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7th September 2023
Alan Wake 2: Behind the Scenes [Video Series]
Chapter 3: Alan Wake in the Dark Place

Thirteen years after Alan Wake vanished into the waves at Cauldron Lake, the developers have revealed how he's been fighting back against the Dark Presence in the third episode of Remedy's Alan Wake 2: Behind the Scenes series. 

Alongside the writer's mental state, we also see how the "nightmare dimension" has shaped around him, taking the form of a New York City, with psychological horror elements specifically curated for him.

In the latest episode we hear from Kyle Rowley (Game Director), Sam Lake (Creative Director), Clay Murphy (Principal Writer), Nazareno Urbano (Lead Environment Artist), Teemu Huhtiniemi (Principal Level Designer), Nathalie Jankie (Level Designer), Simon Wasselin (Lead Narrative Designer), Matthew Porretta (Voice Actor, Alan Wake), Ilkka Villi (Physical Actor) and Vida Starčević (Senior Community Manager).

Previous episodes have explored the origins of Saga Anderson's character, and the developer's return to the series after a decade. If you missed any, you can catch up, HERE!

Alan Wake 2: Behind the Scenes, Chapter 3: Saga Anderson Transcript

Kyle Rowley: The Saga experience that takes place in the Pacific Northwest is only one part of this experience. The other side is us returning to play as Alan Wake. And revisiting a location not only from his past but also from Remedy’s past.

Sam Lake: At the end of the first game, Alan Wake dove into Cauldron Lake and ended up in the nightmare dimension, underneath the lake or connected to the lake. There is a whole world there waiting, and he's been stuck there ever since.

Kyle Rowley: It's a nightmare reality based on the person's subconscious. For Alan Wake himself, he's gone back to a place from his past.

Sam Lake: New York, this fictional version of New York, has a certain magic to it. It’s this archetype of a big city. To me, that feels like the right place.

Clay Murphy: He is a writer from New York City, a lot of his books were these gritty, noir, grimy version of New York City. And so we're starting to see this almost replica of his own internal image of New York start to build itself around him.

Kyle Rowley: There's a lot of history that's happened there from a narrative experience related to his wife, Alice. There will be characters that turn up in New York that kind of are connected to some of those books that he wrote as well.

Nazareno Urbano: The New York we refer to is an echo of the hard-boiled crime noir city present in the Alex Casey book, which is the novel written by Alan Wake.

(In-Game) Alan Wake: Another place to use in the story.

Nazareno Urbano: We only used the very old school graffiti from the seventies and eighties and we kind of came up with our own version of it, which is it has a bit of a twist of like horror and nightmare. So we created something that we call ‘Nightmare Graffiti’. If you pay attention to details, even the smallest sign has something to say to you. And we want to create the feeling that the Dark Place is talking to Alan and the player.

Teemu Huhtiniemi: It's sort of a surreal, ever-changing, ever-modulating dreamscape. We want to make the player feel uneasy at all times.

Sam Lake: He has learned a lot. So we come back to him and in some ways he is the master of the supernatural now. Is he better off because of that? No. Quite the contrary. And that to me also is a big part of the horror of it. Like he's really, really lost and really, really struggling.

Clay Murphy: For him, it could be one or a thousand years. He is just in this room with a typewriter, and that's his world at this point. He's just writing and writing and writing and working through a way out, like trying to find an escape through the only tool that he has, which is writing.

Simon Wasselin: Saga is fighting for her life while Alan is fighting for his own sanity. It's really about paranoia, confusion. Will you take the risk of revealing the shadow even if there is a monster hidden behind?

Nathalie Jankie: In the Pacific Northwest, playing as Saga, I feel there's more of an ebb and flow. Or at least it will feel that way to the player. They'd come to Saga’s part of the game and feel maybe a little bit of relief. Not to say that the Pacific Northwest doesn't have its own dangers because we definitely do.

Sam Lake: To me, Ilkka Villi, the physical actor of Alan Wake and Matthew Porretta, the voice actor of Alan Wake, that is who Alan Wake is. There was never any question of Alan Wake being portrayed by anyone else.

Matthew Porretta: This is how it works. Ilkka will paint a picture, and then he'll send it to me. And then I'll paint a little bit on the picture, and then I send it back to him. There’s this kind of collaboration that we do, and it's very rare that you see us in the same place together. It's singular, and it's ours.

(In-Game) Saga Anderson: Did you write these pages Mr. Wake?

(In-Game) Alan Wake: I’m trying to remember it.

Ilkka Villi: When we were making Alan Wake one, we always used to say that he's terrified but cool. I don't think that a lot of the coolness is left. He's in deep trouble.

Matthew Porretta (Reading from Script): There's no escape. You will never escape. You will drown here. You are stuck in a loop. You don't have a clue. You are lost.

Ilkka Villi: There's a humanity to him that you're going to see in this game that you didn't get in the first game. There’s a depth.

(In-Game) Warlin Door: Welcome! We have a great show for you here tonight.

David Harewood: Hi, my name is David Harewood and I'm playing a character called Warlin Door in Alan Wake… deux. This is my talk show, “In Between With Warlin Door”.

(In-Game) Warlin Door: Alan Wake is here. Alan Wake. One of my all-time favourite writers and guests on the show.

David Harewood: 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.

Clay Murphy: As a writer, you're always thinking, “Well, my stuff isn't good enough. Is this going to actually work?” And I think Alan is getting that feedback in a much more tangible and consequential way. It's interesting taking your own profession and applying it as a threat to a character.

(In-Game) Alan Wake: I know you from somewhere.

(In-Game) Caller: You have just forgotten again. We’re in this together. Don’t worry.

Sam Lake: We have been working hard to make sure that Alan Wake 2 is a very satisfying continuation to Alan Wake's journey.

Vida Starčević: It is not the story that you would expect, but in my opinion, it is the better for it. And you will be surprised and I hope pleasantly.


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