Alan Wake 2 Devs Discuss Shift to Survival Horror, Mind Place Mechanic

Alan Wake 2 has gone through many chances since the original game released in 2010, and it's not just the story, either.

After thirteen years of waiting, Alan Wake 2 is finally on the way. However, there are a large number of changes in how Remedy Entertainment will be going about it, such as genre shifts and a new “Mind Place” mechanic that will help players puzzle out what to do next, according to an interview in Play UK.

Players retain information best through interactivity…it’s one of the reasons the case board is actually such a powerful tool in this game.

Molly Maloney, Principal Narrative Designer

In certain scenes, players can enter the Mind Place in order to puzzle out where to go next, forming new mission objectives like following tracks to see where they lead, or connecting narrative threads to solve puzzles. This not only helps with the FBI feeling, but also helps to engross players more in the story, according to principal narrative designer Molly Maloney.

It is, of course, a very fun player fantasy–everybody wants to be a cool badass FBI profiler–but it’s also our sneaky way of taking an extremely complex and rich narrative that Sam [Lake] has crafted, and making it something you remember.

Alan Wake 2 is a big change from the original game in a large number of other ways, too. In particular, the genre is different; gone are players fighting wave after wave of gibberish-spewing Taken; instead, combat encounters have been drastically changed, according to Sam Lake.

Where there is less combat, every combat encounter is a bigger event.

The genre of the game has changed too. Where the original Alan Wake was an action-adventure game with some horror elements, in Alan Wake 2 the survival horror is front and center. Sam Lake claims that it helps to let Remedy do more with the game’s story.

And there were elements that we wanted to fix if you will–the fact that the combat is very samey and there is a lot of it throughout the whole experience. We decided that shifting to survival horror for the sequel made a lot of sense–less combat, the pacing is slowed down–it allows us to do more with the story and be more ambitious with the story.

Light and darkness also continue to be a central theme in the sequel to Alan Wake. Players will be split between two points of view: Saga Anderson, who works with coincidentally-but-not-really-coincidentally-named Alex Casey to solve a string of murders in Bright Falls, and Alan Wake himself. This is critical, according to Maloney.

The core theme is the duality of light and darkness. Monsters wear many faces, so having two protagonists, I think, is critical to telling that story. Both of these playable stories kind of echo and mirror each other.

Alan Wake’s story has been stealthily continued in various other Remedy games since the game’s release back in 2010, including Remedy’s last major title, Control, which included an entire DLC based around tying up a few loose ends of Alan’s story. Hopefully, the upcoming sequel will allow us to finally free Alan from the Darkness that has held him prisoner all these years. Alan Wake 2 releases on October 17 of this year for the Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC.


Hunter is senior news writer at He is a long time fan of strategy, RPG, and tabletop games. When he is not playing games, he likes to write about them.