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Alan Wake 2
Return 2: The Heart

After recovering from Nightingale's attack, Saga uses the manuscript pages to chart where he's going next, the Overlap at Cauldron Lake. Arriving back at the now-flooded crime scene, they look around to learn more about the ritual. Following Nightingale's footsteps through the forest, Saga sees flashes of him as she leads into the water. Embedded in the tree and oozing with darkness is a new manuscript page, instructing Saga to go to the Witch's Hut and find a fuse. 

Once a fuse is located at a nearby campsite, the location provides the next piece of the puzzle: a page detailing the ritual to cross into the Overlap. After collecting Nightingale's tattooed heart at the Bright Falls General Store, Saga returns to the Witch's Ladle to perform the ritual. The Overlap opens, and Saga steps inside to face a possessed Nightingale. After defeating him, she returns to the shores of Cauldron Lake, where she finds a man exhausted in the silt. 

Characters Introductions & Progressions
Locations & Importance to Chapter
Collectables (& Manuscript Pages)
Ties to Alan Wake
Ties to Later Events
Ties to the Remedy Connected Universe
Saga's Mind Place
Chapter Development

Characters Introductions or Progressions

Saga Anderson
Saga is open to the idea of the supernatural but finds solace in bringing topics back to strong logic. She believes that cultists and Taken are one and the same. Stunned by Nightingale's attack, Saga is quick to recover a selection of new pages she has discovered. In those pages, she trusts that she can find Nightingale at Cauldron Lake. Placing her faith in the manuscripts that appear before her, she is guided through the ritual process and into the Overlap. While chasing down Nightingale, she hears the voice of her daughter crying out for help; while shaken, her logic takes over, and she calms herself with the information that Logan is back home in Virginia. In her discussions with the Bright Falls residents, we learn that her mother made her sweater for her, an item that she wears as she has fond memories of her. Her family has ties to Sweden, although she knows little about that side.

Sheriff Tim Breaker
Seemingly aware of what he was due to face, Breaker's last words before his sudden disappearance lead to Casey and Saga both picking up on Breaker's familiarisation before he disappears. Casey suspects that either someone didn't want them to have the pages, that he was being protected from Nightingale or his disappearance was a case of spontaneous human combustion. 

Alex Casey
While sceptical, Casey is the first person to admit that the case borders on the supernatural. He suspects that the Cult of the Tree uses the ritual to create monsters. After the attack at the morgue, Casey calls the FBI to ask for backup, anyone they can spare. On the journey back to the crime scene, he reveals that Nightingale had gone to Bright Falls to track down Alan Wake. Ten years ago, Casey started getting letters in the mail, fragments from the books written by the author, and describing a murder cult to "bring him back". While combing through the crime scene, he is the first to see a Taken in the woods. 

Agent Robert Nightingale
Following his autopsy, Nightingale had reemerged, now a Taken and fuelled by anger. After seemingly defeated with light at the morgue, he returns to the Overlap in Cauldron Lake. His heart, tattooed with the phrase to access the Overlap is placed in the refrigerator at the General Store. As Saga reencounters him, he reveals that he had returned to Bright Falls in an attempt to recover the Clicker for the Dark Presence. 

Alan Wake
Using his typewriter in the Dark Place, Alan Wake guides Saga on performing the ritual to access the Overlap. With Nightingale defeated, Saga returns to her world, finding herself with Alan on the shoreline of Cauldron Lake. He is disorientated, terrified that something has been let out with him. He slowly remembers who he is but is taken aback when he discovers thirteen years have passed since his disappearance. 

Deputy Thornton
Both Thornton and Mulligan move to the mortuary to check on the detectives following the sounds of gunshots. Saga informs them of what happened with Nightingale and places them in charge of the Sherrif Station. While he needs reassurance that magic and monsters aren't real, there's something in their conversation that hints that he knows more than is being discussed. 

