Alan WakeAlan Wake is a psychological horror video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The story follows bestselling thriller novelist Alan Wake, as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife's disappearance during a vacation in the small fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington, all while experiencing events from the plot in his latest novel, which he cannot remember writing, coming to life.
In its pacing and structure, Alan Wake is similar to a thriller television series, with episodes that contain plot twists and cliffhangers. The game itself consists of six episodes, and the fiction is continued by two special episodes, titled "The Signal" and "The Writer", that were made available as downloadable content within the same year of the game's release. Together, they make the first season of a possibly longer story. Additionally, a six-episode live-action web series called Bright Falls acts as a prequel to the game, and a number of related books also expand upon the Alan Wake story.
Chiefly written by Sam Lake, Alan Wake took over five years to create—an unusually long development time in the game industry. The game received positive reviews from critics, and is often revered for its narrative, pacing, and atmosphere. Alan Wake was awarded the first spot in Time magazine's list of the top 10 video games of 2010.
Alan Wake's American Nightmare, a full stand-alone title, was released in February 2012 on the Xbox Live Arcade service. The game does not constitute a direct sequel to Alan Wake, although Remedy have stated that they are "not done with Alan Wake". In May of 2013, a new game by Remedy was announced at the Xbox One event called Quantum Break, before explaining the following day that a sequel to Alan Wake had been postponed. Despite their love of the property and initially beginning work on a sequel, Alan Wake was not financially successful enough to receive the funding they needed to continue developing the sequel at the time.
Alan Wake PlotAlan Wake is a best-selling psychological thriller author but has been suffering from a two-year stretch of writer's block. He and his wife Alice travel to the Washington state mountain town of Bright Falls for a short vacation on the advice of Alice and his friend and agent Barry Wheeler. On their arrival, Alan retrieves the keys and map to their rented cabin, unaware the woman supplying the keys wasn't the landlord.
Alan and Alice arrive at a cabin on an island in the middle of Cauldron Lake. As they unpack, Alan finds that Alice arranged this trip to try to break his writer's block, scheduling him to see a Bright Falls psychologist named Dr. Hartman and leaving a typewriter in the cabin for him. Alan is infuriated and takes a short walk, but runs back when Alice cries for help. He returns to the cabin just as Alice is being dragged into the lake's waters by a mysterious force. Alan dives into the water after her, blacking out as he submerges.
Alan regains consciousness a week later, apparently having driven his car off the road, but with no memory of how he got there. He starts to head back towards town, but his progress is hampered by shadowy figures that try to harm him. An ethereal figure in a diving suit appears and explains how to use light to fight the shadows. The figure also shows Alan pages of a manuscript scattered about. The manuscript is to a work called Departure with Alan's name as the by-line, but Alan cannot remember writing this.
After a harrowing night in the forest, Alan reaches a gas station and calls the local sheriff's office. The next day, Alan tries to convince Sheriff Sarah Breaker that his wife has been kidnapped, but she asserts there hasn't been an island on Cauldron Lake for years, it having sunk after an earthquake. She suspects Alan of causing his wife's disappearance and contacts the FBI for help.
Shortly thereafter, Barry arrives, who tries to help Alan recall the events. Alan receives a call from a man claiming to be Alice's kidnapper and demands he bring the pages of Departure to a nearby state park in exchange for his wife. Alan travels there, though again hounded by shadowy figures. Before the kidnapper can explain his actions, he is killed by a dark tornado and Alan is knocked out. Alan wakes in Dr. Hartman's care in a lodge overlooking the lake. Dr. Hartman reveals the kidnapper was in his employ as part of a ruse to break the writer's block, but they did not kidnap Alice. A shadowy force attacks the lodge and Alan barely escapes with Barry's help. They return to town where the FBI attempt to arrest Alan as the prime suspect in Alice's disappearance, but the shadows attack and drag the agents away, forcing Alan and Barry to flee.
