Despite being a sequel, Remedy Entertainment’s Alan Wake 2 is going in some different directions from its predecessor. There are dual protagonists, Saga Anderson and Alan Wake, who players can swap freely between (after reaching a certain point). It’s also more survival horror-focused, and in a new interview with Eurogamer, creative director Sam Lake and director Kyle Rowley talked about how modern horror has influenced its overall style.
“It definitely feels like horror is more popular, and there is new, great horror coming across different mediums – it used to be a niche thing, now it’s embraced by a wider audience,” said Lake. He described the focus on a psychological horror title as “very liberating, on that front, to know that we don’t need to hold back, that we can be very honest to the story and go as far into horror as it feels the story needs.”
Remedy has also looked at contemporary horror films for their style, focusing less on gore and jump scares. “Style-wise, looking at modern and classic art-house horror films, like more recent stuff like Hereditary or Midsommar, or other things like this – this idea of stylizing it and leaning more on atmosphere and dread than, you know, gore or jumpscares. We’ve always drawn inspiration, with the original Alan Wake, from Twin Peaks and David Lynch’s works – that’s still there, obviously, but [we’re] just kind of widening our inspirations for this one.”
Rowley added, “Those horror movies as well, in particular, they’re interesting from a horror perspective because they’re not – they’re more ‘horror stories’ themselves. It’s more about the drama, and the characters and the stuff that they go through, and their relationships and how they change throughout that story, rather than the–”
“Than the spectacle,” finished Lake. “Exactly. I think that because we’re making a narrative-driven experience, we are focusing on a second-to-second horror, the atmosphere and how we build tension. But it’s the overarching narrative as well that’s important from a horror perspective and the journey those characters go through. I think modern horrors – they do that very well.”
Of course, while those films offered some social commentary, Alan Wake 2 won’t be going down the same path. As Lake noted, “I’m not sure if it’s about making a point.” Time will tell, of course, so stay tuned.
Alan Wake 2 is out on October 17th for PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC via the Epic Games Store. It will be over 20 hours long and has some replay value, depending on the order you play as Wake or Anderson. Despite the hype, it’s competing for attention among other big titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, but the team isn’t worried. “We just want to put forward our game and present it to the players,” said Rowley.