Alan Wake 2: Building The Remedy Connected Universe -- GG Recorder share



After 13 years since its predecessor's release, "Alan Wake 2" finally continues the story of the beloved ghost novelist in the gaming world. But this sequel is not just about Alan's story. This game is the third installment of Remedy Connected Universe, a concept that sees the works of the Finnish studio overlapping, connecting, and influencing each other.

Read an interview with Sam Lake, the creative director of "Alan Wake 2" and a well-loved storyteller at Remedy, to learn more about the Remedy Connected Universe and how the studio's games are always interconnected in strange and interesting ways.

Remedy Entertainment was established in 1995 and has created five different worlds over the years. However, while this new connected universe will bring Remedy's games together, not all of the studio's creations will be included.

"It's pretty clear with 'Alan Wake' and 'Control' because those are Remedy's own IP," Lake explains. "With 'Quantum Break' and 'Max Payne,' those are games we made before that we don't own or control, so they don't really belong in this part."

"Looking back before we built the universe, we liked to place Easter eggs, hints, and references to our previous works," Lake says. "So on that level, we can play around with some interesting content that references our other games, but fundamentally the Remedy Connected Universe is 'Control' and 'Alan Wake' now. Of course, we have plans to continue expanding this idea in the future."

As previously mentioned, "Alan Wake 2" is the third game in this connected universe, but in a way, it's also the second game. In fact, when the original "Alan Wake" was released, the concept of the Remedy Connected Universe (RCU) didn't exist. However, nine years later, Remedy released the first true Remedy Connected Universe game, retrospectively going back and covering the events of "Alan Wake".

"We officially announced and implemented the [Remedy Connected Universe] in the game 'Control'," said Lake. "When you play 'Control', you'll discover the Federal Bureau of Control's investigation into the events of 'Alan Wake', where we established the idea that these games exist in the same world."

r/ggrecorder - Alan Wake 2: Building The Remedy Connected Universe So, "Control" is the first RCU game, but technically, it's the second. The strange events surrounding "Alan Wake" and Cauldron Lake became part of the story of "Control". Remedy further solidified this through the expansion "AWE"; an expansion that fully integrates these two games into the same world.

"Control" provides a new perspective on the events of "Alan Wake" through the lens of the Federal Bureau of Control (a government agency similar to the X-Files). In "Alan Wake 2", this perspective will change; we will be looking at this strange government department from an outsider's point of view. This doesn't mean that "Alan Wake 2" is about the FBC, but it will play a more significant role than just a passing mention.

Remedy has always liked to create carefully designed Easter eggs. Long before the RCU began, the studio started experimenting with connecting their games together. In the first "Alan Wake", you can find manuscript pages from Alan's famous novel "Alex Casey". Alex Casey is a hard-boiled detective, which is a playful nod to the studio's previous game, "Max Payne", and its protagonist Max Payne.

"You can imagine Alan Wake as Remedy, and his past works as the studio's past works," explained Lake. "The imagery of this 'hard-boiled detective' is a metaphor."

To fully embody the joke, Remedy had James McCaffrey, the voice actor for Max Payne, read these manuscripts.

"We were already using James' voice to voice Thomas Zane in Alan Wake," Lake recalled. "So it was fun for us to do a little Easter egg and have James also voice Alex Casey in a few pages of the manuscript, as a callback to our long-time fans."

Due to the copyright belonging to Rockstar Games for Max Payne, Remedy couldn't use Max Payne in Alan Wake. But this fun joke still established a connection between the games. Alex Casey is not Max Payne, but in a way, he is.

For Alan Wake 2, Remedy could have abandoned this joke. Since there are connections to Control that can be played with, why would they need this meta layer? But for long-time fans who have supported Remedy, Alex Casey not only returns, but he is also a core character in the sequel. However, how is it possible for Alex Casey, a fictional character created by the writer himself?

"[Alan Wake] is unable to write, and many things have come from that," Lake explained. "So here, coming back to that, him being trapped in the dark place and in his own thoughts and unable to break out, it felt like a natural kind of thought to have Casey come back. The ghost that refuses to rest and appears in different levels in this story."

Making Alex Casey a human presence takes Remedy one step further in introducing meta humor. The studio not only invited James McCaffrey to return to voice Casey, but also made him the face of Sam Lake.

r/ggrecorder - Alan Wake 2: Building The Remedy Connected Universe In the late 90s, when Remedy was developing the original Max Payne, many of its characters were based on photos of the development team. As the project's writer, Lake provided his own face for his protagonist. Therefore, by borrowing his likeness to voice Alex Casey, the joke has come full circle.

However, Alan Wake 2 does more than just play out the Alex Casey joke to its conclusion. The story claims Casey and makes him more than just a nod to Max Payne. He is now an integral part of Alan's journey.

"The whole starting point is this twisted mirror image and echo and what is real, what is imagined and those distortions," Lake said. "And of course, it gives us a lot of freedom because what you encounter here with Alex Casey is definitely not Max Payne. There are many aspects to this character or versions of this character that you encounter. They are their own existence.".

"The first version of the character players will encounter is Saga Anderson's FBI partner, also the second protagonist of "Alan Wake 2." This Casey exists in the real world, more believable than the fictional detective in Alan's novels, and not as bloody.

"It's a character who is older, more experienced, and more cynical, and I think James [McCaffrey] does a great job of bringing that character to life with his voice acting," Lake said. "For Saga, who has a happy family life, and Casey, who is disappointed with his ex-wife, there is this dialogue and dynamic between them, which feels like a delightful opportunity."

"But in the depths of the nightmare prison where Alan Wake is trapped, there is another version of Alex Casey. For those familiar with bullet time ballet, this more exaggerated, more hardcore character image should feel very familiar to them."

"We feel that it would be a shame not to have fun with this character," Lake, who wore the leather jacket in the role, said. "I love this character, he's a lot of fun. We've had a lot of learning opportunities because in the first game of Max Payne, I wasn't involved in any way, just posing and taking pictures. That was my role, just finding the right expression. This time we've progressed a lot, now we have motion capture and performance capture, actually performing face-to-face with these talented actors."

Humorous Easter eggs like Alex Casey are an early cornerstone of the Remedy Connected Universe. But as the connections between "Alan Wake" and "Control" no longer just jokes. Today, Remedy is in the same field as film studios that have long experimented with interconnected universes in comics and movies, such as Marvel and DC. However, Remedy's most important inspiration for the RCU isn't a massive film studio, but a beloved horror writer.

r/ggrecorder - Alan Wake 2: Building The Remedy Connected Universe "There are obviously many different examples, such as Stephen King's work definitely being one of the initial inspirations for Alan Wake, and he also has similar patterns. His works contain references and references to other books and characters," Lake pointed out.

"As a creator and writer, I think it's very exciting. It provides a very delicious opportunity to refer to, reflect on, and add extra meaning, to build such a network."

Of course, at this early stage, Remedy's massive, interconnected multiverse with King's "Dark Tower" series and other series books is still far away.

"The Remedy Connected Universe provides us with this world and universe where stories happen, and I feel like we're in the early stages of the universe," Lake said.

"These are exciting ideas. We're still in the early stages, and we'll continue to build and see what it brings us," he added.

We haven't seen how "Control" integrates into "Alan Wake 2" yet. However, based on the story Remedy has told so far, it's clear how all the weird phenomena are interconnected and evolving into fascinating and interesting new adventures. And with Remedy developing multiple games, including "Control 2," I'm excited about the development and maturity of the RCU. With a bit of luck (and Remedy's talent), it might even become the most ambitious crossover event since "Hannah Montana."

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