Remedy Entertainment, creators of Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break, have expanded into two teams and begun work on their next projects, so says Head of Communications Thomas Puha in a ‘State of the Studio’ post over on the Finnish developer’s website.
Unfortunately, neither of these two teams are creating a sequel to cult favourite Alan Wake, which launched six years ago on the Xbox 360, before coming to PC back in 2012. “[W]e feel that it’s important to set the expectations right and let you, the fans, know that neither of the two projects currently in development is an Alan Wake game,” Puha wrote. “We’re working on something else, but at the same time we’re exploring opportunities in other mediums to tell more Alan Wake stories.
It’s a smart move to set expectations like that, as fans have been clamouring for a sequel for years and would immediately make the assumption that Alan Wake 2 is coming – certainly after all the easter eggs in Quantum Break that seemed to be dropping hints for Wake‘s Return. But that statement makes it sound like there’s little chance of a return to that franchise in video game form, which would be incredibly disappointing.
At this point I’d take anything, even a webseries; Bright Falls, the pre-release tie-in, was actually pretty good, after all. Expand on the idea a bit and bring in Ilkka Villi to play the parts of Wake and Mr Scratch, and it could be pretty decent. Ah, who am I kidding, please make Alan Wake 2, Remedy.
So what do we know about Remedy’s two new projects? Well, not a lot. In the post, Puha notes that Remedy have in the past announced games too early, and that they’re looking to learn from this experience. To that end, they won’t be taking the stage at E3 next week or Gamescom in August; “we should have the patience to announce games when they’re ready enough,” says Puha. Fans are of course used to waiting for Remedy to drop the goods, but we usually know what we’re looking forward to.
We do get a few little hints dropped throughout the post, however. It would seem both projects are intended to be AAA games, suggesting the studio will be expanding a fair bit (a supposition backed up by a wealth of job vacancies currently listed on their site for programmers, engineers and artists), while one of the titles has apparently been in development “[f]or a while now, already”.
Most interesting is the mention of a new partner for this game, as Remedy have been partnering with Microsoft for their big games for the last decade, leading to speculation that either party is no longer happy with the arrangement. Of course, we’ll likely never know, and it may well just be down to Remedy wanting to hit more platforms.
Discussion immediately erupted around the subject of who this new publisher might be. No information is given on this, though in all likelihood it’s a third party looking to publish the game to multiple platforms. I’ve seen some mention Sony, saying it’d be quite a move for the platform holder to ‘poach’ Remedy’s next game out from under Microsoft’s nose, and while I agree it’d generate some headlines on gaming sites and forums, I don’t know if I can see Sony fronting the cash for a Remedy project; the Finnish studio make story-driven, cinematic third person shooters, and that’s an area of the PlayStation 4’s portfolio that’s already pretty well covered – by the time Remedy’s new project is unveiled, we’ll probably have seen what Naughty Dog are working on, for instance, while third party efforts, like the forthcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider, will also help to fill that genre out. There’s no real need for Sony to invest there.
We know even less about the other project, which is currently just an early concept. It’s unlikely to be a sequel to this year’s Quantum Break – Microsoft own that IP, after all, so would almost certainly be publishing anything else set within that universe. Interestingly, Puha does note that the studio will continue to “support” the game, but quite what ongoing support is needed for a single player-only, story-driven game is unknown – at least for the console version. It’s mentioned that an update is on the way for the game, but what that entails isn’t detailed, and while I’d love a sequel, I’d happily take some Beth DLC in lieu of that, focussing around her during a certain part of the story, and maybe with a Fight ’til Dawn-style arcade mode to make the most of the combat engine and time powers. Sadly, it feels like all we’ll get going forward are some housekeeping updates. At least for now, anyway; Puha states that the team are extremely proud of the game and mention that it’s the “biggest-selling new Microsoft Studios published IP this generation”, so hopefully they’re able to return to it one day. You know, much like they’ll hopefully return to Alan Wake one day…
So while we wait to see what Remedy’s cooking up, and who it is they’re working with, at least we now know not to expect an Alan Wake or Quantum Break sequel on Monday. While that does mean I can now manage my expectations a bit better, it of course leaves me somewhat disappointed too. Still, Remedy always bring the goods, so when they do decide to come out and unveil their new project, I, along with all the fans of their work, will be there.