The full reveal of the Alan Wake 2 system requirements last week left a lot of fans unhappy. They're steep: The minimum spec for 1080p, 30 fps gameplay at the low graphics preset is an Intel i5-7600K CPU, RTX 2060 GPU, and 16GB RAM, and a sharp ramp up from there into recommended, ultra, and ray tracing requirements. But some optimistic gamers expressed hope that Remedy was inflating the PC system requirements for Alan Wake 2 in order to ensure that it runs well on all specs, even at the low end, and that's apparently the case.
"We played real safe on those PC settings btw," Remedy communications director Thomas Puha tweeted earlier today. "Underpromise, overdeliver, or something Finnish like that."
That's good news, but I have to wonder if Puha's tweet also injects some confusion into the matter. If the minimum requirement isn't really the minimum, will people with underpowered PCs be tempted to roll the dice on it, and end up disappointed as a result? System requirements are all about clarity, which in the absence of console-style uniformity is very important: It sucks to be told your rig isn't up to snuff, but it's far better to know what to expect up front than to be surprised.
Complicating the matter further is a deleted tweet from Remedy developer newincpp, who said the system requirements excluded the Nvidia GTX 10-series and AMD RX 5000-series GPUs because they don't support mesh shading. Newincpp said they were making the note "because if some players out there thinking their RX 5700 XT can handle it because it's the same ballpark as a 6600 don't be surprised/sad." But even that warning is couched in confusion, as the dev said they're "not sure it will run" without mesh shader support.
"In theory the vertex shader path is implemented but had lots of [performance] issues and bugs, we just dropped it," they tweeted. "Meaning it might be possible to bring it back with a mod but don't expect miracles."
A test of Alan Wake 2 on five different graphics cards at Digital Trends found that playable framerates are achievable even on low-end GPUs: At the low graphics preset, the site was able to maintain between 55 and 75 fps on an RTX 2060 Super; similar performance was achieved with the settings maxed out by using DLSS Performance mode. That's just one review from one site, but it's still good news for gamers on the bubble.
Even so, the bottom line is that, just like Remedy, you'll probably want to play it safe: Consider the minimum requirement the actual minimum, and enjoy what will hopefully be smooth, solid gameplay if your PC is up to spec.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.