Spooked: Alan Wake Arriving “February”

By Jim Rossignol on January 21st, 2012 at 2:51 pm.


Remedy’s supernatural thriller, Alan Wake, will be arriving in February, they explain on their forums. They also say: “Games for Windows Live will not be used; we will be fully supporting the Steam platform.” Just in case you missed that. Other issues of note include the fact that it doesn’t (yet) run perfectly on Windows XP, and it won’t have mod support.

I’ve posted the minimum specifications below. We broke the news about Alan’s appearance on PC with interview snippets here and here.

OS: Windows Vista or Windows 7 (see below for Windows XP)
PROCESSOR: A dual core processor is required:
AMD: Athlon X2 2.8GHz
Intel: Core 2 Duo 2GHz
MEMORY: 2 GB
HARD DRIVE: 8 GB
VIDEO CARD: DirectX 10 compatible or later with 512MB RAM
AMD: ATI Radeon 3650, 4450, 5550, 6450 or higher (per series)
NVIDIA: GeForce 8600GT, 9500GT, GT120, GT430, GT520 (per series)
SOUND CARD: DirectX 9.0c compatible
INPUT: Mouse and keyboard, Xbox360 controller also supported

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145 Comments »

  1. LionsPhil says:

    Unfortunately, there won’t be a demo version of Alan Wake PC.

    Shame. It’s one of those games that’s caught enough flak that I’m not inclined to buy it blind, at least this side of a sale for 57p. (By which point Remedy’s cut wouldn’t get them a Mars bar.)

    • Orija says:

      I actually played it on the 360 for a few hours, very bland, very dumbed down and very linear.

    • Khemm says:

      The impressions pretty much everywhere are mostly in the vein of “boring, repetitive, shallow, not that interesting in the long run”, so the lack of a demo is a real bummer.
      I’d like to know if it’s my cup of tea first…

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m not sure what it was dumbed down from. But I completely disagree.

      It is repetitive, but broken up by a fairly interesting story regularly. It’s played out episodically, and really benefits if you play it in one episode sessions.

      I would really recommend it.

    • Orija says:

      @DrGonzo It was supposed to be a PC exclusive open-world sandbox before Microsoft notced it up.

    • coldvvvave says:

      Dumbed down from an original concept, back when it was on PC and there was a much more complex physics system( remember those videos with hurricanes?).

    • DrGonzo says:

      Oh please. I highly doubt that those design decisions have anything to do with being dumbed down. Plenty of games are overambitious and have to cut things back. Remedy are a small team after all with limited resources.

      Just enjoy things for what they are and don’t get angry about what they could have been. That’s ridiculous.

    • Kadayi says:

      I’m kind of with DrGonzo on this TBH. Albeit Remedy might not have been able to deliver on everything they initially wanted to, it seems that they were trying something different with Alan Wake.

    • Premium User Badge

      liceham says:

      [Accidentally replied, don't see a delete button, have nothing to say.]

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      @Coldwavvve. All those things are still in it and more.

      But yeah I guess ornamental physics systems do a pc game make!

      /yawn

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      Aerothorn says:

      Alan Wake is easily one of the best titles on the 360. I honestly don’t understand where the hate comes from.

    • Bhazor says:

      For me it’s because when it went from PC to Xbox 360 it went from this
      youtube.com/watch?v=8gnWEYxks-Q

      to this
      youtube.com/watch?v=MKrZTmIPJKg

      It went from “showing the power of quad core processors” to what is clearly a Xbox 360 dual core processor. In the process it went from genuinely ground breaking high fidelity open world into a more or less straight action game. An OK action game but nothing that exactly rewrote the rule book.

      Honestly, I thought Alone in the Dark was way more impressive.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      The characterisation, acting, light-system and story-telling is excellent. The combat starts interesting, then gets quickly annoying.

      The bad started outweighing the good for me after 3-4 hours…

    • Zagzagovich says:

      If you guys were interested in the game because it had some cool tech then you are doing it wrong. It still looks and sounds great but the main draw is the story and the remedy style things it has. If you ever liked Steven King or Twin Peaks you will get a great kick out of it. Combat is fine but a lot of people say it can get repetitive by the end of the game, even though I didn’t feel it was. It’s a great game and it actually has most of that tech shown in those videos. If it ever was open world then they must have gotten rid of it a long time ago because I can’t even see how it would work with that story.

    • DocSeuss says:

      Alan Wake was absolutely fantastic, and my personal pick for 2010′s best video game.

      You know how people consider Max Payne 2 to be one of the best games of all time? Alan Wake is like that, except it’s better. The writing is fucking phenomenal, not in terms of “oh, it’s a great narrative with compelling characters,” but in terms of being EXACTLY the way you’d expect a psychological thriller to be, the same way Max Payne’s silly overwrought metaphors were JUST the thing you’d expect from a psychonoir story.

      Yes, it’s linear, but linear, in and of itself, isn’t bad. If it was, we wouldn’t praise series like Half-Life and Max Payne for being amazing. What’s great is that it’s actually fairly wide open at times. The maps aren’t like Uncharted’s where pretty much every step you make has been accounted for (well, there is the hedge maze). There are times where you’ll fight on a massive stretch of farmland in a valley, or beat your way through a fairly open town. The linearity assists the story, but there is a great deal of freedom in the map size, much of the time.

      The game’s also got an AMAZING level of attention to detail. If you, for instance, walk towards a collapsed bridge, Alan will narrate that this is what happened, but there was no way across. If you return to the woman who gave you your hallway keys (this is in the very beginning of chapter 1, so not really a spoiler), she’ll have disappeared, and Alan will say something about it. It’s really cool.

      Also, it’s complete and utter bullshit about the game being dumbed-down. It isn’t. The reason they moved it from open world to non-open was a pacing issue. Making it open world slows the story down, which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you want with a psychological thriller. For what it’s worth, the 360 is actually rendering a lot of stuff that players never even see, according to one analysis of the game’s tech–I think it was Digital Foundry–which means that it’s still GOT the open world, it’s just not using it for gameplay. Anyone who tells you it was Microsoft’s fault is a whiny little bitch who is full of shit.

      I will be buying this day 1 unless it’s over $25.

      Each one of the complaints (you can see ‘em in my other post on this page) can be leveled at Half-Life 2, and are just as valid. The only complaint that can’t is that “it isn’t Silent Hill 2,” which was arguably the most common complaint I heard that day. Apparently, people expect a game that has some scary bits and is in third person to be Silent Hill 2. Absolutely fucking stupid, those people were.

      EDIT: @coldvvvave

      There were no videos with hurricanes. There was one with a tornado, however. It was the Alan Wake Intel Dev video from 2006 (unfortunately, it’s unavailable in anything higher than 240p). Alan Wake, as a game, features at least four tornadoes, three of which you face personally (though you’re running like hell from two of them).

    • Bhazor says:

      @ DocSeuss

      The tornados that made it in are heavily scripted which is the same as complimenting the gameplay of a cutscene.You honestly can’t tell the difference between the two tornado videos?

      Linear action games are *fine* but I never asked for this it was just nothing like the open world, reactive genre busting title I was promised before it went to the 360. I’m not saying it was a hardware limitation maybe Remedy did just give up. Still It turned out *fine* fully deserving its score of 8/10.

      Also “if you like Stephen King you’ll like this” is not the grandest of compliments. But the game probably deserves it.

    • paterah says:

      So you are gonna cry about what you were “promised” instead of looking at what Alan Wake is right now and is the only thing that matters: a pretty damn good game.

    • macr says:

      I was really excited about Alan Wake and like many have said, I feel like I was conned by marketing, the game was nothing like it was advertised originally and I kind of gave up following its development, as it was changed to a 360 exclusive and delayed 3-4 years. However when it reared its head again I bought it as a day one purchase. I played it through for about 3-4 hours feeling fairly disappointed with not only the game-play but the direction the story was heading, I never did have the desire to get back into the game and later traded it in.

    • Gira says:

      I love how people actually rate games now based on the quality of their setpieces.

      What is Alan Wake behind its window dressing? Behind the story, behind the Emotional Characters and the Inventive Setpieces, what’s the actual game? It’s empty, shallow drivel. Based on the original discussions about the thing, it could’ve been a lot more than that.

      The reason they moved it from open world to non-open was a pacing issue. Making it open world slows the story down, which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you want with a psychological thriller.
      Yeah, but it’s exactly what you want in a videogame.

      “Pacing”?

      Ay Dios mio.

    • donmilliken says:

      I enjoyed the hell out of Alan Wake, but I can’t really blame anyone for not wanting to take a chance on it sight unseen. Ah well, it’s on Steam so you know it’ll be on sale for a deep discount before long. Hell, I doubt it’ll be selling on Steam for much more than $30 or $40 considering it’s a nearly two year old console port. I enjoyed this enough that I’ll be picking it up again on Steam and I hope American Nightmare eventually follows it to PC as that looks pretty promising.

