Alan Wake's New Direction

Remedy's looking to have a little fun with this downloadable spinoff.

For all its gloomy aesthetics and creepy storytelling, the original Alan Wake was a deceptively cheeky game. Sure, you spent the bulk of your time wandering through the woods battling terrifying shadow monsters, but let's not forget that epic heavy-metal-and-fireworks stage battle, or pretty much any scene featuring hapless sidekick Barry Wheeler. So it probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise to see that Remedy is taking Wake in a decidedly more outlandish direction with the downloadable spin-off called Alan Wake's American Nightmare.

"In terms of tone, Wake was more Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock," says Remedy CEO Matthias Myllyrinne. "Here we're going for much more of a Quentin Tarantino and From Dusk Till Dawn kind of approach." American Nightmare represents a stylistic shift toward a different subgenre under the horror umbrella: the eccentric world of pulp horror, though the game could also be described as a pop culture melting pot encompassing desert highway urban legends, classic sci-fi, and even a little bit of grindhouse minus that particular genre's propensity for awkward sexual lewdness.

The idea is that Wake is living through an episode of Night Springs, Remedy's tongue-in-cheek nod to The Twilight Zone. The action has moved from the Pacific Northwest to small-town Arizona where Wake not only has to battle even more bizarre and powerful shadow creatures, but also has to chase down a serial killer who just happens to be an evil manifestation of his own self. The latter, cutely enough, is portrayed via in-game television sets that show live-action video of bizarro Alan Wake (called "Mr. Scratch" in the game) taunting you in suitably creepy fashion.

But a new tone isn't the only departure from the original game. "There's a different focus here. If Wake was maybe two-thirds story and one-third action, American Nightmare is two-thirds action and one-third story," says Myllyrinne. "It's really the Remedy team kicking back and having fun."

There are some scary new enemies in this spinoff.

Of course, that move toward a more action-heavy game does raise one particularly glaring question: wasn't action the weak link in the first game? One of the most common complaints with Alan Wake was that its combat started out strong but failed to evolve in a meaningful way as the game went on.

Myllyrinne, for his part, recognizes that this was a flaw that needed correcting. So what American Nightmare does, according to Remedy's man in charge, is take the core combat of the original game and expand outward from there. The idea of light and darkness still plays a significant role, with Wake weakening enemies with his flashlight before even thinking about firing a weapon.

This time around, however, Remedy is taking advantage of the "exaggerated pulp-action tone" to go wild with enemy designs that present new challenges as the game moves forward. You'll find shadow creatures that split into two or more smaller versions of themselves when shot, a monster who rapidly shape-shifts between a crawling human and a flock of crows (what Myllyrinne calls a "tip of the hat" to fellow Finnish video game property Angry Birds), and more than a few massive saw-wielding creatures who are easily twice as tall as Wake. But in an act of fairness to you, Remedy has included newer, more powerful weaponry that presents interesting strategic options, such as a crossbow that can kill enemies without the need for a flashlight, but it takes forever to reload.

Get your fix on Route 66.

Remedy is so confident in the expanded combat system that it has even included a timed survival mode (what it's calling "arcade action mode") that has Wake trying to survive 10 minutes in a cemetery until daylight arrives. As the name suggests, this mode is all action, giving you a multiplier system and leaderboards to encourage high score runs. But sticking with the game's theme of survival, you still need to be smart with your ammunition because you've got only so much to spare.

Written By

Want the latest news about Alan Wake's American Nightmare?

Alan Wake's American Nightmare

Alan Wake's American Nightmare

Follow

Discussion

57 comments
greygaurdianx
greygaurdianx

Combat is not a bad thing, but I was hoping for a good story.

