Alan Wake 2 was my big winner at the PlayStation Showcase – here’s why

 Alan Wake 2: a close up of Alan Wake's face
Alan Wake 2: a close up of Alan Wake's face

The PlayStation Showcase has come and gone, and within a veritable ocean of meaningless CG trailers and copious live service game announcements, Alan Wake 2 was the clear standout.

Alan Wake 2 wasn’t the showcase’s marquee title; that honor went to Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, which closed out the show with a substantial 12-minute reveal. Unfortunately, that was more exception than rule during the PlayStation Showcase, which was surprisingly lacking in gameplay across many of its announcements. Even what could have been an exciting reveal in Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater, felt a little deflated thanks to its barren CG trailer.

When Alan Wake 2 hit roughly halfway through the event, it was a much-needed breath of fresh air. Why? It simply did pretty much everything I would expect from a solid reveal trailer. A sneak peek at the story, characters, setting, and, most importantly, gameplay and a concrete release date.

Thanks, Alan

What’s immediately apparent with Alan Wake 2 is just how bloody gorgeous it is. Much like Control before it, Remedy has really put its in-house Northlight engine through its paces. The iconic town of Bright Falls is eerily gorgeous, while impeccable lighting and environmental design make spookier scenes really pop off.

We know that Alan Wake 2 is to be a survival horror game, and looks to be significantly scarier than the light horror touches found in the first Alan Wake and Control’s AWE expansion. The new direction (and that sweet, sweet Northlight engine) really sells Alan’s descent into madness. Plus, adding new protagonist Saga’s journey to juxtapose Alan’s own is sure to create drama and intrigue surrounding both.

It’s also just wonderful to see a release date bolted onto the project. Delays notwithstanding, we’ll be playing Alan Wake 2 right before Halloween on October 17, 2023.

There are still a few unknowns with Alan Wake 2, of course. We caught a glimpse of the original game’s use of light to vanquish otherworldly creatures, but we’re not quite sure to what extent that mechanic will tie into the sequel. Control and its AWE expansion also built upon the events of Alan Wake, so I’ll be very curious to see if the events of Control, in turn, will play a part in the upcoming title. Control, in turn, has its own sequel in the works, so I imagine the world both series share will be constantly built upon between each project.

Now Alan Wake 2 was far from the only impressive showing during the PlayStation Showcase. Giant Squid’s Journey follow-up, Sword of the Sea, is looking phenomenal, and I’m very happy to see Night in the Woods’ developer back in the spotlight with the upcoming Revenant Hill. Similarly, Dragon’s Dogma 2 surprised me with a gameplay reveal that came far earlier than what I was expecting.

There were some wonderful surprises throughout the showcase, but for me, Alan Wake 2 stole the show for essentially ticking all of the boxes. Story, gameplay, release date, and no CG usage to obfuscate what the game will actually look like.

Curious about the rest of the reveals? Read up on every announcement at Sony's PlayStation Showcase right here.