    • bill says:

      @Gira:

      Pacing is actually a very important part of a lot of video games, and one that’s often overlooked. See Painkiller for pacing done wrong, and Portal for pacing done right.

      @Everyone.

      It seems everyone is judging Alan Wake on what they wanted it to be, not what it was.
      Linear isn’t bad, but I guess it’s bad if you were expecting Open World.

      Although, to be fair, in this case they didn’t really make bigger claims for the game. They did early on in development, but they were pretty clear later on that the focus had changed… so i’m not sure this is a fair example of “It wasn’t what they claimed…”

    • Gira says:

      Pacing is actually a very important part of a lot of video games

      No, it isn’t. It’s an important part of videogames designed by failed screenwriters who wish they were making movies. Systemic interaction with actual interesting mechanics requires no “narrative pacing”. Most of the cinematographical/screenwriting lexicon is absolutely irrelevant to videogames, which functionally require on “player pacing”, if you will, and it’s very tiresome hearing people bring it up all the time. Games are not films.

      The second you start thinking about pacing, you’re no longer designing a game.

      Also, would people please stop confusing “non-linear’ with “open world”? Please? The vast majority of open-world games are incredibly linear and offer very little room for player agency (which is, of course, sacrificed for the sake of “pacing”). The size of your hub world is meaningless when the actual player actions (and reactions) available are rigidly scripted and restricted.

    • Kaira- says:

      “No, it [pacing] isn’t [important].”

      Are you seriously arguing that long treks filled with nothing at all are a good thing in a shooter? Or full-blown all on action in a thriller?

    • Gira says:

      What?

      Also, why are you using “thriller”, a publishing category used for books and films, to describe a videogame?

    • Kaira- says:

      “What?”

      My words exactly when I read your rambling.

      “Also, why are you using “thriller”, a publishing category used for books and films, to describe a videogame?”

      Are you saying that a game can’t be a thriller? We do have horror books and films AND games, after all.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      @ Gira: Are you saying that stories have no place in games? That the only thing that matters is gameplay? Are people really still having this argument? If you like games, get off your soapbox and let them be what they are for crying out loud.

    • Gira says:

      I’m saying the category “thriller” is absolutely irrelevant to what the game actually is, which is a third-person action game. I’m fine with games creating a “thriller” atmosphere, but this should be evoked mechanically and systemically, not through designer-centric narrative or “pacing”. Why is the tag “thriller” even being considered? is it not obvious how entirely separate from films and books videogames (well, all games) are? Why are you judging a medium that distinguishes itself based on its interactivity and agency using a term that describes static narratives (whether presented on screen or on paper)?

      @Lenny No, stories can be very useful in games, provided they’re stories created through the player’s actions.

      This is, after all, the distinguishing faculty of a videogame from a narrative perspective – the ability for players to generate story through systemic interaction. Restricting that to serve some asinine “storyline” created by an incompetent writer is a tremendous cop-out.

    • DocSeuss says:

      @Bhazor: Yes, I can see the difference between the two. It should be noted that the Tornadoes in Alan Wake appear to be doing both scripted (the stuff that falls down and nearly hits you) and non-scripted (the debris that flies around three of the four tornadoes). It looks sufficiently less-good than it did in the Intel demo, but that’s because they weren’t able to dedicated a core to it the way they would have on the PC version.

      You may never have asked for a game that was nothing like the open-world, reactive genre-busting title you were promised, but you got it, and it was GREAT. Remedy ultimately decided that they’d make a game that suited the story. As the best game-writers in the business, I think they know what they’re talking about. For my part, I was never really sure how they were going to do the genre (which requires speed and tension at times) in an open world. I think I’ve figured it out now, but it’s a bit… odd.

      Yes, I know, some people don’t like Stephen King. Even I’m not his biggest fan. But… the game is extremely well written within the scope of its genre. The same was true for the Max Payne games (with the exception of that secret society nonsense). When Remedy writes, they write to the genre, and it shows.

      @macr: the fact that you weren’t paying attention to the game’s development means any problems you have are entirely your own, and not Remedy’s. It’s not their fault you didn’t pay attention.

      @Gira: Alan Wake is an extremely good third person shooter with a uniquely-implemented dodge system, a wonderful variety of levels, a neat (albeit poorly differentiated, leading people to think that there were only a handful of types) variety of enemies, and some EXCELLENT encounter design that leads to no two fights playing out the same. The enemies, weapons, and levels all compliment each other in a way that makes the game quite good. Despite its linearity, I occasionally got lost in the levels, because it’s a very large, broad sort of linearity. It’s a step forward for linear gaming.

      If you want to talk about empty, shallow drivel, why not check out Half-Life 2? It’s got a bunch of simplistic puzzles, some crappy driving, and piss-poor shooting. Its enemy AI isn’t particularly good (and, some have argued, a step down from the original game). The levels where you play with other characters tend to be irritating. It features a lot of mostly-narrow, guided levels (or, at the very least, these levels do not reward exploration even when they are somewhat expansive). The enemy variety is mostly just bugs, headcrabs, zombies, and guys with guns who all behave the same. From a mechanical perspective, Half-Life 2 is, in every way, inferior to Alan Wake, yet it is praised as one of the greatest games of all time. Why? Well, it turns out that setting, character, art style, and so forth are all pretty damn important.

      It’s pretty clear you don’t understand how pacing can be applied in a video game context, so I’ll try to explain this pretty quickly: in Serious Sam, the game’s pacing is based on a series of large, open levels where they intersperse small, quick fights with massive arena battles. STALKER’s pacing is derived from its open levels. When they really want to scare you, they send you down into guided corridor sections, altering the game’s pacing to be more frantic. Likewise, in Alan Wake, a game where you’re supposed to be scared, they chose maps that are large enough to get lost in, but also guided, to capture the feeling of being lost in the dark, where anything could be lurking. An open world would have meant that players could find cars, stick to lit areas, and done other things to minimize that scary feeling, which would have fundamentally altered the gameplay experience.

      Pacing is about storytelling, which is a VERY important part of gaming (everyone who says gameplay is more important than story is an idiot; in games with stories, they’re inherently two sides of the same coin), but it’s also about atmosphere and mood.

      Remedy, moreso than most developers, are very good at blending their narrative and gameplay into one complete experience. Alan moves like a normal person. The guns are what you’d expect to find in the Northwestern US. The light, which serves the narrative purpose of being anathema to darkness, is how you defeat enemies, and they have several light-based weapons to counteract that. The light is also used to shape player feeling–when you’re in an area with spotlights, you generally feel safer than when you’re not, which leads to a different style of play.

    • DocSeuss says:

      @Gira: it ate my post, and I don’t feel like writing a new one, so I’ll leave it at this:

      “I’m fine with games creating a “thriller” atmosphere, but this should be evoked mechanically and systemically, not through designer-centric narrative or “pacing”.”

      Seriously?

      Pacing IS mechanical and systemic. When we’re talking about pacing, we’re talking about GAMEPLAY PACING. The whole point of turning the game into a linear one was to increase the pacing to make the game more of a thriller. It’s challenging to scare people in an open world–they can just run like hell and find somewhere to be safe.

      STALKER’s scary bits are all underground, and they’re significantly more linear than anything you’d find above ground. The game alters its lazy, slower pacing above ground and speeds up the gameplay through its enemy placement, nowhere-to-run feeling, and level design, altering the game’s pace, which, in turn, shapes the player’s feelings.

      Remedy are fantastic at making story and gameplay one and the same thing, which is why they’re some of the best writers in the business. They use level, art, sound, and enemy design to shape the story, player feelings, and the gameplay experience. Simple mechanics, like using light to defeat the darkness, have a narrative and a gameplay purpose. The weapons are designed around both the enemies you face and the kind of weapons you’d be likely to find in the Pacific Northwest. The levels you visit are the kinds of places you might find there. Everything works together to create a cohesive experience.

      They use everything, even enemy spawns, to adjust the game’s (and thus, the story’s) pace. If you could do things at your leisure, the story would feel less important (it could be the best story in the world and that wouldn’t matter if you could break the story by screwing around driving cars into deer), and you’d feel less compelled to keep playing.

    • Carolina says:

      Clearly Gira knows exactly what every game should be. Games are that. Period.

    • Gira says:

      There is absolutely nothing “lazy” about STALKER. It’s the perfect example of ludonarrative consonance, and its constant sense of oppression and dread is evoked through actual systemic possibilities – bandits could well have taken over that former safe zone. Monsters could well have migrated from their original position. These things create genuine tension without the designers having to limit or restrict your interaction so as to reel off a bunch of irrelevant narrative data to Get You In The Mood.

      Basically, STALKER is perfect.

      When we’re talking about pacing, we’re talking about GAMEPLAY PACING.

      Arbitrarily restricting gameplay to serve an irrelevant narrative is not “gameplay pacing”. For the record, just so there’s no confusion, the restrictiveness of the play-spaces on offer in Alan Wake isn’t the issue here. As I said, most open-world games are incredibly restrictive mechanically despite the large 3D spaces they present to the player. The issue is suggesting that gameplay should ever be compromised to serve a static narrative.

