Alan Wake 2 is Remedy's first survival-horror game, but it's also the team's first detective game. Sure, Max Payne was a cop, but the gameplay there was limited mostly to third-person gunfights. In Alan Wake 2, investigations play a huge role in the mind-bending story, and during a recent demo with Remedy behind closed doors at Summer Game Fest, we started to piece together the game ourselves. Here are five new things we learned from conversations and demos with Remedy.
The Overlap is where reality gets blurry
In the demo we were shown, we learned of The Overlap, a location in the real world where the Dark Place bleeds over, causing a sort of spacetime distortion not unlike something you'd see in Netflix's Dark. It may be that in the PlayStation Showcase trailer, when we see Saga and Alan interacting in what looks like Bright Falls, it's actually in The Overlap. Alan is said to be trying to escape the Dark Place in Alan Wake 2, so it's unlikely the trailer would show him having done so. Instead, this is very likely The Overlap, and their interaction may be short-lived.
The Mind Place is a detective's dream
Showing off the game's detective elements for the first time, we were floored by these gameplay mechanics that were not present in the first game--since it's new co-lead FBI agent Saga Anderson who brings them to the sequel's story. The Mind Place is Saga's, well, mind… place. Aptly named, it seems.
In it, players can interact with their detective board, connecting clues and chasing down new leads like they would in a classic detective story--or if they were suspicious of Pepe Silvia in the mail room. Here they can also upgrade weapons, read found manuscript pages, rewatch unlocked cinematics, and look over area maps, as the game now features several hubs such as Bright Falls, Watery, and Cauldron Lake.
Players can enter The Mind Place at any time, but the outside world continues to exist at the same speed, meaning they ought not drift away into Saga's head whenever they feel like it. Instead, they should seek out…
Break Rooms give you breathing space--and more
Break Rooms are like Resident Evil's safe rooms, giving players some breathing room and a place where they can safely enter The Mind Place as Saga. There's also an inventory chest in the form a shoe box (which Wake lore enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy). Here players can leave behind items to be recovered in other Break Rooms across the game.
Notably, some Break Rooms also allow players to switch between Alan and Saga's points of view. The optional element to this suggests that, on a second playthrough, players are likely to discover new story elements by going down POV paths they previously didn't experience.
Of course, it being a safe room, you'll also want to save there, which brings us to our next point.
Thermoses are back, but not how you might think
Thermoses were abundant in 2010's Alan Wake--to the count of exactly 100 of them, each serving no purpose beyond being a basic collectable object tied to an Achievement/Trophy. In Alan Wake 2, collectible thermoses are no more, Remedy told us, but they will still appear in Break Rooms. This is because they act as the save object, much like a typewriter in Resident Evil. By interacting with a thermos, players will save their game instantly.
Alex Casey seems especially troubled by the Wake case
Saga's FBI partner is Alex Casey (voiced by James McCaffrey and modeled after Remedy's own Sam Lake). We've already gone over how Casey's appearance is an interesting nod to Max Payne, but what we didn't know until now is that Casey senses something is off about the disappearance of Alan Wake. Remedy said, "There is something about the [Alan Wake case] that just will not leave Casey alone."
Of course, we also know that Alex Casey is the name of Alan's own protagonist in his best-selling series of crime stories that made him famous. So the question we've had for weeks is how Casey has come to life. But after the Summer Game Fest demo, we now have to grapple with an added layer: Why does Casey feel so odd about the Wake disappearance? It's as though he's Buzz Lightyear coming to grips with the fact that he's merely a toy. It's all very weird in the way we've come to expect from Remedy. We can't wait to collect more clues and put the story together.
Alan Wake 2 launches on October 17 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S. For a lot more exclusive coverage on the horror game, don't miss our deep dive on the game--now found all in one (dark) place.
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