After a number of delays, it turns out it's not that long until we all get to play Remedy's Alan Wake. Just recently it was confirmed the game will be ready by May 18th of this year, so what is it that has everyone excited about the latest game from the studio that brought you Max Payne? Part of the game was being shown off at Microsoft's X10 press event in San Francisco, where Remedy was on hand giving a short presentation.
In case you're not familiar with the setup of the game, Alan Wake is a best-selling writer who hasn't been able to produce anything in a few years. To get over his writer's block, he heads to the sleepy town of Bright Falls located in far northwest of the United States. He's there with his wife, Alice, and when the game starts out he's trying to get a key to enter the cabin where he'll be staying.
The game itself is part action game, part thriller, according to Remedy. Some of the non-combat stuff was shown off early on in the demo, as Wake gets out of his car to head into a diner and retrieve the key. It turns out the waitress behind the bar is a big fan of his writing and recognizes him as soon as he walks in. She's even put a cardboard cutout of him from a publicity event next to the diner's entrance. The initial interaction here takes place in a cut-scene style, but you're soon given control of Wake and can pilot him around the diner from a third-person perspective.
As he wanders numerous other NPCs will start to interact with him. A pair of elderly gentlemen at the far end of the bar, for instance, request that he put a certain song on the jukebox, then proceed to argue with each other over the song as Wake continues on his way. In addition to the chatter from characters in the environment, you'll also get to hear Wake's inner monologue as he assesses and analyses the situation. In this instance, Wake's thoughts were made audible as he approached a dark bathroom hallway where the NPC who had his key was allegedly located.
Here you see some foreshadowing of events to come, as a lady cowering near the hallway entrance starts talking about how the dark can be dangerous. Seeing as Wake needs that key, he keeps moving past to the bathroom door. He's abruptly jumped by a veiled woman who speaks with an ominous voice and who, surprisingly, hands over the key, saying the guy Wake is looking for isn't available. I think we can assume she might show up later, but who knows.
At this point in the presentation Remedy loaded up a bit from much further on in the game to show off some of the action. Without going into too much detail here, Wake eventually starts finding pages from a book that have ominous indications as to what may be going on in Bright Falls. All you really need to know for now is that it's dark out and there are a bunch of crazy ghost people wandering around and trying to kill you. To kill them first, you hit them with light, then follow it up with a gun blast, which causes them to disintegrate into a shower of sparks.
The bit of the game shown off here showed Wake near the Bright Falls dam. It was night, the moon shone with an eerie brightness overhead, and Wake was alone in the woods. Nearby was the page of a book, which he picked up and read aloud, and just beyond that was a crashed helicopter. Wake was looking for his buddies Sarah, the town's sheriff, and Barry his friend and agent. They weren't there, but a bunch of flares were, which Wake picked up and continued to pick his way down a path lined with shadows and prickly branches.