Deputy Mulligan
Both Thornton and Mulligan rush down to the morgue to check on the situation following the sounds of gunshots. Saga explains that Nightingale had attacked them and that Breaker had disappeared. She places them in charge of the Sherrif Station. Mulligan is shaken, unable to understand how Nightingale could move around without a heart. 

Steven Lin
Working as Chief Technician at the Federal Bureau of Control, Steven was dispensed to the area to fix the FBC Station. On his way, he hired Ilmo Koskela of Koskela Brothers Adventure Tours to help him access the forest and find the station, although Ilmo seemingly knows more than he's divulging. After suspecting sabotage and finding something that had been diverting bureau alerts to another location, Steven fixed the damage and left instructions for the next technician on site. He claims the station is there to measure volcanic activity and toxicity levels in the air.

Ilmo Koskela
One half of the Koskela Brothers Adventure Tours, Ilmo was seemingly hired by Steveen, the Chief Technician at the FBC, to help him locate and fix the malfunctioning monitoring station. After Saga catches him near the crime scene, he proudly promotes Coffee World and Watery, making the connection that Saga must have Nordic connections. He quickly explains the need for repairs are due to raccoons. 

In the Overlap, Saga hears Logan crying for help. Weirded out by her daughter's voice, she dismisses it, stating that she's safe back in Virginia. 

Locations & Importance to Chapter

Bright Falls Sheriff Station. With connections down to the shared morgue, the Bright Falls Sheriff Station becomes the town's first line of defence against Nightingale. 

Witch's Ladle. Desperate to return to the Dark Place, Nightingale enters the threshold into the Overlap, located in the roots of the Witch's Ladle. Following his footsteps to the shoreline, Saga burns away the darkness in roots, revealing a new manuscript page and instructions on how to perform the ritual.

Witch's Hut. Located near the Witch's Ladle, the Witch's Hut is a small one-room shack overlooking Bright Falls and just a short distance from the flooded shoreline. It's powered with a small exterior fusebox. Once lit, it becomes a break room,

Cauldron Lake Camp Grounds. While generally abandoned following the area's closure by the FBC, the campgrounds still attract the occasional rebellious, love-sick teenager, adventure tour outlaws, and determined waitresses. The area was closed off in 2010.

Cauldron Lake General Store. A run-down, abandoned shack a few minutes from the coastline. The area is used by the Cult of the Tree as a base of operations and, after an abandoned ritual, a crime scene. After profiling Nightingale following his sudden disappearance, Saga retrieves his tattooed heart from a fridge inside. 

Witch's Ladle. The Witch's Ladle is the official name for the large tree that provides a gateway through to the Overlap. To access it, Saga must retrieve the heart and pass it through the hole in the Witch's Ladle sign while reciting its incantation.  

The Overlap. The weak spot between our world and the Dark Place. The place is seemingly looped, creating a nightmare version of Bright Falls, which is dangerous and claustrophobic. It's in this space that Saga fights Nightingale and that she reaches the author of the manuscript pages. 

Cauldron Lake. Cauldron Lake is a key area in Bright Falls. Having receded recently, the bed of Cauldron Lake became exposed, revealing driftwood and claimed animals. At the end of the chapter, Alan crawls out from the waves, leaving the Dark Place behind.

  • Sheriff Station EmailsAn unlocked computer at the station allows us to see in the exciting life of coffee machine emergencies.

  • Sheriff Station Map. A layout of the newly modified Sheriff Station.

  • Mayor Setter Won't Roll Over On The Issues. Check out the table outside the police department car park.

  • Steven Lin's Maintenance Note. Reporting from the FBC, Lin reports his findings on the "raccoon" damage at the monitoring station.

  • Alex Casey Lunch Box (FBC Station). Located on the far side of the FBC Station. (Available in Invitation)

  • The Witch's Hut Sign. "The Witch's Hut. Here lived the Witch of Cauldron Lake. Beware - her spirit may still haunt this place."

  • Alex Casey Lunch Box (Witch's Cabin). "I know things can get a little crazy around here, but if you're ever feeling scared, just remember that ALAN is watching over us."

