There are places in our world where fiction and dreams can come true.

Initiation 1: Late Night

Opening: After waking up on the shores of Cauldron Lake, Alan Wake is escorted by Alex Casey and Saga Anderson back to the safety of Elderwood Palace Lodge in Bright Falls. During his interview, he notices a janitor's station in the next room. His mind casts back to his time in the Dark Place.

Late Night: Alan stirs in a talk show waiting room. Stepping onto the set of In Between With Mr Door, he's pressed about a new autofiction book he's seemingly written, Initiation, a sequel to Departure. As the lights go down, he finds himself alone on the stage, with the Dark Presence quickly bearing down on him. After unsuccessfully avoiding the entity, he wakes up with a start in his Writing Room. Sitting at his typewriter, he attempts to find a new ending. 

A version of him appears back in the waiting room. Stepping on set this time, he meets Sam, the actor behind his protagonist, Alex Casey, in the upcoming adaption Murder Case Casey. The preview reveals Casey's determination to track down a missing writer, with an angel lamp being his only solid lead. Once again, the lights fall, and Alan finds himself alone. Weaving through the backstage rooms, he discovers a friendly face in Ahti, the Janitor, who leads him to discover an Angel Lamp. The lamp has been safely tucked inside a shoebox in the basement for him to recover. With the lamp, he gains the ability to capture and distribute light. With it finds a way to escape the talk show and enter a twisted version of New York.

Characters Introductions & Progressions
Locations & Importance to Chapter
Collectables (& Manuscript Pages)
Ties to Alan Wake
Ties to Later Events
Ties to the Remedy Connected Universe
Details of Note
Chapter Development

Characters Introductions or Progressions

Mr Warlin Door
The enigmatic talk show host at the forefront of In Between with Mr Door. His electrifying hosting talent bounces between genuine warmth and familiarity to cold and foreboding. In the first version, he talks to Alan about the upcoming book, Initiation, exploring the subject of autofiction with a narrator who is astral projecting. In his second version, he asks Wake about his reluctance towards adaptations and how Sam compares to his idea of Alex Casey.

Alan Wake
(Bright Falls) After disappearing thirteen years ago, Saga Anderson discovers Alan Wake on the shoreline of Cauldron Lake. Back at Elderwood Palace Lodge, his interrogation takes an unusual turn as the dark puddle draws him back to his time in the Dark Place and to the In Between with Mr Door set

(Dark Place) Confused about how he arrived at the talk show, Alan quickly learns that another book, Initiation, had been written under his name. As he attempts to leave, the Dark Presence captures him, ending the story prematurely. Waking up in his writing room, he sits down at the typewriter to write a new version where he can escape. In the new revision, he is back at the talk show, this time talking about his upcoming movie, Murder Case Casey. While not dismissive of the movie, he admits that he's always felt protective over his stories, although Sam fits his vision of the protagonist exactly.

A Finnish actor and self-proclaimed huge Alan Wake fan, Sam takes on the role of Alex Casey in the upcoming adaptation of Murder Case Casey. In the film, the detective tracks down a missing writer, with only an Angel Lamp as his lead. (Played by Remedy's Creative Director, Sam Lake, the character is only referred to as "Sam" in the interview.)

Ahti the Janitor
A mysterious Finnish janitor, lurking behind the scenes at In Between With Mr Door. While vague in his answers, his friendly face puts Alan at ease as Ahti directs him to search the basement for something that might help him escape. Although in the Dark Place, he seems unfazed by it. While he is corrected, he continues to call Alan "Tom".

Saga Anderson (Bright Falls)
Just prior to the interrogation, and on her drive back to town, she learns of her daughter's recent incident and that she couldn't be reached while in the Overlap. As the agents reach the safety of Elderwood Palace Lodge, she takes a firm approach to the writer's mysterious reappearance; Saga attempts to get answers. 

Alex Casey (Bright Falls)
Unimpressed with his connections to Wake's fictional protagonist, Casey takes a slightly antagonistic tone when dealing with the writer. Although there is evidence of sympathy for the guy, particularly after being discovered, with Casey reassuring him that they're armed with a torch and gun, and they know about the pages. 

