E3 09: Alan Wake, Lots Of Footage

Can a man called Alan really be an iconic action hero? Divining rods point to yes after watching this actual-proper-footage demo of Alan Wake on stage at last night’s Microsoft presentation. The light-as-weapon really does look like an interesting system, and the general visuals seem to be an enormously high quality. Hard to really know if it’s going to have the frights we’d expect from a supernatural thriller, but you can bet Alan is regretting marrying a woman with such as spooky voice. Go watch.


  1. Dyscharge says:

    I’m very hyped for this game, but something that really annoys me, and that Jim indirectly pointed out, was the voice acting. Max Payne 2 had an amazing voice acting and a very engaging story; Alan Wake seems to have an interesting take on a horror story, but from the little they’ve shown at E3, bad work on the delivery of it.

    The graphics, on the other hand, look better than I expected for being run on the Xbox (’tis not a troll). The last demo they showed was back at one of Intel’s conference in 2005 (X05 or similar) and it was running on a Q6600. It looked lush, specially for the technology back then, but my mouth can’t help but water at the fact that it may look even better today on a high-end PC.

    With so much ass-kissing, I’m here to bitch at Remedy. Yes, the wankers are taking another whole year to release it, and it pisses me off. There’s not much other than L4D2 and … well, Alan Wake and DNF were the only games I was really looking forward to, but seeing as one has been canned, I do hope Remedy manages to meet the release date.

  2. PC Monster says:

    Oho – so this almost-vapourware makes a long-awaited appearance, eh? Looking pretty good too, I might add. Loved the trees being taken down in the forest, and the house being pushed over at the end. More games should feature massive environmental destruction, dagnabbit!

    Also, I loved that the vid constantly cut back to a man standing absolutely still except for his fingers moving. The poise! The drama! Heh.

  3. Irish Al says:

    The voice acting and character models are straight out of a Japanese survival horror. Not-quite-right eyes.

  4. nabeel says:

    Blowing mah mind. I can’t wait.

  5. pignoli says:

    @Dyscharge: You sure sure about that? Intel were still making P4s in 2005… Wasn’t Alan Wake one of those games announced to coincide with DX10 and all it’s promised lusciousness? Putting it on Xbox seems to defeat that object somewhat…

  6. negativedge says:

    Hmmmm, I wish it was less action-y. And what’s the point of bullet time in a game like this? We’re not supposed to feel like a badass. The constant narration could go either way. The game seems to be taking a page out of the Resident Evil 4/5 playbook, which is ok, but originally this game was supposed to be fairly open, if I recall. The light is a good idea by itself, but it’s a little cheapened and superfluous if you’re outfitted with a full arsenal of weaponry. Too many curious design decisions for me to get fully behind this one; it could end up a bit generic.

  7. Andrew says:

    Alan Wakes up and comes out of the darkness at last. And similar games journo cheesy puns. Looks bloody good though

  8. teo says:

    @Dyscharge they had a quad core demo but it certainly wasn’t a Q6600

    I agree that the voice acting isn’t as good as Max Payne’s. I’m not a big fan of having these kinds of incredibly directed experiences. The player gets interrupted by the game ALL THE TIME in the demo

  9. roBurky says:

    I was wondering why his torch appeared to just be a very thin laser, until I realised that was just the centre of the beam, but that centre was functioning as a crosshair. Very clever.

  10. Brainkite says:

    I’m quite on the side of Negativedge, i was really disapointed when i saw that Alan had weapons.
    Come on!!!, it’s not so hard to make a good gameplay without bullet-weapons everywhere!!!
    The idea of light is already enought to imagine a whole arsenal of light-making-items to be used as weapons.
    hand torch, light a fire, we can even imagine a molotov (making a lot of light but burning everything), those sos sticks , that’s not sooooo difficult to immagine.
    If they are so wanting for weapons, we can imagine finding light torch of diffrent light power.
    Using the flash of a camera (the light shotgun)
    this would have been awsome

  11. Ian says:

    Luckily the trailer was halfway decent because I was getting bored of Alan Wake before the poor thing even got released.

  12. Psychopomp says:

    Color me happy, been looking forward to this for ages.

  13. Ashurbanipal says:

    Oh wow, that was pretty good.

    Loved that bit with the flare, and lots of very smart scripted sequences there.

    I like the fact computer games are now expanding there repertoire cliches to include the common Stephen King conceit of “horror writer to whom horror happens”

  14. Jochen Scheisse says:

    I was somewhat expecting Alan Wake to be the new Duke Nukem Forever and I’m somewhat disappointed to see it nearing completion. Anyway, good show.

  15. unclelou says:


    Microsoft really have given up on the PC, haven’t they. They’ve called PC/360 games “exclusive” before, but I think it’s the first time they haven’t even mentioned Games for Windows or the PC at all at an E3.

  16. Paul_M says:

    The obvious comparison is Silent Hill 2 and if it’s anywhere near as good then hurrah! Were MS pushing the psychological narrative horror aspect of the gameplay or the light based combat more so? I was hoping a game about storytelling would have a little less fighting.