      @ Carolina – well, yeah. I mean, that’s the whole point. Games are one thing, films are another. I love films, but it’s a separate medium and should be treated as such. To let the latter blend into the former is to compromise both.

    • Gribble Cowl says:

      Clearly Gira knows exactly what every game should be. Games are that. Period.

      Well, yeah. Once they stop being that they stop being games. Pretty simple.

    • DocSeuss says:

      “Basically, STALKER is perfect.”

      While I can’t argue with this, because it’s absolutely true, STALKER’s a very lazily-paced game. You can take things at your own pace. You can simply let yourself get lost in the world and go exploring. The tense firefights that occur mainly only occur when you choose to let them. If you’re smart, you’ll let the AI fight each other and then do the looting yourself. It’s got this very lazy pace to it that works really well.

      “Arbitrarily restricting gameplay to serve an irrelevant narrative is not “gameplay pacing”.”

      I completely agree with this sentiment. Fortunately for us, Alan Wake’s narrative is far from irrelevant, as the gameplay would have no meaning and seem quite arbitrary without it. The gameplay and narrative, just as it was in Max Payne, work together to create one cohesive experience. Remedy worked very hard to make these two things very complimentary.

      An open-world game would have worked AGAINST this–even having had two years to think about it, I’m not sure I can see how Alan Wake would have been improved by being open world. I can see a hub-style approach working (but this would mean you’d want to have minigames or shops or something, and if you have shops, you probably have an inventory–but you still run into issues with people going “lol, why isn’t Alan lookign for his wife?” so this approach would work if you were playing as a different character, meaning the story would need a more investigative approach).

      “The issue is suggesting that gameplay should ever be compromised to serve a static narrative.”

      While I can understand and appreciate that, the gameplay in Alan Wake most certainly wasn’t compromised. By making it a pseudo-linear game, they actually enhance the gameplay by increasing the tension of the encounters. It helps shape the atmosphere and mood, which means it’s affecting the player, which means it affects the gameplay.

      One particular time that strikes me as exceedingly good design is just before you get the flares for the first time. It’s the single toughest encounter in the game–one that would absolutely benefit from having flares, particularly on Nightmare mode. The game is paced that way (tough fight, then flares, then mob) to make the player go “oh hell no, I never want to be put in this position again!” It basically primes the mind to be receptive to the idea of flares, rather than the default state most people have of wanting to hoard them. This is something that couldn’t be done in an open-world game.

    • Carolina says:

      @Gira

      I respect your views and you’re entitled to judge every game based on what you think it should be. I even agree to some of your points.

      But don’t you think that, perhaps ironically, your definition is restrictive and formulaic by itself? It reminds me of the good old “games should be fun!” debate.

      I prefer to base my opinion on what the developers were trying to convey with a game, instead of my own expectations of it, or the whole medium. But that’s just me.

    • DocSeuss says:

      @Carolina: People say games should NOT be fun? WTF.

    • Gribble Cowl says:

      @DocSeuss

      ““Arbitrarily restricting gameplay to serve an irrelevant narrative is not “gameplay pacing”.”

      I completely agree with this sentiment. Fortunately for us, Alan Wake’s narrative is far from irrelevant”

      Except it is, by virtue of being static and forced on the player. Calling Alan Wake’s narrative ‘irrelevant’ wasn’t an attack on the story’s quality (it’s bad, but not worse than most other games), it was an attack on the idea itself of scripted narrative in games.

      Everything else you claim would have harmed Alan Wake had it been open-world only would have harmed it by being dissonant with the narrative, which is entirely a failing of the narrative and not the gameplay. There is no balance. Story and gameplay cannot be One, as you naively suggest. In gaming, narrative is subservient to everything else. Any time it gets in the way, it’s Bad Design. It’s that simple.

    • Tubbins says:

      > “I prefer to base my opinion on what the developers were trying to convey with a game, instead of my own expectations of it, or the whole medium. But that’s just me. ”

      Why on earth…? YOU are the one playing the game. Why would you stuff your own opinions and expectations into a box? You’re the god damn consumer; you’re the one who the developers are supposed to be getting it right for. This kind of enabling behaviour allows developers to continue churning out the shit we have to play these days

    • Gira says:

      Fortunately for us, Alan Wake’s narrative is far from irrelevant, as the gameplay would have no meaning and seem quite arbitrary without it

      This is precisely the problem. If your mechanics require narrative exposition for them to have any meaning, there is a serious problem with your mechanics.

      Chess is a wonderful abstraction of warfare, and the “storyline” it creates is generated entirely through mechanical interaction. It makes perfect sense and requires no arbitrary external justification. For a closer example, think DOOM. The “narrative” of that game is that you kill monsters, and that is exactly what you spend the game doing. The narrative and ludonarrative in that game are perfectly in sync.

      Alan Wake, on the other hand, posits a bunch of complicated (and gameplay-irrelevant) ideas in its narrative which are not evidenced in the actual actions the player is allowed to undertake, which mostly comprise shining a torch on things.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Personally, I liked Alan Wake. I liked the tight(ish) pacing, the ludicrous Twin Peaks-lite schlock of the story, the gameplay, the crazy stadium set piece, almost everything. I also loved Stalker. Does that make me a hypocrite?

      Or perhaps it just means that games, like films, TV, literature, art etc. can be many different things. A bad game is bad for its own reasons, a good game is good for its own reasons.

      P.S: The suggestion that each medium should remain seperate and share nothing in common with the others is apalling, for all sorts of reasons. Plus, If games are to be considered part of our culture, surely they must interact with other media?

    • Gira says:

      Interact in what way? Uwe Boll adaptations?

      Does Humboldt’s Gift need to interact with the medium of interpretative dance before it has any cultural value?

    • Gira says:

      double post please delete

    • Gribble Cowl says:

      Film and Game have a lot in common already. But there is a line that needs to be drawn, and it needs to be drawn in games the very instant that a developer thinks anything they have to say is more interesting than what the player does.

      If you really wanted Tight Thriller Pacing, Alan Wake would be ninety minutes long. It is an ugly chimaera that wants very badly to be like a film and the Game suffers accordingly, and is too gamey to ever be any good as a film.

      Gaming is not a storytelling medium. (Film isn’t really either, but that’s a discussion for another site.)

    • DocSeuss says:

      @Gribble Cowl: “Except it is, by virtue of being static and forced on the player.”

      No, it absolutely isn’t.

      “Everything else you claim would have harmed Alan Wake had it been open-world only would have harmed it by being dissonant with the narrative, which is entirely a failing of the narrative and not the gameplay.”

      Not really? The game is trying to be a tense game. It would lose its tension by being open world. Serious Sam’s a game without narrative (okay, it’s got one, but it’s irrelevant except to explain why you move from A to B), and it uses its pacing to craft a different sort of tension–one that would also be lost by being open world.

      “There is no balance. Story and gameplay cannot be One, as you naively suggest. In gaming, narrative is subservient to everything else. Any time it gets in the way, it’s Bad Design. It’s that simple.”

      This is, quite possibly, the most foolish thing I’ve heard all week.

      Narratives cannot be subservient to anything else. They simply do not work that way. Gameplay, on the other hand, is far more flexible. It’s very easy to design a game around a story. If you think “I’d like to be a spy in 1965,” then you’ve got a story. After that, you can start thinking “well, alright, if I’m going to be a spy, I’ll need a game that lets me sneak around, but it should probably have some action and dialog as well–this sounds like it should be an immersive sim.” To determine what mechanics you want in the game, you determine what story events would happen. If you want, for instance, to infiltrate the Russian Embassy in France, you’d have to consider stealth mechanics, the possibility of disguise, gunplay, stacking crates to get in windows, perhaps a lock picking system, and so on and so forth.”

      In this way, the gameplay is actively telling the story. The gameplay is a way to tell the story, and the story is a way to facilitate the gameplay. They are complementary aspects of the same overall experience.

      If you go the other way, you run the risk of compromising the story. Bulletstorm is a great example of this. It’s got great gameplay and a great story, but they don’t work well together, because the gameplay came first.

      “If you really wanted Tight Thriller Pacing, Alan Wake would be ninety minutes long. It is an ugly chimaera that wants very badly to be like a film and the Game suffers accordingly, and is too gamey to ever be any good as a film.”

      It’s a TV show. Each “episode” is 90-120 minutes long. :P

      “Gaming is not a storytelling medium.”

      That’s absolutely one of the things gaming can be. That’s just not ALL gaming can be. You’re saying ALL gaming can be is JUST GAMES, but it can be a great deal more than that.

      One could say that literature is not a storytelling medium and should be constrained to, say, the documentation of history, but that’s just as bullshit as everything you’ve posted.

      @Gira: “This is precisely the problem. If your mechanics require narrative exposition for them to have any meaning, there is a serious problem with your mechanics.”