While Saga was in the Overlap, Logan slipped in the shower and sustained a mild concussion. Despite the incident, she is eager for her parents to not overreact. (Saga's daughter)

Saga's husband (referred to as Dave) and Logan's father. While in his care, Logan slipped over in the shower and developed a mild concussion. After hearing her fall in the next room, David helps her but admits that he had been concerned about her drowning. (Saga's husband)

Locations & Importance to Chapter

Cauldron Lake (Introduction). With Nightingale destroyed, the waters of Cauldron Lake receeeded to expose the beach and the driftwood and animals it has claimed along the way. In the muddied waters, Saga discovers Alan Wake, having emerged from the Dark Place. 

Elderwood Palace Lodge. Soon after arriving, Casey and Anderson had set up base in a private room just off to the side of the dining room. It's in this area that they take Wake after recovering him from the beach and perform the interview. 

In Between With Mr Door Set. Our introduction to The Dark Place. The large talk show set is divided into three areas; the live studio audience, the main discussion area, and the studio band. As Wake emerges from a brown curtain separating the backstage and set, he is greeted by Old Gods of Asgard playing as Warlin Door introduces his guest. 

In Between With Mr Door, Old Gods of Asgard Room. The room provides a getaway for the in-house band, Old Gods of Asgard. Filled with band memorabilia, including old album covers, the location also serves to guide Wake through the passcoded doors.

In Between With Mr Door, Mr Door Room. A private retreat from the bright lights. Warlin Door keeps things simple with a newspaper (discussing Zane's Classic in Theaters) and a book (Dr Casper Darling's book, Interpretation of Many Worlds.

Writing Room. A representation of the writing space at Bird Leg Cabin, the Writing Room is a safe haven for Alan Wake to plan and write his latest manuscript page in the relative safety of The Dark Place. 

Basement. The dark and dingy talkshow basement is packed with boxes, shelves and old television sets. Crowded and likely not often visited. It's also the location where Wake can find the Angel Lamp, secured in a shoebox waiting for him.


Manuscript Pages
  • Nightingale in the Dark Place (Collected in Late Night's introduction for The Heart)

  • Security Door. Go back to the Old Gods of Asgard room and check out the neon lights. The code is 665 (the neighbour of the beast).

  • Security Door #2. In the second version, the security door number has changed, but you can still find the solution in the same place. The neon numbers will flash in the order you need to type them in. The code is 565 (the slightly less neighbour of the beast, although likely still in the same apartment block),

Ties To Alan Wake
  • "We Have A Great Show For You Tonight". Mr Door's introduction to his talk show, In Between With Mr Door, mirrors the opening of The Harry Garrett Show from Alan Wake, including the introduction and Old Gods of Asgard as their special guest. 

  • "That Name Sounded Familiar". Old Gods of Asgard is a fictional band performed by the very real band Poets of the Fall. Created by Odin and Tor Anderson, as well as Fat Bob Balder, the band's music had the power to shape reality. After being discovered in 2010 by Wake's literary agent, Barry Wheeler, they began touring again. (Poets of the Fall appeared in the original game's Harry Garrett Show as themselves but have taken the role of their alter-ego in the sequel.)

  • "It's Not A Lake." In his introduction to Wake's new book, Initiation, Mr Door references the previous book's lingering ending, "it's not a lake, it's an ocean". The same phrase closes out the original game. 

  • Night Owl Newspaper. In the original game, Alan's journey through the night was accompanied by the smooth voice of Pat Maine on his radio show, Night Owl. 

  • "Like a Deep Sea Diver". While at his typewriter, Alan describes his "astral projection" as being like a "deep sea diver". In the original game, Thomas Zane appears to Alan in a bulky deep-sea diving suit, a role the filmmaker took on.

  • My Name is Alan Wake, I'm a writer. Like Odin and Tor Anderson, Ahti refers to Alan Wake as "Tom".

  • The Shoebox. As established in the original Alan Wake game, items placed in a shoebox can remain behind, or can be threaded into other stories. 

