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There’s a story I like to tell when I think about the game, Alan Wake. It’s a story about just how crazy video games fans really are and the lengths they will go to in order to get their hands on their favorite game. It’s games like these that deserve another shot in the industry. And this is a small part of why I believe Alan Wake needs to make a comeback.
When Alan Wake first came out in 2010, there was a heatwave outside and no one was home. I didn’t have my car, so the only way I could get to Wal-Mart to get my hands on that game was on a bicycle—and the road there was littered with hills. I can’t tell you how I did it, but I played through the entire game in one night. What drove me to go to such lengths to get my hands on this game?
What first drew me to Alan Wake was a simple phrase I had seen in one of the trailers advertised for the game, “Inspired by Stephen King.” And if it was inspired by one of the greatest masters of horror storytelling, the game had to be good, right? It was as if Stephen King, himself, had created Alan Wake, for the game described what it was like to be caught in the twisted mind of a novelist. And remember, this was before the narrative games like Beyond: Two Souls, Life Is Strange and Until Dawn. This was still in the age of the shooters, which to me is what made Alan Wake stand out so much.
In Alan Wake, you hunt around the environment, collecting these pages from his story, and they tell a story. Sometimes they even come true. It’s almost like you’re living a horror novel. And of course to someone like me who was obsessed with horror and supernatural novels, there wasn’t any other game that could’ve appealed to me any more.
See, Alan Wake wasn’t just a decision-based, narrative game where you made choices that would undoubtedly alter the ending of the game. And don’t get me wrong, I love those kinds of games, but Alan Wake was a little different. Alan Wake took the elements of a story and made it come to life. In some ways, it made other player choice games look like rubbish, a cop-out for true storytelling. Because Alan Wake was the story, the whole game, from finding the bits of story in the missing pages to learning more and more about his wife and what was happening to the town. Almost like the darkness from the story was taking over.
Some critics argued that by the release of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, the enemy had gotten repetitive. It might’ve even been too repetitive towards the end of the first installment and to be honest, that’s a part of the reason I didn’t play American Nightmare. It was going to be the same kind of enemy.
If Remedy Entertainment really is bringing back Alan Wake, as noted in a previous story we did on a recent registered trademark for Alan Wake’s Return, then they can take the criticism from previous games and learn from that and make the new addition even better, still with that same fantastic storytelling element. Alan Wake is a game I believe needs another chance. And I really hope Remedy is ready to get out there and give it all they’ve got, because I am 100 percent on board and in full support of a new Alan Wake game—because it’ll be better than ever.