PC Gamer

The excitement around here ratcheted up noticeably when word went out that Remedy might, maybe, be thinking about getting to work on a new Alan Wake game. The first hint was dropped by way of an application for a trademark on something called Alan Wake's Return, and the theory firmed up with the discovery of an Alan Wake's Return video in a preview of Remedy's upcoming Quantum Break.

It all seemed so clear—until Remedy Creative Director (and original Max Payne face) Sam Lake told Kotaku UK that the trademark isn't for a new game, but for the live-action television series that will appear in Quantum Break.

A big part of the trademarking process all in all is the legalities of it," Lake said. "Just making sure everything is covered." Remedy is exploring possibilities and concepting different things, he added, but lots needs to click into place for anything to happen.

And anything can happen—remember, there was a time when the original Alan Wake wasn't going to make it to the PC, nor was Quantum Break for that matter—but right now, Lake said, there's no real news about anything future Alan Wake-related." Sorry, folks.

PC Gamer

I largely stuck to the beaten path for my Quantum Break hands-on last week, which it now turns out was a terrible mistake. Polygon reports that if you decide to go wandering in the game s opening section set on a university campus, you ll eventually stumble across a student demonstration, and a tent with a flat screen TV inside, on which a trailer for Alan Wake s Return is playing.

The footage sounds like it s full of the pulp horror portentousness that was the delicious signature of Remedy s horror-flavoured game: Crashing waves… He's been gone for five years ... Spooky forest… We're just a speck of light floating in an endless ocean of darkness ... Detectives with torches, dead bodies, bloody knives, inevitably jazzy music.

Whether the trailer s existence means the game is really set for a sequel remains unclear. It could equally just be a cool piece of fan service, laced throughout Quantum Break as Remedy is wont to do for its games. However, giving credence to the idea it could be an actual sequel, we learned late last month that Remedy has filed a trademark for Alan Wake s Return. As an inveterate horror fan with a high tolerance for florid writing and Americana, I d certainly be up for it. How about you?

PC Gamer

The last we heard, an Alan Wake sequel was not on the cards. Remedy tried, built a prototype, pitched it to publishers, but no one was biting. Remedy's talks with Microsoft ended up spawning Quantum Break, which as we now know, is on its way to PC. Could something else accompany it? Remedy has now applied for the trademark 'Alan Wake's Return'.

It's not so far fetched to believe a sequel is in the works. "I would love to do that," Remedy creative director Sam Lake said when the prototype footage emerged. "It feels that time has only refined the ideas of what the sequel would be, which is great. It's almost, in some ways and on some level, that all of this extra time to think it about it has made it tastier and more exciting."

In addition, the Xbox edition of Quantum Break comes with a free copy of Alan Wake. It could just be a random act of generosity, but it might as easily lay the groundwork for, well, Alan Wake's Return.

We've got a few Alan Wake diehards on the PCG team—the conjunction of fast-paced survival horror with the meditative forests of the Pacific Northwest and the hallmarks of classic horror fiction more than makes up for the delay it endured coming to PC.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Remedy (Max Payne, Alan Wake) have been making gorgeous, violent games about angry-sad men for years now. When they announced their latest, Quantum Break [official site], it was revealed as an Xbox One exclusive. Moments ago, they announced that the time-troubling action game will also be coming to PCs. As long as those PCs are running Windows 10. There’s a proper trailer below, along with a newly released live action thing.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
WHY I LOVE

In Why I Love, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, Andy savours Alan Wake's Lynchian influences.

America s Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, but there s also something haunting and mysterious about those dark woods and forested valleys. This landscape inspired David Lynch when he created supernatural soap opera Twin Peaks, and ultimately Finnish horror game Alan Wake. 

Remedy s love of Lynch has been apparent since the Address Unknown theme park in Max Payne 2, but Wake is its most overt homage to his work. Like Twin Peaks, the game uses a place of stunning natural beauty to tell a grim, twisted horror story, and it s this contrast that makes Bright Falls such an evocative setting. 

You arrive by ferry, in a disarmingly peaceful introduction to the small town and its picturesque surroundings. The fir trees and foggy mountain peaks are realistic enough, but Remedy s take on the geography is exaggerated. It s almost a caricature of the region: what you imagine it looks like, rather than the reality. The valleys are a little too deep, the mountains a little too steep. 

Alan Wake began life as an open-world game, and there are still traces of it. The tallest mountain in the region can be seen from most places, which helps you keep track of where Wake s journey is taking him. Brief driving sections let you travel long distances, giving you a limited taste of what the game could ve been like had Remedy kept to its original vision. Access the game s built-in free camera, pull back, and you ll see that the whole world is always there, but that you re confined to a relatively small corner of it. 

