Alan Wake 2: Everything we know

A screenshot from an Alan Wake 2 trailer cinematic, showing Alan writing on a desktop typewriter in a poorly-lit room. A taxidermized bird of prey, talons outstretched, is mounted over his head on the wall behind him.
(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Alan Wake 2 has emerged from its imprisonment in a shadowy otherworld. After a decade of waiting, Alan Wake has returned to his place under the flashlight spotlight in Remedy's latest showcase of storytelling talent. As our Robin Valentine writes in our Alan Wake 2 review, the sequel is "enthrallingly brilliant."

Alan Wake 2 was revealed at The Game Awards in December 2021, with a promise that the sequel would take the series—and its developers at Remedy—in a new, more horrifying direction. Here's everything we knew about Alan Wake 2 in the run-up to release.

Alan Wake 2 release date

What was Alan Wake 2’s release date?

Alan Wake 2 released on October 27, 2023, and is available on PC through the Epic Games Store.

The release date announcement came in May 2023 at Sony's summer State of Play, coming off a year-and-a-half stretch of silence from Remedy. We'd originally expected to hear more in Summer of 2022, but a May 2022 update from Remedy had Sam Lake—Remedy’s Creative Director and lead writer on Alan Wake and Control—saying that the studio needed more time before any additional reveals.

Originally set to release on October 17, 2023, Alan Wake 2 got a late 10-day delay, with Remedy trying to gain itself some space in a dense fall release schedule.

Read our Alan Wake 2 review

As you'll read in our Alan Wake 2 review, the sequel is peak Remedy, with all the self-indulgent, eerie surreality that's come to imply. Reviewer Robin Valentine delighted in tense, impactful gunplay and the entangled, absorbing house style of Remedy's fiction. For more, be sure to check out the full review.

Alan Wake 2 trailers

Here's the Alan Wake 2 gameplay reveal trailer

Arriving at Sony's May 2023 summer State of Play, this Alan Wake 2 gameplay reveal footage gave us our first real idea of how the sequel will play. Like the Alan Wake 2 announcement trailer, the tone is extremely creepy, like Blair Witch with typewriters.

Along the way, we're introduced to our second protagonist: FBI agent Saga Anderson, who Alan is apparently writing into a reality that'll offer him an escape from the Dark Place. Hopefully, anyway.

Watch the Alan Wake 2 reveal trailer 

Alan Wake 2's reveal trailer was our first glimpse at our returning author antihero, and he’s moodier than ever. You can tell from his gloomy story-based metaphors. And from his beard.

The reveal trailer gave an early sense of the game’s darker brand of psychological horror: homicidal doppelgangers, forest murder scenes melding into rainy New York streets as realities bleed together.

Alan Wake 2 gameplay info

What do we know about Alan Wake 2’s gameplay? 

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Remedy has been clear that they're creating Alan Wake 2 as a game firmly in the "survival horror" category. Where the first Alan Wake was an action game with some horror draping, here those horror elements will be center-stage. The genre shift will hopefully let Remedy better explore what they’re calling a “layered, psychological story.”

Beyond that, we're still in speculation territory about what that means for gameplay specifics. If you’re aware of Alan Wake at all, you’re probably aware of its flashlight combat mechanic, where light could dispel the Dark Presence that possessed Alan’s enemies and leave them vulnerable to gunfire. We see indications of similar mechanics in the announcement and gameplay reveal trailers, but they'll likely have a different pace.

And, given what I know about the survival horror genre, I’d start mentally preparing to scrounge around for batteries if I were you.

Saga has a "mind place" for doing deduction

As we learned in a half-hour Alan Wake 2 gameplay preview, Saga—Alan Wake 2's non-Alan protagonist—has access to a "mind place," a kind of mental pocket dimension that players can jump to at the push of a button.

In effect, it's a mindspace you can teleport to and roleplay doing all everyone's favorite mystery-solving activity: placing pieces of evidence on a big board and connecting them with thread. That's detective work, to me. We don't know if Alan has his own mind place equivalent just yet. He's basically been in one for a decade, after all.

Alan Wake 2 story info

Alan Wake 2 has a second protagonist

Alan Wake 2's second protagonist, FBI agent Saga Anderson.

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

In Alan Wake 2, alongside Alan Wake himself, we'll also be playing as FBI agent Saga Anderson, who's investigating a string of ritualized murders in Bright Falls, the original game's setting. Her investigation clearly seems to start intersecting with the events surrounding Alan's disappearance—in fact, Alan seems to be writing out her investigation with his reality-crafting powers from within the Dark Place. Also, given Remedy's penchant for dabbling in Norse myth weirdness, it's probably safe to assume her name isn't coincidental.

What can we expect from Alan Wake 2’s story? 

To summarize Alan's current situation: at the end of the first game, author Alan Wake banished himself and an evil presence that was threatening the town of Bright Falls into the Dark Place, a nightmarish otherworld beneath the town where reality can literally be rewritten. He's been trapped there for a decade, trying and failing to write himself an exit. It seems that Saga Anderson's investigation is, at least in part, being driven by Alan's latest attempt to escape, as the gameplay reveal trailer above clearly shows Alan writing out the investigation's narrative.

While Saga's gameplay sections will focus on her investigation in Bright Falls, we got some details about what to expect for Alan's sections from Sam Lake in a brief interview at Gamescom Opening Night Live 2023. "The Dark Place is a dream reality, and it keeps drawing from Alan's mind, his thoughts, his fears, his writing," Lake said. In Alan's gameplay sections, Lake says, Lake says, we'll be navigating the Dark Place as it's reconfigured itself into a nightmare reflection of New York City, where Alan spent years as a crime fiction author.

If that sounds like a lot: You're not wrong. Remedy's described the game as “layered and psychological." If recursive reality-writing doesn't qualify, I don’t know what does.

As we saw in our Gamescom hands-on Alan Wake 2 preview, the Dark Place is also where we'll be seeing Remedy's habit of weaving in live-action—and where we'll see its other games woven in, too.  In our demo, we watched a live-action Alan as he's thrust into a disorienting late night talk show segment, hosted by Control's very own Mr. Door

Luckily, it doesn't seem like you'll need to have played the first Alan Wake to enjoy the sequel. According to Remedy's Alan Wake 2 FAQ, "Alan Wake 2 is a sequel but set up as a stand-alone experience. Newcomers can enjoy the thrill-ride with no past knowledge of the previous game." The FAQ also has a short summary for the first game, if you're interested.

What else is there to know?

The effort to get an Alan Wake sequel is a long story of canceled prototypes, reverting publishing rights, and struggles to secure funding. Back in 2015, Polygon the cancelled versions of Alan Wake 2, detailing how an earlier, abandoned prototype of Alan Wake 2 would help form the foundation of Remedy’s 2016 action game, Quantum Break. 

Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.