      It really depends on the game. Your very limited approach to video gaming means that you refuse to see games as anything more than a series of mechanics. You fail to realize that video games can be a great deal more than just digitized traditional games, and can, in fact, also be classed as a storytelling medium.

      Alan Wake is a game where its gameplay and story work to complement each other. There are gamey games and there are story games. Alan Wake is the latter, Chess is the former. Zork is the latter, Tetris is the former.

      I don’t understand why you can’t accept that video games can be more than simply “a structured playing” (the dictionary definition). You’re insisting that they be limited to that, and that any sort of story inclusion or complementary mix of story/gameplay makes for a bad game, which is absurd.

      If the game gets in the way of the story, or vice versa, you have a problem. It’s irritating when a game does a cutscene that goes against everything I’ve done in the gameplay (a game full of regenerating health features a cutscene in which someone shoots me with one bullet, for instance), but it’s equally irritating when the game does something stupid that fights against the story (getting drunk gives you points when the story says that you get points for being a better soldier).

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      By interact, I meant inspire one another, not necessarily in direct adaptations. I’m afraid I can’t think of any fancy highbrow examples, but I did recently write a novel that would never have existed without comic books. I didn’t have any qualms using (and abusing) some of the structural and thematic gubbins from superhero comics, because that was all part of the particular story I had in mind.

      Intertext is where culture opens up its trenchcoat and flashes us its junk.
      I do agree that we have a problem when the games industry becomes overreliant on emulating a narrow range of elements from films and TV, which I think has been the case recently. But to say that games have to force themselves to be something seperate, or even opposite, is far too narrow-minded for me.

    • Carolina says:

      @DocSeuss

      Let me quote the late Quinns on that one:

      A couple of years ago I had an argument with a friend, one of those differences of opinion that leaves you fuming and coming up with witty ripostes for days afterwards. I was saying that a good game doesn’t have to be fun. She was saying that was ridiculous.

      My argument, though I botched my explanation at the time, is that games have incredible untapped potential in the field of negative emotions. Just as the lowest common denominator of any art form appeals to ‘positive’ emotions, whether it’s humour, arousal or excitement, so it is that our young games industry is obsessed with the idea of ‘fun’.

      I think this is one of the core reasons that the games industry hasn’t had its Casablanca or Citizen Kane- we’re still in the era of musicals and slapstick comedy. No games developer’s going to try and make its audience feel sad, or lonely, or pathetic, at least not for long stretches. You might get games that dip their toes into that water from time to time, but by and large developers are keen to keep you smiling.

      I kinda agree with him.

      @Gira

      It’s not an enabling behavior because I simply don’t buy games I don’t like. It’s judging a work of art —or entertainment— based on its own goals. If a game was made to be an accurate simulation of a sport, for example, I can’t say it’s crap only because I expect a compelling story from a game. Or, like in the discussion above, it would be very close-minded of me to bash a game because it isn’t fun and I decided that every game should be fun.

      My point is, any film, book or videogame should be judged based on its own goals and merits, and what the authors were trying to convey with it. If they fail of succeed at those goals, or even if those goals were worthy of pursuing to begin with, is for you to decide. But having a set of preconceptions about any medium in general and expecting every author to comply to them is just missing the point and asking for homogeneity in design.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      @ Carolina: Being a snooty literature graduate, I believe/ have been programmed to think that the intent of the author/designer/artist/etc. isn’t all that important, but otherwise I agree with you and Mr. Quinns 100%. Well said.

    • DocSeuss says:

      Oh, Carolina, I don’t consider fun to be tied explicitly to positive emotions. I think FEAR and STALKER are very fun games, but FEAR can be tense and scary, and STALKER can be downright terrifying and melancholic. I don’t consider fun synonymous with happy/joy/positivity.

      I wonder if maybe that was what Quinns was dealing with–a misunderstood disagreement based on definitions.

    • Gira says:

      There are gamey games and there are story games.

      No, this is completely wrong.

      All games are games. Some games are more complex, and through the systemic interactions between those complex mechanics, a “story” can be generated. Others are too simplistic to achieve this. Any “narrative” you drape over the top of that, no matter how compelling, is fundamentally irrelevant to that argument. If you are playing a puzzle game interspersed with cutscenes pertaining to a story that has absolutely nothing to do with puzzle-solving (ie most adventure games), this does not mean you are playing a “story game”. You are playing a puzzle game with cutscenes in it.

      It is only when those narrative elements can be interacted with that the narrative becomes purposeful and relevant to the gameplay. A choose-your-own-adventure book is probably the most simplistic form of this.

    • Tubbins says:

      > “Narratives cannot be subservient to anything else. They simply do not work that way. Gameplay, on the other hand, is far more flexible. It’s very easy to design a game around a story.”

      This is the most colossally incorrect interpretation of game design I’ve ever heard. Even the most abysmal game developers don’t construct the (meagre) gameplay mechanics of their games solely around what goes on in their stories. And you have absolutely no understanding of what an immersive simulation is if you think it’s “some action and dialogue” tacked on to a creative writing student’s rejected screenplay. Immersive sims are built from the ground up to be self-contained worlds that give players options within the ruleset of the world and then respond to whatever the player chooses to do. Things like a stealth system or lockpicking are bread-and-butter components that may be used in the simulation, not high-level design ideals.

    • Carolina says:

      @DocSeuss

      I think Quinns was talking about games having great potential for eliciting powerful emotions, even if those emotions aren’t necessarily positive. If that’s fun to you, then yes, perhaps you could state that “games should be fun”, but I believe you’re somewhat stretching the definition of “fun” with that one. =P

      @LennyLeonardo

      Hmm. I can’t say I disagree, to be honest. But like in many things in life, it’s a matter of balance.

      I’m not saying that the author’s intent should excuse any work (if someone makes a crappy game, I wouldn’t give it a thumbs up only because the review code came with a note saying “our goal was to make a crappy game!”), but it would be foolish to completely remove any context, intent or purpose by the author when judging a work of art.

      In fact, many great pieces of literature and paintings are highly valued today not just because of their technique, but because the historic relevance and the implications they had at time they were published. Sometimes it’s not just about what you wrote, but when you did it and what were you trying to say with it, don’t you think?

    • DocSeuss says:

      “This is the most colossally incorrect interpretation of game design I’ve ever heard.”

      Uh-huh.

      “And you have absolutely no understanding of what an immersive simulation is if you think it’s “some action and dialogue” tacked on to a creative writing student’s rejected screenplay.”

      I guess it’s a good thing I don’t, then.

      What I said was that someone can create a story and then figure out what gameplay genre is best suited to that narrative. A 60s spy game wouldn’t work very well as an isometric RPG, but it would work great as an immersive sim.

      “Immersive sims are built from the ground up to be self-contained worlds that give players options within the ruleset of the world and then respond to whatever the player chooses to do.”

      Use your head, goddammit. Where does the fucking world come from? It comes from the story. As soon as you go beyond abstract game mechanics and establish a world, you have begun to tell a story. Deus Ex is inextricable from its story, as is STALKER, as is Thief, as is System Shock 2… Immersive sims, of all genres, are the ones that require stories the MOST, because they’re attempting to create a believable world. To do that, you MUST have a setting and characters, which means that to create one, you are inherently creating a story.

      @Carolina: I realize that some people might not find negative emotion to be fun, but I do. I find things to be fairly binary: either they’re engaging or they aren’t. If they’re engaging, then, to me, they’re fun. I guess you could say that I think the opposite of fun is boring. I derive enjoyment (the definition of fun) from being engaged with something.

      @Gira: Your close-mindedness is something I find tremendously off-putting and ultimately useless. You go back to doing what you were doing. I’ll go back to making video games.

    • Gira says:

      i bet they’ll be really good and get super high metacritic scores

    • DocSeuss says:

      I wouldn’t know, Gira. I’ve only ever made rpgs before. These are the first video games I’ve ever designed.

    • Gira says:

      Just for the record, how much of your game do you think I’d be able to experience just by watching it on YouTube? Like, what would I be missing out on?

    • Bhazor says:

      Two important points

      1) The game fails as a tense horror game. Too much ammo, not enough variety and too many lazy jump scares instead of building up to the biggies. The fact it was always painfully clear where to go drained any Amnesia style illusions of escape or pursuit. If it wasn’t for the fairly good fog effects (which along with the gratuitous motion blur help obscure the graphics) it wouldn’t be far off an Uncharted game. It just doesn’t have either the tension or the horror to be anything but a straight action game.

      2) The story and writing is bad. Well It’s *fine* but allows zero player agency and so it can be compared to books or movies. In which case the plot is gash. Like any King novel it has a some what interesting premise that completely peters out by the end and cardboard characters that might as well stop existing once they leave sight. Comparing it to the glacial, character fueled build up of Twin Peaks is actually a little insulting.

