Remedy's Twin Peaks love letter Alan Wake spent 5 years in development before lighting up the Xbox 360 back in 2010. The survival horror game was received with critical acclaim, both from Remedy fans and reviewers alike, leaving many to wonder about a sequel.
Speaking at length with Polygon, Remedy's Sam Lake outlined the Alan Wake 2 prototype that never saw the light of day, but also paved the way for Quantum Break.
...I, for one, happily killed almost every character in Max Payne, that proved to be a challenge when making the sequel. That taught us that with Alan Wake and everything we do, the idea of a sequel and sequels has to be there from the beginning. For Alan Wake, from the get-go, we assumed there was going to be a sequel and we mapped things further out when it came to character, story, details and focus changes. We knew we would have to iterate and refine, but there was always a rough road map there...
To say Alan Wake ends on a cliff-hanger would be an understatement. Without spoiling the plot, Alan Wake closes on a note that leaves it feeling incomplete, for reasons outlined by Sam Lake above. So then, what about that sequel?
Sam Lake provided a proof-of-concept video, which shows a documentary maker retracing the steps of Alan Wake who finds himself deeper and deeper in a personal war with the evil forces of the first game. Some of elements of the above prototype ended up in other games; Arizona was used as the setting for Alan Wake's American Nightmare, and the pockets of frozen reality can be found in the upcoming Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break.
Remedy own the rights to Alan Wake, and they sent the prototype around to various publishers before hitting up Microsoft again. Conversations with Xbox head Phil Spencer would eventually lead to Quantum Break.
...Quite quickly our discussion about Alan Wake 2 turned into something else and that something else turned into Quantum Break, which was great and very exciting...
Quantum Break was originally slated for 2015 release, and has since been pushed into 2016 to allow Remedy to fine-tune, and avoid the deluge of Microsoft exclusives slamming our wallets during this holiday season. I saw Quantum Break running on Xbox One at last year's Gamescom, and it certainly took the prize for leaving me the most jaw-dropped. I remember glancing around the press event wondering how people were calmly and professionally containing their inner nerd.
You should check out the full interview on Polygon.com here, but the key take away is that Sam Lake sees a future for Alan Wake.
...The thing that made this idea of releasing this prototype demo OK is that it is very much on a high level. There are no spoilers in it. That being said, I do hope we get an opportunity to work on Alan Wake 2. I want to do more Wake at some point...