Alan Wake was one of the more unique games released on the XBox 360, a psychological thriller with more than a passing thematic resemblance to Silent Hill but grounded in a small-town hidden-horrors aesthetic reminiscent of Stephen King. Featuring a tormented novelist as its protagonist, the game allowed players to investigate a supernatural force influencing the goings-on of a fictional lakeside town with unique gameplay elements involving the manipulation of light and light sources. Two follow-up "specials" were released subsequently, but fans have been hoping for a sequel for years.
Now, it seems they might get their wish: Apparently, developer Remedy Entertainment's upcoming release Quantum Break includes a tease for a possible continuation of the Alan Wake franchise.
In Quantum Break, a third person shooter, players must use newly-acquired powers to freeze and manipulate time to battle a villain who has the ability to see the future and adjust their aims accordingly. The connections to Alan Wake apparently come as part of the game's worldbuilding: The action is set in and around a fictional University where a time-travel experiment sets the plot in motion. Evidently, while exploring one of the classrooms players can observe details about the plot of the first Alan Wake game outlined on a blackboard in story-analysis form - either implying that the game itself exists in the world of Quantum Break and is being studied or, more intriguingly, that the game shares a universe with Alan Wake and the class was analyzing "The Departure" (the fictional novel that Wake was writing during the events of the game).
A second "easter egg" has also been discovered: Players can interact with a TV at one point, which displays live-action footage for a production titled Alan Wake's Return. While many are concluding that this could be early confirmation that the long-awaited sequel is finally in development, it is also possible that the footage could be for an Alan Wake television series similar to the tie-in series set to accompany Quantum Break itself.
Boasting an unusually-lengthy five year development time, the original Alan Wake followed an author suffering from writer's block who decamps with his wife to an isolated lakeside cabin in an attempt to jump-start his creative passions. Instead, his wife disappears and he soon becomes a suspect in said disappearance, embarking on an investigative journey during which he comes to suspect that the area is under the influence of an ancient, evil force trapped within the lake itself - one which he must somehow conquer if he is able to rescue his wife and reclaim his sanity. A copy of the game, which is viewed as a gameplay/thematic predecessor to the newer title, is set to be included with copies of Quantum Break.
The Quantum Break digital series is set to run as a series of four 22 minutes episodes that will focus on the activities of the game's villains with limited participation by the more noteworthy actors (Shawn Ashmore, Aiden Gillan) doing voice and character work for the game's heroes. If Alan Wake's Return is indeed another such series rather than a game of its own or just a clever inside joke, it is unclear whether or not it would be meant to follow the same format. A feature film adaptation was floated as a possibility when the game first debuted, but movement did not seem to proceed beyond the hypothetical stage.
More details will presumably be available as Quantum Break itself gets closer to release on April 5, 2016.