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21st September 2023
Alan Wake 2: Behind the Scenes [Video Series]
Chapter 4: The Sound of Fear [Updated with Poster]

Today, Remedy released their fourth Alan Wake 2: Behind the Scenes video, this time exploring the audio and music behind the upcoming adventure. We heard from some of the audio engineers behind the project on how they approached collecting sound effects and from composer Petri Alanko on his return (this time with Marvin!) to the series.

We also received the exciting news that Poets of the Fall will be returning to the series and in a bigger capacity! If you're a fan of their music too, this video is not one to miss! We'll have a new song, and they'll also show up in some of the live action footage, including at In Between with Mr Door.

Across the full video, we heard interviews from Kyle Rowley (Game Director), Richard Lapington (Audio Director), Gulli Gunnarsson (Senior Audio Designer), Sam Lake (Creative Director), and Marko Saaresto (Vocalist, Poets of the Fall).

If you missed any of the Behind the Scenes videos, you can catch all of them, HERE!

Transcription & Visual Description:

Kyle Rowley: For me personally, one of the key components in creating these kind of atmospheric experiences is definitely sound.

Richard Lapington: There's not a rulebook, a playbook for, "Okay, this is how you how you make horror."Horror is more to do with the subconscious, the drawing on fear. It’s like really trying to manipulate the player into feeling something and feeling anticipation and dread. And that is one of the hardest things and one of the most exciting things that a sound designer could actually do.

Gulli Gunnarsson: To be able to create those, sort of, tension moments, we have to focus quite a lot on how the player feels. Focus on foley and breathing, for example, because foley and breathing within that world will bring the player so much closer to the characters.

Visual Description: During the interview, we see two clips of behind-the-scenes footage amid gameplay scenes. The first is a man falling into a Finnish lake; another man holds a boom with a microphone beside him to capture the splashing. In the second scene, they are recording the sounds of a tree moving strongly. 

[In-Game] Saga Anderson: FBI, show yourself!

Gulli Gunnarsson: Before you hit those tensions, before you build up to these moments, then you have to get the player to feel like Alan or like Saga, and it's a lot of focus that goes into getting that correct.

Petri Alanko: If you have ever experienced something that shocks you, it takes a little while to really understand what happened. That's called the nervous delay or nerve delay, basically. If you delay that sound effect for just a little bit, it increases your own bodily effect and it becomes much more powerful that way.

Richard Lapington: We play the game a lot ourselves and go "Ok, what are you feeling at these points?" But we often are chasing something that we've seen somewhere else, like pacing of the scenes is really important. Looking at how TV shows are paced and how we build the narrative across time, throughout the entire game.

Petri Alanko: We had to use some extraordinary instruments. Among them, Marvin.

Visual Description: Alanko points behind him when he says the name, "Marvin". The instrument is a 2D metal frame on three sides, with what looks to be violin strings at the top. Springs of different lengths are spread evenly throughout the frame.

Petri Alanko: It's interesting to play those instruments because they aren't equipped with a keyboard or despite the fact that you bow them, they don't reproduce anything that resembles, even closely, any string instrument or whatnot. They are just producing noise.

Gulli Gunnarsson: We did a lot of recordings on instruments as well on the audio design side. So we were smashing them up, submerging them, bowing them. We send these to Petri. Petri sends us his stems. So, it's a very collaborative effort, specifically in the Dark Place, because we want to blur the line between sound design and music.

[In-Game] Alan Wake: Hello. 

[In-Game] Caller: Alan Wake?

Sam Lake: Music is part of the storytelling and an important component. When Petri Alanko was working on the soundtrack of the first game, it was a wonderful experience and collaboration. I feel that looking back to the soundtrack that went on to win multiple awards, it's a huge part of the feeling, emotion and it captures the Pacific Northwest landscapes and the scary parts of the experience so well.

Petri Alanko: Remedy’s quite clearly in a league of their own when it comes to storytelling, characters and so forth. It's important to me as a composer because they sort of give you the brain food for the themes, motifs and orchestration.

Sam Lake: I really, really wanted to keep on working with Petri. There was no question about him not returning to Alan Wake 2. It's been wonderful having him back working on the soundtrack for this game.

[Song] Poets of the Fall: Look in the mirror. The-

Visual Description: The three founders of the band; Marko Saaraesto, Markus "Captain" Kaarlonen, and Olli Tukainen, are dressed as members of the Old Gods of Asgard band. Throughout the interview, we see shots of them performing something new. 

Richard Lapington: The relationship that we've had with Poets has been going on for a long time and it's been really cool to watch them grow and get more used to what we have to do.

Sam Lake: We've been collaborating with Poets of the Fall ever since Max Payne 2, and the big step forward in that was the idea of them assuming the role of an in-world fictional band of Old Gods of Asgard for Alan Wake. And songs that were custom-made to comment on the plot and the lore of the world.

Marko Saaresto: When Sam came back to me and said that they're actually doing more Alan Wake and they wanted Old Gods to have an even sort of bigger role in it, that was very exciting. I don't think there was ever a question in our minds about whether we would do it or not. It's always been so much fun to do that stuff and it's challenging in its ways, but it's also educational. From the get-go it was like, yeah, let's do this.

Sam Lake: We have absolutely stunning pieces of music that we are using to give you a further perspective into the story, custom-made for Alan Wake 2.


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