Ties To Later Events
  • Awake New And Whole. Alan Wake's sudden appearance is not so sudden when you complete the story. In a later chapter, Saga works with the FBC and Old Gods of Asgard to bring Alan back from The Dark Place. While they conclude that they were unsuccessful, Saga realises that they did summon him; it just brought him back sooner than they had realised.

  • "This Is The Ritual". After the Dark Presence captures Wake, he wakes up in the writing room at Bird Leg Cabin. In the jumpscare, we hear the first line of "this is a ritual to lead you on", which will be repeated throughout the game. It follows up with a reference to the original game, "Your friends will meet him when you're gone", which was spoken by Thomas Zane when Mr Scratch was created. 

  • "Maybe It Was Written By Your Evil Double". When Alan admits that he has no memory of writing Initiation, Mr Door jokes, although rather deadpan, "Maybe it was written by Your Evil Double". A suggestion that alarms Wake... and not entirely false.

  • Not One Without The Other. In his conversation with Ahti the Janitor, his friend makes the comment, "Not so much evil that not a bit of good as well. Not one without the other", hinting that Scratch exists within Wake. 

  • Spiral Into Darkness. In the final cutscene, Alan watches the real version of himself in the Writer's Room. He utters the phrase, "Every word I write is a step forward on this spiral into darkness", which connects to the ending line of the game, "It's not a loop, it's a spiral."

  • Water Finds A Way. When talking to Ahti, he comments, "I often think about it when I mop the floor and look into the puddle. Water is the memory of the world. Water finds its way." possibly implying that, like the player, he can travel through the two worlds. Particularly as he doesn't seem concerned or trapped either in the Dark Place or in the nursing home. 

Ties Into The Remedy Connected Universe (Spoilers)
  • A Door Between Worlds. Warlin Door has been the source of speculation in the community, with fans drawing similarities between his role and the eventual role of Quantum Break's Martin Hatch, played by Lance Reddick. 

  • Don't Blame Me If You Fall In Love. Despite taking place in the Dark Place, the In Between With Mr Door's set is accompanied by Oh Deer Diner mugs.

  • Night Owl News. An edition of the Night Owl News has two interesting stories for two interesting reasons. The stories are "Murder Cult Rumours Spead" and "Murderer Stalks Shadow", both of which touch on later events in the game. However, in Alan Wake's American Nightmare, the story focused on urban legends and rumours creating reality.

  • Ahti the Janitor. The mysterious janitor that Alan finds behind the scenes at In Between With Mr Door is the same individual who seemingly works in the Federal Bureau of Control. He is the first person that Jesse interacts with, eventually hiring her to be his janitorial assistant.

  • How The Story Goes. When Alan asks Ahti for help, he responds, "The work will instruct its maker." It's unclear how much of Ahti's existence or acts are part of Alan's manuscript. We know that he has influenced Jesse Faden's surroundings in Control.

  • Spiral Door. In the final cutscene, Alan watches a version of himself in the Writer's Room on an old TV. In the recording, he mutters, "Every word I write is a step forward on this spiral into darkness." In Control, there's a door at the Oceanview Motel with a spiral on it. When Jesse opens it in the AWE DLC, she sees him talking to someone claiming to be Thomas Zane, a doppelganger.

  • Black Pyramid Cigerettes. If Alan explores Mr Door's room, he can discover that the host smokes "Black Pyramid" cigarettes. In Control, the board in charge of the FBC is represented by an inverted black pyramid. 

Details of Note
  • "The Hard Boiled Diet". In the talk show guest room, there's a copy of the Hard Boiled newspaper with "The Hard Boiled Diet".  The term is a reference to "hardboiled detectives", the kind of genre that Wake used to write about; tough, cynical, determined, and occasionally morally grey protagonists. 

  • Special Guests. Photographs in the talk show's guest room show Ahti the Janitor, Warlin Door, Sam Lake, and Alan Wake, as well as portraits of the Old Gods of Asgard band (Poets of the Fall).

  • Book Titles. Departure, Initiation, and Return are the three stages of Joseph Campbell's Hero Journey structure on how we can examine mythology and stories. His theory was published in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), although Similar studies of monomyths can be traced back to the late 1800s. 

