Alan Wake 2 is a game like no other, as we said in our recent 10/10 review of the game. Part of that is owed to the game’s multimedia approach which sees the story blend traditional video game levels and visuals with an array of music and live-action into many scenes in a distinct and novel manner. If you’ve played the game, you know one of these scenes, in particular, stands out as arguably one of gaming’s most memorable and overall best moments of the year, or even perhaps of the past several years.
If you haven’t played it yet, be wary of Alan Wake 2 spoilers in this article.
Speaking on the Friends Per Second podcast, hosted in part by GameSpot’s very own Lucy James, Remedy creative director Sam Lake revealed that Initiation 4, a dazzling chapter midway through the game that features an elaborate live-action musical during a combat sequence, was nearly removed from the game during development, leading Lake and others to argue in favor of keeping it in.
“It was really, really hard for a number of reasons to have a musical in this,” Lake said on the podcast. “And there were many productions meetings [where people said] ‘Come on, we need to cut this.’ I was like, ‘Absolutely not, we are not cutting it.'”
Lake went on to cite the reasons why it was challenging for some to imagine having in the final version of the game, such as how the live-action elements evolved over time project-wide, and how such a scene could, in theory, be done in different ways, meaning Remedy had to determine how such a scene would even come together, then commit to it even as games can evolve so much over the years they take to come together.
“When you say to someone, ‘We’re gonna put a musical in a survival-horror game, the question comes to, ‘Well, how? What’s the gameplay loop there?'” added game director Kyle Rowley during the interview.
The pair revealed the idea for a musical was Lake’s originally, owed in part to the strong reception to Control’s Ashtray Maze and the original Alan Wake’s concert standoff, both of which used music in exciting and novel ways to drive interactive elements of those games. “I knew that [Alan Wake voice actor Matthew Poretta] is a great singer, so Alan Wake can sing in this,” Lake recalled thinking. “And then finding David Harewood, who is wonderful as [Mr. Door], he has a background in singing.”
Lake went on to talk more about how Poets of the Fall, the real-life Finnish rock band that is featured as the in-universe band, Old Gods of Asgard, helped direct Harewood and Poretta, and how he hoped the choreographer would be merciful in their dance instructions for a novice dancer such as himself. You can listen to the whole episode above, or skip to two hours and 13 minutes into the episode for the start of the discussion about the game’s unforgettable musical.
Alan Wake 2 is out now on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and the Epic Games Store.
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