Sam Lake answers the biggest Alan Wake 2 question: What happened to his layers?

Image for Sam Lake answers the biggest Alan Wake 2 question: What happened to his layers?
(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Tragedy has befallen Alan Wake. When Alan Wake 2 begins, the horror writer has been missing for 13 years, lost in "the Dark Place," an alternate dimension of no-good, very bad vibes. Alan Wake was a talented horror novelist, and I think the first game ended with him writing himself out of our reality to keep the Dark Place at bay? Honestly, it's also been 13 years since I've played Alan Wake and I remember precisely three things about that game: Stephen King references, shining my flashlight at shadowy figures, and Alan Wake's clothes.

The man could layer. Tweed jacket; parka; hoodie under the parka; presumably a shirt below it all. Maybe an undershirt for good measure? The combination expressed a certain combination of erudition, ruggedness, and casual approachability all in one contradictory package. Yet after 13 years in the Dark Place, Alan Wake has somehow reappeared with a wholly different look: a classy—yet almost offensively restrained—suit and tie. If you're thinking #NotMyAlanWake, you wouldn't be out of line.

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Not even a vest to add one extra layer? Not a suit jacket with an inexplicable hood? How has Wake awoken with such a drastically changed perspective on personal style? 

With about 15 minutes to interview Remedy Entertainment creative director Sam Lake about Alan Wake 2, I knew I had to get to the bottom of this, the game's one and only mystery. He had an answer before I'd even finished asking the question.

"In this psychological horror story, the layers are now inside his mind that we'll get to experience throughout this story," said Lake.

Unable to resist revealing Alan Wake 2's core theme, game director Kyle Rowley jumped in with his own piece of the puzzle: "For every year trapped [in the Dark Place], he took off one layer of clothing." 

"And another layer was added inside his head," Lake said, adding the final conductor's flourish. 

I believe I can now exclusively and definitively report that Alan Wake remains the most layered guy in videogame history 13 years later. The layers have simply relocated.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).