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Alan Wake 2: Everything we know about Remedy's survival horror sequel

Alan Wake 2
(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

After a decade, a standalone spinoff, a DLC crossover, and a remaster, Alan Wake is returning to his place under the flashlight spotlight. Revealed at The Game Awards in December, Alan Wake 2 is taking the series—and its developers at Remedy—in a new, more horrifying direction. We’ve got plenty of questions about the upcoming survival horror sequel: Did Alan escape the Dark Place? How do the pieces of the Remedy Connected Universe fit together? How much in-universe live-action TV will we get to watch?

Well, we don’t know yet. Details are scarce. But for now, here’s all the info we can shine a light on about Alan Wake 2.

Watch the Alan Wake 2 reveal trailer 

It’s our first glimpse at our returning author antihero, and he’s moodier than ever. You can tell from his gloomy story-based metaphors. And from his beard.

We’re already seeing a lot of the game’s darker brand of psychological horror: homicidal doppelgangers, forest murder scenes melding into rainy New York streets as realities bleed together. One of those realities, coincidentally, looks a lot like the town of Bright Falls, where the first game took place.

I’m sad to say, though, that after multiple close rewatches, it doesn’t appear that Alan’s hoodie/suit jacket combo has made a return. Mourn with me.

What’s Alan Wake 2’s release date? 

While there isn’t a firm release date, Alan Wake 2 is set to release in 2023. If you’re eager to see more before then, we're hoping to get more details before much longer. Remedy had originally planned to share more in summer 2022. However, in its anniversary update in May, Sam Lake—Remedy’s Creative Director and lead writer on Alan Wake and Control—said that "everything is going well," with the sequel but Remedy wasn't quite ready to show it off yet.

"A great deal of the game is playable. We are iterating it. But we've been talking the past couple of months and we've come to a decision that we will not be showing anything big this summer." Lake explained that we'd need to wait a bit longer for a proper demo and new trailer.

On PC, Alan Wake 2 will be an Epic Games Store exclusive when it does launch. You can find its store page here, but there’s not much to see yet.

What do we know about Alan Wake 2’s gameplay? 

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

There aren’t any announced specifics, but we do know that Alan Wake 2 is being designed as Remedy’s first survival horror game. While the first Alan Wake and its downloadable follow-up, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, had their share of horror elements, they were action games at the end of the day. Here, those horror elements will be center-stage: the genre shift will hopefully let Remedy better explore what they’re calling a “layered, psychological story.”

Beyond that, we can only speculate about what the gameplay will involve. If you’re aware of Alan Wake at all, you’re probably aware of its flashlight combat mechanic, where light could dispel the Dark Presence that possessed Alan’s enemies and leave them vulnerable to gunfire. Since Alan’s holding what looks like a homemade flashlight in the reveal trailer, we can safely hope to see something similar in the sequel. Probably with a different pace, though.

And, given what I know about the survival horror genre, I’d start mentally preparing to scrounge around for batteries if I were you.

What can we expect from Alan Wake 2’s story? 

I’ll be honest: it’s hard to say. Alan’s current situation is a little fuzzy. At the end of Alan Wake, Alan banished himself and the Dark Presence that was threatening the town of Bright Falls into the Dark Place, a shadowy otherworld beneath the town where reality can literally be rewritten. While the American Nightmare follow-up showed Alan writing his escape back to the real world and destroying an evil doppelganger, it’s heavily implied that the standalone game took place in his imagination while he’s still trapped in the Dark Place. Likewise, the trailer’s “Monsters wear many faces” tagline and the brief shot of the cackling, bloody face of a potential alternate-Alan are strong indicators that evil clones remain a concern.

Like I said, it’s all a little fuzzy. And I haven’t even mentioned the possibility that Alan was himself written into reality by another writer in the first place. If recursive reality rewriting isn’t “layered and psychological,” I don’t know what is.

What we do know is that Control’s AWE expansion, which fully knits the two series together in the so-called “Remedy Connected Universe,” ends with Alan delivering a simple warning, seemingly from two years in the future: “It’s happening again.”

What else is there to know?

The effort to get an Alan Wake sequel is a long story of canceled prototypes, reverting publishing rights, and struggles to secure funding. Back in 2015, Polygon chronicled some of that story, detailing how an earlier, abandoned prototype of Alan Wake 2 would help form the foundation of Remedy’s 2016 action game, Quantum Break. 

Lincoln Carpenter
Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.