Tom Baker: People who were left salivating after Alan Wake's first appearance at E3 2005 may finally have the chance to play one of the best-looking games due out in 2008. The story feels like it's plucked straight from the mind of Stephen King (if he had been playing Silent Hill for days on end). The concept is original, delving into the tortured subconscious fantasies of a horror novelist, and Alan Wake looks to be one of the most cinematic titles to be released this year. Expect the unexpected with this stunning psychological thriller.
Mark Buckingham: A few things about Alan Wake have my attention. First, it's managed to maintain a high level of interest in the media despite the lack of information over the span of time we've known about it. Second, it looks to take the game equivalent of a psychological thriller in a direction more akin to Hitchcock than Resident Evil or Silent Hill, which isn't often seen in serious games. Third, despite it looking to require Vista and DX10, those requirements might actually be worth it, as the screens seen thus far are some of the prettiest stuff in gaming right now, justifying the switch to Vista/DX10 much more than the drab trappings of Halo 2 on the PC. If Alan Wake can pull off the sort of mystery and tension that Indigo Prophecy started (but didn't manage to end) with, it could be something pretty special.
Redmond Carolipio: I like games that screw with your mind while keeping you in its storytelling claws. The Max Payne games were short, but still managed to drain players mentally and emotionally. I've wanted to see what Remedy was going to do for a follow-up, and starting with an insomniac writer isn't bad at all. I want to experience what the game aims to do with light. You can use it as a weapon against the enemies coming after Alan, but there are other ways the game is going to try and play with the light/dark dynamic. There was some of that in The Darkness, but my expectations are going to be too high for simply turning lights on and off. I'm also interested to see how they handle the concept of a free-roaming city as well as how the game's visuals play out.
Chris "Atom" DeAngelus: Of all the games on the list, this is probably the one you've never heard of. Alan Wake stars, unsurprisingly, Alan Wake, a Stephen King-esque horror writer who loses his muse after his beloved fiancée vanishes. In an attempt to recover, Wake heads to the small town of Bright Falls, Wash., and attempts to write a new book. Unfortunately for Wake, his life takes a turn for the surreal when the town begins altering itself to match what he writes, and he is forced to confront the horrors of his own imagination. Alan Wake bills itself as somewhat of a mix between Silent Hill and Grand Theft Auto, promising a free-roaming world unlike any other horror game. A fully explorable take on a Silent Hill town? If they can pull it off, Alan Wake could be the surprise blockbuster of 2008.
Xav de Matos: Sometimes, a game becomes popular due to the massive hype machine, and in rare cases, a title is so mysterious that it intrigues its audience to no end; Alan Wake is the latter. From Remedy Entertainment, the folks behind the cult favorite Max Payne series, Alan Wake is a mysterious descent into a best-selling horror novel author's life after his fiancée disappears and he is admitted to a clinic in a mysterious town for sleep deprivation. Once he's able to sleep again, Wake is plagued by horrific nightmares that seem to be changing the world around him; ultimately, he has to fight for his life. Two parts Silent Hill and one part Stephen King, Alan Wake promises photorealistic graphics and a chilling story line that will have you sleeping with a night-light when it hits later this year.
Tim McDonald: We've not heard much of Alan Wake in a long time, but somehow, this has only added to my desire to play it, and not least because Remedy did exactly the same media blackout thing with Max Payne, which most would agree turned out rather well. A weird horror game with some serious "Twin Peaks" overtones, Alan Wake stars a writer who finds his nightmares are starting to come true when the sun sets. Free-roaming and promising to use light and the environment in interesting combative ways, you're an everyman trapped in a nightmare. It's a premise straight from a horror novel, and with an experienced team like Remedy behind it, this seems like it could be an exceptionally spooky experience with a strong emphasis on story. The fact that the old trailers still look absolutely stunning even now doesn't hurt, either.
Ramin Ostad: It's been a very long time since anyone has heard anything about Alan Wake. Developer Remedy's "cinematic action thriller" has slipped under the radar for quite some time, and they haven't given us much new information to go on. However, what is known about the game is still enough to excite. Even its two-year-old footage looks stunning, with fluid lighting and weather effects that alter on the fly, using natural environments to create an atmosphere that's frightening without being artificial. This only compliments the canned but potentially disturbing story of an insomniac horror novelist running around Washington state and trying to find his lost girlfriend. Using Wake's deteriorating, exhausted mind against him could prove to be a great tool to scare the player. There hasn't been a new game to take the reins of the horror genre in a very long time, and Alan Wake could do just that.
Thomas Wilde: Remedy makes memorable, interesting games, and doesn't sacrifice gameplay in the service of story. Both Max Payne games were almost self-parodyingly noir, yeah, but they knew what they were doing, and the extended series of metareference Easter eggs was just icing on the cake. As such, I'm looking forward to their next game, Alan Wake. For all I know, it's a fishing sim, but it ought to be an interesting fishing sim.
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