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Alan Wake, released almost nine years ago, is exactly the sort of game you'd expect to get a sequel, and with developer Remedy showing off its latest game, Control, it's time once again to ponder the future of the paused series. I wouldn't hold your breath.
If you cast your mind back to 2015, you might recall that Sam Lake, Remedy co-founder and writer, mentioned an Alan Wake 2 pitch that the studio had made to Microsoft, getting as far as putting together a "mood piece" video. Unfortunately, it didn't go further, and the studio's discussions around the sequel transformed into the time-bending TV show-game hybrid, Quantum Break.
At the time, Lake was still hopeful about a sequel. "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. Only time will tell."
Three years on and it looks like Alan Wake fans still have more years of waiting ahead of them. At PAX East, Remedy quickly dashed any hopes of Alan Wake announcements for at least a couple of years.
“We were working on Alan Wake 2 years ago and it just didn’t pan out, so there’s nothing—we’re just booked solid for the next couple of years, really,” Thomas Puha, director of communications, told VG24/7. “We do own the Alan Wake IP, but it’s never quite as simple as that, but yeah, we do own it.”
A TV show was announced last year, however, so there are still some things happening in the Alan Wake universe. Lake's executive producer, with Legion and Cloak and Dagger's Peter Calloway serving as showrunner. While TV and film adaptation of games are typically awful, Alan Wake at least seems like a good fit on paper, already mimicking the format of an episodic mystery.
At least Remedy still owns the IP, so it won't languish with a publisher that's not really invested in it. Maybe we will see a sequel one of these days, but not anytime in the near future.
Remedy Entertainment's cult supernatural horror Alan Wake has finally returned to digital storefronts on PC, a year after it was removed from sale due to licensing concerns.
Alan Wake's imminent departure from the likes of Steam was announced in May last year, following the expiration of its music licenses. Remedy explained it was "looking into relicensing the music for Alan Wake, but have no timeframe for this".
In a new tweet, however, the developer has confirmed that all licensing issues are now resolved, and that its beloved slice of small town horror is finally available for purchase again on PC. "Big thanks to our partner and Alan Wake's publishers Microsoft," Remedy posted, "who were able to renegotiate the rights to the licensed music in Alan Wake."
While a twist happy ending might undermine a horror story (I’m looking at you, Stephen King), it’s a greatly appreciated thing in games right now, and today’s pleasant twist: Alan Wake is back. Soundtrack fully intact and only a couple quid right now, too. Remedy’s spook’o-shooter was pulled from stores after its music licenses expired – killed by Roy Orbison. Fortunately developers Remedy have manged to wrangle things back together. The game is back on major stores and 80% discounted until Halloween, along with standalone expansion American Nightmare.
"Big thanks to our partner and Alan Wake’s publishers @Microsoft who were able to renegotiate the rights to the licensed music in Alan Wake, so that the game can be sold again," Remedy said in a followup tweet. And yes, all the music from the original release is still in place.
Appropriately for the return and the season, Alan Wake is also on sale for 80 percent off—that's $3/£2/€3, or $1 more for the collector's edition—until November 1.
(Update: It's also back, and on sale, on GOG.)
Here's one of the songs that apparently caused the trouble, courtesy of the one and only Roy Orbison:
Control, the next game from Alan Wake and Max Payne developer Remedy Entertainment, will also star Alan Wake voice Matthew Porretta and Max Payne actor James McCaffrey.
Porrette will play Dr. Casper Darling, head of research at the Federal Bureau of Control, while McCaffrey will play its former director Zachariah Trench.
The reunion of Remedy's former leading men was first announced earlier this month, but was made official over the weekend in this new developer diary:
Undeterred by Marky Mark’s Max Payne movie, Remedy Entertainment are having another crack at turning one of their games into a live-action third-person watcher. This time it’s Alan Wake, their 2010 spook-o-shooter about an author who goes out his gourd, loses his wife, writes a novel then forgets about it, and fights shadowy monsters – all while on holiday in a quiet Pacific Northwest town. The TV adaptation is still in its early phases and may not become reality but hey, they’re giving it a go.