Prince_Rhymz
Prince_Rhymz

I loved alan wake for its story telling and the fact it didn't need to be all action. so will be interesting to see if they pull it off. Let's just hope the storytelling doesn't suffer too much..

moonkill3
moonkill3

Really good first game. Curious to see where this Quentin Tarantino angle goes.

moonkill3
moonkill3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Bpg3D
Bpg3D

The adventure genre truly is dead. Alan Wake was more action than I had anticipated, and this sounds even worse.

JB182
JB182

I'm disappointed they're moving away from the story telling to focus on action. I hope this is a fun exception and if they get the chance to make a full retail sequel, they return to the mood and atmosphere of the original game. I loved it because it was like playing a novel or an old adventure game. We have enough grindhouse shlock in gaming these days, I'm not so sure we need any more. I'll still get it, because I love the franchise, but I don't want it to continue down this path, or it'll turn into self parody.

Psy_m_on
Psy_m_on

I enjoyed the original game so much, but i really hoped for free roaming (even in the first game).

projectpat72988
projectpat72988

@GamespotbERT Once again I sincerely hope you are indeed a troll and not serious. LOL you're going to call me childish? Look at your posts then mine. Which seem more thought out and reasonable? Yours consist of...this part was total crap....that part was also total pathetic crap...i hated this part but i beat the whole thing...HATE this game but I beat it and spent extra money on it. I suspect trolling because the absurdity in your "opinion" and non elaboration on anything and the fact you actually seem to be trying to hide that you liked it. Then you respond again, without elaborating and calling me childish. LOL priceless. Oh as for the site, there is a reason every comment I made on this article got thumbed up while yours got thumbed down.

GamespotbERT
GamespotbERT

@projectpat72988. I sincerely hope at one time you'll reach adulthood and learn not to undermine your own opinion by childlishly starting to call people trolls. Gamespot is way too good a site for having to display 'discussions' on your level. In short, grow up and learn to live with it that people will have different opinions than yours.

mitchymoo91
mitchymoo91

As for all the people saying that the combat focus is a bad choice, the whole reason the combat in the first game was lackluster was because of the lack of weapon choice and enemy variation. They've decided to fix that issue and are SO confident they've put it right they're willing to not only concentrate on it more but have even added a survival mode. Shouldn't that be a good thing?

mitchymoo91
mitchymoo91

I've gotta say, I'm REALLY looking forward to this game. The only thing that I'm even remotely hesitant about is the setting, simply because i thought that the original's portrayal of the Pacific Northwest was utterly stunning. Although, knowing Remedy, they'll do Arizona justice. Absolutely going to buy this game.

projectpat72988
projectpat72988

@GamespotbERT CONTINUED...Next to none, and Alan Wake is not a "pure" nor was it marketed as a "shooter" and the only reason I even mention the word "shooter" is because your talking like you believed this game was supposed to be one and or completely action driven. The words psychological thriller are VERY clear in an age when there is hardly any of these games around, leaves little room to interpret. I really...dont understand your stance...You seem to be against games doing the movie type thing like Alan Wake did. Well what exactly did you expect it to be then? If you where looking for superb over the top gameplay then what exactly let you to believe Alan Wake was that game? I mean straight up, you come across as a full blown troll. Hating on a good game for zero reason when your own posts make it sound like you actually LIKED the game but claim not to.

projectpat72988
projectpat72988

@GamespotbERT Yeaaah..Im going with the notion that you are a troll. So you hated the game, despised it and was %100 boredom to you. Yet you bothered to beat the game, then the DLC packaged with it. Then after hating it so much went out and SPENT MORE MONEY on the game you claim to hate by getting the Writer. Scrap yard? That was literally seconds long..not saying it wasn't good since I enjoyed the entire game but how exactly does one 3 minute part stand out considering you hated the game? Day and night? Your're complaining that you didn't get to SEE the sun go down? Seriously? After a cutscene it would be day or night, BIG deal there I mean I CANT believe they jipped us outta that. Coffee Thermoses? Thats the kinda stuff that makes you sound like a troll, news flash they DONT make you collect them so why complain? and how is it SO funny when just about every game features SOME form of optional collecting?. How is the Twin peaks atmosphere laughable? Being a Twin Peaks fan myself made it a lot more fun because I would catch references here and there. That makes no sense and you don't elaborate on it. Interaction? How many 3rd person shooters or shooters in general ever feature interaction with anything at all?

