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The Fifth Anniversary of Alan Wake's American Nightmare

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  • The Fifth Anniversary of Alan Wake's American Nightmare

    Today marks the fifth anniversary of Alan Wake's American Nightmare! To celebrate the occasion, I wrote five facts about the title which you may not have known about. If you've also created something of your own for the anniversary like cosplay or fan art, definitely make sure to include it in this thread too. It's always great seeing more community projects!

    American Nightmare was Developed in Just Eight Months

    After the release of Alan Wake in May 2010, Remedy began developing two new DLC packs which would reflect Wake’'s mental state after his struggle in Bright Falls. While the DLC was being created, Remedy's focus soon went to the triple-A project they would do next. A prototype for Alan Wake 2 was created and marketed to potential publishers but naturally when millions of dollars are involved, negotiations can take a while. During this time it's not financially beneficial to have an entire company on hold between projects, so Remedy began smaller projects in the meantime.

    During negotiations, Remedy was anything but quiet. By this point, the surge of new employees after Alan Wake’'s development brought up the company number to about 50, who focused on new projects. The company relaunched Death Rally for mobile devices in collaboration with Mountain Sheep in early 2011 and brought the title to PC in August 2012. The developers also worked on an Alan Wake port for PC, which launched with Nordic Games (now THQ Nordic) in mid-February 2012. The largest title in development during that time was Alan Wake’'s American Nightmare, which took eight months to develop and launched on 22nd February 2012 on XBOX Live Arcade.

    After the launch of American Nightmare, Quantum Break was already in pre-production, after six months of negations with Microsoft.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	American Nightmare.jpg Views:	1 Size:	150.4 KB ID:	320154

    American Nightmare Borrows Concepts from Alan Wake 2’'s Prototype

    Before American Nightmare, there was the Alan Wake 2 prototype. American Nightmare shares many similarities and pre-created assets which had appeared in the Alan Wake 2 demo. In the prototype, Alan Wake was hunting down his evil doppelgänger, Mr Scratch, who was after his wife, Alice. The storyline for AWAN was similar although Wake would be trapped in a cycling pattern, enduring the horrors that his twin sent his way.

    Some models and designs were transferred between the projects. For instance the fire truck model as well as the motel (seen in the initial cinematic) were both reused for the game. The "Birdman" enemy, originally seen in the prototype, was one of the many new enemy types. The “Rewriting Reality” gameplay mechanic was also carried over, bringing more of a puzzle solving element to the series.

    The way that Remedy approached live action story telling also changed. In Alan Wake, live action would only been seen on TV sets. In the prototype, those elements would play together, with the camcorder display showing a live action interview conducted by an in-game character. In American Nightmare, a large part of the story was told in those live action moments, with Mr Scratch (played by Ilkka Villi and voiced by Matthew Porretta) recording vlogs (of a kind) which the player can watch on TV sets.

    American Nightmare was Released During a Time When the Debate About Digital Games Versus Physical Copies was Particularly Heated.

    When Alan Wake’'s American Nightmare was launched, the fact that it was a digital-only title was a subject that was brought up repeatedly in interviews. While digital content is more common now, even just five years ago the topic of making a digital-only title created concern. Speaking to Digital Spy, Aki Järvilehto (former EVP at Remedy) mentioned that "the digital platforms were maybe not so much of an option until the last few years, but they certainly are now.” Similarly Mikko Rautalahti (now Narrative Lead at Remedy) spoke to True Achievements about how the industry was changing, "I really can’'t discuss our future projects, so I won’'t even get into that, but speaking about this in general terms, yes, absolutely, I think the future’'s digital. I wouldn’'t want to put a time frame on that as such, and I do realize that there are still technological issues that may affect this, but year by year, we’'re seeing more and more quality games that are being made primarily for the digital market. It’'s just the way the technology is evolving.”"

    Additionally, XBOX One’'s reveal, just two years after the launch of American Nightmare, targeted digital distribution. With the growth of Netflix in recent years, the growing importance of Steam as a platform for exposure and ebooks becoming more commonplace, even just in the past five years digital content has expanded how we play games and interact with the world. And between the launches of Alan Wake and American Nightmare, Remedy was already shaping up to tackle the digital market. They had split their company into two groups, one group focusing on the next AAA title, the other on mobile gaming.

    With American Nightmare, while it was released digitally on XBOX Live Arcade, it did eventually get a physical edition for the PC release in June 2012.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	AWAN2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	154.3 KB ID:	320155

    Poets of the Fall’'s Custom Song, Balance Slays the Demon, was Packed with Alan Wake References

    Poets of the Fall was formed in 2003, with their first song, Late Goodbye, created for Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Since then, the band has contributed music for a number of Remedy titles including Death Rally (“Can You Hear Me”), Alan Wake (“War”), and American Nightmare (“The Happy Song”), in addition to recording custom songs as the in-game band, Old Gods of Asgard.

    In Alan Wake, Old Gods of Asgard was a rock band from the 1970s whose remaining members were now living in Dr Hartman’s clinic. In the game, Wake stumbles across two of their songs, Children of the Elder God, while on the Anderson Farm and The Poet and the Muse playing in the brothers’' home. After the events of the game, Barry became the band’s new agent and with them released their latest single, Balance Slays the Demon.

    Balance Slays the Demon is packed full of references to Wake’'s latest adventure speaking about a fight between light and darkness. “Balance” is also pronounced with an emphasis on the start of the word; "“bALANce”", which defeats the demon (also known as “Old Scratch” or in this case Mr Scratch). The song also features a phrase which had been reversed, “it will happen again, in another town, (a town) called Ordinary. And in late July, a new blog called “This House of Dreams” appeared online detailing a house move to Ordinary and featuring photographs of a newly discovered old shoebox filled with poems and photographs.

    You can check out the song on Spotify!

    Easter Egg: The Deer Story

    One of my favourite Easter Eggs in American Nightmare is The Deer Story. It can be pretty easy to miss, and for me I didn'’t catch it in the actual level but I noticed it was in the credits.

    The Deer Story can be found in the...


    The story is credited to Matthew Porretta, the voice of Alan Wake, who retold a situation he had faced while out jogging. Mikki expanded on the situation which led it to being included in the game soon after American Nightmare'’s launch, “"Matthew told it when he was in the recording booth, and it was awesome and creepy, and I said, "okay, that's gotta go in the game somehow." So we did that, and because it wasn't something written by us, we wanted to give him separate credit him for it".”

    You can listen to The Deer Story on YouTube!
    Last edited by Jaden; 02-23-2017, 12:52 PM.
    The Sudden Stop - Remedy Fansite

  • #2
    Wow, only 8 months to develop AWAN, I did not know that!
    I wonder how long we'll have to wait for P7...

    Anyway, I very much enjoyed reading it, thanks!
    I've put the Imagination in its Place.


    • #3
      Five years, god damn. Let's just hope we can see the continuation to the story soon enough.
      AWAN sure is a polished game for just 8 months of development. So with a little math, we can calculate that AWAN began development around June 2011. Remedy has said that AW2 began development around the summer of 2010, which means that AW2 was in development for almost as long as AWAN, if not longer. If they worked that entire time on AW2 and not Quantum Break, that is.
      The "Alan Wake development history" fanatic strikes again!