“We would not really think about Alan Wake 2 for a while, but we always came back to it and say, ‘Let’s try again,’” Lake says. “There were times when I was like, ‘Let’s see if we ever make it happen,’ but it was never on the level of ‘Let’s not even try.’”
Fan desires and unresolved cliffhangers aside, why was it so important for Lake to return to Alan Wake?
“I’m really proud of all of the games we have made, but, in some ways, Alan Wake always felt most special, personal, and dear to me,” Lake says. “Partly because of the subject matter and him being a writer, for sure, and partly because we were just coming out of Max Payne [when developing Alan Wake]. That having been our first successful game, we were like, ‘Ok, now we have the experience and now we can come up with a concept we’re really excited about’…It felt personal.”
Still, 13 years is still a long time. A lot can change over that time, including projects as passionate as Alan Wake 2. So how much does the 2023 version of Alan Wake 2 share with Sam Lake’s initial vision for that sequel?
“Very little,” Lake reveals. “On a concept level, there has always been a draft of what the story is. But that has changed quite a bit. It certainly wasn’t the story, even if certain elements from that are still present in this story…Beyond that, what the actual story and set-up is, what the structure is, what, now even, the genre of the game is…a lot changed along the way.”
Alan Wake: The Return
It’s those changes that got me thinking of Twin Peaks. While the Pacific Northwest-set Alan Wake has always worn its Twin Peaks influences on its sleeve, Alan Wake 2 feels closer to 2017’s Twin Peaks: The Return. Both aspire to revive beloved franchises after a prolonged period of time in a way that satisfies those who waited all those years. Yet, both also want to reflect the ways their creators (and the world) have grown and changed during that same period of time. It’s a delicate, almost impossible balance that Lake is very familiar with.