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Heather Wald

I've turned Alan Wake 2 into a detective pen-and-paper RPG and I'm having the time of my life

Alan Wake 2.

Whenever I settle down to play a session of Alan Wake 2, I need a notepad and pen to hand. This is absolutely not a requirement when it comes to playing Remedy's survival horror game, but it has become a self-imposed rule. Just as Saga is investigating the bizarre occurrences in Bright Falls, I feel like I'm doing some detective work of my very own in reality. There are so many little details to uncover, Easter eggs to find, and general weirdness going on as both Alan Wake and Saga Anderson, that anytime I find something of interest, I just have to chronicle it and keep a record. I don't know if this will help me uncover anything, or get any useful answers, but to be honest, it doesn't really matter. It's all about the joy of the process, and how it's making me appreciate Remedy's story and setting. 

I may still be absolutely terrified most of the time, but that doesn't stop me from exploring every inch of the environment. From jotting down phrases graffitied across walls, to zooming in on signs or smaller decals and working out puzzles for collectibles, I'm constantly compelled to catalogue my findings and keep an eye out for potential clues. My desire to truly understand everything that's going on, and peel back all of the layers of this mysterious, dark world, has a firm hold over me, and nothing speaks to that more than the filled-in pages of my notebook.  

Words and lyrics  

(Image credit: Remedy)
(Image credit: Remedy)
(Image credit: Remedy)

As a big fan of the first game, I was already excited to see where the story of Alan Wake 2 would go. After all, the writer and famed novelist has been missing for 13 years, and with the release of Control in between and its DLC featuring Wake, so many questions had been hanging over my head in the leadup to the release of the sequel. When the time came for me to actually step back into Bright Falls at long last, I didn't want to miss a thing. Despite feeling some trepidation about its new survival horror direction, nothing was going to stop me from sating my curiosity. Happily, that's turned out to be my saving grace, because it constantly propels me forward to uncover more about Wake, Saga, and the Dark Place. So much so, in fact, that I often find myself pushing past the horror just so I can shine a light on more of the setting to see what else I might uncover.

My notetaking began in earnest pretty early on, when a song began to play at the close of the first chapter. I'm still making my way through the game, but the music is already a highlight, and I can never bring myself to skip any of the songs that play as little interludes between the different sections of the story. During the first song, I really sat with it, paying close attention to the lyrics. All of the songs, as it turns out, are thematically linked and tell a little story of their own. Each time one played I couldn't fight the urge to grab my notebook and write them down. Honing in on individual lines, as though I was in my own version of the Mind Place in my living room, I started linking them up to the story of Alan or Saga. 

(Image credit: Future)

But my notes didn't just stop there. One particular section of the game takes you into a dark subway as Alan Wake, and there is so much there to read into. The station signs and posters may look like nothing out of the ordinary from a distance, but if you look closer with your torch light, you'll see they're actually messages. Some look like excerpts plucked from the pages of one of Wake's novels, while others look like goading lines of text that seem to be directly addressed to Wake. Any interesting phrases that caught my attention went right into my notepad on the off-chance they might factor into the story later. Plus, I wanted to pore over everything I'd noted down later on. Everything is there for a reason, after all, and I wanted to know. 

I'm sure if anyone were to open up this notebook, they'd likely be quite concerned without any context. With lines like "don't write", and "I was trapped by a thousand nights", and "I'm coming out alive" scrawled across the page. But Alan Wake 2 has completely consumed me whole with thoughts and theories about where all this is going, and I'm loving every second of it. Maybe when I reach the conclusion, all of my notes will start making sense. One thing's for sure: I can't wait to find out. 

Here are the best Alan Wake 2 Easter eggs and references.

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