Wake s travels take him to the Oh Deer Diner, a homage to Twin Peaks Double R, and Cauldron Lake, which is based on Oregon s stunning Crater Lake—seen recently in Jean-Marc Vall e s wonderful film Wild. Other landmarks include the historic Bright Falls Coal Mine, the Sparkling River Estates Trailer Park (most likely inspired by Twin Peaks equally rundown Fat Trout Trailer Park), and the Bright Falls Dam. It s a quintessential slice of rural Americana, albeit one haunted by shadowy, murderous ghosts. 

Remedy is based in Espoo, Finland, but the team spent a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest, taking reference photos and getting a feel for the geography and climate. 

We drove about 2,000 miles around it for a period of almost two weeks, says Saku Lehtinen, art director. We went to places like Astoria, a very typical Pacific Northwestern coastal town, where the movie Ring was made. We went to North Bend, where Twin Peaks was filmed, which is just outside of Seattle. The story in Alan Wake has fantastic elements, but it has to be rooted in reality.  

It s a naturally exciting setting, says writer Mikko Rautalahti. It s also something you don t see in games a lot. We wanted wide open spaces instead of corridors and underground complexes. The nature there is beautiful and rich, but it s also perfect for a horror game. Take those deep, dark woods, add something weird and horrible lurking there, and you re all set.  

Remedy even went as far as using NASA star maps to make sure Bright Falls s night sky was accurate. Night is a big part of Alan Wake, and you spend much of the game traipsing through foggy, moonlit forests. Remedy s proprietary Alan Wake Engine is, even now, stunning to look at. The way the cold, pale moonlight shines through the swirling mist is really atmospheric. The weather effects are superb, with trees swaying in the wind and forks of jagged lightning lighting up the sky. Creating their own bespoke tech delayed the game for several years, but the results are still spectacular.

Alan Wake is a flawed game. The handful of enemy types makes combat repetitive and frustrating, and it s often stiflingly linear. But, for me, the setting makes up for its shortcomings. The Pacific Northwest is a place we rarely get to visit in videogames, and Remedy captured its essence perfectly. A sequel to Alan Wake was in the works, but was cancelled so the team could start work on Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break, so it s unlikely, sadly, that we ll ever visit Bright Falls again. 

But with Twin Peaks returning to television screens in 2017, perhaps that would be the perfect time for Remedy to revisit its town and continue the story of troubled horror writer Alan Wake.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Below you will find the 25 best horror games ever released on PC. To ensure the list was as accurate as possible, the compiler was locked in a dark cellar with a copy of every game in existence and a computer capable of running them all. Two weeks later, the following article was found written on the walls in blood (the postscript was recorded on an audiolog). The writer was nowhere to be seen.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

More like Alan WADE!

Remedy followed up their spooky-ooky shooter Alan Wake with the shorter, shootier semi-sequel Alan Wake’s American Nightmare in 2012. Might a proper sequel, we wondered, follow next?

Well, no. However, Remedy had started prototyping an Alan Wake 2 soon after finishing the first game, and whipped up a fancy gameplay video to pitch to publishers. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet (and a Polygon interview), you can now watch thirteen minutes of the Wake that never was. Some of its ideas, you may notice, were later reused in American Nightmare. But is Alan Wake dead and gone? Oh, you never know, Remedy say.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Alan Wake took his sweet time to arrive on PC from Xbox 360, but went down well once he did. The game quickly hit the top of the Steam charts and Remedy said it recouped its development and marketing costs within two days of release. Alas, though Remedy planned to make a sequel, it's not actually going to happen. But over at Polygon you can at least get an idea of what was in store, in the form of a prototype video which Remedy created to pitch Alan Wake 2 to to various publishers, including Microsoft. 

Microsoft, it turned out, was looking for something 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 and original Max Payne face Sam Lake explained.

The 13-minute video features quite a bit of gameplay, but Lake described it as "more like a mood piece," setting the stage for the famed fictional writer's deeper descent into the world of darkness, which he's now more properly equipped to face. And even though the sequel wasn't made, the video wasn't a complete bust either: Some of the elements on display, like the Birdman, actually found their way into the stand-alone expansion Alan Wake's American Nightmare.

Though Alan Wake 2 is seemingly lost in limbo, Lake left open the possibility that it could happen some day. "I would love to do that... it feels that time has only refined the ideas of what the sequel would be, which is great. It's almost, in some ways and on some level, that all of this extra time to think it about it has made it tastier and more exciting," he said. "Only time will tell."

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When the wife of the best-selling writer Alan Wake disappears on their vacation, his search turns up pages from a thriller he doesn’t even remember writing. A Dark Presence stalks the small town of Bright Falls, pushing Wake to the brink of sanity in his fight to unravel the mystery and save his love.

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time
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