  • Camp Ground Journal. An abandoned journal left by a teenager who plans to explore a building close to the lake.

  • Shotgun in General Store. Invest in your inventory and collect the shotgun from the Bright Falls General Store. 

  • General Store Activity Notes. Located in the laundry section of the Bright Falls General Store, the cult's notes track nearby activity, particularly at night.

Manuscript Pages
  • Saga Pursues Nightingale (Collected in The Heart, counts as Invitation)
  • Saga Finds A Safe Haven
  • Saga Opens The Cauldron Lake Overlap
  • Saga At The General Store

Ties To Alan Wake
  • Coffee Thermos. In the original game, players could find one hundred blue Oh Deer Diner Coffee Thermoses as part of an extra collectable. When it comes to the sequel, the thermoses are part of its saving system found exclusively in Break Rooms.  

  • There's Hole In Her Chest Where Her Heart Should Be. In Alan Wake 2, the act of returning the heart to "the witch" mirrors the character's original ties to the game. (In Alan Wake, Thomas Zane cuts out Barbara Jagger's heart in an attempt to kill the Dark Presence that had taken over her. Alan later places the clicker inside her chest cavity and uses it, destroying the puppet and weakening the entity.)

  • Signal. The Signal, was the first episode of optional DLC released in Summer 2010 for Alan Wake. The title refers to Wake's connection to Thomas Zane which dissipates as the writer falls deeper. The same term is used again in the Overlap, when the two protagonists encounter each other properly for the first time. Saga refers to the flashes and sound bites of Wake being like "a bad signal". 

Ties To Later Events
  • Caldera Street Station. While profiling Nightingale, he recites, "next stop, Caldera Street Station." With Alan trapped in the Dark Place, his surroundings have taken the form of a twisted New York, complete with Subway, Caldera Street Station. Flashes of the location can be seen in the Overlap, hinting at what's to come.

  • Karelian Pies. Karelian Pies can be found across the game in the break rooms, first activated at the Witch's Hut. While possibly an unusual snack for the Pacific Northwest, it teases a trip to Bright Falls' neighbour, Watery, a town founded by Finnish immigrants. A popular savoury food in Finland, Karelian pies often feature milk-soaked rice on a thin rye bread, which has been pinched to form a bowl-like shape. Best served hot and with butter and a slice of classic Oltermanni. Will fight anyone who disagrees. 

  • Fragments of a Book. While driving back to the crime scene with Saga, Casey admits that ten years ago, he started to receive letters in the mail, fragments from the books written by Alan Wake, describing a murder cult to "bring him back". These events will be shown as "Echos" during Alan Wake's story and his attempt to leave the Dark Place.

Ties Into The Remedy Connected Universe (Spoilers)
  • Raccoons with Big Teeth. In the Control DLC pack, AWE, there are reports of the Lake House station encountering malfunctions seemingly from damage caused by raccoons. As the problems continue, the agents become less convinced that it's from the animals alone. 

Saga's Mind Place

"The Case Board is a mental technique that allows Saga to analyze clues and progress the investigation.

Casefile. "Examination of R. Nightingale" [CONT]

[Linked to Casefile] Photograph of Disturbance: "Nightingale Attacked Us" A photograph of Nightingale grabbing a deputy by the throat. "Nightingale attacked us. A CORPSE attacked us. I used his sensitivity to light to fight him off, but he got away. I need to hunt him down and figure out what the fuck is going on here.

[Linked to Photograph of Disturbance] Where did Nightingale Go? "Ca
  • [Linked to  Where did Nightingale Go?] "Saga was back at Cauldron Lake. He was there too.  A Taken. A creature of darkness." "According to the page, it sounds like Nightingale went back to Cauldron Lake. And he's a 'Taken'."

  • [Linked to  Where did Nightingale Go?] "Saga had to pursue Nightingale. Into the Overlap. Finding a way in would be difficult." "'The Overlap?' What? These pages aren't making sense."

