Alan Wake is a series of third-person survival horror games. The franchise was created by Remedy Entertainment, the Finnish company behind the first two Max Payne games and was first published by Microsoft Game Studios on the Xbox 360 platform on May 14th, 2010 in Europe and on May 18th, 2010 for the United States. The games themselves have since been ported from the Xbox 360 to the PC.
- Main article: Alan Wake
Alan Wake was first released in Europe on May 14, 2010 and United States on May 18, 2010 for the Xbox 360 and has since been released on Microsoft Windows on February 16, 2012.
The game tells the story of Alan Wake, a famous writer who has recently been suffering from writers block. He heads to the small town of Bright Falls with his wife, Alice, to hopefully help ease the condition. It's not long before his wife goes missing and he wakes up in front of a crashed car a week later, where he also finds a manuscript he doesn't even remember writing and shadowy men trying to kill him.
Alan Wake uses a unique mechanic where players have to use light to burn away the darkness on creatures called "The Taken". They cannot be harmed until the darkness has been burned away, which can be done with the use of flashlights, flares and in some cases kill them fully with flashbangs. Once the darkness has been burned away, players have to shoot at the enemies to kill them. The game uses "episodes" to keep the player gripped as well as adding cliffhangers to keep the player intrigued.
Unannounced Alan Wake Game
- Main article: Unannounced Alan Wake Game
Remedy Entertainment has stated that more Alan Wake is on the way. Whilst it's unclear whether it's a main title or a standalone title has yet to be confirmed. A blog called "This House of Dreams" and Sam Lake have been dropping hints on the franchise heading to a new town called "Ordinary". It's presumed the next game will be released on next-gen consoles.
Alan Wake's American Nightmare
- Main article: Alan Wake's American Nightmare
Alan Wake's American Nightmare was first released worldwide on February 22, 2012 on the Xbox Live Arcade marketplace for the Xbox 360. The game has since been released on Microsoft Windows on May 22, 2012.
The game is set after the second downloadable-content episode, where Alan is trapped in an episode of Night Springs. Hunted by his evil doppelganger, Mr. Scratch, Alan has to rewrite reality by following instructions left for him on pages he wrote in the sequel manuscript to Departure, entitled Return. He has to keep replaying the same events over and over until he gets everything correct.
The game retains the same gameplay as the first game with a few minor changes, including new weapons, but removes the "episodic" element for this game. This is set as a stand-alone title and does not impact on the main storyline. American Nightmare also adds a new feature mode to the franchise, called "Fight 'Till Dawn", where players have to fight numerous Taken for 10 minutes before the sun rises, whilst trying to get as high of a score as possible.
- Main article: Bright Falls (Mini-series)
Bright Falls is a promotional web series of 6 episodes, with the first 2 episodes being released on April 27, 2010. The series followed Jake Fischer as he arrives in Bright Falls to do a report on the town's psychiatric doctor, Emil Hartman. During his time there, he realizes something is wrong and begins to have strange visions and wakes up in awkward places.
Each episode lasted around 5-10 minutes and the final episode was released on May 14, 2010, the same day Alan Wake was released in Europe.
Alan Wake (novel)
- Main article: Alan Wake (novel)
A novel adaptation of Alan Wake was released on May 25th 2010 in junction with the games release. The book follows the story of the game but goes into greater detail and even includes moments that weren't even in the game. Remedy have clarified that the book is not an official source for the franchise since some moments in the book are inaccurate to the game.
The Alan Wake Files
- Main article: The Alan Wake Files
Released alongside the Collectors Edition of Alan Wake, the book is written by the ficticious writer Clay Steward and his time spent in Bright Falls. In the book, he writes how he had weird dreams about Alan and how he was killed by a shadowy man, much like the events portrayed in Nightmare.
The first game is mostly set in the idyllic small town of Bright Falls. It used to be a mining town until a volcanic eruption in the 1970's collapsed most of the caves. The town celebrates it's own annual event called Deerfest where every year the town goes on the hunt for deers as well celebrate the towns existence.
The Dark Place
Underneath the waters of Cauldron Lake is an entrance to "The Dark Place", where fiction, whether it's a book, movie or song can come true. It is believed that the volcanic eruption in the 1970's uncovered it.
- Main article: The Taken
The Taken are the games primary enemies. They are covered with dark smoke which protects them from harm and carry around melee weapons like knives, axes and shovels. Taken are people who have been possessed by the dark presence, and once it has taken them over, there's no way to save that person. When you encounter a Taken, they tend to say one liners which are threatening but ironically life saving.
- Main article: Alan Wake Characters
The games revolve around the title character, Alan Wake, a world famous writer from New York. Alan has a best friend named Barry Wheeler who at first believes he is crazy, but encounters the same things Alan does and helps him out. Other characters that help include Sarah Breaker, the town's sheriff and Thomas Zane, a mystical man of light dressed in a divers suit. Other main enemies include Barbara Jagger, the muse to Thomas Zane, Robert Nightingale, an FBI agent, and Mr. Scratch, Alan Wake's evil doppelganger.
Alan Wake debuted at No. 2 on the "All Formats" charts in the United Kingdom, but went to No. 1 in the "Xbox 360" charts. Despite the critical success and high rank placing in the charts, the game sold less than 1 million copies worldwide in the first year.
With the release of Alan Wake in the Xbox 360 Holiday bundle, sales began to increase and an estimated 1.4 million copies had been sold worldwide by December 2011. Alan Wake was then released on Microsoft Windows in 2012, and with the release of the PC version as well as Alan Wake's American Nightmare on Xbox Live Arcade, Remedy announced on March 13, 2012 that franchise sales had reached over 2 million copies.