The Humble Monthly Trove is a collection of games available to active Humble Monthly subscribers, including Humble Originals and a selection of other DRM-free games—similar to Origin Access but with more of an indie bent. Until Sunday, nine of the games in the current Trove, including Alan Wake's American Nightmare, Limbo, Arawkanoid, and Crescent Bay, are free for the taking.
Free for the taking and the keeping, to be clear, but in something of a departure the games will not be delivered via Steam keys. Instead, because these are specifically DRM-free versions, you'll download and run standalone installers for each.
Here's the full list of the games up for grabs:
The full Humble Trove has more than 60 games, with new ones added each month. The nine freebies will be available to download until 11:59 pm PT on September 16.
Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.
Remedy Entertainment's beloved supernatural horror adventure Alan Wake is being adapted for television, according to a new report by Variety.
Alan Wake, which released on Xbox 360 in 2010, follows the heavily monologued adventures of video gaming's greatest Alan, a best-selling author who visits the sleepy town of Bright Falls, Washington, in a bid to cure his writer's block. Dark occurrences follow, as the line between reality and Wake's fiction begins to blur. It's all very Stephen King meets Twin Peaks, and absolutely nails its picturesque, small-town setting, making for an incredibly atmospheric experience - even if the game bits sometimes wobble.
Notably, Alan Wake wasn't too far removed from being a television series in its original game guise, adopting a structure that framed individual chapters into something resembling standalone TV episodes, complete with recaps and closing credits - a stylistic flourish that Remedy took to its limit in Alan Wake's follow-up, the partially live-action Quantum Break.
Alan Wake, a game that was structured like and inspired by TV shows, is set to become a TV show itself. If nothing else, it at least fits the format better than most games. It’s even got product placement!
Peter Calloway has already signed on to be the showrunner and writer, which might be quite good news. Calloway was the executive producer for the exceptional (and exceptionally weird) Legion TV series, as well as writing a couple of episodes. His other credits include the terminally boring Under the Dome and the soapy superhero drama Cloak & Dagger.
Alan Wake writer Sam Lake is involved, too, serving as executive producer. Contradiction Films’ Tomas Harlan told Variety that Lake is a “huge part” of the show and that, ultimately, it’s still “his baby”.
While the game followed Alan Wake throughout, with other characters serving as obstacles or allies, the show will develop those characters and the universe itself beyond what we’ve already seen.
“The story of the original game is our starting point, the seed which will grow into the bigger story we’re exploring in the show,” Lake said. “We’ll be expanding the lore of this crazy and dark universe and diving deeper into certain aspects of it than the game ever did.”
It’s still extremely early days, with Contradiction planning to shop the show around next month, but some studios have already shown interest, apparently.
Unfortunately, the news of a TV adaptation was not accompanied by any news of a potential sequel to the game. “At the moment, there is no news of any further Alan Wake games,” Lake said. “As before, we’re exploring these possibilities and hoping to make it happen when the time is right.”
Twin Peaks returned to television screens this weekend after a 26-year absence. It's the miraculous result of a vocal viewership who loved it during its short 1990-1991 run, and a far younger fanbase that discovered the show later through their parents, Netflix or its popularity on platforms like Tumblr. Alan Wake, meanwhile, a horror shooter from Remedy whose Pacific Northwest setting and offbeat characters are clearly influenced by the show, was recently pulled from Steam after its music licenses expired—triggering a surge of support in its final weekend on sale, and its in four years.
If there's one thing I've noticed about the spread of games inspired by David Lynch and Mark Frost's mystery drama, it's that they emulate its ability to generate a passionate cult audience. Something about the strange magic of the setting, themes or characters rubs off on the games it inspires. I can't think of any other television shows that have had the cultural impact to influence two mediums in this way.
Twin Peaks is the mystery of who murdered Laura Palmer, the high school homecoming queen in a fictional Washington town, and the way that affects a community of oddballs and morally questionable individuals. There's a ton more going on beneath the surface, though, including a slowly-building lore of demonic entities and other realms, as well as a strange infusion of soap opera-style melodrama and offbeat comedy.
