E3 06: Alan Wake Preshow Impressions

"I was a writer, before my life fell apart. My name is Alan Wake." What's going on with this guy, anyway?

LOS ANGELES--At last year's E3, one of the most interesting and enigmatic titles on offer was Alan Wake, the new game from Max Payne developer Remedy. But where that game was a hard-boiled third-person shooter, Wake is...what? We still don't really know, and Microsoft's main marketing man Peter Moore didn't help much by describing it simply as a "genre buster" at the company's pre-E3 media briefing today at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The phrase "psychological thriller" has been thrown around from time to time, so we expect there will be heavy adventure elements involved.

Based on a new trailer we saw at the conference today, we can at least say that the game is looking awfully good. The trailer showed subtitles referring to Wake's bizarre predicament: "I was a writer, before my life fell apart." He says he came to a small town to escape the past, so he could sleep again. But what is he running from? What's keeping him from sleeping? During all this we see scenes of the idyllic town, day shifting to night, and finally Wake himself alone in the forest, clutching a lantern in one hand and a pistol in the other, getting all emo about how scary it is to be awake in the darkness. Obviously something creepy is going on, though we still don't know what's got Wake all creeped out.

There are plenty of questions yet to answer about Alan Wake, as we still haven't seen what the gameplay will be like--and aside from the final shot of Wake himself, we haven't really even seen the game's visuals, since the previous scenes may or may not have been CG. At least Moore did drop the tidbit that the game will be exclusively available on the 360 and Windows, cutting out the previously assumed PS3 version. In any event, we'll certainly bring you more details on this intriguing game as soon as we get them. Keep your eyes here as all E3's secrets are laid bare over the next few days.

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