When a game goes on to sell 4.5 million copies in this day and age, a game that ends with a monumental cliffhanger that provokes years of intense fan theorising, it’s unthinkable that this game doesn’t get a sequel. Yet that’s exactly what happened to Alan Wake. Released back in 2010, Remedy’s foray into episodic, TV-like storytelling was a slow seller, having the misfortune of being released opposite Rockstar’s unstoppable juggernaut Red Dead Redemption. Yet the game found a passionate, if small, fanbase and has gone on to accumulate a healthy amount of sales. But no sequel was forthcoming. Except at one point, it was.
In 2010 Remedy developed a working prototype of ideas that could potentially have made Alan Wake 2. It’s not meant to be a level that would ever have appeared in the game, and was more like a mood piece, with “the high-level thematic elements of what’s there” according to Remedy creative director and head writer Sam Lake. A prototype that Remedy recently shared with Polygon, and one that you can see in its entirety above.
There are some really interesting ideas at work in the prototype. A new puzzle mechanic designed around the pages of fiction you find scattered throughout the world, built around bending reality to your will, a theme that was strong throughout the near 14-minute demo. Enemies would interact with the environment more, giving the world a more natural feeling. Some of these ideas, such as the Birdman Taken or the Arizona desert setting, would end up in Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, a small, fun side project for Remedy.
There’s a lot of demand from a passionate fanbase for Alan Wake 2. I should know, I’m amongst one of the biggest Alan Wake fans I’ve ever met. But right now Remedy is deep at work on their next game Quantum Break, set for release in 2016. But that doesn’t mean that a potential return to Alan Wake is off the table. Last year Sam Lake publicly told fans that the time wasn’t right for an Alan Wake sequel, as the required scope for the game wouldn’t have been able to match what the developer was able to do while still working on Quantum Break.
However Quantum Break is almost upon us. With Microsoft looking more and more towards its first and second party developers, and Remedy having an IP in its catalogue that has sold 4.5 million units, perhaps the time for Alan Wake’s prophesied return is closer than many people think.
For the full interview with Sam Lake, head on over to Polygon.