It revolutionised the look of television through its cinematic presentation, as pioneered by Lynch, and arguably acts as the blueprint for the modern serialised TV drama—for better or worse. Across just 30 episodes, it had moments that are among TV drama's greatest highs, as well as a bunch of hideous lows. Twin Peaks didn't change the form of games in the way it did with television, but it's left artistic and thematic influences all over the place. For me, the real pleasure of playing games inspired by the show is how they deliver their own vision—or how they mix in other influences—on top of that.
Alan Wake is one example, but so too is the endearingly rough Deadly Premonition, which is as close to taking Twin Peaks' setting, premise, tone and characters as you can get without simply plagiarising them. Deadly Premonition somehow manages to be more idiosyncratic than the series in a bunch of ways, though, and this successfully differentiates it from the show. Despite being dreadful to play, its ability to flip from drama to bizarre comedy on a dime is enormously enjoyable, and also feels like a result of Lynch and Frost's influence. Its own oddities are the reason it has such a large following, then—enough to Kickstart a boardgame based on the game that I will likely never play, seven years after it originally came out.
There's so much to be inspired by in Twin Peaks that developers can pick and choose the elements that suit the game they're trying to make. In smash teen drama Life Is Strange, Dontnod uses a similar setting to the series, but also explores Lynch's running theme of the dark secrets lurking beneath an idyllic town—which Andy wrote about last year. I disagree with Andy's assertion in that piece that the influence of Twin Peaks is mostly superficial or cosmetic in games other than Life Is Strange, however. I think a lot of projects inspired by Twin Peaks replicate its ability to produce distinctive, well-liked characters, or pull out one particular element that help makes a game feel more unsettling, comforting or even funny—and sometimes all three simultaneously. This is a curious but effective balance that the show pulled off frequently at its peak.
Remedy's Alan Wake is not entirely indebted to Twin Peaks, of course—there's a lot of Stephen King in the idea of an author protagonist—but the Bright Falls, Washington setting deliberately evokes the show, as well as locations and characters that are specifically inspired by it. This wasn't Remedy's first game to be inspired by Twin Peaks in some fashion, either. Both Alan Wake and the studio's other famous work, Max Payne, notably borrow the idea of Twin Peaks' Invitation To Love, a TV show within the TV show where the storylines parallel the series' own twists. Max Payne 2's version actually comes in the form of four TV shows which variously mirror the story and Max as a character: the very Peaks-y Address Unknown, Dick Justice, Captain BaseBallBat-Boy and costume drama Lords and Ladies. The show's influence even reaches as far as narrative presentation in games.
There are plenty of other games that recall the show, too. The town of Silent Hill is filled with similarly odd residents across the series, and the show's favourite concept of the 'double' is explored in the second game, as protagonist James Sunderland searches for Maria, a woman who looks identical to his deceased wife. Slow-paced adventure game Kentucky Route Zero has Lynchian vibes in its relationship between a small town American setting and the surreal. And last year's Virginia uses a similar setting and premise, but with very different characters, and a novel dialogue-free narrative approach. Twin Peaks isn't just a wallpaper and a set of quirky elements like damn fine coffee and cherry pie to be copied: it can be a starting point for other stories that are similarly worth talking about.
I watched the first two episodes of the revival this morning, and without spoiling anything, I thought it was extraordinary. Twin Peaks has re-entered a medium that it's shaped on many levels, and yet it stands entirely apart thanks to Lynch's capacity for the horrifying and the absurd. It's a continuation of the show, but also contemporary-feeling. It's so unsettling and mesmerising that I didn't touch my phone during the entire opening two hours, and that's rare these days.
Once again, I see the enormous potential for it to inspire another generation of game developers—whether that comes in the form of a comparable vibe, imagery, abstract lore or characters. Even when developers have come close to ripping off Twin Peaks, they never end up with exactly the same thing. But it's no coincidence that they earn a similar place in players' hearts.