  • Matrix. In his description of "astral projection", Mr Door brings up the 1999 movie, The Matrix. Max Payne was the first game to use Bullet Time as a combat mechanic, popularised by the movie just a couple of years prior.

  • Haunted. The chapter-end song for all sequences in The Dark Place was created by Poe, whose 2000 song, Haunted, also closed out the second episode in the original Alan Wake game. There's an interesting story behind how "This Road (AW)" came to be!

  • The Right Type. Alan Wake's typewriter is an Olivetti Lettera 22, a portable mechanical typewriter designed by Marcello Nizzoli in 1949. The model was rebranded in the US as Sears Courier and Diplomat, with white keys and a red frame.


Chapter Development

Late Night introduces a brand new character to the Alan Wake world, Mr Warlin Door. Played by British actor David Harewood, news of his role went live in early August 2023, originally as an exclusive for EDGE Magazine in October 2023, and then on social media the next day.

Speaking about his role in the Behind The Scenes series, he describes the character stating, "He seems fairly affable. and friendly, and fun. But as the story develops, I think you get an idea that Door is not quite the person who he seems to be. As an actor and a gamer, it's just really cool to be not just in a video game but to be in a video game made by who I think are probably some of the best video game makers. Their storytelling is fantastic, and some of it's really dark."

Photographs by Tiia Öhman

With In Between With Mr Door being the central location to the level, a lot of detail went into looking just right, particularly with the studio also recreating the real-life set alongside production.  

Writing on ArtStation, Jeremy Cerisy (Environment Artist at Remedy Entertainment) stated, "I had the incredible opportunity to work on Alan Wake 2 as one of the main Environment Artists in the Dark Place for the past two and a half years. Below, I'm pleased to finally be able to share some of my work with all of you! For the Talk Show, I help Matthias and the other environmental artists to push the level whenever possible to meet high deadlines. My tasks included layout, blockout, modeling, texturing, outsourcing feedback and dressing. It was a truly collaborative work for this one so I can't take any credit for myself, I'm just glad I could help you when it was needed."

One of the concept artists who worked closely with the chapter is the brilliant Jenna Seikkula, who explored the waiting room, main talk show space, and the janitor closest. 

With the concept artwork in place, it then moved to the next important stage, bringing the design into a breathable world. One of the developers working on the janitor areas was Mikael Kivi (Jr Environment Artist at Remedy Entertainment), who wrote on their ArtStation, "During my time working on the talk-show studio area of Alan Wake 2, I had the opportunity to do the propping pass for the Janitor's Rooms based on Jenna Seikkula's concepts, under the supervision of Nazareno Urbano (Environment Art Lead & Level Owner) and Janne Pulkkinen (Art Director). Lighting was set up by our amazing in-house Lighting team. Huge thanks to everyone at Remedy who contributed to creating the atmosphere of the Dark Place."

One of the biggest surprises to come from Alan Wake 2 has to be the return of Poe with another beautiful track, This Road. Following the release of the game, Destructoid's Eric Van Allen had the unique opportunity to interview both Sam Lake (Creative Director at Remedy) and Poe on their epic collaboration.

In Alan Wake, the studio used Poe's Haunted, an eerily beautiful song, to bring chapter two to a close. For the sequel, she has a much greater presence in the game, providing the end-of-chapter songs to each of the Dark Place segments.

Speaking over email to Destructoid, Poe writes, “Being a super fan of Alan Wake and of Sam, I was obviously floored and let him know that, and then we started communicating and riffing with each other. Sam and I riffed and riffed, and then we riffed some more and then some more, and then eventually we started doing Zooms and riffed more there…. you get the picture.”

Discovering the story behind The source of inspiration for their collaboration goes back further than you may think! In 2012, Poe posted a fifty-five-second track on YouTube mysteriously called September 30, 1955, with a familiar tune and lyrics: "Some say that it loops forever this road that I lose you on every time." Another decade-long project coming full circle...

Learn more about how the short tune became a full, ever-changing song in their interview HERE.


The Control Series

The Crossfire Series

The Quantum Break Series

The Alan Wake Series

The Max Payne Series




Icons by the incredible, Evil-Owl-Loki.

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