Why Alan Wake 2's Creators Are Breaking an Unspoken Video Game Rule

The award-winning Finnish developer is doing a series of streams looking behind the scenes of Alan Wake 2’s production.

Alan Wake 2, an unlikely sequel to a 13-year-old cult classic, was well worth the wait when it was finally released last fall. In a crowded year of generation-defining titles, Alan Wake 2 fuses surreal live-action sequences, jump-scares, and methodical investigative puzzle-solving, making it one of the most unique and terrifying experiences of 2023.

Now, just over six months after its release, Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment is ready to give fans a look at how one of the finest horror experiences of the generation came together.

Remedy is starting a series of bi-weekly streams on Twitch and YouTube this month, speaking to the people behind the game.

“Every stream will feature dev team guests talking about how we brought Alan Wake 2 to life,” Remedy announced earlier this week. The streams are set to begin on April 18, and will be a deep dive into the game’s audio and music.

Alan Wake 2 follows the titular best-selling author’s struggle to escape a horrifying and deadly alternate dimension based on a story he doesn’t remember writing, and FBI agent Saga Anderson’s investigation unraveling the mystery of Wake and his wife’s disappearance from a sleepy Washington state town more than a decade prior.

Game Director Kyle Rowley led Remedy’s introductory “Episode 0” stream Tuesday, which opened with an eight-minute video chronicling more than two years of the game’s development, from sound design, motion capture, 3D modeling, and even behind-the-scenes of the day the game was announced.

In an interview with Inverse, Remedy community manager Julius Fondem explained that the team made “milestone videos” to highlight the game’s progress throughout its development. He said Remedy also “shot a large amount of behind-the-scenes footage.”

“We felt that sharing these snippets of how the game looked throughout the years of development while talking through it with the developers would be a great way to let people understand how much effort and time goes into making, not just Alan Wake 2, but a game in general,” Fondem said.

Alan Wake 2 was one of 2023’s best games.

Remedy Entertainment

Alan Wake 2 is also the most complex project Remedy has released so far, and – for good reason – there is often no space to show all that complexity in the process of development,” Senior Community Manager Vida Starčević said. “With this series, we aim to create that space.”

For decades, developers have held the secrets, stresses, and labor that go into creating video games close to their chest. Remedy’s livestream series will be part of a wider, gradual movement towards transparency in game production. Naughty Dog commissioned two feature-length documentaries about The Last Of Us Part 1 and 2. Most recently, NoClip released a documentary looking at the making of the Obsidian’s 2022 historical role-playing game Pentiment.

“It’s interesting to show what games are like during production for years. It’s not often shown, especially when it comes to AAA video games, so that’s all the more reason to do it,” communications director Thomas Puha, host of Episode 0, told Inverse.

Alan Wake 2 splits its narrative between FBI Agent Saga Anderson and its titular character.

Remedy Entertainment

In the lead-up to any game’s release, Puha said “the focus is so different in terms of what we are showing and how we are speaking about the game.”

“So a while after launch it’s more relaxed and there’s more opportunity to show in-development stuff for the initiated,” he continued.

After Thursday’s conversation about the Audio and Music of Alan Wake 2, the team will take a deep dive into the production of its cinematics and live-action sequences on May 2, followed by a look at the game’s moody Pacific Northwest setting, and the machinations of it’s alternate dimension “The Dark Place.” Each stream will be hosted by Starčević, who will be joined by two to three guests from the dev team reflecting on the four years leading up to the game’s release. Viewers will also be able to participate in a Q&A session towards the end of each live episode.

Alan Wake 2 features a mix of traditional and live-action cutscenes.

Remedy Entertainment

“The format of the streams is casual and conversational, rather than something scripted or tightly directed,” Starčević said. “We hope that the freedom we give our developers to speak about their work gives the players plenty of interesting glimpses into the nuts and bolts of game development.”

Alan Wake 2 was 2023’s surprise critical darling. The game earned accolades at the D.I.C.E. Awards, the Game Developer’s Choice Awards, and most recently the BAFTAs for its game design and narrative.

Following Alan Wake 2’s success, Remedy is working on several games. Among those projects are a sequel to 2019’s spooky third-person shooter Control, and a multiplayer co-op spinoff in the same universe dubbed Condor. The company is also partnering with Rockstar Games on a remake of the first two Max Payne games.

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