In Alan Wake 2, the world is conspiring to topple the ailing writer. At Gamescom 2023, Remedy Entertainment showed GamesRadar+ an exclusive gameplay demo that descended into the Dark Place, the prison that has held Wake for 13 years. It's here where the shift towards survival horror is most stark – a twisted New York City, suffocating beneath a sheet of rain, where twisting figures stand in every shadow.
What drew my attention were the sheer number of enemies on screen at times, where Alan's entire field of vision seemed to be filled with the silhouettes of potential danger. With ammunition and batteries now a scarce resource, and combat now heavier and more challenging than in the original game, I wondered how we'd ever make it through alive – and why only a handful of the shadowy figures (known this time around as Fade Outs, rather than 'Taken') actually took on a corporeal form to attack Wake. Thankfully, game director Kyle Rowley was on hand to give me some answers.
"In the Alan Wake experience, with the Fade Outs we really wanted to focus on this idea of paranoia and not being able to trust what's real. So a lot of those enemies that you come across, they won't actually be able to kill you but you'll always be unsure. We really wanted to play on this idea of uncertainty."
As Wake navigates claustrophobic corridors and wide-open spaces, you'll see these Fade Outs all around you. Sometimes you'll move through hordes of them as taunting voices leer at you from all angles, with the player slowing their walking speed or minimizing light leak to avoid detection. Eventually, one may spring into action and throw you to the ground, forcing a combat encounter as mode Fade Outs are summoned into existence. It's a little jumpy, kind of like how Arkane Studios played with mimics in Prey.
"There are different stimuli to kind of activate them – you're now able to turn off the flashlight, and also noise and those kinds of elements," Rowley continues. "So there is this kind of resource preservation in terms of how you approach it and whether you engage or not. In some situations that is enforced on you, but we have a few different options there mechanically."
We'll have a lot more to share on Alan Wake 2 in the coming days, following Remedy's showcase of the Alan Wake 2 side to the story. We got a massive look at the other half earlier this year, which follows detective Saga Anderson and Alex Casey through Bright Falls as they investigate a series of ritualistic murders inspired by Wake's books. It's all exceptionally impressive, and we can't wait to see when one of the most anticipated new games of 2023 launches on October 27 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X.
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