  17. SwiftRanger says:

    unclelou, they never did in their big conference I think, only behind back doors where GfWLive’s Kevin Unangst always has to convince everyone that MS still loves the PC. That man must feel he has a bit of a futile job this way.

    Anyway, I think the PC market is more ready for a Vista/Windows 7 only game now, especially as it looks somewhat more intriguing than Halo 2 or ShadowRun.

  18. unclelou says:

    unclelou, they never did in their big conference I think

    Wasn’t so sure either – I just checked some live blogs from last year’s conference though, and MS still mentioned at the time when a game was also coming to the PC (Last Remnant, Fallout DLC, etc.).

  19. Reverend Speed says:

    That looks great. Love the stealthed villagers, that’s a wonderfully spooky take on supernaturally-endowed cultists. Also like Alan’s method of dealing with ’em – the ingenuity allowed by this fiction will lead to some fun payoffs, especially when dealing with larger numbers of enemies.

    Maybe a little linear, which I feel was the weak point post SH1&2, but if anybody can so a linear track of preset scares, it’s Remedy.

  20. Nero says:

    Good to see the old Max Payne on stage again :D
    Anyway, I’m hoping for good thing about for this game. I liked what I saw.

  21. nill says:

    It has been too long since Remedy released anything and this looks like it could be very good.

    Hopefully it wont be too designed around a gamepad’s limits and properly tweaked for us keyboard and mice-folks.

  22. fuggles says:

    Ah…I see someone else has played obscure ^^

  23. lethu says:

    @Brainkite, lots of bullet-weapons in a horror game supposed to use light for fighting enemy characters might be a bad idea, but imagine that guns are there only to prove impotent in front of light weapons (flare, torch, flames) and the game can take another turn.
    Just my attempt at being optimistic :)

  24. Rei Onryou says:

    What can be said apart from AWESOME!!! I have too much love for Remedy. Sam Lake is a great writer (kudos for his Poets of the Fall tshirt) and he looked as constipated as ever (the years have been good to him).

    The gameplay looks good. It looks like the light weakens the enemies so that they can be shot (making light important). The use of the flare gun and individual flares was really good and should make for some incredible gameplay. Overall, it looks great.

    Just one thing….why isn’t Remedy doing Max Payne 3!?!

  25. Vandelay says:

    I actually saw this last night on IGN whilst watching the L4D2 (funny I at first accidentally typed that as L$D2, which some may say is apt.)

    I thought it looked pretty good. I expect the game will follow the same pattern as Max Payne, in that it will be quite linear. Wasn’t surprised by that aspect of the video. Of course, as it is set in a whole town there might be some driving around aspects to make it more open, but the missions themselves will probably be fairly linear. Nothing wrong with a “linear sequence of scares”.

    Lots of weaponry would be bad. Hopefully the ammo will be scarce and that point where lots of nasties came at Alan and the player ran him away wasn’t just for show, taking them all on would have been futile. It does look like the light is a vital part of killing them though, notice how he keeps the torch on them for a little while before shooting, so I think the guns won’t be the best way of dealing with them. The bit with the flare was very cool.

    Also, I’m not sure if the player was controlling the bullet time moments. They looked scripted to me.

    And, after all these years, it still looks gorgeous.

  26. M_the_C says:

    Hmm, I’ve really been looking forward to Alan Wake ever since I saw the first information, that trailer was bordering on a traditional shooter. If they can keep it at that level and maintain better story telling through other sections it could still be brilliant.

  27. Richard Beer says:

    Looks like the torch is necessary to strip away some kind of Dark Armour, rendering them vulnerable to bullets. Just guessing.

    And Spring 2010?? Doubleyou Tea Eff have they been doing for the last two and a half years??

  28. DMJ says:

    After DNF, it’s a bad time to be vapourware. You can bet all the projects that teeter on the vapourous brink will release trailers and suddenly announce completion dates that coincidentally happen to be far enough into the future that about 80% of a game could be developed.

  29. Zero says:

    @Richard: looked to me like the guy playing screwed up and dropped his revolver for the flaregun halfway through instead of his empty shotgun. He tried switching back and realized he’d dropped the ball, so all he could do was run.

  30. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    If anybody can do a linear sequence of scares, it’s Remedy.

    There, fixed that for you.

    I’m definitely looking forward to this, and strongly considering preordering when available just on the strength of Remedy and Sam Lake’s involvement. Remember when we were all horrified in 2005/6 when this was going to be Vista only? But it turns out 2010 might also be a good year to upgrade from Windows XP, which is showing its age a bit.

  31. JKjoker says:

    is this crap still going Vista only ? the graphics are awesome and all but the gameplay looks like the same script based thing we have seen a thousand times, and wth is it with the all the slowdowns ? they were some of the things i hated the most of max payne they kept taking the control out of my hands

  32. Persus-9 says:

    @ Richard Beer: To be honest this is pretty much exactly when I expected it. I figured they’d leave it until shortly after the Windows 7 and they probably don’t want to release their big new IP during the holiday season.

