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The PC launch of the original Alan Wake last month, coupled with the Xbox Live Arcade release of Alan Wake's American Nightmare, raised the profile of the franchise enough to put the first game's sales past the two million mark, Remedy head of franchise developer Oskari 'Os' Häkkinen confirmed in a recent interview. While he didn't go as far as outing plans for Wake's next adventure, it's pretty clear he and the studio are aware that there's an audience for more.
"Alan Wake's like a cult classic if you like," Häkkinen told CVG. "People who played and enjoyed the story feel the urge to tell their friends and other games out there that they need to try this experience, they need to play it." He's not wrong. The story presented in the first Wake has a Lost-like appeal and a strong hook. The gameplay is fun and at least somewhat different, but more than most other games, it's the story that keeps you there.
Häkkinen went on to say that the sales and the success of American Nightmare are definite indications that we'll be seeing more of the troubled horror author somewhere down the road. "Alan Wake is definitely very close to our hearts," he said. "It's our IP - we own it. It's not something that we're going to forget very easily."
It's funny to hear this now when things looked so grim for Alan Wake just a few years ago. The game was first announced in 2005 and it was confirmed as an Xbox 360 exclusive the following year. A whole lot of silence followed after that, with the game not arriving until May 2010. It was quite a bit different in terms of gameplay compared to what Remedy had originally revealed and the larger gaming public didn't immediately flock.
Those who did were rewarded with tight gameplay and a compelling story, though even that vocal following wasn't enough to push the story-driven game into the mainstream. The PC release, of all things, seems to have done that, though the high level of quality in last month's XBLA-exclusive American Nightmare certainly didn't hurt.
The question now is which direction the next game will go in. American Nightmare was as much a sequel in some ways as it was a spin-off. The central story that plays out in the first game is left on hold, but fans who play through the XBLA title DO get a sense of some progression. Will whatever's next for the series -- presumably Alan Wake 2 -- return to the episodic style of the first game? Will it bring in the downloadable title's increased focus on action? What do you want to see next from Remedy for Mr. Wake?