What ever happened to Alan Wake?

Dec 12, 2007

The games industry is a strange, strange place. It’s almost 30 years old now, but it seems developers still can’t agree on the best way to PR their babies. In our experience, they go one of two ways: trundle down the elaborately stage-managed Assassin’s Creed path, a game wrapped so tightly in Ubisoft cotton wool that it was little wonder dire rumours surfaced that the game might be one huge stinker (thankfully, as our review attests, we needn’t have worried). Or they take a plunge and head down the route ploughed by the likes of Prototype, Borderlands and Fracture. None are due out for ages yet, but the developers have had the guts and confidence to demo their projects early - even if they are only 25% done.

Above: Tired of seeing the same screens? We sure are

Which brings us to a major believer in the carefully stage-managed option: Alan Wake. Until Gears of War 2 is announced (it’s inevitable - see our Secret Games feature for more), Remedy’s free-roaming horror adventure is ostensibly Microsoft’s biggest first-party title of 2008. Except that it’s never even been confirmed for next year. Producer Lasse Seppänen is still towing the “it’ll be done when it’s done” line, and the ominous E3 no-show? It only added to our anxiety.

So, just why has a game that’s had $7 million poured into it even before Microsoft jumped on board seemingly disappeared into gaming’s Bermuda Triangle? Granted, it is an absurdly ambitious project: a huge, open world set in the town of Bright Falls and its vast (and spooky) surroundings. But, surely if everything was right with the game we would have seen something more of it by now…

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