GamespotbERT
GamespotbERT

@projectpat72988. Not only did I play the game through but also The writer and The signal DLC's with a desperate expectation that maybe I would finally find something really good about the game (except for the graphics). The only part in the actual game that finally got everything right was the car scrap yard already close to the end of the game. If this game never was about the combat as you say, they should have either cut it out or scrapped a lot of it instead of boring the gamer with it endlessly. The final product was nowhere near what the makers had wet the public for: (close to) real time day into night sequences ->scrapped; Twin Peaks atmosphere -> laughable, putting in references to David Lynch territory doesn't make it a Lynchian experience certainly not by making you collect thermoses (extremely laughable); interaction with the surroundings was nearly completely absent. Again, games should be for playing, movies for watching and that's where the makers went wrong in my opinion. They should have contacted a good director and ended up with a golden movie instead of a very mediocre game.

projectpat72988
projectpat72988

@ GamespotbERT Responses like this about Alan Wake make me feel like people are trolling. Its sad the concept of the game just went right over the head of so many people to where its like after playing it they STILL don't realize the game wasn't supposed to feature mind boggling combat. This game was never about the combat and wasn't supposed to be some superior shooter. Its about the atmosphere, and the story. Biggest disappointment of 2010? Its talk like that makes one wonder if you even played it, or beforehand got tricked into thinking it was a COD sequel and played it on a laptop while sitting on a beach at noon. If you truly feel that way then I feel sorry for you for not being able to appreciate anything unique and good.

Steba93
Steba93

Alan Wake really is one of the best exclusives on Xbox 360, but not so much in the combat or the story, at least not to me(though they were good too), but the awesome feeling, the mood of the game. Great enviroments, the lighting, atmosphere, the feeling you were always watched by the darkness. Those are what make Alan Wake one of my best exclusives on 360, and it maybe has the best atmosphere in any game I've played, though Bioshock 2 nailed it's mood spot on too :)

xDARKGUITARISTx
xDARKGUITARISTx

Quite frankly Alan Wake is one of my favorite Xbox 360 exclusives to this day, it had a great story with fantastic gameplay and graphics. While the combat didn't ever really evolve, I was so absorbed by the rest of the game that I didn't really care. Can't wait to get my hands on American Nightmare.

GamespotbERT
GamespotbERT

Alan Wake was almost 100% boredom hell to me. A game with too much talk before it was released and a major disappointment at release. Tons and tons of the same boring battles with dead boring enemies. The only plus part were the graphics but then I prefer a movie instead. Biggest disappointment of 2010. On a positive note, I bought the XBOX360 specifically to play this exclusive game and I have grown to prefer this console way above the PS3.

Skargamer
Skargamer

Is this a standalone game or a DLC to Alan Wake... If it is a DLC, I already freakin sold the OG game.. :(

jonjon81
jonjon81

From Dusk Till Dawn was Robert Rodriguez, not Tarantino - he just had a part in it.

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

I hope that it explains the story in the original. I'm still not sure whether the events in the first game actually took place, or where Wake is now, or what the darkness is, or who the original author is, what's real, what's not... AAAGH

Enexs
Enexs

two thirds action, one third story O.o f#ck

keyb0red
keyb0red

I really enjoyed the Alan Wake series It's one of very few games that kept me playing till the wee hours, including the Signal and Writer which I though were also very well made But it's good that Remedy is taking a fresh approach, as I think after the original Wake + DLCs, anything along the same vein would have been the same ole been there done that So if they stay true to the new source material (Dusk Till Dawn is definitely one of the best as far as action/horror) I will be there up on the rooftops extolling the awesomeness of Remedy/the Finn people from dusk till .. uh .. dawn ;) Can't wait to experience American Nightmares!

