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Alan Wake 2 Prologue

In Alan Wake 2, the game opens with a deer head submerged under the waves of Cauldron Lake. It's nighttime; as the scene moves out, the body of a man, naked, emerges from the cold depths. Agent Robert Nightingale. He's disorientated and unsteady as he gets to his feet and walks further into the woods, begging for help. A blinding image forces him to his knees, and he sees flashes of a man, Mr Scratch.

Salvation is briefly shown but is soon snatched away from him as two tourists. Tammy and Ed, catch sight of him, but they quickly move off. 

As he follows the path, his journey is interrupted by the presence of masked figures stalking him. The first, a Taken, aborts their attack. Later, members of the Cult of the Tree camped out at the Bright Falls General Store. Their identities were protected by night; they were olive raincoats and deer masks hiding their faces. 

After an attempted escape, Nightingale is stabbed in the chest. He is taken by the cult to a nearby picnic bench and tied down as his heart is cut out. The ritual goes wrong, they aren't prepared, and things escalate as the Brookers return. Frantic, the cult members run. 

Characters Introductions & Progressions

Agent Robert Nightingale
A former agent of the FBI, Agent Robert Nightingale, became a puppet to the Dark Presence following the events of the original game. Submerged beneath the waves of Cauldron Lake, he emerges thirteen years after his disappearance and is ambushed by the Cult of the Tree. His presence in the Prologue shakes players from their expectations as they step into the role of a dazed individual, running on instinct and thrown from one mystery into the next. 

The Brookers (Tammy & Ed)
Both Tammy and Ed provide a potential salvation to Nightingale and the player. Their car's headlights split the night, but they are shocked by the sighting of the man stumbling towards them in the night. They return moments later, accidentally interrupting the gruesome ritual.

Locations & Importance to Chapter

Cauldron Lake. Cauldron Lake is one of the most important areas of both AAA Alan Wake games. Having receded in recent days, the bed of Cauldron Lake became exposed, revealing driftwood and claimed animals. Surrounded by the Bright Falls mountains, the area is thrown into darkness.

Cauldron Lake General Store. While not shown in the original game, the sequel introduces the Cauldron Lake General Store, a run-down, abandoned shack a few minutes from the coastline. The area becomes a well-trodden area, with the player returning to it regularly as the main path from shore to the car park and also as an area of investigation. The Cult of the Tree uses the area in their rituals, and in the Prologue, we see the beginning of one as they remove Nightingale's heart. 

Ties To Alan Wake
  • Paging Agent Nightingale. In a surprise twist, players take on the role of Nightingale, the former FBI agent who disappeared following the events of the original game. As he emerges from Cauldron Lake, we get a sense of his deteriorated mental health and desperation after being in the Dark Place. 

Ties Into The Remedy Connected Universe
  • Hold On To Your Hope. In the original introduction, Alan talks about the desire to cling to hope, a statement that can be seen to mirror Paul Serene's warning in Quantum Break, "hold onto your hope and burn with it." The line was also used as the title to an Xbox achievement for 30G, which is unlocked when the player completes Act 1. 

Changes in The Final Draft

While the Prologue remains the same, in The Final Draft, Alan provides a more determined and optimistic introduction: "Back to the beginning, with the memory of the past loop already fading fast. But while it lingers, I know there's hope. We are not doomed to repeat our failures in an eternal loop. This is a spiral. A fictional poet once said: 'Beyond the shadow you settle for, there is a miracle, illuminated. I will not settle for a shadow. I will find the miracle. Through the night."

Chapter Development

ArtStation's Alan Wake 2 Art Blast showcased how Remedy's art team helped bring the Prologue to life. The game tag on the website is packed with concept artwork from Nazareno Urbano (Lead Environment Artist), José Antonio Zapata (Environment Artist), Juhani Jokinen (Principal Concept Artist), Alex Schwartz-Rudd (Environment Artist), and Ajita Roy (Senior Environment Artist) who worked on creating the game's haunting opening. If you click on each name, you can travel to their Prologue-specific portfolio on ArtStation. 

Writing on their page, Alex expands on the thought process for the team approaching the task; "This was a pleasure to work on being kind of my favorite intro to a game as it makes you question a lot about how odd it is and what is going on. The task here was to create a dreary atmosphere as you feel confused about what is going on, roaming about looking for help. I was responsible for set dressing and layout. The goal was to keep the path clear and give the feel of a Pacific Northwest shore, with its rocky beaches, twisted trees, and large amounts of driftwood. I worked closely with Ajita Roy, Nazareno Urbano, and Juhani Jokinen to see this meet its fullest potential."

Writing on their ArtStation page, Ajita also adds their thoughts on the project, "As the Hub owner of Cauldron Lake, I worked with Level design, art direction and the vegetation teams to develop the level from block out to alpha. My responsibilities included layouts, defining combat spaces, building a believable primordial forest, sculpting terrain, structural placement of foliage and integrating some modular kits and props. The final result was, of course, a team effort by our wonderful environment artists. Huge thanks to the Lighting and VFX teams for breathing life into the area and adding atmosphere."


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Icons by the incredible, Evil-Owl-Loki.

Beyond the shadow you settle for, there is a miracle illuminated.