By guest writer Halacy Kurenski
If you take the persona of Charlie Sheen, the talent of Stephen King and a dash of Dick Tracy’s attitude and detective skills you get Alan Wake. An episodic game plays out similarly to a mystery television program, which includes narrative and plot devices normally used in TV, such as cliffhangers at the end of the episodes. A prominent borrowing from television is the “Previously on Alan Wake…” a recap sequence that opens each episode, to refresh the player’s memory and point to things that will become relevant shortly. Players dive into the role of the an iconic novelist that is a rambunctious, dirty, party animal that could not keep his celebrity status out of the tabloids to the point his wife insists they take a quiet calm vacation to Bright Falls, Washington. This quiet romantic seclusion is put to a halt when his wife apparently goes missing and is presumed to be kidnapped. As Alan investigates more into this mystery it becomes clear that things aren’t exactly normal in Bright Falls and that elements of a novel, he doesn’t remember writing, are coming to life.
The game was released in May 2010 and two “special feature” episodes of Alan Wake were developed and released as DLCs on Xbox live to bridge the gap between the game’s ending, and a possible sequel. Remedy followed up their thriller mystery shooter Alan Wake with the shorter semi-sequel called Alan Wake’s American Nightmare in 2012. Will there be an official sequel following next? Well, Alan Wake took a long time to arrive on PC from Xbox 360, but it made a hell of a splash once it did. According to Remedy writer, of Alan Wake, Sam Lake “the game quickly hit the top of the Steam charts and recouped its development and marketing costs within two days of release.”
Remedy did state they had started prototyping a game called Alan Wake 2: The Return soon after finishing the first game, and constructed a video to pitch the alpha test to publishers. In this sequel Alan would be accepting his superhero title and would use his “pen is mightier than the sword” features through a slight puzzle system where Alan would write what he wanted to happen next, then go around messing with his surroundings to match what was written and create a point to merge it with reality. However, when pitching the game to publishers they faced a ton of rejections that brought them back to Microsoft. After showing the video to Microsoft, it turned out, they wanted something completely different. “Quite quickly our discussion about Alan Wake 2 turned into something else and that something else turned into Quantum Break, which was great and very exciting,” Remedy writer Sam Lake explained. Officially Alan Wake 2 was dead in the water.
In the beginning of Quantum Break, if you decide to go wandering in the game’s opening section set on a university campus, you’ll eventually find a tent with a flat screen TV inside playing a trailer for Alan Wake’s Return. While walking through a lecture hall you will discover a chalkboard covered in notes from what seems like a class lecture on Alan Wake. In the first episode of the Quantum Break TV show at precisely 9 minutes and 56 seconds you will see a novel written by Alan Wake located in the lower right corner. These seem like just Easter-eggs in a game, it is a normal to cross-reference in the video game universe such as in Hitman: Absolution you can occasionally run into Kane and Lynch in multiple levels. Are these just random Easter eggs dropped in a game? Or was this a brilliant move to get fans buzzing and demanding a sequel to finally be released? When Sam Lake was asked in an interview to which he replied “a lot of fans think the gamer’s universe is a lake but it’s an ocean.” While some people found that response to be cryptic Alan Wake fans were amused. SPOILER ALERT!! At the end of the final episode of Alan Wake, you see Alan sitting in his study at bottom of the lake saying, “its not a lake it s an ocean.” He then finishes typing on the typewriter indicating that he has more bad guys to fight.