What We Know: Remedy Entertainment, developers of the original Max Payne, are describing Alan Wake as a psychological action game. Novelist Alan Wake is on vacation with his wife when things start to go very, very wrong. A thriller he's been writing starts to come to life in front of his very eyes, word-by-word. A dark presents has infested the world around him, creating a strong light and dark dynamic that heavily factors into the gameplay. Wake needs light to survive the horrors of the night. Alan Wake was missing in action for many years, until Microsoft and Remedy pulled back the curtain at E3 this year, promising the game would finally be released the following spring.
What's New at TGS: The demo at Tokyo Game Show actually started with the section from oh. "Oh no," I groaned. Fortunately, Remedy was only running through the E3 section to refresh everyone in the room. After that concluded, Remedy showed off a new section of the game. If Alan Wake's demo at E3 gave you the impression it's focused on keeping enemies at bay with a flashlight and moving around in a Matrix-like slowdown all the time, the TGS slice of Alan Wake proves that assertion wrong. Wake is in the middle of the woods to evade capture from a renegade sheriff convinced Wake is causing all the whacked out things that are happening around town. You do not have access to a flashlight, gun or other items, and finding sources of light becomes an obsession. I also saw more examples of the mysterious "dark presence."
If the E3 demo gave off a Poltergeist vibe, the TGS demo felt distinctly X-Files-meets-Lost, with devilishly swaying trees and monstrous, unidentifiable noises in the distance. There were few new mechanics shown here, however, as it wasn't about showing much new so much as it was proving Alan Wake isn't Max Payne's distinctive slow motion gameplay with a horror coat of paint.
What I Want to See: The open world portion of the game. Remedy is really pushing Alan Wake's focus on serialized TV cliffhangers, which actually suggests a more linear, targeted experience. The studio promises the open world segments have not disappeared. None of that has been shown yet, only furthering the notion that Remedy continues to play its cards very close to its chest.