Alan Wake Wiki

As Alan Wake 2 has now launched, be wary of major spoilers of the game. It is recommended you play the game before browsing the wiki.


Alan Wake Wiki
Alan Wake Wiki
Quote1 The reality-changing influence of the Dark Place flowed like water flowed. Like fear flowed. Down the path of least resistance. Eroding weak spots until they cracked. In places where reality was more yielding. Where a story told and retold, imagination sparked and fear ignited again and again had softened the walls of reality. Sites of violence and tragedy. Where truth was laced with fiction. Where a work of art proposed an alternative narrative. Something people could suspect to be true. Something people felt strongly about. Something they feared. Quote2
― Alan Wake[src]

Overlaps are areas where reality and the Dark Place touch for a brief moment, allowing entities in both worlds to communicate and/or interact with each other. One may also cross over into an Overlap, always through some form of ritual, allowing one to cross over to a surreal world that is like a mix of reality and the Dark Place.


Quote1 An Overlap of the Dark Place needed a push from both directions to manifest itself. Reality in our world eroded by repeated dark lore tied to a location. And a counterpoint, a work of art, a horror narrative, crafted in the depths of the Dark Place, connecting to the story on the other side, to reach out through the weakened veil. Quote2
― Alan Wake[src]

Overlaps are a result of the Dark Place influencing reality, like slipping through the cracks into the "path of least resistance." According to Alan Wake, the Overlaps form in places where fiction and reality intersect, as a result of real-life events causing the location to take on "storied," cultural significance. Since (at least from Alan's perspective) the Dark Place only accepts the darkest forms of "fiction," these sites are always ones associated with horrific events, such as murders or ghost stories. When a work of art proposes an "alternate narrative" to the one associated with the site, like Alan's writings in Return, the Dark Place can then connect to the site by corrupting elements into fitting the story.[1]

Like the Dark Place itself, Overlaps appear to work in loops and rituals. Each Overlap in Saga Anderson's story must be traversed in a loop three times (following the Rule of Three which was mentioned in Control).

Alan's plan to escape from the Dark Place relied heavily on opening an Overlap through his writing. The plot of the Initiation manuscript, as featured in Alan Wake 2, involved Alan using a "ritual" (placing himself in the shoes of his fictional detective Alex Casey to investigate cult "ritual" murders) to traverse the Dark Place and manifest an Overlap at his apartment in Parliament Tower, New York City. This was also hinted to him by the filmmaker Tom Zane, who told him that Scratch was reaching through an Overlap to torment Alice Wake at Parliament Tower.

Overlaps are similar to the Federal Bureau of Control's concept of Thresholds, alternate dimensions which are connected to our own through some specific location. In fact, the FBC calls the Dark Place itself a Threshold, i.e. "the Threshold under Cauldron Lake."

While the Overlaps in Alan Wake 2 are the only ones explicitly confirmed to be such, there are other locations which may or may not fit the definition. In a failed draft of Return from around 2012, Alan used his writing to temporarily turn a normal town in Arizona into Night Springs, Arizona, temporarily placing the setting of the eponymous TV show Night Springs into the real world. Per Alan, this was only possible because the real-world town was located in one of the "thin, worn places in the world -- where dreams and reality flow together and life is always a little strange," which he could override with the analogous Night Springs for a single night.[2]

Quote1 I can't return to the real world. I've tried. But I'm operating on dream logic, forcing the door open a crack so I can slip through. I can enter the strange little town of Night Springs.
All I did was put it in Arizona for one night. Quote2
― Alan Wake[src]

Known Overlaps[]

  • Witch's Ladle, a large tree in the forest near Cauldron Lake. Formed due to association with the story of the Cauldron Lake Witch, a ghost which supposedly killed a sheriff by ripping out his heart.
    • Alternate narrative: Return set up the "murder" of Robert Nightingale, who had been Taken, by the Cult of the Tree. The Cult carved out Nightingale's heart as part of their Taken-killing ritual. Using Nightingale's heart on a sign near the Witch's Ladle allowed Saga Anderson to enter the Overlap.
  • The Huotari Well in Coffee World. Formed due to association with the story of the Huotari Brothers, who used the well to dump the bodies of their murder victims.
    • Alternate narrative: Return set up the accidental murder of townsperson Monica Thompson by deputies Mulligan and Thornton, who tried to cover up the crime by hiding the body in the Huotari Well. The Dark Presence could then corrupt the deputies by taking advantage of their fear and guilt. Saga Anderson managed to enter the Overlap by finishing a parade float depicting the Huotari brothers dumping bodies in the well.
  • The pond at the Valhalla Nursing Home. Formed due to association with the Bunker, an abandoned military bunker near the nursing home where a local girl named Norah Hesberg drowned due to tidal flooding. The bunker and the nursing home were both at some point known as the "Oceanview Hotel," further connecting them.
    • Alternate narrative: Return set up the death of Cynthia Weaver, who had become forgetful in her old age, compounded by depression after "losing" Thomas Zane's lamp. Forgetting to change a lightbulb in her bathroom allowed the Dark Presence to take advantage and cause her to drown in her bathtub. The Taken Weaver would then try to drown Tor Anderson as well; Saga Anderson managed to enter the Overlap by playing a record of Anger's Remorse, a song from Tor to his daughter (and Saga's mother) Freya.
  • Alan's apartment building at Parliament Tower, New York City.