In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz (via COGConnected) about Remedy's next game, Control, the Finnish independent studio discusses the fate of Alan Wake and Quantum Break, and the pain of not being in control (heh, pun) of the worlds the studio has built.
Remedy CEO Tero Virtala implied in the interview how the studio had intended to create a long-term franchise with both Quantum Break and Alan Wake, working hard to flesh out the characters, their backstories, and the worlds attached to them. The way Quantum Break is littered with easter eggs that call back to Alan Wake speaks to that fact. Virtala notes that Microsoft doesn't want to take either franchise "further."
"If you want to create a memorable story, it's not just a story. It's the characters, their background story, their motives, and the locations. In order to create these worlds, characters and stories, it's a huge investment of really high-quality people that are really hard to find and those typically provide a basis for long-term franchises, long-term brands in which you could put multiple games."
"Considering our history, Alan Wake was really interesting but it was a collaboration with Microsoft. Due to certain reasons, it never got a sequel. Quantum Break, also, we put a lot of effort into creating the world, the characters, the stories, but still it was Microsoft IP. They decided not to take it further. If we owned the IP, it's fully in our hands to decide how we create it, how we develop, what are the creative decisions that we take? And then maybe one day in the future, if it proves to be successful, it's again in our hands to decide what will be done. That was important for us."
Both Alan Wake and Quantum Break finish in a way that leave them wide open for a sequel. While it sounds as though both games struggled to obtain the commercial success Microsoft hoped for them, both titles enjoy a loyal fanbase and could easily achieve wider success with a few tweaks.
Quantum Break is an action thriller that follows Jack Joyce on a mission to prevent the collapse of time itself, following a failed time travel experiment. Alan Wake is a psychological horror that draws heavy inspiration from Twin Peaks and similar TV shows, which challenge the idea of "reality" itself. Both games are available to buy on Xbox One, and are well worth every penny.
Microsoft recently added five new studios to its first-party portfolio, specifically with the goal of addressing the central criticism of Xbox as a platform: here are not enough high-quality exclusive "AAA" games. Quantum Break or Alan Wake sequels, complete with addressed feedback, would be prime candidates to help build out Microsoft's first-party offering. But for whatever reason, it looks like we'll never get them.