Alan Wake 2 will never "go gold," an old-fashioned phrase that refers to the creation of a master disc for duplication. No discs will have been burnt when the survival horror game comes out on October 17: Even the console versions won't get physical editions and "there are currently no plans to release Alan Wake 2 on disc."
Remedy and Epic Games say that the digital-only release has allowed them to keep the price down: Alan Wake 2 will be $60 on consoles as opposed to the new $70 normal for big budget games, and on PC, it'll be a pleasant $50.
The Alan Wake 2 FAQ says that the digital-only decision was also influenced by the fact that fewer and fewer people buy physical media—both consoles have optical drive-less versions—and that Remedy didn't want to sell a disc edition that immediately requires a download anyway, which is the usual console experience these days. It makes sense to me, but it turns out that it does not make sense to everyone. Check out some of the replies to this Wario64 tweet:
- "I was excited for Alan Wake 2 but after seeing its only digital realease they just lost my money." —@Rolas951
- "Oh my God. Oh my God. Terrible." —@Lazarus_XBOX
- "How to kill my hype for a game in s few paragraphs…" —@Ajkj05
- "I will not support a digital only Alan Wake game." —@Namdor_07
As a PC-only guy who hasn't bought a physical copy of a game or movie in years, I'm surprised to see how many people still cherish the act of putting a plastic box on a shelf. To each their own!
The FAQ doesn't mention this, but given that we already don't expect physical PC media, the $50 PC price tag probably has much more to do with Alan Wake 2's Epic Games Store exclusivity than the absence of a disc version. It's one of several games funded by Epic's new publishing division, and so Epic is obviously releasing it on its own store where it doesn't have to give Valve a cut.
As annoying as it may be that we won't be able to add Alan Wake 2 to our Steam libraries where Alan Wake lives, I don't think anyone would've batted an eye if Epic had priced it at $60. Other publishers didn't lower their prices when they ditched Steam for their own stores—EA with Origin, for instance—and maybe they should've, because they're all back on Steam now.
It's a nice throwback to the days when there was an informal 'PC discount' and $50, instead of the console $60, was pretty standard—especially since some PC games are now adopting the new $70 console pricing.
Regarding Alan Wake 2 itself, along with the October 17 release date, we got our first substantial look at the game today in a trailer at the PlayStation Showcase. That's embedded above, and we've got some details about the new co-protagonist and story here.