      Stalker can be terrifying on the surface, when you hear the howls of a pack of dogs behind you and find yourself rushing to the safety of a creepy lonely farm to escape. Crysis could be incredibly tense when you find yourself surrounded and know you’ll be pursued whichever way you run. Thats not going into the obvious parallel of escaping the police in a GTA game, replace cops with poltergiests and you have the original Alan Wake. There is no excuse for ditching the open world aspect to improve pacing, it was either laziness on the developer or lowered hardware for the console.

      Again the game was *fine* and what I’ve seen of the DLC is a little better even if just by the effect of embracing the strangeness.

    • jamur says:

      @Gira, I’m interested to know what other games besides STALKER you think are worthy of considered as “games”. One that derives its narrative purely from gameplay mechanics. Although as DocSeuss mentioned something like STALKER do have a backstory irrelevant to the gameplay, so it seems like you are picking an arbitrary lines to how much story can be in a game before it’s an automatically judged as a repurposing of a failed screenplay. Would you still be experiencing the same emotions if STALKER were remade with the characters replaced with generic untextured models, and the world filled with abstract symbols for landmarks?

    • Gira says:

      keep up, jamur, the discussion’s moved to sunday papers

    • DocSeuss says:

      “Just for the record, how much of your game do you think I’d be able to experience just by watching it on YouTube? Like, what would I be missing out on?”

      As much as you’d miss out by watching footage of STALKER or Deus Ex.

      “1) The game fails as a tense horror game. Too much ammo, not enough variety and too many lazy jump scares instead of building up to the biggies. The fact it was always painfully clear where to go drained any Amnesia style illusions of escape or pursuit. If it wasn’t for the fairly good fog effects (which along with the gratuitous motion blur help obscure the graphics) it wouldn’t be far off an Uncharted game. It just doesn’t have either the tension or the horror to be anything but a straight action game.”

      It’s not far off from Max Payne. Uncharted’s very guided and you can’t even use your camera. Alan Wake’s levels are designed, in points, to be so large you can actually get lost in them, which futhers the feeling of fear evoked in the game.

      …but it’s not a tense horror game. Read the front of the box, would you? Tell me what genre words are there. Actually, no, I’ll do it for you. “Psychological action thriller.” Horror is not part of this. While it has elements of psychological horror, the game’s primary emphasis is on being an action thriller. In other words, it’s not Alien, it’s Aliens. If you try to compare it to Silent Hill 2 or something, it will fail because it’s not actually trying to BE Silent Hill 2. The similarities are tangential.

    • Gira says:

      As much as you’d miss out by watching footage of STALKER or Deus Ex.

      Two games designed directly around the goals of ludonarrative and player agency, and not the kind of static narrative Alan Wake presents.

      Okay.

    • jamur says:

      @Gira, (Edit: Okay moving to the sunday papers thread)

    • Bhazor says:

      You’re missing my whole point. There was no need to be linear to be tense and compared to the films and books its desperately trying to be it fails to succeed even by its own modest terms.

    • Gira says:

      “Sunday Papers” as in Sunday Papers – http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/01/22/the-sunday-papers-202/

      Also, Deus Ex had an abundance of cinematics? What? Please be aware I’m talking about Deus Ex, not DXHR, here.

  2. subedii says:

    “Games for Windows Live will not be used; we will be fully supporting the Steam platform.”

    Good to hear. I hadn’t used GFWL in a while, so I had wondered if it had improved. But then I installed Arkham City recently and it took an extra half a flipping hour just to sort itself out. Including multiple restarts just to get my DLC into the game (which in itself wasn’t exactly an intuitive process, had to try and work through it using the standalone GFWL client in the end).

    I shudder to think how this is going to be come Windows 8 and full Live integration.

    • Khemm says:

      Maybe that’s because I never bought any DLC for GFWL games, but I had zero problems with Arkham City. Bought the game, installed it, installed the latest GFWL version previously downloaded from MS download website, connected to the internet for two seconds to activate and I was ready to go. Patch downloading was purely optional.
      Compared to such a smooth process, getting retail version of Steamworks games to work is an incredible pain in the ass. I lost an entire day to install Shogun 2.

    • subedii says:

      Akham City was not the only game I’ve GFWL issues with, I’ve had those ranging right back to the start with Gears and Halo 2. That’s right, I bought Gears on PC. Was lovely when they kept giving me “Gold account” issues.

      Dawn of War 2 was the worst, by far, pretty much hamstringing various aspects of the multiplayer. Basically anything online related, GFWL is fracking terrible at handling in any and all aspects, as a community system, as an update architecture, as a DLC system. I could and have written pages about how badly MS dropped the ball in all of those areas and more. Frankly, the only time I’ve found it tolerable is in purely singleplayer games where it can be ignored.

      I genuinely don’t care that you hate Steam with the seething passion of 1000 fiery suns, or whatever. Plenty of people do. But the things that happened with, for example, DoW2, were frankly indefensible (Oh look, the latest GFWL update crashes the game when voice coms are used, and GFWL only supported all-talk and not push to talk so everyone with a mic is crashing it, how magnificent!), and Arkham City only maintained that impression.

    • Kaira- says:

      Personally, I’ve had less trouble accessing my games with GFWL than with Steam. But to be fair, I have only one game which utilizes GFWL, and that is DoW 2. And even with that I have to try to log in twice for it to work, but otherwise no problems so far (only played single player).

    • Khemm says:

      @subedii
      Is that really all GFWL’s fault? I also bought Gears 1 on PC and frankly, don’t recall encountering any problems in MP apart from occasional lag, which the game netcode’s fault. With the right host, the game was a smooth ride.

      DoW 2 Retribution was a Steamworks game and I’ve seen so many people claiming their experience was so bad they actually wished it was GFWL enabled, because they had less problems in MP. It’d blame Relic here.

      I regualrly play Super Street Fighter 4 AE online and don’t have any issues.

      I agree GFWL could benefit from much more support, I really do. But for primarily single player games, I vastly prefer it over Steam and its useless “features”, the majority of which I can get by installing xfire or adding games to the Steam client – and all of that without the awful DRM attached.

    • subedii says:

      Like I said, I find that GFWL can be tolerable if it’s purely offline.

      Once things go online, GFWL does its best to hamstring whatever it’s attached to. Whether it’s the lacklustre community system, the lack of an external client, the poor voice coms, the HIDEOUS things that MS certification does for balance patching… no, just no. There are real and genuine reasons why Relic actually made the hard choice to completely scrap GFWL and go with Steamworks in Retribution, even though it had some major drawbacks by initially splitting the community.

      That’s something people really need to wonder about: The idea of expending all the additional time and resources in completely re-working the multiplayer architecture, and splitting the playerbase in two (something that Relic’s always worked hard to avoid), and that was seen as the best case scenario compared to simply sticking with GFWL for Retribution.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I’ve run into GfWL problems on most of the games I’ve had on it. Fallout 3 in particular was a mess.

    • alabastered says:

      I preordered Arkham City and have not been able to play it yet thanks to GFWL, so I’m glad this is going to be a straight up Steam sale. I’ve been in a similar situation to the various stories on http://www.hackedonxbox.com/microsoft/ – someone hacked into my xbox live account last November, I reported it immediately, and Microsoft haven’t unfrozen my account since then. After several hour long conversations with their customer support team, I’ve been told it will still be a few more months. Even if I hadn’t already decided to boycott Xbox and GFWL based on their lax security and appalling customer service, the decision seems to have been made for me – GFWL won’t let me load any saved games or activate any games that I haven’t already activated. Ever since Skyrim I’ve been wanting to resume my 60-hour saved game in Fallout 3 – can’t do that either.

    • DocSeuss says:

      @Khemm: It’s really unfortunate that you had trouble installing Shogun 2. For my part, all my retail Steam games (most recently Saint’s Row: The Third and Rage) went off without a hitch. I put in the disc, I installed, and then they downloaded a gigabyte or so and were ready to play.

      I HAVE had trouble with Steam backups. Backed up about 15 games to move from my desktop to my laptop, and Steam freaked out and decided that that the games would all have to download at once (we’re talking around 45GB of data here). Fortunately, going back and checking one or two games at a time resolved the issue.

  3. Aemony says:

    “Games for Windows Live will not be used; we will be fully supporting the Steam platform.”

    They sure know exactly what I want to hear. I might actually buy this after all!

  4. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Any idea if we’ll get the DLC bundled in with this release or will they expect us to buy that on top of the original game?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “Both The Signal and The Writer DLCs will be available on Steam and are included in all copies of the game.”

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      Cool. Might buy then it if the price is reasonable (20 quid or less) since I remember while the original game got a bit of flack at least one of the DLC releases was heavily praised.

    • Kaira- says:

      The DLC didn’t really further the story if I remember correctly, but it had some of the most intense moments of the game, and introduced a new, quite interesting, hm, mechanic into the game (basically, you can ‘write’ things to existence, enemies and useful things alike). I’ve just replayed the main game and it’s far more solid than I remembered, IF the combat doesn’t bore you completely (in which case, start straight away at Hard difficulty).

