On the Sequel to Alan Wake

Alan Wake was an odd game for me.

It suffered from multiple ludo-narrative dissonances. For example, the combat and enemies were too cool for their own good, especially in juxtaposition to the neurotic writer hero. Just compare them to the excellent symbiosis and harmony of the combat and enemies in Silent Hill 2.

The high concept I find suspicious to this day: there is a reason why vast majority of weird fiction is short stories and not novels. Surreal pulp is believable and tasty in small doses only (e.g. hallucinations in the original Max Payne).

Finally, I just could not sympathize with the hero. Self-absorbed, overwritten, and yet somehow bland. He was an unlikely hero but just because he was unlikeable, not because he was different.

And yet… I finished the game twice (the Windows release was a good excuse). This does not happen very often, trust me — I usually have neither time nor will to replay even the best experiences. But Alan Wake is a rare exception. And then, naturally, I bought and finished all DLCs and even the American Nightmare.

I was also helplessly in love with the setting and the mood. Remote small towns somehow trigger my pleasure injector (it’s not just me, of course, Stephen King built a career out of them). The engine was amazing, too. The visual effects were and still are among the best in business.

Oddly enough, except for the hero I liked or even loved every other character from the game. And some mission design was simply incredible. You know what was the best one, right?

Taking all of the above into account, for a second there, I had a bit of mixed feelings learning about the ghost of Alan Wake 2. I always thought I really wanted the sequel but not quite.

But then I realized that I would take Alan Wake 2 over any Battlefield Call of Assassin any time. Alan Wake was unpredictable, intimate, personal — and that is not something I get from AAA games often enough.

It’s clear to me chances are very slim. Alan Wake 2 will only happen if Quantum Break either fails at retail (apage, Satanas) or if it sells insane numbers. Any other form of success will probably result only in Quantum Break 2.

But one can dream that sometimes fiction becomes reality, can they not?

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