Alan Wake, the game, what it was, was a genuine mystery for the longest time. A vague trailer was all we had to go on and the promise of something open and unique. So when the game was finally properly unveiled at E3, I remember feeling mildly let down, having gone years expecting something larger in scope.
Of course, that was a completely unfair assumption — Alan Wake was, ultimately one of the better games released in 2010 — but interestingly enough, in a recent interview with Edge, Oskari Häkkinen, Remedy’s head of franchise development, has admitted that the game underwent some radical changes mid way through development, which goes some way to explaining why the final product was so at odds with initial expectations.
"The biggest mistake we made," said Häkkinen, speaking to Edge, "was following a sandbox design. It simply did not fit with our story-driven focus."
Alan Wake was initially an open world game, but the team found it difficult to reconcile the challenges of creating an open world with the grand story planned for Alan Wake. Thankfully, the tools the team had developed over the opening years of development were flexible enough to help create the new, more guided experience that Alan Wake became — creating a world that felt bigger than its boundaries.
'Having flexibility within the environments... gave us the opportunity to make any given path as wide or as narrow as we pleased," Häkkinen explains. "It allowed us to play around with gameplay – narrow stealth areas like when the cops are chasing Wake, and wider areas to allow exploration and that sense of: ‘Oh shit, I’m lost… what’s in the woods?’ So, yeah, it resulted in a much better game and it removed the linear feeling on the whole."
The Making Of: Alan Wake [EDGE]