291: To Die at the Hands of Your Own Creation

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I bought a 360 for Alan Wake, I'd owned a PS3 since launch and the more I saw of Alan Wake the more I fell in love with the idea of a 'lovecraftian' story (what I thought from the trailers) , with the punchy writing of Remedy after loving the narrative of Max Payne.

The more I found out about it, the more I found out about the troubled development behind the scenes. I bought a 360 and a copy of the game to just support the devs, too many original titles get buried whilst stale sandbox games get oodles of sales and sequels (crackdown, I'm looking at you).

Ever owned a console with just one game to play? Provided it's good it consumes you, I got lost in the mythos and the likeable characters to the point where I completed it 3 times.

And not even once did I pick up on what was noted in this article. My mind has been blown by what was wrote here, and as I type this the good old 360 is booted up and the Remedy logo is splashed across my screen.

Congratulations to the developers, Alan Wake isn't just a tale of a struggling dev team, but a monolith of inspiration to other devs.

Great read. I had no idea this game was so "meta." Very intriguing. I always wanted to give the game a try, a shame it's exclusive to xbox.

I really enjoyed reading that. I almost want to go out and buy this game. Almost.

teknoarcanist:
I like your take on the lodge sequence, but the diving suit being a reference to Bioshock giving Sam Lake hope for games as an art form iiisssss...a bit of.....a stretch. To say the least.

Agreed - there is such a thing as looking too much into something, and I wonder if they're looking into the lodge sequence too far also.

Could it not just be a joke, as in the development of the game had driven them close to madness? They've even said they'd do 6 months work (especially early on when it was open-world, which would have been a terrible mistake I might add) and then just scrap most of it. I mean, Sam Lake's not a bad writer, but after Max Payne and Alan Wake I am starting to wonder if he really does think those metaphors are good. In which case, could he construct something as subtle as an asylum representing the big bad publisher? Perhaps, I guess.

AxelxGabriel:
... or just maybe it's none of those things and it was just a bad game.

The point of the article is not to excuse it for being a "bad game".

Anyway, I do hope it gets a sequel. Now they know the direction they're going it's not going to take 5 years.

Interesting, and believe it or not I had similar thoughts when playing the game, though I didn't tie everything together quite the same way you did. My approach to it was a little differant.

The thing about Alan Wake though is that while I liked the game itself, I think it tends to summarize a lot of the problems with the game developers themselves. Namely the simple fact that they made a game which largely seems to be a giant whine about their own situation. This combined with being upset with the performance and player response when this is what they deliver, along with the product not being what they promised to begin with.

See, the thing with the "poor us" bit is that the game developers seem to be detached from reality. It wasn't all that long ago when The Escapist had an article where some game developers were complaining about working 10 hour days, which is pretty much a normal work day for most ordinary people. On top of this you look at some of these virtual office tours and the like, and all the staged events aside, these guys are almost totally unprofessional, it doesn't surprise me that there are complaints when they actually get told to you know, do the work they are being paid for, they exude that vibe in a lot of cases. Add to this that these huge development budgets go to human resources, with the development budget largely being what a design team decides it wants to pay itself, and it's really hard to take "oh, pity us poor tormented creative souls" arguements seriously.

I'll also be honest in saying that "Alan Wake" represents one of the two major examples of prima-donna attitudes among game developers. Largely because while decent, it's NOT the game people wanted, or what was promised, and yet people who criticize that seem to be looked down on. To date we're still waiting for a sandbox survival horror game that delivers on the promises made here. The second is of course my much rehashed criticism of Bioware over them asking for feedback on "Hawke" in Dragon Age II, getting a negative response, and then trying to present it as something else while going right ahead doing whatever they want to anyway... asking for input your going to ignore if you don't hear what you want is one of the things that really slots me off. The third is of course Blizzard's (in)famous "we make games, not promises" response to not delivering on what they promised the community, though that has faded with the passage of time, I still get irritated when I think about it. Whether or not I agree with them or not on actual issues being discussed, the game industry acts like a group of Olympian gods elevated that far above their fans, even while they occasionally deign to try and make a show out of pretending "oh hey we're just like you" when they think it can help sales. When you add a huge "QQ" rampage to the whole thing it's positively maddening.

Therumancer:
Interesting, and believe it or not I had similar thoughts when playing the game, though I didn't tie everything together quite the same way you did. My approach to it was a little differant.

The thing about Alan Wake though is that while I liked the game itself, I think it tends to summarize a lot of the problems with the game developers themselves. Namely the simple fact that they made a game which largely seems to be a giant whine about their own situation. This combined with being upset with the performance and player response when this is what they deliver, along with the product not being what they promised to begin with.

See, the thing with the "poor us" bit is that the game developers seem to be detached from reality. It wasn't all that long ago when The Escapist had an article where some game developers were complaining about working 10 hour days, which is pretty much a normal work day for most ordinary people. On top of this you look at some of these virtual office tours and the like, and all the staged events aside, these guys are almost totally unprofessional, it doesn't surprise me that there are complaints when they actually get told to you know, do the work they are being paid for, they exude that vibe in a lot of cases. Add to this that these huge development budgets go to human resources, with the development budget largely being what a design team decides it wants to pay itself, and it's really hard to take "oh, pity us poor tormented creative souls" arguements seriously.

I'll also be honest in saying that "Alan Wake" represents one of the two major examples of prima-donna attitudes among game developers. Largely because while decent, it's NOT the game people wanted, or what was promised, and yet people who criticize that seem to be looked down on. To date we're still waiting for a sandbox survival horror game that delivers on the promises made here. The second is of course my much rehashed criticism of Bioware over them asking for feedback on "Hawke" in Dragon Age II, getting a negative response, and then trying to present it as something else while going right ahead doing whatever they want to anyway... asking for input your going to ignore if you don't hear what you want is one of the things that really slots me off. The third is of course Blizzard's (in)famous "we make games, not promises" response to not delivering on what they promised the community, though that has faded with the passage of time, I still get irritated when I think about it. Whether or not I agree with them or not on actual issues being discussed, the game industry acts like a group of Olympian gods elevated that far above their fans, even while they occasionally deign to try and make a show out of pretending "oh hey we're just like you" when they think it can help sales. When you add a huge "QQ" rampage to the whole thing it's positively maddening.

Of course game developers are prima donnas. It really revealed itself when they started to equate second hand sales to piracy. Like their products are "special" and shouldn't be considered the same as every other consumer product.

I loved that game, just annoyed with the linear pathways of the levels.

Fantastic article. This is why I started visiting The Escapist in the first place (hint: not because of ZP), thank you for reminding me of that.

I never got the chance to play this game back when I had a 360 and it's a shame it didn't got released in more platforms outside the 360.
I would've loved to play the game.

I feel the biggest mistake that the publisher made was to make it an Xbox exclusive. The time for platform exclusives have drawn to an end. As it is, I haven't played awake yet because it was only on the 360. So I was wondering, How much doe awake relate to the Sam Neil movie "In the Mouth of Madness"?

Alan Wake is the only game i would consider getting an xbox for,but its just not worth it for 1 game.
Im no fan boy but release it on the Ps3 & watch the sales fly through the roof,the sony faithful would love to play this game.

Amazing article. You brought up alot of things i never thought about. I honestly thought the game designer and copies of AW at the lodge was just a joke from the developers, but this makes alot more sense.

Alan Wake seems like an underrated classic to me. There were a few disappointing moments, but overall, a good game and story. I'm not completely sure why so few payed attention to it, besides the character models.

Great read. Decent, if somewhat disappointing game.

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