UPDATE: When reached for official comment, a representative from Remedy Entertainment confirmed to GamesRadar that while the studio does now own the publishing rights to Alan Wake, the studio's focus is on finishing Control. "The only thing we want to clarify, now that Remedy owns the publishing rights, is that we could bring Alan Wake to different platforms if we so choose. We have nothing to announce for now. We are fully focused on Control releasing on August 27th." Of course, this does also seem to suggest that the publishing rights only extend as far as letting Remedy bring Alan Wake to other platforms (such as PS4) but that approval for a full sequel would ultimately be in Microsoft's court.
ORIGINAL STORY: Remedy Entertainment has obtained the publishing rights to cult-classic action game Alan Wake, the studio announced this morning in a message to investors. But what this will mean for the future of the series is still up in the air, especially when it comes to topics such as a potential Alan Wake 2 or Alan Wake PS4 release.
To recap, Alan Wake released back in 2010 as an Xbox 360 exclusive and has remained a fan-favourite ever since. While the game sold an estimated three million copies, this wasn't enough to convince Microsoft – the original holder of the IP – to greenlight a full sequel, despite an Alan Wake 2 prototype once existing in pre-production. Of course, we were later treated to two DLC packs that extended the story of Alan Wake, as well as a digital-only standalone spin-off American Nightmare.
Over 4.5 million games have been sold in the franchise to date and this could be set to increase dramatically as the publishing rights revert to Remedy. This move greatly increases the chance that Alan Wake and American Nightmare could make their way to the PS4 for the very first time, although it would likely be a little ways off were that to be the case. While Alan Wake later appeared on PC, the game was developed using an in-house proprietary engine that incorporated the Havok physics system, so that would need to be optimised to work on PlayStation systems for this to be a goer. Perhaps Remedy could even look into porting Alan Wake into Northlight for a future remaster. Northlight, for those who may not know, is Remedy's current in-house engine that was used for Quantum Break, which was later optimised to work on PS4 in anticipation of Control, which is launching on PC, PS4 and Xbox One this August.
This news comes as Remedy announced that it has received a "one-time royalty income from previously released games" to the sum of 2.5 million euros. Remedy has noted that this "one-time income" won't impact its financial results for 2019, although it sounds like this will be used as part of the company's push to "invest in developing new games" – a charge being led by the development of Control. It's talk like that which makes us seriously question the viability of Alan Wake 2, at least in the near future.
Microsoft and Remedy is yet to comment on the news or offer any concrete reason as to why the publishing rights have reverted back to the firm now. This could, however, likely be a result of what occurred back in May 2017, where Alan Wake was temporarily pulled from online storefronts as the music licenses began to expire. Microsoft surprised many when it renegotiated the licenses (the original soundtrack included songs from The Black Angels and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) which ensured that the game could once again become available for purchase in November 2018. The good news is that if you want to try out Alan Wake for yourself, the game is now also available on Xbox One via backwards compatibility.
So you're going to need to sit tight. This news most likely points towards Remedy publishing Alan Wake and its various DLC on other formats, although there's no timeline for that just yet. In the meantime, the studio is hard at work on getting Control over the finishing line and on developing parts of the story mode Korean shooter, Crossfire X.
Read more about Remedy's latest action game in this Control hands on preview, which is taking the fight to Death Stranding to be crowned the most unusual action game of 2019.