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Alan Wake vs Deadly Premonition – 12 startling similarities

A little while ago, we published a piece comparing Alan Wake to Alone in the Dark, and found an alarming number of similarities between 2008’s mediocre fire-based horror adventure and 2010’s high-minded “psychological thriller.” As we were playing through the game recently, however, we couldn’t help but notice a small storm of similarities to another, slightly more infamous title: the so-awful-it’s-amazing Deadly Premonition. And with the first piece of Alan Wake DLC (The Signal) releasing next week, it seemed like as good a time as any to point them out.


Above: Separated at birth?

Obviously, the two games were released too close together for one to have actually inspired the other – Deadly Premonition came out in February, Alan Wake in May – but that only makes their similarities weirder. How is it that a game hailed as one of 2010’s smartest could have so much in common with one of its stupidest? How could a game that’s been in development since the PS2 era share traits with a game that looks like it was released during the PS2 era? We’re not sure. All we know is that…

Both games really want to be Twin Peaks

Horror games set in picturesque Pacific Northwest lumber towns aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, which is kind of surprising considering how popular Twin Peaks – the David Lynch-created TV series about a supernatural-tinged murder that brings FBI agents to a small town – was in the '90s. So to see two games whose pine-forested backdrops and creepy plots owe an obvious debt to the series come out within four months of each other is more than a little weird.


Above: Picturesque…


Above: … and picturesquerer

True, Deadly Premonition’s Greenvale and Alan Wake’s Bright Falls are miles apart in terms of quality, realism and explorability. After all, one’s a convincingly pretty backdrop for linear adventuring, and the other’s a sprawling mess of houses and too-huge public buildings. But it’s hard not to see little touches from one in the other, particularly when both games force you through sawmills, unusually big sheriff’s offices and remote motels that look like this:


They only come out at night

One of the things Alan Wake caught flak for was the seeming disconnect between its daytime investigations and nighttime battles; because you’d only be in danger of fighting monsters when it was dark, you always knew exactly when you were safe, and so large swaths of the game completely lacked any tension.


Above: Relax, nothing’s going to jump out at you for a while

Deadly Premonition, interestingly enough, has a similar problem. The bizarre zombie-ghost-things that harass Agent Francis York Morgan aren’t necessarily restricted to nighttime, but they only come out during certain periods when the world undergoes a strange, Silent Hill-like change (that York never sees fit to mention to anyone).

What’s more, the enemies themselves look awfully similar, being largely made up of what appear to be possessed, undead townsfolk (particularly loggers and other outdoor-worker types), some of which have a tendency to move so rapidly, it looks like they’re teleporting. And while DP’s zombie-ghost things don’t have to be weakened by your flashlight the way Alan Wake’s Taken do, the ones carrying weapons will still shield their eyes from it in a very similar way to the Taken.


Above: Funny, that 

In a more eerie coincidence, both monsters spout seemingly inappropriate gibberish as they attack. The Taken will say things they apparently did in life, like “Logging is a very hazardous profession!” while DP’s zombies will just moan the same lines about how they don’t want to die and you shouldn’t kill them (none of which, incidentally, will keep them from jamming their hands down your throat if you let them get too close).


Both games have a thing for folky riffs

Here, listen to the title-screen track from Deadly Premonition, The Woods and The Goddess:


And now the semi-spoilery “The Poet and the Muse,” one of the few original songs (not counting the score) from Alan Wake.


Even if you don't think they're all that similar (apart from maybe their titles and their use of acoustic guitar), how many games can you think of that prominently feature folk (or at least folky) music at all? Anyone?

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26 comments

  • tomservo - December 12, 2010 1:41 a.m.

    I really liked Alan Wake, but I'm currently loving Deadly Premonition...but which is best? Only one way to find out...FIGHT!
  • thelegendaryX - February 17, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    Depends on what you're looking for in a game. They certainly do have a LOT of similarities, but they still play quite differently and have very different stories.
  • WayByWind - July 26, 2010 10:19 p.m.

    It also should be said that SIGOURNEY (pot lady) from DP and Cynthia WEAVER (lamp lady) are both inspired by the log lady from Twin Peaks. That's a pretty interesting coincidence. Also, big props to the Giant Bomb endurance run of DP, I would recommend watching it.
  • EroticInvisibleMan - July 24, 2010 4:48 a.m.

