GOONL!NE Advent Calendar 2010: #12 – Alan Wake

By Jonathan Cullen.

There has been many games in development  for a long time, with several of them announced in 2oo5. Arguably, Gran Turismo 5 and Red Dead Redemption is two of them games, but probably the biggest of the lot is almost certainly Alan Wake.

While Gran Turismo 5 has had several demos and GT5: Prologue released, with Rockstar working on several projects before RDR, Alan Wake was probably the game that has gone MIA the most this generation. But finally, it seems, we WILL get our hands on Remedy’s new IP next year.

The question is can Alan Wake really be the game it promised to be four years ago?

Alan and his wife Alice go to the town of Bright Falls to help him get muse of writing back. You see, Alan is a best-selling novel writer. But for the past two years of his life, Alan hasn’t written a thing due to writers block, nor has he been able to sleep. All seems quiet and peaceful at first, but of course, once you say something like that, the shit always hits the fan. Alan’s written a new tale which starts to come to life… only Alan hasn’t actually written it. To rub the wound in, Alice has also been kidnapped, which adds to the mystery. Now Alan must piece together what has happened: how he wrote the story he never wrote, who kidnapped Alice and who is the mysterious force at work?

Because, you see, the locals of Bright Falls has been taken over by a dark, shadowy force. Who is it? Are they the ones behind Alan’s ghost story, Alice’s kidnapping and what has happened to the locals? In fact, has Wake’s insomnia finally made him tipped him over the edge, and gone completely off his head? Is this just all in Alan’s head? OR… is it just a dream? The possibilities are all endless, and could be set up for one of the biggest twists/anticlimax in gaming this generation, or ever, since the past/future setting in Assassin’s Creed… until it was spoiled for us by Kristen Bell months before release.

As Sam Like, writer of Alan Wake, says in the GamesCom trailer for the game, Alan Wake is a “story-driven experience”: one not seen in a thriller of this scale since the early Silent Hill games, which seems to be much better of an early comparison compared to Resident Evil 5, or any of the Resident Evil games for that matter. The game is built around modern-day TV shows, something like 24. You’ll see “Previously on Alan Wake”, giving you a recap of what you may have forgotten already, followed then by a “Tonight on Alan Wake”, which you’ll see when a new chapter begins in the game. The game has a very unique day and night setting to it, as you’ll see in the game, which adds to the tension of the game: one that is more of a 24/Lost mystery thriller, then the Resident Evil/Silent Hill horror games.

If I am honest, the hype for Alan Wake started when they released the first footage of the game that we hadn’t seen since probably 2006, and that was back in 2008. Now, within the first 5 months of 2010, after being in development for god knows how long at Remedy, we’ll finally get our hands on Alan Wake at long last. And while the PC version may have gone MIA, the 360 version hasn’t. And thats all that matters to me.

Whenever Alan Wake does manage to finally appear, that day can’t come soon enough. That day will be when he finally…AWAKE’S.