      Edit: how many typos can one person make in a single post? Too many, that’s how many.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      IF the combat doesn’t bore you

      Bore you? Alan Wake had wonderful combat. I’ve not enjoyed tangling with multiple enemies simultaneously in any game since Max Payne 2.

      I will grant that there is little variety in the combat throughout the game. Apart from a few notable encounters, you’re fighting enemies the same way in the late chapters as in the early chapters. This ties in with the fairly samey environment—mountain forest at night—that forms most of the game. But take the game an “episode” at a time, and it’s fine.

  5. Echo Black says:

    No GFWL is good news, but no mod support is messed up. I understand this is a cash-grab port (if late!), but I wonder if Remedy could have forgotten just how much longevity mods added to the Max Payne series? It’s odd, they once seemed proud of their modding fans – even placed a poster referencing the MP1 Kung Fu mod in MP2 (Mona’s pad).

  6. Khemm says:

    Steam DRM… Why do they insist on “punishing legit customers with such draconian DRM, the Pirate Bay version will be hassle free? Boycott!”

    • subedii says:

      It’s hard not to imagine that you weep genuine tears every time the topic of Steam comes up with people not disliking it.

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but you always come off as “INTENSE RAGE!”

    • Echo Black says:

      I had to block this Khemm dude, all his posts are ebullient with digital distribution fervor, on every single comment thread.

    • Unaco says:

      To slightly paraphrase your own words Khemm…

      People seem to forget that by buying Alan Wake, you do not support DRM… you support REMEDY and THE GAME, which represents a wonderful genre excuse to sit in your underpants for 7 hours on a Saturday. Your dumb boycott only mean the probability of getting more building sims 3rd person Forest Simulators is decreased.

    • Khemm says:

      @Unaco
      You FINALLY get this. At long last, ONE person gets it and he probably doesn’t realize that yet.
      They rest is too busy fapping to Steam DRM and frothing at their mouths whenever any other DRM is mentioned.

      Echo Black is one of those people who only see what they want to see. Typical spoiled first world child.

    • Orija says:

      @Unaco, you’re being sarcastic, right?

    • Cryptoshrimp says:

      Oh look, it’s Khemm screaming against Steamworks. This has never happened before, what a surprise.

    • eks says:

      Khemm, I think people wouldn’t be so dismissive of your argument if you were genuinely against all types of DRM, I can understand why some other regular RPS commenter’s refuse to install and use Steam solely on the reason that it is DRM. Personally I use it because it is the most convenient form of DRM, but it doesn’t mean I’m ignorant of the problems that are caused by putting “all your eggs in one basket”.

      This isn’t the case though, you aren’t consistent. You defend Ubisoft always-on DRM, GFWL and other rubbish while bashing Steam every single chance you get. At least be consistent, especially since anyone can view everything you have ever said on the site with a couple of operators on google.

    • Khemm says:

      @Cryptoshrimp
      Hold on a moment there, so if certain people bitch about Tages/ Securom/ GFWL it’s perefectly fine, but whoever mentions Steam is arguably more intrusive than the aformentioned DRMs, it’s suddenly trolling/spamming/getting boring?

      Steam faboyism at its worst. “How dares he criticize our precious Gabe-approved DRM!”

      @eks
      I never defended always-online DRM, I actually pointed out over and over Ubi doesn’t use it anymore. I also fight with people using the term “Ubi DRM”. WHAT does that mean? Always online, Uplay, Tages, single activation at the start of the game – Ubi used a variety of various solutions.

      And yes, I will defend GFWL to a certain extent – because I primarily buy boxed copies of games, and from my point of view due to my crappy internet connection, it’s a MILES better and less intrusive solution than Steam despite all its flaws. The latter downright prevented me from playing/installing my games at all, and that is unacceptable.

    • Starky says:

      No Khemm, people are quite welcome to have negative opinions about steam/steamworks DRM – you just take it to idiotic levels of angry internet nerd rage.

      It’s not your opinion that invalidates everything you type, it is the way you present it.

    • Cryptoshrimp says:

      @Khemm
      I don’t like any form of DRM and I don’t like that Steamworks is also always-on DRM. However, I prefer Steam over the wide selection of product-crippling software that is available because the company has shown that it don’t revel in screwing costumers over. I can’t say the same for Ubi or EA. Also, I’m fairly sure Steam doesn’t kick me out of my game if I lose my internet connection and I know for a fact that it doesn’t mind if I change my hardware set-up.

      I don’t think that makes me a fanboy, and I’m not at all sure what Gabe has to do with this.

    • Network Crayon says:

      I suppose steam at least offers other features aside from cock-blocking games.

      I just wish they’d make the actualy browser better. finding stuff is a right old pain.

    • subedii says:

      What Starky and Cryptoshrimp said. The issue isn’t that you voice opinions against Steam. A lot of people here do that.

      It’s that you rage incessantly whilst doing so, and pointedly dismiss any of the varied and pretty valid arguments as to why people may be accepting of it or even prefer it over the other alternatives.

    • Khemm says:

      “The way I present it?” Unlike the legion of people who post nothing but “Ubi=DUMB”, “No Steam = no sale”, “Ubi evil” I’ve made plenty of arguments over and over.

      @Crayon
      What features? Install xfire and you’ll get all those useless “features” without DRM attached. Unless we’re talking about essential features like patching (which every single game on the market provides these days without Steam DRM, it gets better, non-steam games allow you to actually backup said patches) or screenshot taking (seriously?) or cloud saving (Ubi games also have that “feature”, so why does everyone hate Ubi again?). Chatting with virtual friends (really?)?

      Wow, the list of those “features” is actually short and consists of things 90% of the people never use, because they’re too busy, I don’t know, playing !!! games instead of “socializing” themselves as if Steam was the next facebook.

    • LionsPhil says:

      3rd person Forest Simulators

      Thread redeemed!

    • Chris D says:

      “Unlike the legion of people who post nothing but “Ubi=DUMB”, “No Steam = no sale”, “Ubi evil” I’ve made plenty of arguments over and over.”

      Sorry, we have to close the thread now. Everyone out!

      It’s been declared a fire-hazard due to the dangerous quantity of straw men.

    • Kleppy says:

      I, too, have nothing more important to worry about in life than my video games DRM.

    • Premium User Badge

      cqdemal says:

      Why oh why did I stop ignoring Khemm?

      That said, I’m not saying Khemm’s opinion is invalid. I’m going to just guess that he’s one of those people who are in exactly the worst circumstances for a Steam customer.

      As for the rant regarding Steam’s features… Wow.

      Patching: Steam’s unstoppable autopatching is my only issue with it, although I’ve never ran into any real problem aside from the Skyrim v1.3 debacle (which was caused by Bethesda’s poor QA, and the offline mode allowed me to play without that patch anyway).

      Backup: Having patch files accessible in a separate manner can be useful…. maybe once in a decade. Since I’ve become a Steam regular, I haven’t poked into my patch storage folder at all and I’m happy with the way things are going.

      Screenshot taking: What other service offers one-click upload, automatic sorting, captioning and commenting both while you’re playing and after? Have you never run into situations where you just want to share in-game happenings with other people?

      Chat: Taking your reaction to the screenshot feature into account, do you have friends at all? Why are you assuming that we only talk to ‘virtual’ friends on Steam? Every single person on my Steam friends list are real-life friends, and the in-game chat gives me an intuitive way to reach out to them or know what they’re doing right now.

      Cloud saving: Never really cared for this as I only play games on my home PC and nowhere else.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Wooo, internet fight! break out the tinfoil hat and the spanking paddles!

    • InternetBatman says:

      @cqdemal You can turn off autopatching. Right click on the game, go to properties, and the second tab is updates. You can turn them off from there. I keep updates turned off on most Valve games until the winter or summer sales.

    • MSJ says:

      I would’ve hated Khemm, but then I got sick of people saying they won’t buy Mass Effect 3 because it’s Origin-only so I like Khemm now.

      Steam for a vast majority of gamers is good because it’s cheap. That is all. You might give me a lot of other reasons, but they most likely won’t matter to me. Just like it doesn’t matter for many other people who buy on Steam. Remember that one of the most popular games of last year is Just Dance 3 that is rarely talked about on games websites.

    • Premium User Badge

      cqdemal says:

      @InternetBatman: That option disables autopatching when you’re doing nothing, but the patch will still be downloaded and applied if you try to play. At least, this was the way Steam did it back when the borked 1.3 patch for Skyrim came out. I had to stay in offline mode for about 1-2 weeks to avoid it. Mildly annoying, but no big deal.

      I think I did see something in one of the Steam client update notes about the autopatching feature though, so maybe this is no longer the case.

    • bill says:

      @MSJ:

      “Khemm said dumb things. but then other people said similar dumb things, so now Khemm is right.”

      Is that your final answer?

      IMHO Origin has a lot more risks than steam, but that’s irrelevant to the logic of your argument.

