Since its announcement last week, Remedy has remained tight-lipped about Alan Wake II. Rightfully so, as the game is not due to release anytime soon. The trailer shown during The Game Awards left us with the year “2023”. After a decade of waiting, what’s another year or so? However, we can’t help ourselves but speculate a little about how the game might turn out to be.
We know considerably little about Remedy’s new videogame. No plot details or gameplay are shared with us yet. A stark contrast with the way our favorite game studio revealed Control. However, right after the announcement, Sam Lake told Geoff Keighley another tidbit of information. Whereas Alan Wake is an action game, Alan Wake II will be Remedy’s first attempt at creating a survival horror game! A new game and a new genre. Isn’t that exciting? We think it’s a perfect fit!
What makes a horror-survival game?
What exactly makes a survival-horror game? What elements define the genre? Without a doubt, you’ve played a survival-horror videogame before. The games from the Resident Evil series have become genre-defining. However, there’s more to a survival-horror game than cheap scares and zombies. A survival-horror game has a strong focus on the survival of the main character, who’s usually put through pain and torment. The atmosphere in this type of game is dark and scary to make the player feel less in control. That feeling is strengthened through limited access to health or ammunition. The path of the hero is regularly blocked by puzzles or dark, maze-like environments. Survival-horror games also usually challenge the player to maintain their inventory, as ammunition and puzzle objects all take up space in their backpacks. Wait a minute! Didn’t we see Alan wear a shoulder bag in the TGA trailer?
It’s not hard to imagine Alan Wake II will be a stark contrast to its predecessor when it comes to gameplay. The previous game puts a lot of emphasis on combat and taking an offensive approach. That’s what an action-oriented videogame is all about. Horror-survival games stimulate players to take more defensive action or evade hazardous situations by taking alternative routes. Certain areas of the game might even be off-limits until an object or key is found. Similar to what we’ve seen in Control. Now that we mention it, both Control and Alan Wake II take place in the Remedy Connected Universe. That means the Federal Bureau of Control might make an appearance, or we might learn what happened to Jesse Faden after the events of Control!
Every game needs enemies to fight. Alan Wake has the Taken. We’ll likely see the Taken return for the sequel, albeit more agressive or powerful. Will they even appear as humans like they did before? Not much is known about our new adversary but the Taken are still a perfect enemy for a survival-horror game. They can appear out of nowhere or lurk behind every corner, making every route a dangerous one.
If there’s one aspect Alan Wake was criticized for the most, it is its lack of enemy variety. The same was said about its gameplay. Before players could harm the Taken, they need to be cleansed of darkness with a light source. This “one-two punch” element becomes a bit stale as the game progresses. Hopefully the sequel tackles these problems.
The teaser shown during The Game Awards does show Alan wielding a new type of flashlight. Perhaps this is a device he created himself? Something that’s no longer dpending on batteries as an energy source? Perhaps this device can be tinkered with and upgraded? All questions that are, hopefully, answered soon. For now, it remains pure speculation.
Another question the sequel hopefully will answer is; will Alan finally be able to escape from The Dark Place and be reunited with Alice? We surely hope so. After more than a decade, our light-wielding hero has suffered enough.