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IGTV: Alan Wake Developer Interview

IncGamers caught up with Remedy studios in Finland to find out more about upcoming title, Alan Wake.  This is the first of three interviews we’ll be posting over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for more… Sami (Lake) Järvi, writer: We wanted a main character who is an everyman. We knew we were making an action game, but we didn’t want an action hero; we wanted an everyman who has to grow into the role of an action hero. Also, with our previous games – with Max Payne 1 and 2 – we had been using voiceover narration as a storytelling tool, and we knew that we wanted to do something we that. We decided we wanted a natural storyteller as the main character, and that’s where the idea of using a writer… and his writing’s coming true, so he’s a natural storyteller in the game. It’s his story.Early on, we were prototyping different things. We knew that we wanted to use light and darkness as main gameplay elements, but we were testing different things out.Matias Myllyrinne, Remedy managing director: The daytime sequences allow us to introduce a lot of the supporting cast, and then it allows us to introduce Bright Falls – as a quirky small town – and the surroundings, a bit.Sami (Lake) Järvi: We wanted that to be part of the game, and naturally, along the way we’ve been protoptying different ways of doing it. We settled with the final concept of dark presence taking over, I’d say a couple of years ago. We wanted to make a character and we also wanted to make a story that would be interesting to hardcore gamers, but also people who normally wouldn’t be playing an action game, and that was a very important thing for us, but at the same time, there needs to be gameplay and depth in gameplay and escalation, and it needs to be interesting for people who play action games. So you need to have both.Supporting Dev: We want a thriller to be more than just a story, so whether it’s how we use the camera or how we pace the action, there’s several layers of the thriller elements built straight into the gameplay, and we think that’s important for the game.Sami (Lake) Järvi: Alan Wake is a character who is deeper than characters normally are in action games. Not just a cardboard cutout, but something more, and that’s what we set out to do – to create Alan Wake into a character that has a background, that has flaws and problems in his life, and is normal in that sense. So that was our goal from the very beginning.Matias Myllyrinne: The name of the character is the name of the game. The character and his dilemma is at the centre of the franchise, and we want to build something that can cross over to various forms of entertainment – it’s not necessarily restricted to one game or a series of games. It can possibly grow into something larger. Clearly the success, or the relative success, of Alan Wake will define how large that opportunity is, and how much we can build on it.Sami (Lake) Järvi: We are using television series as a model for storytelling, so… not so much cliffhangers, but I think a good season of a TV series reaches a conclusion but leaves a door open to further things at the same time, so it was very important that the player can reach his goal and Alan Wake gets to a certain kind of conclusion, but at the same time we open a door to something larger. From the very beginning, we have intended Alan Wake to go on beyond the first game, so this is the first step, in a way.Matias Myllyrinne: To be honest, we’re very much betting the farm on this game. We’ve created it since 2005, and it is kind of like landing on a new continent and bringing the ships – “Guys, you’d better make do on this continent. Survive.” So Alan Wake is something that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into.Sami (Lake) Järvi: The project hasn’t been the straightest journey from beginning to end. There has been shifting around along the way – developing certain prototypes quite far and then deciding “No, we are not happy with this. This is not what Alan Wake needs to be,” and then shifting to a new direction, and all of that takes time. But that said, at the same time, we are a relatively small team when you look at other developers working on games of similar scope, and we do our own technology and engine and tools, so it takes time.

We are building the character with optional content as well, within the game. So for the players who are interested, they can discover these things.Stay tuned for more from the team next week…


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