Following clues left by other townsfolk, Alan learns that Cauldron Lake is inhabited by an entity called the Dark Presence that is trapped in Cauldron Lake but is trying to escape. The entity has the ability to turn fiction into reality and had previously tried to use the imagination of the late Thomas Zane - the figure in the diving suit and the owner of the lake cabin - but Zane fought back before he was drowned during the earthquake. The Dark Presence had grown strong enough to start to influence the townspeople on Alan's arrival, forcing him to the cabin. After a night of heavy drinking, Alan starts to recall the missing week, remembering being forced to write Departure as a means to allow the Dark Presence to escape, but Zane's subconscious influence allowed Alan to write in elements to allow for his own escape and the way to defeat the Dark Presence.
Alan, Barry, and Sarah follow the clues to a hermit, Cynthia Weaver, who has barricaded herself in the town's power plant surrounded by light to protect herself from the Dark Presence. She shows Alan the way to "The Well-Lit Room", where the weapon to defeat the Dark Presence is locked. Alan finds the weapon is "the Clicker", a simple light switch but infused with power though Alan's writings. Alan returns to the lake alone, fighting through the Dark Presence's attacks by using his own new-found powers to alter reality, and uses the Clicker to defeat it. However, as the Dark Presence is dispelled, Alan cannot find Alice, and believes that to maintain balance, he must give himself to the lake. He willingly submerges himself, shortly afterwards Alice emerges safely. Within the depths of the lake, Alan finds himself in the cabin, and realizes that Departure is not yet finished, and turns back to the typewriter to continue the story and write his own means to be free of the lake. He comments to himself that "It's not a lake—it's an ocean.
Alan Wake GameplayAlan Wake is a psychological horror game described by Remedy as "the mind of a psychological thriller" and "the body of a cinematic action game" put together. In interviews, the game's creators hold that the game does not belong squarely in the survival horror video game genre. The game is primarily set in the fictional idyllic small town of Bright Falls, Washington. The main gameplay happens in various areas of Bright Falls – such as the forest, a national park, or a farm – during the nighttime; these are punctuated by calmer, non-combative sequences set during the day.
The player controls the eponymous protagonist, Alan Wake. In the game, a "darkness" is taking over humans, animals and objects. These enemies, dubbed the "Taken", are murderous shadows that attack Wake, wielding weapons of their own, ranging from mallets and knives to shovels and chainsaws. They vary by speed, size, and the amount of damage they can take, and some can even teleport between short distances. Besides the Taken, the player must combat flocks of possessed ravens and animated objects.
The Taken are protected by a shield of darkness, initially rendering them impervious to attack; they can only be injured with a firearm after exposure to light, which burns the darkness away. This puts significant emphasis on flashlights in conjunction with conventional weapons, such as a revolver or shotgun. Flashlight beams act as a reticle. The handheld lights Wake can carry can be boosted, which destroys the darkness faster, but also reduces the light's battery level. Besides the conventional shooter gameplay need for reloading ammunition, the player must also insert fresh batteries into the flashlight when they run out, or wait for it to recharge slowly. The strength of the darkness protecting an enemy can vary among the Taken. The amount of darkness remaining is represented by a corona of light that appears when aiming at an enemy, and a stronger darkness may recharge over time. When a Taken is finally destroyed, it disappears.
The player is often encouraged to take advantage of environmental light sources and placing, and to use other light-based weapons and accessories, such as flare guns, hand-held flares and flashbangs. Wake can use searchlights to take out massive waves of Taken. Streetlights and other light stands can provide a safe haven, which the Taken cannot enter, and will regenerate the character's health faster. Otherwise, health regenerates slowly with time, when not taking any damage. In certain sections of the game, it is possible to use a car to traverse between locations in Bright Falls. When in a car, the player can run down Taken on the road, or boost the vehicle's headlights to destroy them.
A major element of gameplay is the optional discovery and collection of manuscript pages from Alan Wake's latest novel—Departure. Although Wake does not remember writing this book, its storyline seems to be becoming real around him. These readable manuscript pages are scattered around the game world, out of chronological order; they often describe scenes that have yet to occur and act as warning and instructions for proceeding through upcoming challenges. Other optional collectibles include coffee thermoses scattered around the game world (100 in all), as well as discovering television sets which show different episodes of the fictional Night Springs series, radios airing talk and music from Bright Falls' local radio station, and textual signs around the town. The radio shows and signs provide a deeper understanding of the town's history and culture. The game's DLC episodes introduce other collectibles, such as alarm clocks, and video game boxes.
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