    @DarkTone You're not very smart are you? Nearly everything in Alan Wake was taken from somewhere else. It's pretty much a terrible ripoff of Silent Hill and Alone in the Dark. Or y'know maybe, the devs of both games read the same books, watched the same movies, television and grew up in the same era. Goddamn, try using your head.
  • thelegendaryX - February 17, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    Alan Wake was phenomenal! It wasn't a rip-off of any game by any stretch of the imagination. And even though they did borrow from WRITERS such as Stephen King and directors like Alfred Hitchcock, the story itself is actually quite unique, as is the gameplay.
  • Dvsshark - July 23, 2010 10:35 p.m.

    It sad ,but strangely funny, that every one in DP has Parkinson's disease.
  • Vitoruss1 - July 23, 2010 6:43 p.m.

    Alan Wake's manuscripts are definitely terrible, but Deadly Premonition... wow. Was that intended to be so horribly tacky or can the Japanese (it's Japanese, right?) just not write Western-styled stories? Although the 'previously' segment in Alan Wake is better than the one in Deadly Premonition, they too are definitely poorly done. BUT, the real reason why I comment: The scariest disembodied deer head ever was in Timesplitters 2 (or maybe it was "Future Perfect"?) when, during the haunted house level, a mounted deer head explodes through the wall to reveal itself as the "Deer Haunter" and it pretty much just keeps charging you and hitting you a lot.
  • thelegendaryX - February 17, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    Alan Wake's manuscripts are "terrible" because they were not his own works written his own way on his own terms, but incantations essentially written by the Dark Presence. The game provides you with two pages from his original writings, which are quite good and show that Alan Wake the author is actually not a bad writer at all.
  • YuGiOhisbetterthanMagic - July 23, 2010 6:07 p.m.

    i actually want to buy deadly premonition now, it looks like the best game ever, in th history of everything, but only in an alternate universe were video games dont exist.
  • IamNOTatalkingpony - July 23, 2010 3:22 p.m.

    Deadly Premonition for president, barring that GOTY!!!
  • philipshaw - July 23, 2010 10:44 a.m.

    Deadly Premontion FTW, I watched the gaint bomb endurance run of it and it was so funny. Nothing beats getting Vinny and Jeff in a room together
  • oryandymackie - July 23, 2010 9:50 a.m.

    Deadly Premonition actually sounds better than Alan Wake.
  • thelegendaryX - February 17, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    Depends on what you're looking for. The games aim to do different things and place emphasis on different aspects. I enjoyed Alan Wake more personally, but I can see why people would like DP better.
  • kingbubba - July 23, 2010 9:29 a.m.

    @Tomsta666 - It does, releasing Sept 17th courtesy of Rising Star Games. I am creaming my pants in anticipation :D
  • Tomsta666 - July 23, 2010 5:16 a.m.

    I wish Deadly Premonition would get a UK release :(
  • phoenix_wings - July 23, 2010 4:04 a.m.

    Mikel, > It's never explained in the game unfortunately, but in the Alan Wake Files, through his 'field notes' that Nightingale's partner died in circumstances similar to what's going on in Bright Falls. He feels that, being a writer, Wake is behind all of the stuff that's happening and wants to stop it, either by arresting Wake or killing him. Apparently after his partner's death, he started drinking and the progression to being a total dickhead was just natural :D www.relyonhorror.com
  • JohnDagger - July 23, 2010 3:42 a.m.

    One thing I must say though is that Deadly Premonition is better bang for your buck. You pay 20 dollars to get 50 hours of hilarity wheras in Alan Wake you pay 50 dollars for 8 hours of awesome.
  • thelegendaryX - February 17, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    I disagree. I'm on my seventh playthrough of Alan Wake as we speak, whereas one journey through Deadly Premonition was enough for me. But it really depends on what you're looking for in a game.
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 23, 2010 3 a.m.

    Deadly Premonition is GOTY material. No, actually that's beneath it, its gamings Citizen Kane. Your right though, the similarities are kinda scary...
  • Redeater - July 23, 2010 2:56 a.m.

    Dear Christ I tried to play Deadly Premonition.....that game was a nightmare. Usually I can put up with a lot of crap controls and game devices but that clunky turd played like a low budget ps1 game. It's such a same. I really love weird for the sake of weird.

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