On May 18th, 2010, Alan Wake released as an Xbox 360 exclusive. Despite some flaws, the game has been critically acclaimed for its survival-horror gameplay and innovative, visceral storytelling techniques. Two years later, Alan Wake released on PC as well, expanding the audience for Remedy Entertainment's creepy horror game considerably.
A couple of months after that, Alan Wake's American Nightmare released as a small, downloadable adventure. Tonally different from the first game, American Nightmare nonetheless received critical acclaim and strong sales. Since then, the series has been dormant.
For years, fans have been eagerly awaiting an announcement of Alan Wake 2. A tease in 2013 in the build-up to E3 seemed to suggest that the game was going to be announced for the next-generation Xbox (later revealed to be named the Xbox One, of course), but that wound up being Quantum Break. Even so, Remedy has promised to return to the Alan Wake franchise eventually, "when the time is right".
Fans waiting for Alan Wake 2 can now rejoice...kind of. During an interview with Polygon, the creative director and head writer for Remedy, Sam Lake, has divulged some details on a potentially cancelled version of Alan Wake 2.
First of all, Remedy mapped out an expansive Alan Wake universe before even finishing the first game. The first game ended on a cliffhanger because Remedy hoped to flesh out the story in future sequels.
The first sequel, originally planned to be Alan Wake 2, would be primarily set in the Arizona desert. It would feature the title character in his continued battle against the forces of evil, with a new trick up his sleeve. In the sequel, a new gameplay mechanic would allow Wake to "rewrite reality" during his battles.
Remedy even prepared a prototype video of what Alan Wake 2 would entail. This prototype isn't meant to represent the beginning of the game or anything like that, but rather set the tone of what people could expect from the sequel. The video was created five years ago as a way to pitch the game to potential publishing partners. The prototype in its entirety can be viewed here:
Ultimately, numerous elements of this potential Alan Wake 2 wound up being used in Alan Wake's American Nightmare, including the setting as well as some of the enemies. Despite its resources being used elsewhere, Alan Wake 2 differs from other cancelled games that have been in similar situations, in that Alan Wake 2 still has a chance at being revived.
After all, it's not like Alan Wake was a financial disaster. In fact, the game surpassed 2 million units sold, which is quite an impressive feat. Granted, the numerous delays resulted in the game costing more to develop than Remedy and Microsoft initially hoped, but the high sales ensure an already established fan base. With the right hype and marketing, Alan Wake 2 could easily outpace its predecessor.
Furthermore, the relationship between Remedy and Microsoft remains strong. A recent Xbox Live survey indicated that there may be plans to release Alan Wake Remastered on Xbox One. The survey also hinted at the possibility of this Alan Wake Remastered game being bundled with copies of another Microsoft/Remedy joint project, the upcoming Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break.
The head of Microsoft Phil Spencer has repeatedly expressed his admiration of the first game in the series, so there's a strong chance that Microsoft will eventually pick up the publishing rights to Alan Wake 2. However, Remedy owns the rights to the IP, and have pitched it to numerous potential publishing partners, using the prototype video. So even if Microsoft does end up passing on Alan Wake 2, there is still hope for its release through another partner.
Will Alan Wake 2 ever see the light of day? That remains to be seen, but fans of Remedy Entertainment can at least look forward to their next game, Quantum Break, set to release in 2016 as an Xbox One exclusive.