  7. Starky says:

    Said it before and I’ll say it again, mildly interested.

    Was quite interested 2 sodding years ago, then the game landed on consoles and got mixed reviews all round.

    So colour me interested when the price drops to £10 or less (which is what I could probably get it on my Xbox for if I wanted [if the damn thing still works given its been sitting in a box in a cupboard for like 2 years]).

    • DrGonzo says:

      It gets an average of 83% on Metacritic. I don’t know what standards you have, but that’s way above ‘mediocre’ for me. Also, it’s not about space marines or current marines, so that adds more to the appeal.

      Said it before, but I thought it was quite entertaining. If it’s released at somewhere around 20 quid it will definitely be worth picking up.

    • Starky says:

      Alan Wake deffinatly had mixed reviews – hell you can’t get more mixed when “the text of the review seems to indicate a much lower score than that number in the corner would suggest”.

      Scores mean nothing, half the time they are arbitrary crap and made up by people other than the actual reviewer (as in a lot of the time editors, not critics set the score).
      in addition Alan Wakes metacritic score is propped up much higher than it should be due to some quite high reviews by lesser known if not lesser quality review sites.

      Metacritic is about as valuable a measurement of quality as an IMDB score is for a movie. As in not useless, but needs to be taken with some caveats – for example horror movies automatically get +1 to their score, because most people score horror low Except if it someone got massively popular, then you can probably take it at face value.

      Alan Wake rode a wave of hype to higher scores than it should have earned frankly.

      If you actually read what the authors of some of the major publications it was mixed – even the praise filled ones had issues with the game – and publications/journalists I trust more than random website/reviewer X (such as Edge, or Eurogamer [Though Ellie Gibson isn't that good of a reviewer, good writer, but not a good critic]) scored it pretty low in the 5 out of 10 to 10 out of 10 scale modern video game journalism.
      Even the “minus 10% is closer to the real score” publications like gamespot and giantbomb scored it only 8/10.
      A good score yes, but not a must buy.

      Anyway, as I said, I don’t read scores, I read reviews, and reviews were mixed. Almost all of them had reservations, or issues despite the misleading high scores.

      So yeah, mixed reviews.

    • DocSeuss says:

      Hey, now. Alan Wake’s scores were the direct result of people expecting it to be other things. For instance, there were a ton of people who dissed it for being “action horror” or not Silent Hill 2ish enough, which is absurd, because Alan Wake isn’t even the same genre of Silent Hill. They didn’t like that you often (well, on easier difficulty; it was clear they hadn’t tried it on Nightmare, which is the level the game’s best played at) had plenty of ammo to take on enemies.

      One other major complaint was that you went into the forest a lot at night and that levels were repetitive… but to that, I’ve basically just got to throw my hands up in confusion, because they’re all pretty radically different. The park is nothing like the lodge’s hedge maze and gardens which is nothing like the rocky canyon river which is nothing like the huge open highway level which is nothing like the town at night. There’s a much greater level variation there, and anyone who didn’t notice it deserves to be called a great deal of names, and probably fired from their jobs.

      Lastly, there was a complaint about a lack of enemy variation, which is a bit silly, because, not counting stationary enemies, Alan Wake has… I want to say around ten or eleven distinct enemy types. Most of them are humanoid, to be sure, but they require different strategies (some will flank you, others will charge, some can dash faster than you can see them move, others will throw knives from a distance, etc) to combat, and in that regard, require more tactical thought than, say, Half-Life 2 does.

      Basically, in terms of linearity, variation, and enemy variety, Alan Wake topples Half-Life 2. It really does. It’s also better in terms of writing and more sophisticated gameplay (you can use light to set up traps and ambush the Taken in certain areas, for instance). I guess the only thing that really leaves is writing, and once again, Alan Wake handily beats Half-Life 2 into the ground. Honestly, it’s a better game in every possible way, except when it comes to facial animation.

      As for the 5/10 on Eurogamer, that’s a review from someone who has admitted that they don’t like horror games, and has scored music games (singstar, I believe?) at much, much higher scores. The review was pretty bad, and it should be discounted.

    • Carolina says:

      Like DocSeuss said, the Eurogamer review isn’t valid. Ellie Gibson is pretty much clueless about videogames in general and most of her reviews are embarrassingly stupid.

      You might or might not like Alan Wake, but taking her opinion into account to decide it is a mistake.

    • Starky says:

      For the record the eurogamer review was a 7/10 not 5/10 – and as I said I don’t hold her opinion on games to be one I even remotely share so it didn’t hold much value to me.

      Again though my real issue isn’t that the game isn’t great – I was kind of looking forward to it 2 years ago, was tempted to buy it for my 360 – but simply didn’t, mainly because I’d largely abandoned gaming on a 360 at that point.

      Now 2 years later, they are trying to charge me for a port with a bit of (supposedly pretty poor) DLC? No thanks.

      Again, I’m interested, but interested to the tune of £10.

  8. Zeewolf says:

    It was a really enjoyable game with some incredibly memorable sequences and moments, and I don’t understand why people are so negative towards it. It got a bit repetitive, I’ll agree, but I totally loved it on the 360.

    It’s not very replayable, though, so the PC-version isn’t something I’m all that excited about. I might buy it in the summer sale just to see the stormy sequences on the PC. Those were awesome.

    • DocSeuss says:

      A couple reasons people are negative towards Alan Wake: they apparently failed to notice just how varied the levels and enemies were (because, presumably, it all boiled down to “shine a light, then shoot things). Since shining a light is a NEW THING, it stuck out to people and they noticed it when it was used as often as it was, and it stuck out to them as being simplistic (when most shooters are just “shoot it until it dies;” Alan Wake actually had a ton of different enemy types that required different tactics, especially when they worked in combination with each other).

      Then you’ve got people mad at them for taking the game from what it was in the 2006 Intel developer’s conference video (which was really just a tech demo) and ALLEGEDLY (it’s not true at all) dumbing the game down. Part of the reason for this is that the 360 can’t support PhysX (Alan Wake does have its own physics system, and at least four tornadoes that are, in and of themselves, quite complex and will root up trees and buildings and stuff), so the destruction physics aren’t as good in the retail game. Another part is that the game is now linear, and not open world (except its maps are often FUCKING HUGE and the draw distance in this game is better than any other game I have ever seen, beating things like Just Cause 2 and Skyrim into the dirt). They fail to realize the linearity came from the writers’ desire to tighten the story pacing, since the game is, after all, a ACTION THRILLER, and always has been.

      Another reason people hate the game is that they think it’s shit survival horror, which is true, but is also true of GRID, Half-Life, and Super Meat Boy. There were a ton of complaints on its release regarding how it wasn’t anything like Silent Hill 2 and was too actiony. Presumably, none of these people actually read the words “psychological action thriller” that were plastered on the box, and decided that third person + psychological = survival horror.

      Lastly, you’ve got people who were angry for the “comfy couch” remark. They feel, already, like Alan Wake was dumbed down for the 360 (which is absolutely was not), and the comfy couch statement just makes them even madder. What they fail to realize is that Microsoft made this statement, not Remedy, and that Microsoft, as the publisher, was the one who made the decision to make Alan Wake a 360 exclusive–not Remedy. Now that Remedy are porting it to the 360 on their own dime, it’s absolutely certain that they have always wanted a PC version.

      For some reason, though, people attribute Comfy Couch to Remedy and accuse them of trying to make a cheap dime.

      Basically, half the complaints about the game are ideological and deal with Alan Wake not coming to the PC. The other half are about people who blatantly ignore what kind of game Alan Wake was trying to be.

      I’ve heard very few people tackle the game’s actual issues, which is disappointing to me.

      Right, so, I’ve posted enough about this game. I’ll stop now. I just love it so much.

  9. Paul says:

    I cannot wait. Hopefully pricing will be ok (40 bucks or so max, and no dollar=euro shenanigans), I am really looking forward to immersing myself in another Remedy experience. Finally, it was a long fucking time coming!

  10. Paxmayne says:

    Looking forward to it. Never got to play it on my Xbox because of a severe case of the RRODs…

  11. MikeW says:

    They forgot to list “sofa” in the system requirements

    • Echo Black says:

      I sincerely hope people never forget about that statement.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      I really wish people would stop quoting it as if it was a statement that had anything to do with the development team and their opinions (the people that are finally bringing this game, for better or worse, to our beloved platform).

      Remedy wanted to make a PC version. Microsoft didn’t want them to and cancelled it. The statement came from a Microsoft PR agent dedicated to Alan Wake related PR, not from a Remedy employee or a member of the development team. I’m pretty sure I even remember a central Remedy employee coming out and saying that was nonsense and had in no way come from them at the time.

    • Paul says:

      Exactly, it was MS idiot, not Remedy’s fault.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      But the joke was worth it.

