from start to finish,” adding that the team “will move on to polishing the experience.” Considering polish is one of the final stages of development, Alan may be ready to make his comeback in 2023 after all.
The 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 releasing.
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.
While we haven’t seen a single frame of gameplay yet, Remedy creative director Sam Lake and the team have spoken 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.
We also learned via Lake’s Twitter that Alan Wake 2 would remain a third-person game, just like the first and Control. Light has always been a major component in Alan Wake, its DLCs, spinoff, and even the AWE expansion of Control, so we expect it to be a major mechanic once again. The fact that we see Alan holding a light in the trailer reinforces that.
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.
Until a new trailer or demo shows us what the game is actually like, all we can do is craft fan fiction.
Alan Wake and Control both had very solid DLC episodes that furthered the stories after the main games, and we’d love to see that continue. Alan Wake’s DLCs are even considered to be the best parts of that original game, and Control’s DLC solidified the connection between the universes of both games. If Alan Wake 2 follows the same episodic structure of the first, adding in DLC episodes would be an easy fit. Plus, if she’s not part of the main game, it would be a great place to flip the script a little and have a DLC crossover again with Jesse from Control.
Since the game is now in its polishing state, there’s a good chance the next time we see it, we will get preorder information. As soon as that drops, we’ll let you know all the details.