Return To Home Page
Feb. 5, 2006
Alan Wake - Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

Click To Enlarge Image
Check out the detail on Alan!
So we have to rewind a bit to May 2005 and the E3 show was in full swing at the LA Convention Centre. One game that was stealing a lot of praise was Alan Wake from Remedy. At the time Remedy was still glowing from the stunning success of Max Payne 2 one of the most polished and enjoyable titles on PC in recent years. But Alan Wake is a new beast, a new series targeted at the PC and next generation consoles, PS3 included. The developers of the game have mentioned that the TV show Twin Peaks is an inspiration for the title, as well as Steven King's books, and the games storyline seems to follow these two inspirations closely.

Click To Enlarge Image
The town, Bright Falls, looks gorgeous.
Alan Wake is a bestselling horror writer. Early on in his career, his fiancée was his muse. When he'd first met her, he had started to see strange dreams which he used as material for his first book. The book was a big success. It was a dream come true. But then Wake’s fiancée vanished without a trace. Wake was devastated. After that, he couldn't write anymore. His dreams stopped and he began to suffer from insomnia.

At the beginning of the game, Wake travels to a sleep clinic to seek treatment for his condition. The secluded clinic is located near the small town of Bright Falls, Washington, far away from the stressful urban lifestyle. Receiving treatment at the clinic, Wake is able to sleep again. At the clinic, he meets a mysterious woman who is the very image of his missing fiancée, uncannily so. At once, his dreams return, this time as terrible nightmares. Wake begins to write again: a new book based on those nightmares. But something is horribly, horribly wrong. Impossibly, the town of Bright Falls starts to change to something awful that bears a close resemblance to Wake’s new book. Wake ends up fighting for his life with a gun and a flashlight in his hands, trying to understand what’s happening.

Click To Enlarge Image
Oh look, it's another headshot of Alan!
One of the key elements in Alan Wake is the use of light and day. Alan's enemies become stronger in darkness and he will have to either seek shelter, or prepare for the onslaught and use light sources to his advantage. As yet Remedy have not shown any enemies, other then some cloaked characters facing away from the screen near the end of the E3 trailer. While walking around the town Alan can enter buildings and talk to many of the NPC's (Non Playable Characters) that inhabit the world. The forests are not only gorgeous to look at but will be populated by wildlife, and there will be no loading when walking around outside - which hints that there may be small loads when entering or leaving buildings.

Click To Enlarge Image
Showing off the stunning effects.
Technically this is an impressive game with Remedy's in-house graphics engine really pushing the game into the next generation (indeed the game is not coming to current generation - PS2 etc). Alan Wake is actually modeled after a Finnish actor (and we're not sure of his name) while the stunning forests have all be developed in-house. Remedy have mentioned that the game currently has a draw distance of around 2km and a host of graphical effects including full weather modeling, day/night time cycles, ambient occlusion, normal mapping, atmospheric scattering, fully volumetric shadows, high dynamic rendering, bloom, depth of field and loads of different pixel-shader effects.

While Alan Wake is only a single player game it promises to be one of the most riveting on the next generation consoles. Remedy know how to make great games, and this new franchise is something to get quite excited about. As yet there's no release date for Alan Wake, but expect to hear, and see, a lot more of Alan Wake at this years E3 show in May.