Sam Lake takes players further into the forest in Alan Wake 2

28.10.2023 posted by Admin

Lakeside reflections. Sam Lake's dark artistry

During his childhood in Finland, Sam Lake's summers were split between the water and dry land due to his family's annual trips to a lakeside cabin near Helsinki. Standing on a wooden pier over dark Finnish waters, he felt compelled to dive into their mysterious depths, a place he described as a "black mirror."

The video games Lake has written and directed at Remedy Entertainment over nearly three decades create a similar sense of foreboding, with immersive, threatening environments. These include a town breaking like glass due to time disruption in Quantum Break, a shifting, supernatural building in Control, and confined, menacing forests in Alan Wake and its newly released sequel, Alan Wake 2. These games blend genre craftsmanship with high art, featuring pulpy, allegorical, and poetic writing with hints of absurdist humor.

Born Sami Järvi in 1970, Lake considers Alan Wake 2, published by Epic Games, as a dream project he's been eager to make since the original game's release. After Microsoft initially declined a sequel, Lake and his team created Control. Finally, after a long wait, Lake was able to fully commit to Alan Wake 2.

As of late September, Lake was deeply involved in the game's final production phase, fine-tuning details, and ensuring everything met his high standards. Despite his busy schedule, he looked forward to a break to forage for mushrooms, mentioning it's a great year for them.

Alan Wake 2, taking four years to develop, offers a linear single-player experience set in the Pacific Northwest, featuring two protagonists: Alan Wake and FBI agent Saga Anderson. It's a departure from Remedy's previous games, delving into survival horror with a focus on claustrophobic encounters, vulnerability, and photorealistic violence.

The game's structure mirrors Lake's childhood memories of dark Finnish waters, with two parallel storylines. Lake's previous work suggests he has a knack for posing tantalizing questions and leaving room for players' imagination, which fans and developers admire.

The Remedy Connected Universe, involving references and shared elements in Remedy's games, offers players a unique experience. While it may be seen as a ploy to retain players, it's a remarkable achievement for an independent studio in a changing gaming landscape.

Lake's journey as a writer started with a love for fantasy literature and Dungeons & Dragons. His studies in English language and literature at the University of Helsinki further fueled his passion for writing. Lake's fascination with postmodern literature, especially Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49," inspired his love for the unknown and enigmatic narratives.

Lake's games have increasingly incorporated metatextual elements, creating connections between different games in the Remedy universe. This intertextuality has grown into something significant, akin to the shared universe crafted by author Stephen King.

Alan Wake's development was challenging and led to a unique narrative that reflected the game's troubled production. The game's narrative complexity and meta-narrative elements add depth and a sense of the unknown to the experience.

Alan Wake 2 is Lake's dream project, evolving with a newfound creative confidence at Remedy. It offers a blend of surreal, bizarre elements and tense third-person action, providing players with a captivating experience.

Despite the excitement surrounding Remedy's games, there's a lingering question about their depth and substance. The games' postmodern influences may lead to a sense of superficiality, as they focus on stylistic elements and metatextual questions.

Lake's work often features protagonists grappling with abstract forces, mirroring his fascination with the unknown and the search for a single truth. Alan Wake 2's two protagonists offer different perspectives and adapt to new, often surreal circumstances.

Lake's own childhood experiences with overwhelming stories and imagination have influenced his video game narratives. His games aim to provoke an uncanny sensation of being overwhelmed by incomprehensible forces and stories.
Comments are temporarily unavailable

Your comment