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Quantum Break and Max Payne aren't in Remedy's Connected Universe, despite the Easter eggs

Sam Lake clears things up ahead of Alan Wake 2's launch

Spooky scenes in an Alan Wake 2 screenshot.
Image credit: Epic Games Publishing

Action-horror sequel Alan Wake 2 showed up to last night’s Gamescom festivities with a cryptic trailer (below) that showed the studio’s signature Lynchian mystery, an upside-down New York, and some interesting live-action scenes. But references to Remedy’s past games have been the big conversation driver, especially since the studio is building up a “Remedy Connected Universe.” Creative director Sam Lake has now clarified that time-bending shooter Quantum Break and the Max Payne games aren’t cool enough to join the Remedy-verse, while also breaking down their approach to these shared-world games.

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"The easy, clear answer is that, out of our past games, Max Payne and Quantum Break are not part of the Remedy Connected Universe. They are not part of Remedy's plans," Lake said in an interview with EW - though he does leave the door slightly ajar. "That being said, in a purely speculative, Easter egg kind of way, I do love the idea of enabling our audience to come up with theories. I don't want to shoot them down on that level," he added. "We are making questions possible and giving ideas to people that they can then form their own theories. I think that's very much part of the fun."

That Remedy-verse began - before we even knew it existed - with the original Alan Wake in 2010. The studio then made the connections between their games ‘canon’ in their paranormal FBI game Control and its AWE expansion. But many fans, including me, guessed that Quantum Break would loop into the tangled mystery somehow, since that game was littered with Easter eggs. The first mention of an AWE actually predates the expansion and showed up on a random chalkboard in Quantum Break. Remedy also has a running gag with the number 665, which first began in Max Payne, although Lake does tease that “there is maybe more meaning to be found in [the number’s] use.”

Might be sad news for eagle-eyed conspiracy theorists that enjoy hunting down these connections, but leaving out Quantum Break and Max Payne makes some sense. The former is still owned by Microsoft, while the latter falls under Rockstar’s ownership - even though Remedy plans to remake the first two bullet-time shooters. But as we’ve seen from Marvel’s mistakes, keeping up with everything that comes out of these jumbled-up-verses can be exhausting, especially if you’re only interested in one specific corner.

Sam Lake seems to be aware of that danger while speaking about the studio’s past games. “We have been really mindful of creating an experience where none of that is required homework… Maybe [Alan Wake II] will motivate you after the fact to seek out some of these previous games and experience them," he said. There’ll still be fun links to Control that we can theorise about, though, such as the live-action TV host Mr. Door seen in the newest trailer. He may or may not be the same dimension-hopping entity that Dylan mentions in Control, as Lake teases that “very little is by happenstance or coincidence.”

We’ll see just how connected Remedy’s Connected Universe is on October 27th, when Alan Wake 2 comes out on the Epic Games Store and consoles. For now, let me know what your theories are. If you even want these games to overlap, that is?

For more of the latest news and previews from Gamescom 2023, head to our Gamescom 2023 hub. You can also find everything announced at Opening Night Live right here.

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