Desperately Seeking Alan

By Alec Meer on May 14th, 2008 at 12:40 am.

Alan looks for his missing release date

Boo – probably no Alan Wake this year, apparently. Well, I say ‘boo’, but in all honesty we still know very, very little about this game, even though it was announced some three years ago. So I have almost no idea what it is I’m missing out on. I only know I want it.

It’s a reasonably unusual situation in that unfavourable comparisons to Duke Nukem Forever could be made, and there’s probably someone out there screaming ‘vapourware’ in the sort of tone that suggests the game’s developers kidnapped their mother, but at the same time it’s not like Remedy have broken any promises. Alan Wake has kept itself remarkably quiet since its announcement. A release date has never been offered, and the facts remain more or less as they did in 2005 – psychological thriller, starring a writer, bit open-worldy, and there’s something important about the day-night cycle.

The linked report on the supposed delay may be only a little stronger than speculation, but two no-shows (GDC and Microsoft’s Gamer’s Day) this year do rather suggest it’s not ready to come into the light. Which is a shame on the one hand, as we’re all excited to see what the Max Payne team do next, but possibly positive on the other, in that they’re clearly not wanting to rush it before it’s ready. There’s also a part of me that, after the announcement that Prototype’s also been delayed to next year, idly wonders if every developer currently working on an open-world game has had the life scared out of them by GTA IV.

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21 Comments »

  1. Kadayi says:

    I don’t think anyone is going to be able to retrofit any of their existing projects to the depth necessary to compete with Rockstars latest opus tbh. Plus Rockstar ploughed the better part of $100 million into GTAIV, and there aren’t many companies that can safely burn that sort of development money and know they are going to still make a profit at the end of the day.

  2. The Shed says:

    Man, I’ve been looking forward to this game for some time- it was always predicted it would take a good time in development (Remedy’s motto being “it’s done when it’s done”).

    Quite a lot is known about the gameplay (well not really, just enough)- your opponents are based around light; they live in darkness. Which, considering the day/night cycle and massive lighting engine, means that when the sun go down, you BETTER find some shelter. The action is meant to be realistic tense gunplay type stuff, with the twist being that you have to use light to trap your enemies; tripwires attached to lightswitches etc (although none of that is really confirmed, just suggested in an interview or two.)

    Theres a shiny little gameplay/ world demo snippet here (although he runs like he’s got a severe case of the runs, enjoy the puns).

    Remedy have apparently been getting quite a lot of cash injection: although yeah, it is doubtful they’ll reach Rockstar’s level of budgeting, especially at this late stage.

  3. Ted says:

    Knowing it’s made by the Max Payne guys is all the information I need to be greatly looking forward to it.

  4. Max says:

    @ The Shed

    You’ve made the enemies sound like the Darkseekers from I Am Legend. A game with enemies and combat like that would be wicked cool.

  5. spd from Russia says:

    wonders if every developer currently working on an open-world game has had the life scared out of them by GTA IV
    __

    yeah could be. except Bethesda :)

  6. ecker says:

    Guess they were serious about being DX10 only on PC. By the time they come out MS will probably be up to DX11…

  7. Snook says:

    Did anyone else read that as “Anal”?

  8. Robin says:

    Yeah, I’d imagine DirectX 10 not taking over the world as planned has put a spanner in the works. Mind you, wasn’t this supposed to be coming out for the Xbox 360 as well?

  9. Jochen Scheisse says:

    A Horror game that has actually managed to not spoil most of the plot years before release…wow!

  10. Nick says:

    Is it still Vista/DX10 only? If so, to hell with it.

  11. cliffski says:

    They hyped this too soon. Same with spore. its black and white syndrome, hype the game too early and everyone says ‘meh’ on release day.

  12. Bob Arctor says:

    I read about B&W in PC Format in about 1997, and wanted it from then. Crazy.

  13. Arnulf says:

    The few bits I know about this somehow lets my mind make connections with Stephen King and Insomnia.

  14. Chaz says:

    [i]wonders if every developer currently working on an open-world game has had the life scared out of them by GTA IV[/i]

    GTA IV is good, but aside from the obvious next gen graphics and improved combat, and of course the excellent multiplayer, it’s pretty much the same game as the previous 3 GTA’s. In fact if anything, in terms of content, I personally think the game seems to have taken a big step backwards from GTA: San Andreas, which still remains my favourite GTA.

    So despite all the hype surrounding GTA IV I don’t see why any other developers of open world games should be that worried by its success to be honest. Unless of course they are just going for a straight GTA clone, but Alan Wake and Prototype sound quite different enough to standout on their own to avoid the GTA comparisons.

  15. nakke says:

    Considering how long Max Payne and Max Payne 2 took to develop, I’d not be too worried about it being vaporware. It is a bit silly though that they even mentioned the game so early, I doubt many people have the energy to be superhyped about a game for 3-4 years..

  16. Helder Pinto says:

    Just trust me on what I’m about to say:

    Alan Wake development is going fine! The game has been under works all this years. I already knew that we wont see Alan Wake in 2008, but we will in 2009, and it will be one hell of a game!

    To bad It’s vista exclusive tho.

  17. Rook says:

    It’s not Dx10 only I think. Just Vista only*

    *Their showcase machine is a Quad Core 7900GTX
    http://www.brightfalls.net/alan-wake-faq/#s1q03

  18. Irish Al says:

    @The Shed

    Niiiiiiice water. Imagine a Silent Hill in that engine …

  19. The Shed says:

    Yeah the engine is sweet in practically every respect. Love it when the dev guy almost gets crushed by a van :D

    Initially A.Wake did look just like Silent Hill in a realistic open-world setting (pseudo GTA I guess), but it could potentially be so much more. Can not wait. They pretty much haven’t hyped this game at all, cliffski.

    @Max: The only thing they really share with those damn “Darkseekers” is that they detest/ are hurt by light. Aside from that they seem entirely different. In one of the A.Wake trailers, at the very end, you see what is chasing him. I know that video is around somewhere in better definition, but YouTube nearest at hand.

    Also, this game is coming to Vista PC and Xbox 360 only.

  20. Nick says:

    “By going with Vista, we don’t have to compromise everything to the lowest common PC denominator ”

    Ah yes, as every Vista PC is a beast. More like “Microsoft said we had to”.

  21. Crispy says:

    I’m more excited about this than GTA IV, and considering GTA IV is out to rave reviews and about 70% of gamers I know have it and 100% of gamers I know know someone who has it, that’s saying a lot.

    GTA IV just isn’t my bag. I know they’ve improved the controls, polished the visuals, added multiplayer and great physics and procedural animations, but all the sappy sim stuff they threw in for SA and have kept in for this is just too extreme for my liking. It’s taken what was originally an arcadey top-down action shooter to a third-person, free-form action shooter to some sort of sim/RPG/third-person shooter where it sounds like you spend more time shooting pool with imaginary friends or watching your character’s TV through your PC screen than actually pushing the plot. Like one of my friends observed, it’s taken the gangster simulation to mundane levels of realism instead of diluting all the best bits into a larger-than-life experience.

    I really liked what Remedy did with Max Payne so I’m confident they can do something good. As long as it has heart and steers well clear of being a friend sim, I’m interested.

    P.S. Read less previews. It’ll do you the world of good! ;)