Alan Wake 2: 23 Clues You May Have Missed In The Gamescom Trailer
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From the confines of Gamescom Opening Night Live, horror fans got their latest look at Alan Wake 2, the sequel 13 years in the making, which is finally arriving on October 27. As Remedy loves to hide secrets in its stories as much as we love to go looking for them, we're back with another trailer breakdown. This time, we managed to find a lot more than what we found when we did this back in May.
That's because, this time, we're heading back to the Dark Place, a place we already know fairly intimately . This is a very different-looking version of the metaphysical space than we saw before--resembling a very dangerous version of New York City--but it's familiar in that it still houses Alan, his darkest thoughts, and a seemingly limitless supply of things hoping to kill him.
For the uninitiated, this trailer dissection is perhaps not the best starting place. For that, you'll first want to check out our busy Alan Wake 2 hub, which is loaded with exclusive articles, interviews, gameplay impressions, and plenty more--the type of stuff I suggest we cover despite how nerdy and in-the-weeds it gets. Somehow no one has told me I have to stop. I love my job.
From callbacks to Alan Wake's quasi-sequel to teases of new characters to, yes, even some more crossover with the Remedy Connected Universe, this trailer has a bit of everything for the Wake-obsessed gamer in your life--or in your heart. Without further ado, here are 23 clues and details we spotted in Alan Wake 2's latest trailer from Gamescom 2023.
The power of words
In the opening shots of the trailer, we see a ton of graffiti, some of which we've seen in past trailers. These were clearly styled with intent behind them, as their words are not so obscure, even if we can't always be sure what they may mean. For a few examples, we see "Don't Write," "Around and Around," and "Return."
The formermost case likely refers to the Dark Place's wish for Alan to put away his typewriter, as the author has been trying to write his escape for over a decade. "Return" is, of course, the title of that story we see him begin to write at the end of the original game--and is also a reference to the Monomyth, or "Hero's Journey," we'll touch on again later in this recap.
"Around and Around" could refer to a few things. For one, it could reference how Alan's ongoing escape has him figuratively, or even literally, running in circles at times. It could also refer to a very important symbol on a particular door we mention below.
It should be noted that these opening shots also include a ton of loose newspapers, some of which have partial headlines visible, but I wasn't able to parse anything jaw-dropping from those bits. I did see mention of what seemed to say "demolished" or "demolition," but it's unclear to me how that may tie into the story, unless it's because the Dark Place's barrier is crumbling, giving Alan a window of opportunity to get out.
Night Springs revival
Okay I promise not every entry will be as long as that first one. In this wider shot, we see a poster for Night Springs, the in-universe Twilight Zone-like anthology show, which Alan worked on for a time in his career. The bottom of the poster seems to say "New Season Coming Soon." Though this is all sort of in Alan's head and need not have any real-world significance, I do expect we'll get more in-game collectibles in the form of new Night Springs episodes to watch.
Nightless Night poster
A movie poster appears on the wall for something called Nightless Night. There's a lot to say here so I'll try to be succinct. The tagline for the poster says "The heat of the murder was like a crown burning on his brow." Paired with the aesthetic of the poster, it seems to give off crime noir vibes, which is akin to what Alan was famous for writing with his Alex Casey books.
Also, the credits section for the poster are loaded with names we know, now styled in Finnish. Thomas Seine is Thomas Zane, Aleksi Kasa is Alex Casey, and it even features music from a band named Ahti and the Janitors. You may recall Ahti from Control. We know from that game that he's recently been spending time in Watery, Washington, Bright Falls' rival town. But how does Alan already know him enough to manifest his name on a poster drawn from his psyche? Or is Ahti capable of entering that metaphysical space at will?
It should also be noted that the image on the poster is clearly a re-colored version of the interior of Bird Leg Cabin from the first game. There's a ton of cool details here, even if they wind up as nothing but Easter eggs.
In his room within Bird Leg Cabin, Alan now has a 90's-style TV sitting on a desk. We know from other shots in this trailer that the TV is a LumiVista brand, which could loosely translate to "Light View," an apparent reference to the game's light and darkness themes and mechanics. Also the TV is lousy with VHS tapes beneath it for no reason we can yet discern, but it does seem to signal more of the 90's influence with which the game is said to have been made.
