- Seriously, Al, you need to get a grip. You know reality's different here.
- ―Imaginary Barry to Alan Wake
The Writer is the eighth and final episode in the game, Alan Wake. The DLC was released October 12th 2010 at the cost of $6.99. The episode continues from the previous episode, with Alan Wake trying to reach the insane version of himself.
Alan wakes to see Dr. Emil Hartman trying to give him some medication and suddenly Hartman shifts to Barry Wheeler. Alan then awakes to be stuck behind a fence with Barry of the other side, reminiscent to the scenario of escaping Cauldron Lake Lodge in Episode 4. Barry is again in imaginary form and tells Alan he must find a way to him.
After a short adventure through a hedge maze, Alan and Barry meet again and Alan sees Thomas Zane's light through a window at Cauldron Lake Lodge. Alan proceeds to the Lodge but is ambushed by Taken and an obscured version of one of the Old Gods of Asgard's songs play. Alan survives the ambush and proceeds through to the Lodge. Zane tells Alan that he must reach the Lighthouse and by giving him a manuscript page allows him to bring out words to form a path. After surviving narrow paths floating in the sky, a rotating house, the tornado from earlier in the game and a ferris wheel structure made up of random distorted rooms based on Alan's memory, Alan eventually ends up at Stucky's Gas Station.
Alan continues through some puzzles and is then told by Zane again that he is the part of Alan that doesn't want to give up and that the real Alan Wake is at Diver's Isle, currently lost in the darkness and going insane. After surviving some more ambushes by the Taken, Alan eventually gets to the lighthouse that he turns on. It reveals Diver's Isle and Alan continues to Divers Isle, along the way Barry states that Alan has ditched Barry as a friend, feeling replaced with Zane and gets enraged. Before Alan reaches the cabin, Barry sends an imaginary Emil Hartman to attack Alan, followed afterwards by the Anderson Brothers.
Alan defeats the group and confronts the imaginary Barry. After being defeated three times, imaginary Barry is destroyed and Alan proceeds into the Cabin. Alan finds an Insane Alan lying on the floor and touches his shoulder giving the Insane Alan his sanity back. Alan then realizes, that in order to return to the real world with Alice Wake and Barry he must write himself into it. He readies his typewriter and decides to create a sequel to Departure. Looking at the paper, the new name for the story is entitled "Return" by Alan Wake and the final episode ends.
- Ilkka Villi (model) and Matthew Porretta (voice) as Alan Wake and Insane Alan
- Brett Madden as Alice Wake
- Fred Berman as Imaginary Barry
- James McCaffrey as Thomas Zane
- Mark Blum as Emil Hartman
- Lloyd Floyd as Tor Anderson
- Cliff Carpenter as Odin Anderson
- Helen Greenberg as Deputy Grant
- Clark Warren as Doctor Nelson
- Gianfranco Negroponte, Navid Khonsari and Andrew Totolos as Taken
In the special episodes, the game revisits locations throughout the main game. Below is a compiled list of these locations in order of appearance.
- Cauldron Lake Lodge, Episode 4: The Truth
- The House in Alan's mind, Episode 1: Nightmare
- Elderwood National Park, Episode 2: Taken
- Alan's apartment, Episode 2: Taken
- Bright Falls Sheriff Station, Episode 2: Taken
- Bright Falls Dam, Episode 5: The Clicker
- The Well-Lit Room, Episode 5: The Clicker
- Stucky's Gas Station, Episode 1: Nightmare
- The Lighthouse, Episode 1: Nightmare
- Bird Leg Cabin, Episode 1: Nightmare
The episode finds Wake in strange circumstances, now fully aware of the thing that opposes him, he must survive one increasingly nightmarish situation after another. It is likely that the 'strange circumstances,' refer to the cabin in Cauldron Lake where Alan was trapped at the end of Episode 6. This is very likely, due to the areas leading up to the cabin in Episode 6 being very strange and "nightmarish," with the start menu description itself referring to the area as "surreal".
It is possible that the location The Writer will be set in is the Cauldron Lake Lodge because at the end of the episode The Signal, Alan collapses on the dock and suddenly sees Emil Hartman in the Lodge. Although it is doubtful, since the Hartman seen is transparent like the other human NPCs seen during the course of The Signal.
The Signal depicts Alan is trapped within himself. Instead of fighting the darkness or his book, he is now fighting himself, as his projections try to kill him within his mind. At the end of The Signal, Alan attacks himself, the TV screams "it is my brain", revealing to us that Alan is actually still trapped in the cabin and having a nightmare on the floor (the nightmare being The Signal special). It is speculated that Alan's nightmare was fueled by the Dark Presence, which drove him insane as he reread and reread the Departure manuscript, trying to find a loophole he could use to escape. The Writer may have Alan try to wake up from this nightmare scenario, then try to fight his way out of Cauldron Lake. This may actually be true as Matias Myllyrinne, CEO of Remedy confirms that the next DLC will “conclude things and have some intense action" leading this to be the final downloadable content.
- Will Alan Return to the real world?
- Who is the Imaginary Barry? He is symbolically the part of Alan that wants to give in to the insanity.
- Is Alan still in the nightmare? Yes he is, but Thomas Zane has reached him now.
- During the part where Alan has to run through a wheel of memories, there are keys from a typewriter clumped together. In the keys, from bottom to top, the main keys you have to step on say "WAKE".