    • DocSeuss says:

      The joke wasn’t worth it, MichaelPalin. It helps perpetuate the resentment against Remedy for something that was out of their control. That means that a lot of people continue to hate the game and the dev for something their publisher did. :\

    • MikeW says:

      It wasn’t my intention to fuel hatred towards Remedy nor do I blame them for the anti-PC gamer statement. Though I was disappointed that my newly built PC from 3 years back was collecting dust. I’m looking forward to play the PC port, really!

  12. SkittleDiddler says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the atrocious in-game advertising in the console version of Alan Wake. Is it going to be present in the PC port? If so, count me out.

    Actually, count me out regardless. The game looks fucking boring.

    • fuzzy_dunlop says:

      yeha it is tbh, i think it works on consoles but on PC its not gonna work. If running round with a tourch-light sounds like fun then this is the game for you, cause thats all you end up doing.

  13. fuzzy_dunlop says:

    jesus 2 years later they decide this, why would they bother. For a game that looked good in that PC Intel demo to get the console threatment and for it turn out a bit of a let down. Its not a bad game but its not a good one either.

  14. rocketman71 says:

    XP?. Really?. What happened to Vista only?. And no GFWL?.

    I guess that was Microsoft bullshitting in the background, like always.

  15. Frek says:

    Whose got time to play this between KOA on Feb 7th and ME3 on Mar 6th. I’m still playing Skyrim and enjoying it.

    How is a 2 year old game that I was actually interested in 3 years ago going to hope to get my attention now. Sorry but Remedy missed the boat on this one.

    • DocSeuss says:

      Remedy tried to ship the game back in 2010, but Microsoft insisted that it be a 360 exclusive. Remedy didn’t so much miss the boat as they were locked up in a prison cell until after the boat had left.

      You should get Alan Wake, 2010′s best game, ANYWAYS.

    • subedii says:

      Yeah Alan Wake was originally going to be a poster child for DX10, but MS had other ideas and forced exclusivity. Remedy didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

      It speaks volumes that once the exclusivity’s expired, Remedy are actually funding and publishing this port out of their own pocket instead of with a 3rd party publisher.

      Doesn’t change the fact that Frek is right on the release though, Alan Wake releasing 2 years late and with other major releases around the corner is NOT going to do it any favours. Unless it’s fairly significantly discounted from the standard £30, I can’t see many people picking it up. All the marketing hype’s dissipated, there’s unlikely to be a new marketing campaign, and everyone’s looking towards other things.

  16. My2CENTS says:

    Got an xbox i can’t think of a single reason to play a game design for consoles on a PC.

    • DocSeuss says:

      I can’t either. I guess it’s a good thing Alan Wake wasn’t designed for consoles.

  17. Etherealsteel says:

    I wouldn’t get this game, feels rushed out, doesn’t sound like they took enough time working on testing. I’m imagining it will be buggy as hell.

    • Glottis1 says:

      You must be kidding. Have you ever played bugfilled Remedy game?

    • skyturnedred says:

      I imagine that must’ve been some kind of sarcasm.

  18. Rhalle says:

    Guess what shitty port of a 2-year-old game I won’t be purchasing because the devs sold out and made a PC title into a piece of consoleshlock for a cash-grab?

    Suck it, Remedy. Loved MP2, but you can suck it.

    May your PC sales figures justify your not making another title for the platform.

    • SiplNico says:

      As far as I know, Remedy were forced to make Alan Wake an Xbox 360 exclusive by Microsoft, and the console’s limitations forced the game to change significantly.
      Now, I haven’t played Alan Wake yet, but from what I gather, the combat seems to be interesting (if somewhat repetitive), and I find what little I know of the story appealing.
      Considering Remedy weren’t backed up financially by Microsoft while developing this port, I’d say we give them a chance.

    • DocSeuss says:

      No worries about being up at 3:15 AM or being ESL. Your post was quite clear.

      You’re right on the first point: Microsoft are the guys who forced them to make it exclusive. They have the PC version and said something like “it’s not canceled if we have anything to say about it; we’ve saved the PC version and it’s sitting on our hard drives.” Having beaten the game three times, I’ll say this–it’s not repetitive. People who call it repetitive are probably just noticing the “unique” thing you have to do in burning the darkness away from enemies. It’s really no more repetitive than Max Payne–if anything, it’s been improved quite a bit.

      But yeah, they deserve a chance. They’re paying for this out of their own pocket, including the DLC, and removing GFWL. They fought for this release and are finally getting it. They deserve the support. Maybe it’ll give them more leverage to release future Alan Wake content on PC.

  19. ShadowNate says:

    Still the facts remain. Remedy managed to fail at finishing the original idea (with the sandbox concept, dynamic weather effects, missions but not in the GTA sense whatever that meant) for the game for the PC, where it was HIGHLY anticipated. Then brought in Microsoft as publisher (to survive I guess), who in turn ended up mocking the PC gamers right in our face. Not good publicity at all.

    I think I am sort of glad that this is finally comming to the PC, and without the Microsoft Live crap. But it IS lacking features that I would expect from a PC Remedy release (It only has a checkpoint save system, there won’t be any modding tools), it IS lacking a retail box version and it DOES sound like an Xbox port just to make a quick cash-grab. And almost right before releasing the next Alan Wake title only for the Xbox…

    • DocSeuss says:

      You’re right. They did fail at the original idea. It’s not a medieval fantasy game at all, even though that was what they had planned.

      Things change. This isn’t a bad thing, especially when the game was actually improved by making it linear (sometimes, it has Crysis 1 levels of linearity–they don’t seem linear at all–so it can be somewhat sandboxish at times). There is, I believe, a dynamic weather system in the game, but it’s not used very much. It affects things like fog most of the time.

      The dev tools include third-party software that they can’t distribute with their game, and Remedy, who are paying for this port themselves and have a very small team of people, can’t afford to do this. Not sure where you heard it’s checkpoint-only, though that is kinda sad. I don’t care about having a retail box version, since I’ll be picking it upon Steam… but I take issue with your “it sounds like an Xbox port to make a quick cash-grab” thing.

      Yes, it is being released before the next Alan Wake, but it’s also being published by Remedy themselves, which means that Microsoft isn’t using it to promote American Nightmare. It’s possible that Microsoft allowed it to be released near American Nightmare’s release, in the hopes they’d get some free advertising for American Nightmare, but that’s purely speculation on my part.

  20. nblake42 says:

    I find it odd that people crticise Alan Wake for being linear, repetitive, and suffering from consolitis, when surely both Max Payne games are incredibly linear, incredibly repetitive, and felt like console titles?

    I still enjoyed them, though, so will definitely get Alan Wake.

    • skyturnedred says:

      To me, Max Paynes were very much PC shooters.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The Max Paynes are about precision movement and shooting, which would be impossible with twin thumbsticks.

      I will grant that they don’t have any head-crushing depth and complexity, which is usually a “PC” thing, but they do pretty much demand good ol’ mouse-and-keyboard, and would be ruined by fuzzy, sluggish lumbering about and autoaim.

      (That said, apparently they did get console releases! I honestly have no idea how that worked. Maybe you had to lean on the bullet time key the whole time. [Also, suffer without the Kung Fu mod!])

  21. nblake42 says:

    I guess they very much felt like console games to me simply because that they were third person twitch shooters, and any puzzles were merely pulling massive levers. Before I played them I thought they were more sophisticated action/puzzle/RPG type things…like LA Noire crossed with Deus Ex, or something like that. So I was a bit disappointed at first. (Never have expectations before playing a game! Or else do some research…)

    I do appreciate your comment about mouse and keyboard being ideal for the gameplay, though.

    Plus I did enjoy them both…they were stylishly done and the ridiculous, overly convoluted stories were great fun. Plus when you got the knack with the bullett-time diving, it was spectacular. (Though to be honest most of the time I spent diving in slow motion into walls.)

  22. Wi1son says:

    Alan wake is an awesome game. It does have some flaws but it’s still one of my favourite games on the 360. I’ll probably buy it for PC when it goes on sale as the 360 version was downscaled and looked pretty low res when playing on my monitor. I can’t wait to play it with a mouse and keyboard.

    I think the biggest criticism I have of the game is that it lacks variety. The enemies didn’t really change all that much and unlike max payne the combat mechanic doesn’t offer the same level of entertainment. I also felt like they could have made more use of things like the generators you need to use. They have this cool little hud thing up and you need to time them right to activate them. I assumed that later in the game you’d be running for your life and need to get the timing perfect to save yourself, but they didn’t use it to it’s full potential.

  23. UncleLou says:

    I would be interested, even after all these years – but… it’s said to be mainly about the story. Which would be perfectly ok, only I’ve read massive spoilers in the last few years. They mostly would have been avoidable for me (one was an article on a games site about the game’s structure), but I never thought I’d play it.

    That I was still interested in the game when I thought I would never play it now means I probably won’t play it although I could.

  24. Kyberia says:

    I enjoyed Alan Wake very much on my second day of play, but I spent the first day giggling hysterically and singing the theme from Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place.