The Oceanview Hotel/Motel
In one of the most glaring teases of the trailer, we see Alan looking like John Wick storming through a door to shoot…Alan? Is that Mr. Scratch or Alan wrestling with himself? Is there a difference? But more noteworthy is the symbol on the door. It's the same spiral we saw in the corridor of Control's Oceanview Motel, and was deduced by the game's sleuthing community to house the Alan Wake world behind it.
This basically confirms we'll be inside the Oceanview once more in Remedy's latest connected game, though from past trailers we know it seems to have undergone a name change fitting of its NYC location: the Oceanview Hotel.
Keep in mind that a popular theory suggests each locked door featuring a symbol on it within the Oceanview leads to a different Remedy connected story. Will we be opening even more of these doors in Alan Wake 2?
Coffee World returns
More times than I can recall by now, Coffee World has appeared in Alan Wake 2 imagery. New fliers for the company were even placed in the Alan Wake remaster a few years ago. It seems this Watery-based business will take on an important role in the sequel. My going theory has been that the coffee is laced with the Dark Presence and is helping the game's Cult of the Tree rapidly boost its number of devotees.
Deer masks return
This is nothing too wild for those following along, but we do see another deer mask in this trailer, if only for a frame or two. These are known to be worn by members of the Cult of the Tree. The more interesting detail is who is wearing the mask. We see a better glimpse of that person's face later in this trailer, which we note below.
Mr. Door returns, as we always knew he would
We got a glimpse of this next section a few days ago in a Remedy press release, but here we see a lot more. Where to begin?
So, that's Mr. Door, a character mentioned, but not seen, in Control. Dylan Faden says he's met Mr. Door, who claims to be an interdimensional being who can "shift" through any of the many worlds at any time. That sounds a lot like Quantum Break's Martin Hatch, whose surname is a synonym for door and whose physical appearance, once played by the late great Lance Reddick, looks a lot like the Mr. Door we see here.
As far as I'm concerned, this confirms the theory that Hatch and Door are the same being, and as a legal matter, I suppose an interdimensional shapeshifter is a clean way to carry past characters you don't own into new projects you do own. There's still a lot more to learn of Door, but this one nagging question seems resolved at last.
Alan's next book, according to Door's late-night-TV-style promo shown here, is titled Initiation, which is the middle portion of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, sometimes known as the Monomyth, or, to Dan Harmon, the story circle. In Alan Wake, the writer was working on Departure, stage one of that story circle. At the end, he's working on Return, the final stage. Here he's promoting Initiation, the middle portion, in which the hero essentially dives head-first into the driving conflict, whereby they will later come out forever changed. It seems Alan knows he must undergo this initiation to give his return a fighting chance, according to the balance-obsessed magic of the Wake world.
A few other notes here: Door's show is called In Between with Mr. Door, further suggesting Dylan was being sincere. Also, who did Alan's book jacket art? That author credit is massive! Not really helping the claims of a problematic ego there, Al.
As perhaps another nod to stuff like Seven or gritty crime movies of the 90's, here Alan finds a creepy note that reads "Play Me" taped to a projector. The ensuing presentation seems to be footage of a level-headed Alan talking to himself. Perhaps Alan has left himself guidance given that his psyche is not always in a stable state.
The neighbor of the beast
Remedy has a long-running bit of putting 665, or "the neighbor of the beast," in its games, dating as far back as Max Payne. Here we see it again, in the form of what might be a motel door's number. Will we learn it has more significance than a little nod to the studio's own history? Perhaps not, though it is prominently shown here.
Beneath the deer mask
Here we get a look at what appears to be the person who was wearing the deer mask earlier in the trailer. Their long hair and the room's red lighting seem to match. But who is it? I feel like I'm overlooking something, but I'm just not sure. Maybe it's a new character, or maybe it's not. My other question would be what is it they're holding--a camera maybe?--and how does it disappear the way it does? Is this our world or the Dark Place?
Ahma beer returns
We've referenced Ahma brand beer a lot this summer. Like Coffee World, it keeps popping up, and even did so in Control. Is Ahma also brewed with the sludgy darkness of Cauldron Lake or another local haunt? That could be it. Given how I stumbled on this visual when scrubbing the trailer frame by frame, I'm led to believe there are more hidden messages like this to find. Maybe I'll give it another pass.
