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10th September 2023
Alan Wake 2's Segment of Fear Fest: Black Summer 2023

Feardemic's Fear Fest: Black Summer 2023 event kicked off earlier this week in collaboration with IGN. During their five-hour livestream, we heard from Sam Lake (Creative Director on Alan Wake 2) about a new interview covering its dual narrative structure and inspirations.

The interview lasted for eight minutes and was paired with The Dark Place trailer for an overall ten-minute feature.

If you missed it, you can watch the full broadcast HERE, or check out the Alan Wake 2 segment below...

As the video doesn't have subtitles, we've included a transcript below. The interview is recorded head-on with no overlapping video, which may help with lipreading, but just in case, we have the questions and answers for you, too. 

Transcript:

Many years have passed since the first Alan Wake. How do you approach the challenge to give something familiar to the fans of the original instalment and, at the same time, attract completely new players?


Sam Lake: Alan Wake 2 is a sequel to the original Alan Wake. The original game came out thirteen years ago, so it's been a long while in between, and while it's a sequel to Alan Wake, it's also a Remedy Connected Universe experience, so it's connected not only to Alan Wake but also to Control.With all of this in the background, it is critical to us that it's very easily approachable for new players who have never played any Remedy game before. For this reason, we wanted to make it very approachable.

The game begins with FBI agents coming to this small setting in the Washington state to investigate a string of ritualistic killings. So, a serial killer, essentially. This is something that is familiar to everybody out there, and for us, it felt like a perfect starting point to get the new players and our fans in to this experience. That being said, our fans of our previous games are really, really important to us, and we want to keep on telling stories from the rich foundation that Remedy Connected Universe provides. 

So, we get everybody in and this experience is self-contained, the story is self-contained enough, so that everybody can be excited about it and understand it. For the returning fans, there is a ton of lore, true exploration to be discovered, a ton of threats that have started in Alan Wake and in Control, that we'll pick up and take further. So, it's a balancing act, but we care about the story and the world a lot. So we want to make it great for everybody.


You decided to introduce a new character, Saga Anderson. What was the idea behind it?

Second playable character was more of a gameplay motivated decision or story-driven choice (or both)?

Sam Lake: In Alan Wake 2, we have two playable characters. We have our title character, Alan Wake, the tortured writer. And we have a new Remedy hero character, FBI agent, Saga Anderson.

We have a lot of ambition when it comes to interactive storytelling, and we felt that with two characters on two separate journeys through two different worlds, gives us a lot of tools for storytelling. A character, playable character, brings in their own point of view, their persona, a backstory into it which gives us a lot of opportunities for telling the story. And with the structure of these two narratives going side by side, and the player in control, controlling the pacing of this experience; the player can switch between Saga Anderson and Alan Wake through this experience as they choose. Follow the character, then switch to the other character, and get a slightly different perspective depending on how they play it through. This kind of richness and experimental nature of the experience is something that we felt crucial in telling this story and bringing this game experience to you. 

At the same time, Saga being a newcoming into the Remedy Connected Universe, into the lore, the supernatural horror lore of Alan Wake. She is a perfect point of view character to bring everybody into this experience, new players as well.


First Alan Wake had that "Stephen King + Twin Peaks vibe." What about Alan Wake 2? It looks more like "David Fincher made a survival horror game".

Sam Lake: We love our pop culture. We feel that it's essential to find things to be excited about, that inspire you. And we purposely want to draw inspiration from things that excite us.

The original Alan Wake was very much inspired by the works of Stephen King and David Lynch. Twin Peaks more than anything! In the sequel, we are drawing from an even wider palette of inspirations. For sure, Stephen King is still there, and with the dream-like nature of The Dark Place and different versions of reality side by side, we are even, in some ways, related to Stephen King knocking on the door of The Dark Tower.

David Lynch, very kindly came back to Twin Peaks in between and made the third season, which is part of the inspiration here. But with that said, with the FBI agent investigating, we are drawing from crime films as well. Silence of the Lambs, for sure. Hannibal. Fargo, Coen brothers with the quirky, small town setting for sure, on top of Twin Peaks being a part of this. 

And horror, this is a survival horror experience, there is a lot of psychological horror in there, even folk horror with the small town setting. So, Hereditary and Midsommer, Witch, even The Lighthouse; Robert Eggers material for the quirky, craziness that goes on in this experience. 

Then, for sure, in the Dark Place- the Dark Place being this nightmare dimension, dream reality that keeps drawing from Alan Wake's mind. He's trapped there. He comes from New York City, and for years, he was writing crime fiction set in New York City. So, this kind of urban nightmarish crime-ridden setting. Things like Se7en. Things like - even Taxi Driver for certain visuals for neon signs and wet asphalt.

And then the, kind of, the crazy dreamlike nature of it, Alan Wake can't quite remember what has happened, so he is an unreliable narrator in some sense, so Fight Club for sure. Memento. The dreamlike nature of Inception. There is a ton I could keep on going, but a lot of different inspirations come into play and drawing from that soup, and creating our own thing out of all of that excitement. 

-- CONSOLE & PC GAMES --

The Crossfire Series

The Control Series

The Quantum Break Series

The Alan Wake Series

The Max Payne Series

-- MOBILE GAMES --

-- LIVE ACTION SERIES --

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