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

"I fight with light" And bullets, Alan. You also fight with bullets.

dexter_graves
dexter_graves

The first "Alan Wake" was an extremely underrated 360 exclusive that had the misfortune of being released on the same day as one of the greatest games of all time. "Red Dead Redemption" may have gotten the glory. But "Alan Wake" was a worthy game in its own right. I hope we see more entries in the series.

KorialFox
KorialFox

YES PEOPLE! INTELLIGENCE, FINALLY!

VALikimlav
VALikimlav

The story and gameplay were BOTH weak in the first game. I never felt so unsatisfied after finishing a game in my life.

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

The gun fights in Alan Wake were the only thing about it that WASN'T awesome. It needed less of it... not more.

Ovirew
Ovirew

I wonder if the game really does have more action and gameplay this time around. One thing I disliked about the first Alan Wake was that there wasn't a whole lot Alan could do. You could whip out the light or the gun. That was pretty much it. I think today's games, with their fancy graphics, should have equally deep gameplay. So many of them don't, and it becomes more like a movie.

kinstar2002
kinstar2002

What caught my attention about this game was not only the storyline and genre. But it was DIFFERENT then the norm of games we play today. Alan Wake to me was my vacation from GoW, Halo and well.. f*cck COD lol.

tachsniper
tachsniper

Alan Wake was all about atmosphere, it had a really good atmosphere and nods to most of the most famous suspense authors. . . American Nightmare seems its going the Resident Evil 4 route and making it more about action...

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

Meh, Without a good story there isn't a point. XBLA has more than enough arcade games and wacky game ideas to float anyones boat. Alan Wake shouldn't be dumbed down like this..... This makes 2 games I'm disappointed in.... Metal Gear Rising and this......

projectpat72988
projectpat72988

"one third story durr!!!" as if thats a GOOD thing smh. I'm going to be royally POed if this game story is pure crap just for the sake of making it more action orientated. I didn't play this game because I loved the combat, I played it because I loved the atmosphere, the story, and the characters. Its ridiculous the way almost EVERY GOOD game gets ruined for the sake of making people who don't like the game in the first place become interested. What about the people who DO like it? It seems like every new franchise that comes out with that I fall in love with. The very next game takes it formula in more "general" and "less unique" approach. I really only hope it means that they just ADDED more action rather than only focus on action.

foxrock66
foxrock66

Wth... So many of my beloved franchises going in totally wacked out directions. Is it that hard to make a sequel that isnt action-centric michaelbay-ware? I'm getting sick of the shooter crowd ruining my niche games for me.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Nice,, Can't wait Alan Wake released on PC though :D-

m_flo
m_flo

great game with a great story

auntbessie
auntbessie

Boooring, Alan Wake was the biggest disappointment in years, got zero interest in getting the add-on. Wonder if they'll be more forests to walk through looking for weirdos scared of a torch?

Psy_m_on
Psy_m_on

The first game missed 1 madure thing => free roaming, with would evolve in preparing for night (buying armor/weapons/munnition). At night: Finding a missing girl, or find a note that tells you more about the plot, etc .. and killing shadows ofc. The linear gameplay really was a let down for me, thou i enjoyed the game VERY much :)

Hurvl
Hurvl

Now that Alan Wake is coming to PC I wonder if they'll include this DLC in that version. That'd be nice.

SpookyJack
SpookyJack

Alan Wake's best parts were the quiet ones where we got to meet the town's residents or wander through a dark forest. They've listened to the majority, namely the shooter crowd, and now they're implementing even more guns and action and explosions?! Spin-off or not, way to screw up a franchise in record time.

tachsniper
tachsniper

I really liked Alan Wake, don't f*** this up

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Love Alan Wake. Can't wait. Probably the best story and atmosphere this gen.