Alan Wake 2 speedrunner is possessed by the spirit of dance, sacrifices a whole minute to rock out to the game's best song via audience flash mob

An image of Alan Wake from Alan Wake 2's rock opera-style song, Herald of Darkness, lifting a hand to the sky while the other bundles on his chest.
(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Speedrunners are some of the most dedicated people in gaming, devoting hours upon hours to mastering their respective games and achieving excellence—but when it comes to raising money for charity, they're often completely unhinged for a good cause.

As is the case with TaintedTali, a speedrunner who blazed through Alan Wake 2 for ESAWinter24 last week (thanks, GamesRadar). For those not in the know, Alan Wake 2 has a rock opera-style musical number named the Herald of Darkness. It's a fever-dream bout of tone subversion so popular it was performed live at the Game Awards last year.

It's also something you'd skip if you're trying to do a speedrun. Cutscenes are just extra baggage after all—and any speedrunner has played through a game normally to get to grips with it, so it's not like they're missing out. TaintedTali felt differently, though. Moments before the iconic cutscene plays, she nonchalantly says: "I don't know about you, but I need to get up and stretch my legs." Moments later, this happens.

Yes, that's her and the crowd performing the number live alongside the game. I don't know about you, but I don't think she's getting the world record like this. What she might do is encourage donations, which is what ESAWinter24 was all about—running from February 17 to February 24 and raising over $85,000 for Make-A-Wish International

It looks like there are a couple of mis-inputs from the less-than-coordinated flash mob behind her, but this still freaking rules. The confetti at the end is a nice touch, too. "This absolutely lost us time," TaintedTali writes to a baffled commenter, "but it was worth it."

These kinds of off-the-cuff shenanigans are my favourite part of events like this—and they're half of what makes them worth watching in the first place. Sure, seeing a mastermind teleport to the dev room by stuffing a corpse into the pocket of a boss and shoving them is great, but so are guitar solos and coordinated dance moves. Rock on.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.