Alan Wake 2 Summer Game Fest 2023 Preview

Alan Wake II

Prior to Summer Game Fest 2023, there was one game we looked forward to more than any other. No, we aren’t talking about Final Fantasy XVI or Mortal Kombat 1. As you can tell, the game we were most excited about before Summer Game Fest was Alan Wake 2.

Prior to the the game’s latest trailer, we expected that the gameplay would be similar to the original game. However, the new trailer showed off a new character and a different pacing than the original game.

As a massive fan of the original, I wanted to see how the sequel would compare to the original and how they would blend the stories. How would Remedy tie in the time gap and how would they introduce a new character?

The Trailer

During the Summer Game Fest Showcase, Remedy highlighted Saga’s role in Alan Wake 2. Saga, an FBI agent on a mysterious case, sets out to reassess the crime scene after the murdered victim’s body has disappeared.

While investigating in the woods, Saga comes up to a dark decrepit cabin that looks like it has been abandoned. Originally, the trailer makes the audience jump by using a deer as a jump scare.

As Saga goes to approach the other side of the room, a man in a deer mask breaks through the wall and attempts to attack her. Instinctively she shoots him in the chest but it does not take him down.

With the flashlight focused on him, she is able to aim for where the shadows cover him and clear away the darkness. With his weak spot open, Saga is able to take him down. Once the masked cultist is down, Saga is able to search the area and finds a heart in the deep freezer.

Extended Preview

While at the Summer Game Fest Play Days, we had the opportunity to meet with Remedy Entertainment to get an extended peak at Alan Wake 2. For this hands-off preview, the demo starts off as Alex Casey and Saga arrive at Cauldron Lake.

The two are investigating the murder and resurrection of Robert Nightingale. As they walk through the woods, they decide to split up with Saga following the clues and Casey looking over the crime scene.

The demo truly showcases how weather and the elements will affect the environment in the same with Saga’s clothes becoming wet and the mood changing. The effects clearly showcase Saga’s movement through the water and up the muddy hill.

At the top of the hill, Saga finds a hut that has no power. Determined to turn on the power, Saga looks for a clue. Once a fuse is found, Saga returns to the fuse box and places it in the fuse box, unlocking a save point and granting another clue.

Following the clues, Saga reaches the general store where she encounters the Taken (Cultist). After dispatching the cultist, Saga is able to go into the general store and find a heart. Rather than the preview ending there, the staff member unlocked the shotgun in the case and showcased The Mind Place.

The Mind Place is a spot that Saga can enter to piece together clues on the case board, read over manuscript pages, upgrade weapons, watch cinematics, look at maps, and profile a suspect. While in the Mind Place, Saga is not safe as time in the real world moves at the same pace. Profiling allows Saga to get a deeper understanding of the suspect’s mind and helps you to discover where to go. Alan Wake will have a similar gameplay element.

After gathering the heart, the Remedy team member ran back to the break room to save at the thermos. In later segments, the breakroom can be used to switch between Saga and Alan in the Dark Place.

After saving, we were off to the witch’s hut that required a ritual sacrifice. As we headed there, a cultist ambushed us and allowed them to show off another combat situation. While under the street light (Safe Havens), Saga is safe and combat slows down. During that time, Saga is able to use painkillers to heal, target the cultist’s vital spots (Darkness), and hit them with either the handgun or sawed-off shotgun. With a more strategic element, Saga throws flares or propane tanks; she can also use flare guns to burn away enemies or create light.

Once the next cultist was defeated, we continued on to the witch’s hut. A billboard of the witch had two holes available and we were able to put the heart through the witch’s board. This opens up the path to the Overlap and cuts off Saga’s ability to communicate with Casey. While in the Overlap, Saga sees and hears things that shouldn’t be possible; she hears her child Logan calling out. As she explores the overlap, a red light helps guide her through.

The red light ultimately leads to the spot showcased in the photo, but as a mystery is solved a new enemy emerges. This is where we were introduced to the first boss fight. What starts as an open area quickly turns into narrow paths as Saga attempts to flee/fight off her attacker. The game likes to use psychotic jump scares to affect the player while in the boss fight. If Saga is grabbed, she can use the flashlight to break free draining a charge.

After defeating the boss, Saga winds up on the shore of “Cauldron Lake” and discovers Alan, who is disoriented. He asks where he is, and Saga gets him up to speed. When he identifies himself, she states that he has been missing for 13 years. Alan then says he needs to get back because the Dark Presence is manipulating the story.


After watching the extended gameplay demo of Alan Wake 2, I am definitely more excited for when the game releases in time for Halloween. The game seems to focus more on suspenseful horror with jumpscares rather than the more action horror style of the first game. Inventory will play a major role in Alan Wake 2, with inventory space being limited but upgradeable.

Our biggest complaint would have to be that combat seems almost too slow and methodical. Yes, combat is supposed to be meaningful, but from what we saw in the preview, it almost seems like it is too simplified. This could be because it was an earlier segment in the game, yes, but it still leaves us a bit concerned. Part of what made Alan Wake so enjoyable was the feeling that something could just be right around the corner to kill you. We would have also loved to see how switching between Alan and Saga worked and if time was impacted while completing their stories.

At the end of the day, Alan Wake 2 is still our most highly anticipated game from the Summer Game Fest Play Days, even if we left with more questions than answers. If this is anything like a good suspense novel, then that’s how the story will be as a whole. The game also looks to push the Unreal engine and create as realistic of an experience as possible.

Alan Wake 2 will be available on October 17th, 2023 on PC (Epic Game Store), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.

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Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.

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