Alan Wake isn’t a stereotypical action hero. He’s a writer, an everyday kind of guy, who happens to be trapped in what feels like one of his novels. The decision to make an average Joe the lead of an action game goes against the gradient of trigger happy marines and comic book style superheroes typically seen in big budget video games.
“It’s the very reason characters portrayed in computer games don’t exactly have the emotional depth that’s possible in our medium,” said Matias Myllyrinne, Managing Director. “We have an every man, as you say, almost like a young Harrison Ford, and it’s easy to relate to that person. That person can evolve, his relationships with the other characters and supporting cast can take the story further.”
During the demo I saw another character act as comic relief by cracking jokes when Alan turned the lights off. Light plays an important role in the game since the “dark presence”, a force that possesses men and machines, can only be defeated after absorbing light. Alan carries a flashlight and flares, in addition to a gun he obtains from a wounded police officer. Perhaps, the predicament Alan finds himself in allows him to take a leading role. If Alan were on say, a space ship filled with zombie dinosaurs he may be a snack instead of a star.
“We think the characters are very interesting. You can take characters to different situations, different locations, and you can learn more about them and they can develop. Where as if it’s more of a cardboard cutout character — ‘I’m evil because I’m evil!’ then it doesn’t really resonate, at least what we think, a mature audience wants”
“I like my space marines as much as the next guy, but really games can tell a wider and more compelling stories as well,” Myllyrinne continues. “It doesn’t always need to be a ninja or a highly trained ex-seal who finds himself armed to the teeth with a rocket launcher.”
There are plenty of ninjas and ex-seals in video games. Do you think the medium needs more everyday heroes like Harry Mason from Silent Hill or the geeky teenager from Lester the Unlikely?