Finnish studio Remedy Entertainment became famous for playing Max Payne and made good money by selling all the rights to that franchise to the Take-Two Interactive publishing house. After Max Payne 2 they started again from the beginning but in a similar style. They developed the idea of a play about a writer who comes to a small American town where some supernatural things happen - everything he writes in his new novel later happens in the real world.
The writer was named Alan Wake and after him the game itself. It was a psychological thriller inspired by the works of Stephen King and David Lynch and was originally conceived as an open-world game, similar to Grand Theft Auto titles. However, it turned out that Remedy didn’t know how to combine that sandbox concept with the story they wanted to tell. So Alan Wake’s development dragged on for a full five years, which was an atypically long time at the time.
Eventually, the game took on a linear structure and was divided into chapters. It was seen in the final version that the game world was designed for gameplay with a little more freedom, but it was not used for that purpose. Still, the developers themselves said that such a design ultimately helped them make Alan Wake’s world more compelling and seem more natural.
That world was called Bright Falls and was the place the title writer came to write his next novel. But his plans were thwarted by mysterious darkness that turned the residents into violent opponents. Fighting them involved the obligatory tactic of removing a layer of darkness by pointing a flashlight at opponents before they became vulnerable. It wasn't exactly the original mechanics, but it worked well and contributed to the tension of the game. In addition to the flashlight, the player had to use other light sources, such as throwing torches. In some parts of the game, a car was also driven.
There were a total of six chapters in Alan Wake, designed in the format of a television series. The plan was initially to have the game itself divided into episodes, each of which would be sold separately. However, this idea was eventually abandoned because it was thought that launching the completed package would ultimately bring in higher profits.
Alan Wake first came out on the then Xbox 360 console. It picked up very good ratings, but as it came out the same week as Red Dead Redemption, sales were initially weak. The team then asked Microsoft to allow them to launch the game on the PC platform, which happened in 2011. The PC version also included two DLC extensions that were subsequently released. In total, the game sold 3.2 million copies. It was also the most pirated game on the Xbox for a while, and more than a million players acquired it illegally.
In 2012, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare spin-off project followed. A real sequel to Alan Wake was planned, but according to the Remedy team, Microsoft was not particularly interested in the game. For this reason, in mid-2019, Remedy bought the rights to Alan Wake from Microsoft, and there is now a bright future for him.
We recently found out the fate of Alan Wake in the AWE DLC for Remedy's game Control, and according to unofficial information, Alan Wake 2 has entered full production these days and is "sponsored" by Epic Games.