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19th October 2023
Alan Wake 2: Behind the Scenes [Video Series]
Chapter 5: Fighting the Darkness

This evening, Remedy shared the latest in their Alan Wake 2 Behind the Scenes series, this time delving into how Saga and Alan use their strengths to journey deeper into the mystery.

For the game, the team has introduced new gameplay mechanics to bring players closer to the story, including the Mind Place and Writer's Room. You can see both in action and how the heroes use them to their advantage in the new Fighting the Darkness video below.

In order of appearance, we hear from Kyle Rowley (Game Director), Marko Muikku (Gameplay Lead), Simon Wasselin (Lead Narrative Designer), Molly Maloney (Principal Narrative Designer), Sam Lake (Creative Director), Janina Gavankar (Actor, Agent Kiran Estevez), and Teemu Huhtiniemi (Principal Level Designer).

While we are nearing Alan Wake 2's launch date, there have been some interview clips where there's been another person that we haven't heard from yet, so fingers crossed, this won't be the last in the series!

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

Kyle Rowley: So in Alan Wake 2, obviously, gameplay mechanics, creating that survival horror experience is very important.

Marko Muikku: There’s going to be a lot to handle. But, the player will have all the tools at their disposal to fight the darkness.

Simon Wasselin: Saga’s story starts [as a] relatively classic horror movie. It's like someone from the real world entering this quirky town, coming here to do a job. She has this uncanny intuition that allows her to solve difficult cases.

Molly Maloney: She kind of perceives that threat through the lens of this case board. The case board is a mental projection, where she kind of gets to stash data that she's gathered, and that's where she makes sense of it.

Sam Lake: She’s profiling suspects who appear in a vision-like way. She calls it her ‘Mind Place’.

Simon Wasselin: When she's confronted with her first Taken, suddenly, the supernatural is really present. And she's excited about it. She's curious; it's something new for her.

Janina Gavankar: When Kiran meets Saga for the first time, it was interesting to have this feeling of being protective. Like, “Trust me, you don't want to cross this line because when you see all the things that we've seen at FBC, there's no coming back from this.”

Simon Wasselin: But when the supernatural threatens her family, the stakes are much higher, and she has to fight for her own life and the life of her loved one.

(In-Game) Logan: Mom!

(In-Game) Saga: Logan?

(In-Game) Logan: Mom, help!

(In-Game) Saga: Logan!

Kyle Rowley: So, Saga has her Mind Place, and then because we've got the two experiences, this idea of duality, we wanted to have the same concept mirrored on Alan Wake’s side. So he has what we call ‘The Writer’s Room’. They'll be in a version of Wake's cabin from the first game. And then inside there, we have different modules that the player can interact with. One of those modules is what we call ‘The Plot Board’. The player can see what they've done in the past; it almost acts like a quest log in a traditional game. And the player will be discovering inspiration for Alan. So he'll be kind of coming across what we call ‘Echo Scenes’.

(In-Game) Alan Wake: Something lingered here, a half-forgotten memory, an echo.

Kyle Rowley: These give Alan ideas that the player can then utilise on the board. It’s the idea of rewriting reality, to be able to change the world around them.

(In-Game) Alan Wake: I changed the story, and with that, the Dark Place changed.

Kyle Rowley: This allows them to progress through areas they would not be able to before. They'll uncover new narrative information, potentially even uncover more dangerous threats in that space.

(In-Game) Unknown Voice: Something came looking for the cult, but it was a trap.

Teemu Huhtiniemi: Light is definitely a big part of Alan Wake 2. We have this new mechanic that allows Alan to place and remove lights in predefined scenes. And since the Dark Place works in mysterious ways, doing this actually has a physical effect on the world. So, for example, a wall could turn into a doorway or a set of ladders. This gives, of course, different opportunities for exploration and gameplay.

Marko Muikku: You need to use your light in a conservative way because sometimes it helps you to guide your way, and sometimes it can actually hamper your progression. Saga needs to use her flashlight to burn away the darkness, expose weak spots and find new possibilities of taking down the enemies. And for Wake, it’s a matter of figuring out what is real and what is not. The danger will be lurking behind every single corner.

(In-Game) Taken: You will never escape.

Marko Muikku: Definitely, light is a weapon, but it's also a way to survive. From time to time, you might get overwhelmed, so you need to constantly push the threat back and seek refuge in the light and manage resources while doing all that. We have put a lot of emphasis on the physicality of the enemies, the way they animate and how they hit the player. One thing that is important, in comparison to other games that we have made, the player needs to very actively look at the enemy tells. Look at their combos, time their dodges, time their attacks carefully to defeat the foe while preserving ammo. We have weapons that allow a more silenced approach, and then we have a more close and personal, getting-the-job-done style of weaponry.

Sam Lake: Alan Wake 2 is built on the foundation of our previous games. It’s not just a step forward; to me personally, it feels like a leap forward. The elements in interactive storytelling that I have wanted to experiment on and brought to our games they are all there present, all pushed way forward in all kinds of unexpected ways. It’s all a very logical continuation on this journey.


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