    My conspiracy theory is that Remedy were making this big expensive AAA game and they signed to make it Vista exclusive to help fund the developement. Then Vista flopped so if they’d released a game that required Vista soon after it’s release would have flopped and probably taken the studio down with it. So they probably cut the size of their team to save money and didn’t worry about how long it was taking because every month it took would make the Vista exclusive deal less of a handicap.

    Now with Windows 7 coming out the hardcore Vista haters will be back on board and Vista itself is finally beginning to win it’s war of attrition with Windows XP and building up to a decent install base.

    P.S. There is no way in hell this is Vista exclusive anymore. Microsoft would surely rather just rip up the contract then have it stop Remedy from releasing it for Windows 7. My guess is it’ll be a DX10 exclusive. It might be a Windows 7 exclusive but I very much doubt it.

  33. Ben says:

    Sounds like the plot has been ripped straight from ‘In the Mouth of Madness’ a horror film from the 90’s. Also the writing was terrible! At least the action looked fun, liked the use of light as a weapon especially the flare gun.

  34. Pani says:

    Every time he shouted “Alice, Alice!” my immediate thought was “Who the f**k is Alice?”.

    Damn chubby brown, ruining the atmosphere.

  35. whalleywhat says:

    Yeah, it’s a real shocker that Alan Wake, developed by REMEDY, makers of MAX PAYNE and MAX PAYNE 2, has so much gunplay. Also, the bullet time. Would’ve never expected that from REMEDY, makers of MAX PAYNE and MAX PAYNE 2.

    I don’t understand how anyone saw that footage and didn’t tear a hole in their pants.

  36. Vandelay says:

    I’m a little scared… Zero were you talking to Richard Beer or me? Your comment sounds as if it is responding to my remark about the moment Alan runs from the enemies, but I have no idea how you could know my real name…

  37. The Innocent says:

    It looked around ten times better than I thought it would, and the engine looks absolutely wonderful for what they’re trying to do. I just hope that what they’re trying to do is still relatively open and not too over-scripted the way the Max Payne games often felt.

    The part of the video that I liked best was when he ran away. When that happened, I thought to myself, “Finally.” I really would like to see a game in which running away is necessary and organic without the game switching gears all the sudden and telling the player, “Now you’re running.”

  38. Kris says:

    I hope the game is less linear than the demo – which would always likely to use a very linear section of the game for obvious reasons. Regardless, I like the look of it and it seems like a mix of max payne and japanese survival horror. More like how I wanted RE5 to build on RE4 rather than the game that actually came out.
    P.S. @ The Innocent, the new Silent Hill game supposedly has no weapons in it nor does Lit, a top down survival horror puzzler with a light creates safe areas mechanic. Though both are for that waggley console thing.

  39. The Innocent says:

    Anyone know how Alan Wake will heal? Maybe he’ll slap on fentanyl patches instead of dropping oxycontin like Max Payne.

    Yeah, the console boxes… therein lies the problem.

  40. Jad says:

    Looks pretty cool.

    One thing I like about modern games is how much animation has improved in the last couple of years. Graphics have always been getting better and better, but your character still moved like a broken doll with only three poses. Now, when Alan Wake ducks out of the way of flying projectiles, he doesn’t just do some kind of gym-workout squat, but he actually, you know, ducks out of the way, like a real human would. I like that.

    Oh yeah, and as for the bullet time: the moment I saw that I was flooded with memories of Max Payne. Good memories. Very good memories. I have no problem with bullet time, scripted sequences, or guns, because that basically a description of Max Payne.

  41. phil says:

    In the Mouth of Madness is a fine inspiration, though I don’t think they’ll take it all the way; Alan Wake the character facing Alan Wake, the video game, as a final boss would be a little too mental for Microsoft to accept.

    Frankly I’m glad the game isn’t exclusive, my PC would reduce itself to molten slag trying to play this thing.

    It seems to be closer to a real world Resident Evil 4 than anything else (rather than the Capcom gotho-medievil-Hammer horror-version of contemporary Spain RE4 took place in), this could be a very good think providing there’s time to kick back and interact with NPCs, soon to be monsters/monster food.

  42. Nick says:

    @Pani well, Smokie.. but I suppose Chubby’s version is more recent.. and it’s his fault..

  43. IvanHoeHo says:

    Man! I’m almost as disappointed as when Oblivion Lost actually came out.

    No doubt this’ll be a competent shooter, but it’s not the West’s Fatal Frame I was hoping for. It also seems very videogame-y, and seems to breaking the flow every 15 seconds.

  44. Toastmonster says:

    If ‘Dear Esther’ continued past it’s limited plot, it might be a little something like this game.

  45. Spd from Russia says:

    unyloe govno
    boring crap

  46. Tim says:

    Oh god, Carth Onasi again… He’ll always be a whiny do gooder to me.

  47. teo says:

    Tim what?!?! It’s carth?
    omg please no =(

  48. Adventurous Putty says:

    Oh god, Carth Onasi again…

    See, now you’ve gone and ruined the trailer for me. Gee, thanks.

  49. Skalpadda says:

    This would be (even more) awesome with some Night of the Cephalopods style narration!

  50. MultiVaC says:

    Lol at the guy playing. He just looks so awkward standing there.