Today, it was announced that Epic Games will release a remaster of the 2010 Xbox cult classic. Alan Wake later this fall on PC, Xbox and PlayStation. The company had previously announced a deal with Remedy Games, the development studio behind the hit third-person shooter Control, established by the bureaucracy, to publish two of its projects. The first was a “AAA multiplatform release”, the other a smaller game set in the same universe, which many now assume to be the Alan Wake remastering.
For those of you who are not familiar with Alan Wake, the game absolutely whips. Follow the story of the headline Alan Wake, a Stephen King-style horror writer, as he faces nightmares in the Pacific Northwest. While its lantern-based combat was a bit clunky at times, the game was deeply committed to the sense of place and the mystery it created. Its narrative played a lot with fiction, perspective, and the power of language, and is now widely considered a classic of the Xbox 360 generation.
I was a kid when the game was first released, and it was one of my first “Oh shit, can games be like this?” experiences. The way he engaged with both his own text and the genre conventions he was toying with was nothing short of groundbreaking at the time. In fact, I liked the game so much that one day while I was at Barnes & Noble, I saw a copy of the game’s novelization and bought it. That novelization was good! But the fact that there is a novelization of a game about a novelist writing and engaging with his own novels in the first place is a fun gift to me.
I would say it is weird and cool things like the one that makes Remedy Games so good at making classics. Both Alan Wake and Control have passed into the canons of their respective generations, and that’s due in large part to Remedy Games’ mastery of producing a sense of place. These are games that thrive on the details of their setup, Alan Wake’s rationale, brutalist text, and Control screen filling. There is no mainstream developer better at creating dream worlds than Remedy Games.
This mastery is the reason why I’m excited for Alan Wake to get a remastering. Typically, new coats of paint don’t do much for games they’re hastily applied to. You get quality of life improvements here or there, maybe a better view or two, but most of the time the game doesn’t benefit from the years of future technology that have been developed since then, because it wasn’t built with that technology. . in mind.
Alan Wake feels like a different story. Its scope exceeded its scope, that is, it was strange and ambitious and somewhat broken after liberation. That rarity cemented it as a cult classic, but the technical limitations of the time definitely put a damper on the game. I’m legitimately excited to see what it looks like with ray tracing, especially since light was the game’s defining mechanic. To defeat an enemy in Alan Wake, you had to shine your flashlight on him until his armor, made of materialized night, was burned.
I can already see it, lines of light cutting through the trees too tall and too close, trailing their fingers across the black liminal. Trying to carve the darkness out of dreams, and never managing to stop it.