Alan Wake 2 director says Remedy’s confidence in the game was boosted by Everything Everywhere All At Once

Alan Wake 2 certainly isn’t afraid to be weird, whether it’s letting you change the layout of a level at the press of a button, or suddenly turning into a full-blown musical. Making a game so wilfully out there must be a nerve-wracking experience, however, as you’ve got no idea whether your kooky ideas are going to land with the audience. Yet according to Alan Wake 2’s creative director Sam Lake, Remedy’s belief in the game was boosted during development by a film that is equally weird and brilliant.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Lake says that seeing the positive audience reaction to Everything Everywhere All At Once, a sci-fi film about a middle-aged Chinese woman’s adventures in the multiverse, was reassuring while making a game that plays with the notion of reality in similarly strange ways. “We were already really far into making this, but it gave me confidence into understanding that what we’re doing here, we are doing these things at the right time.”

Specifically, Lake was referring to the film’s transcendence of conventional genre structures, something that Remedy has always toyed with, but been especially keen on experimenting with since developing 2019’s Control. “I think we are prisoners of these ideas, and we have such a strong desire to find the answers and make up the answers. We are very, very eager to create rules and laws and define things,” Lake says. “In fiction and art, it’s important to try and break out of that.”

Lake points out that Alan Wake 2 is specifically about this. Wake as a writer is obsessed with genre, trapped in a realm that actively defies it. “I feel like Alan Wake’s view in this is quite limited, and that’s one of the interesting flaws in our character,” Lake says. “If you play ‘Alan Wake 2’, most certainly you will see that when it comes to story and storytelling, it’s not bound by one genre.”

You can read the full interview here. Alan Wake’s 2 genre and dimension hopping certainly seems to have gone down well. The game was nominated for eight awards at this year’s TGAs, coming away with best narrative. Our Robin Valentine rather liked it in his review too, saying “It’s rare that a game of this scope is allowed to be so completely itself, and the result is an experience that will stay with you long after you’ve seen every terrifying encounter, cheesy manuscript page, and quirky local TV commercial it has to offer.”

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