Alan's familiar shirt
Here's a neat tie-in: Alan is wearing the same black and white plaid shirt he wears throughout Alan Wake's American Nightmare, the 2012 quasi-sequel to the original game. Remedy considers the game canon, but if you needed more proof, look no further.
Also in this scene, we can see Alex Casey, played in part by Sam Lake, drinking coffee. It's not story-important, but according to Lake's Instagram Stories, this character detail was seemingly pulled directly from his own coffee-obsessed life.
Casey in the Dark Place
Here's a startling revelation: Casey appears to be in the Dark Place accosting Alan at one point. How can he get there? Or is it not really him? This is clearly something we're meant to ask, as to my memory, we haven't seen Saga there yet, only her partner. Is Casey getting there by way of the Overlap--a place where the Dark Place and natural world bleed over each other--or is he sprouting out of Wake's mind? After all, Casey was originally an Alan Wake-invented protagonist.
The Dark Presence hunts
In this startling red shot seemingly unfolding in the dressing room for Mr. Door's show, we get a familiar first-person view of the Dark Presence assaulting Wake. In the first game, we'd hear those screams and see that blurry leap whenever we saw the world as the Dark Presence claiming a victim. So it seems even being stuck in the Dark Place hasn't meant Alan's been left alone from the story's central monster.
Monsters wear many faces
We keep getting all these close-up shots of people's faces in Alan Wake 2 trailers, and here we see the creepiest one yet. In it, Alan's face withers away like lit firewood, revealing a darker, more sinister smile drenched in what seems like blood. Is this Mr. Scratch? Furthermore, all these mentions of faces have me worried someone else is not who they seem to be in the sequel. Does that explain our earlier question about Casey?
Is this a library?
It's not as significant as other details here, but 10 months ago it appeared we may have gotten a glimpse at a section of Alan Wake 2 in a Remedy-released video. In it, we saw an early version of a third-person game set in what looked like the New York Public Library. This image from the trailer might be that same place, which would confirm that Alan heads to this real-world location at some point, albeit likely a Dark Place-set version of it. Does Alan have overdue books? It's just one of many lingering mysteries.
As best I can tell from earlier snippets, the Overlap--where our world and the Dark Place collide, allowing for some to cross between them--features this deep red aesthetic. Combine that with the intersecting triangles we keep seeing, and it seems like Alan is shown here in the Overlap. But does that mean the Cult of the Tree, which seems to use this same symbol, is interested in the Dark Place? If so, for what purposes?
A Nightmare on Sleep Street
This is Remedy's first survival-horror game, and no matter what the story is actually conveying in this scene, it gave me big Freddy Krueger vibes. "Don't Sleep Again," says the distorted subway signage. The next frame features a different version, too: "Stop Writing Wake." The Dark Place is hellbent on keeping the writer trapped where he is. If only it had a glove made of knives, maybe it would have wrapped this up by now.
Wake in the woods
Here we curiously see Alan doing battle with a cult member, but it seems to be happening in the wilderness of Bright Falls. Does Alan escape the Dark Place so soon that it can be in the trailer, or is something else going on here?
Here we see a very Control-style shadow projection of who appears to be Alex Casey. This doesn't give us any apparent answers but further asks the question of Casey's true role in this story. Can Special Agent Anderson trust him? Can Alan? Can anyone?
Our final clue is not a visual, but rather a few spoken words. "This is the ritual to lead you on. Your friends will meet him when you're gone." It sounds like something the Cult of the Tree might say, but then why are they bringing up something Thomas Zane told Wake when he first got to the Dark Place? Referring to Mr. Scratch, Zane said Alan's "friends will meet him when you're gone."
That seemed like a healthy compromise at the time, but since then, Scratch has seemed to become the subject of urban legends that have twisted Alan's departure into the story of a killer who was never caught. What is the ritual, and whose side is the cult really on? I promised clues, but looking back on this project now, I have many more questions than I did when I started out.
Are you ready to unravel the mystery? Alan Wake 2 arrives on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and the Epic Games Store on October 27.