It’s never fair when someone shows you something you could have had, but that’s exactly what original Alan Wake (opens in new tab)and Quantum Break (opens in new tab) devs Remedy has done. A prototype for Alan Wake 2 from back in 2010 has been released and in an interview with Polygon (opens in new tab), creative director Sam Lake has talked about the original plans for the sequel and the potential future of the noir franchise.
Built on the Alan Wake engine, the prototype is an impressive and tantalising taste of what could have been. Remedy clearly had a strong vision of the future of the series and many of the characters and locations eventually found their way into the much smaller scale Alan Wake's American Nightmare (opens in new tab) in 2012.
"I, for one, happily killed almost every character in Max Payne. That proved to be a challenge when making the sequel.” says Lake in the interview. “That taught us that with Alan Wake and everything we do, the idea of a sequel and sequels has to be there from the beginning. For Alan Wake, from the get-go, we assumed there was going to be a sequel and we mapped things further out when it came to character, story, details and focus changes."
“Definitely what we have mapped out is a longer thing than the first game and a sequel; there is more to it," he says. "In many ways, we see the universe as a bigger thing. Alan Wake is a very central character, but we have other characters around him like [friend and agent Barry Wheeler] and his wife Alice and Sheriff Sarah Breaker and other characters there. We feel this is a big universe to develop and explore in many ways."
Given that it sold 4.5 million copies on Xbox 360 and PC it also made financial sense for there to be a follow up and Remedy developed the above video - amongst others - to pitch the themes and style. However discussions with Microsoft on the project eventually transformed into the creation of Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break now due in 2016 (opens in new tab).
Lake isn’t afraid to discuss the future of the Wake franchise even though Remedy is currently working on Quantum Break. “The team and the work is very much focussed on Quantum break,” he says. “We are living in Quantum Break land and enjoying ourselves but at the same time we are in a place where we are starting to look into the future and starting to have discussions about what is next.”
“Among other things, we are discussing the possibility of an Alan Wake sequel with multiple partners but nothing has been decided.” This prototype is no mere sketch or loose idea. It clearly contains a world that Remedy wants to explore further and with Lake also praising the episodic storytelling of developers like Telltale Game, this is a hopeful sign that somewhere down the line we’ll get the Alan Wake sequel we deserve.