  • [Linked to  Where did Nightingale Go?] "Nightingale: Nightingale went through the tree into some other page" "'The tree?' could mean Witch's Ladle, but what's it a threshold to? The Overlap?" (Follow the footprints from the crime scene to unlock)
  • [Linked to  Where did Nightingale Go?] "Footprints leading into the forest" "These footprints weren't here before. Nightingale came this way. I'm on the right trail."

  • [Linked to  Where did Nightingale Go?] "Nightingale's trail led to another page. "The page was covered in a substance that my flashlight burned away. It mentions a 'Witch's Hut'. 

[Linked to Where did Nightingale Go?] Witch's Hut. "Bright light provides protection. Keep an eye out for more places like this."
  • [Linked to Witch's Hut."The fuse was in place. She had found it among the junk in the forest." "I think the page is trying to tell me where to find the fuse. It must be somewhere near the Witch's Hut." Unlocked after collecting the second page from the Overlap. 

  • [Linked to Witch's Hut."A bright light nothing could hurt her here. There were objects that stood out to Saga. As if the light had manifested them." "Is this implying light can affect reality? Nightingale WAS chased off by my flashlight. 

[Linked to Casefile] Cauldron Lake Witch's Hut? "I found a page talking about the Ritual at the Witch's Ladle. Is this how Nightingale got past the rock? Is that the entrance to the Overlap?

[Linked To Cauldron Lake Witch's Hut?] "What Is The Ritual" "Ritual: Give witch heart. Recite words. Witch = Witch's Ladle sign? Where is heart? Words illegible. 

[Linked To What Is The Ritutal?] "She squinted to read the smudged line on the heart. The second part recited from memory. "I bought you the heart, witch. Show me the terror" "Looks like those words tattooed on the heart are part of the ritual."  

[Linked To What Is The Ritutal?] "Witch's Ladle. Towering over Saga. Watching her and the witch. Nightingale's heart. A cold dead lump in her hand." "Nightingale's heart disappeared from the morgue when he did. How am I going to find it? And who is this "witch"?

Chapter Development

ArtStation has an incredible range of models, concept artwork, and more by the talented teams at Remedy. For Return 2: The Heart, we see the introduction of FBC Chief Technician Stephen Lin (models below shared by Elias Frenckell, Character Artist at Remedy, who worked on the modelling and texturing of Lin's outfit. We wonder if we'll see more of Stephen in the Lake House DLC.

At the start of the level, we leave the dark and dingy morgue to the brilliant autumn colours of the town. Responsible for the original whitebox of many of the buildings in town was José Antonio Zapata (Environment Artist at Remedy), who worked with a number of artists to bring a fresh look to the familiar place. 

The town wouldn't be the same without the lush vegetation, most notably the maple trees in the park that really add to those September vibes. One of the artists working on creating realistic plants is Noah Monnereau (Principle Vegetation Artist at Studio Gimbal), who started his career working with Art Director Adam Lacharité and the Remedy team as an Environment Artist. 

There are two locations that become incredibly important in Return 2: The Heart; The Overlap and the Cauldron Lake shoreline. Below are two pieces of concept artwork by Remedy's brilliant Concept Artist, Juhani Jokinen. In the first piece, they explore how the Overlap may appear in the game, with the waters from Cauldron Lake reaching out to flood it. In the second piece, Saga stands on the shoreline at Cauldron Lake. The scene was later changed to a semi-daylight scene as Saga discovers Wake emerging from the waves.

When it comes to chapter-specific models, ArtStation has two pieces that may look very familiar to players. The first prop is by Maren Gerbach, who created the fusebox for the Witch's Hut, on her portfolio, she explains her work on the sequel saying "Various gameplay-related props I made for Alan Wake II. These Assets required close collaboration with Narrative-, Gameplay- and Level Design Teams to make sure the designs communicated the correct expectations to the player and would fit the narrative.

If you managed to break open the gun case in the Bright Falls general store, you would have picked up a shotgun designed by Senior Hardsurface Artist at Remedy Entertainment, Pedro Amorim.


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Icons by the incredible, Evil-Owl-Loki.

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