Earlier today, the news broke that Remedy Entertainment acquired publishing rights for Alan Wake. The cult-classic horror game was a favorite of mine on Xbox 360. Launching alongside Red Dead Redemption and the stellar Split/Second, Alan Wake deviated from Microsoft’s typical exclusive. Ever since its launch in 2010, fans clamored for more. While admirable, 2012’s side-story, American Nightmare didn’t quite scratch the itch people had for the IP. With Remedy Entertainment in possession of the franchise, here are some things we’d love to see in Alan Wake 2 should the studio choose to revisit that universe.
I know what you’re thinking; the game is called Alan Wake. Why should we play as someone different? Honestly, the next installment can take place in the same universe but follow a unique cast of characters. After all, Bright Falls is a town full of interesting folk. Alan Wake catalyzed the first adventure, but that doesn’t mean we should stick with him. Granted, we wouldn’t want to control a generic super soldier. Following a character with flaws, minimal combat skills, and an interesting backstory would be invigorating. For fans of the original, it’s worth noting that Alan is an “everyman.” He’s relatable, and that’s part of the charm. Having a character we can connect to on some level helps the narrative move forward at an enjoyable pace.
Welcome to Night Springs
One of the best shows of all time is Rod Serling’s brilliant The Twilight Zone. Through its various incarnations, viewers were treated to tales of morality, intrigue, and top-notch science fiction. Night Springs, the show within Alan Wake, hooked us from the opening moments. Searching the open-world for TV sets to watch the show became an exciting task for me. I loved the influences from The Twilight Zone, and seeing Alan Wake pay homage to an iconic piece of pop culture was unlike anything I had experienced before. With a sequel, it would be great to see more episodes of the show make an appearance. Alternatively, levels or hallucination sequences sending players into Night Springs would be an awesome treat. After all, Alan Wake plays with our minds. Having levels switch between the show and reality could keep players on the edge of their seats.
Different Gameplay Perspectives
The state of the horror genre has changed immensely since 2010. Games like Amnesia, Outlast, and Five Nights at Freddy’s reign supreme. They paved the way for newer experiences. What if Alan Wake 2 jumps between different gameplay elements? Switching from the familiar third-person view to first-person could be interesting. Imagine being tied to a chair in one segment, and needing to fend off the Taken in an FNAF styled minigame? A current horror trope is running and surviving with no means of defending yourself. A gameplay style like this would work tremendously in the Alan Wake universe. Playing off multiple protagonists makes different playstyles more plausible.
A New Threat
The Taken are among my favorite villains in video games. I’ll never forget playing with a group of friends on launch day. We passed the controller around and yelled in joy/terror when the Taken lunged at us. While they are a formidable group, it would be cool to see a new horde of enemies emerge from the shadows. Do they need to be like the Taken? Not at all. They don’t even need to be shadows. Alan Wake can introduce more villains that require different tactics, weapons, and mechanics to dispose of them.
Release it episodically
This might be the most controversial pick in the list, but having Alan Wake 2 release in an episodic format could work wonders for the game. First off, Alan Wake is split in an episodic style. Its use of cliffhangers and footage from previous episodes leading into the next give the IP charm. This format works especially since Alan Wake is partially open-world. I often get sidetracked and fall out of the open-world games. Having Alan Wake 2 adopt an actual episodic format will make the experience short, sweet, and leave players wanting more. It gives Remedy Entertainment enough time to work on each episode with care and doesn’t let the team rush through the project. Many of my favorite games (Life is Strange, Tales from the Borderlands and The Walking Dead) used this format, and they all benefitted from it. An episodic Alan Wake works with the current video game climate.
Conclusion: Now is the time for more Alan Wake
Since 2010, I’ve wanted more Alan Wake. The downloadable content and American Nightmare were fine, but there is always room for more. With Remedy Entertainment obtaining the rights to the IP, the possibilities for other Alan Wake experiences are endless. The team at Remedy is hard at work with Control, but there is also an unannounced game from the studio as well. Since there will also be an Alan Wake TV show, the chances are that there will be another game down the line, and I can’t wait to see what the studio has in store for fans.