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6th December 2013
Advent Calendar #03: Remedy Facts - The Desdemona

Today's surprise is quite different from what we've had before. In the past we've always had an article, today we're actually announcing a new feature! 

Remedy is an interesting company. They certainly have a passion for what they make! Because of this they are quite open about the development process; there's even a thread on the forums where fans can ask any questions they have about the games or the company. Our new feature will be released fortnightly on Tuesdays and will focus on a fact or an aspect of their games. 

(Also if you have a better name for the feature, all suggestions are welcome!)

Here's an early first part:

Desdemona
Recently I've been replaying a lot of the arcade levels from Alan Wake's American Nightmare. They provide a great but short 10 minutes of gameplay which you can easily slot into busy schedules. I have to admit, I'm utterly useless at these levels but still they're really fun to play. On the plus side, dodging the Taken's blades while attempting to run to the nearest safe haven, does allow for some sightseeing...

There is always an iconic landmark in the levels whether it is the church in Cemetery or the noose in Ghost Town. In The Caves, the landmark is a large wreck of a ship called Desdemona in the middle the map.

I think the name choice is particularly interesting, after all they didn't need to include one.

It's most famous for being a character in Shakespeare's Othello, although it pre-dates the play. In Greek the name roughly translates to "unhappy", "ill-fated" or "unlucky" and fits Wake's predicament well! 

I found the second translation, "ill-fated" to be the most fascinating. The plot of Alan Wake focuses on the protagonist being compelled to walk a predetermined path which forces him to become trapped in the Dark Place and caught in Mr Scratch's endless cycle. The ship's position in the map is particularly strange given the lack of water around the area, it's highly possible that the Dark Presence placed it there, similar to how it used trains and boats in the original title to warn off the protagonist. Like Wake, the boat is dumped in the middle of alien world.

 "Unhappy" was another word that stood out. There's no doubt that Wake's character has change from the original title. In the first episode he's more arrogant and self-centred, although these qualities fade throughout the progression of the story. In American Nightmare he's understanding and speaks more fondly of his friends and family in the manuscripts. 

It's clear that his isolation from society has effected him mentally, the two DLC packs expands on this struggle. In American Nightmare he seems more at peace with his situation but consistently lonely throughout the title.

In any case, the name of the ship is a nice little detail which feeds back into the theme of the games. We'll be posting facts like this every two weeks starting in the new year. In the meantime you can follow us on Tumblr. (We tend to post some interesting hidden details there too.)

Image from Alan Wake Wiki

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