Of all of the great titles that Remedy has under its belt, the desire for a sequel and remaster has never been higher than it has for Alan Wake. And that’s not difficult to understand if you’ve played this phenomenal classic. While Remedy eventually did provide a conclusion to Wake’s story in the standalone title, American Nightmare, it still hasn’t stopped anyone from wanting more Alan Wake. So much so that our writer friend returned in the universe unifying AWE expansion for Control.
And now, finally, we’re getting that remaster – and a possible Alan Wake 2 – that will be cross-platform and not limited to Microsoft’s consoles and PC alone. That’s right, PlayStation owners can finally get to play one of the finest games made using that old idea of a writer’s work taking on a life of its own.
On the off chance that you have no idea what the game is about, Alan Wake is a psychological horror title that places you in the shoes of troubled, successful crime novelist Alan Wake. On a journey for some R&R he heads to one of gaming’s most inspired small towns, Bright Falls, to patch up his relationship with his wife and maybe get that writing spark back. Before you know it, Alan has fallen down the rabbit hole big time. Alice, his wife, is missing and a novel he doesn’t remember writing seems to be coming to life around him in the form of a “Darkness” that is overtaking Bright Falls and aiming to end Alan’s career forever.
Originally designed as an open world survival horror game, Alan Wake took five years to make. During that period the game underwent an overhaul as the developers struggled to marry the open world segments to the narrative they were trying to tell. Eventually they settled on a level-based, narrative focus for the game, with each level as an episode, as though Alan Wake were a television show you were watching.
While the games combat was adequate; you needed to weaken enemies using a torch before you could put them down, it was the games story that enthralled the most. Heavily inspired by the works of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Brett Easton Ellis and various media and television shows including The Twilight Zone, AW feels like a pulp noir novel with a heavy dose of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. The writing throughout the game is superb, from Alan’s narrative monologue to the manuscript pages of Wake’s unremembered work that are scattered throughout the game for you to find.
Throw in some metaphysical world building such as the in-game television show Night Springs, episodes of which mirror Alan’s struggle and one episode he wrote, along with some great effects when the Darkness manifests at night, and you had a game that truly deserved a much, much larger audience.
The team at Remedy have gone in and given AW some substantial work to bring the game up to date for modern systems. First, this will be the definitive edition of AW as it will also contain both of the games story add-ons: The Signal and The Writer. Additionally creative director, Sam Lake has provided a brand new making-of commentary.
Then there are the visual upgrades which, if we’re been honest, AW desperately needs now. Environments and cutscenes have been updated from individual props to textures and sound effects with Alan and other important characters sporting redone character models employing the latest tech. Lighting and other visual effects have also been given a boost, which is important as light is such a key factor in the game. And, of course, there’s, also, 4K visual support.
In terms of platform specific features, PlayStation users can look forward to Activity Cards and haptic feedback on PS5 with the adaptive triggers producing a different sensation for each weapon. In terms of performance, PS5 will be targeting 4K at 60fps. PS4 Pro will feature Performance and Quality modes with Performance aiming for 60fps and Quality looking for 4K at 30fps. Base PS4 owners will be looking at 30fps.
Beyond making use of Microsoft’s Smart Delivery, I couldn’t find any additional details on what performance standards Remedy will be aiming for across Microsoft’s Xbox range of consoles, but it’s not difficult to imagine that we’d be looking at a similiar setup to what Remedy have aimed for on PlayStation.
Well, it’s almost time to return to Bright Falls as Alan Wake Remastered launches on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series and PC on October 5th, 2021 and I personally can’t wait.
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