Cracking Open the Alan Wake Collector’s Edition
I was wandering in the woods behind the Nerdy Show compound this afternoon, and found this. I was shocked, the game doesn’t come out until next Tuesday, but there it was, nestled between the roots of a tree, the Alan Wake Collector’s Edition. Needless to say this was a major find. We’ve been super-psyched about this game for a long, long time and and the recent live action prequel, Bright Falls has been blowing our minds. So before I, with shaking hands, load the disk into my 360, let’s take stock of what my findings have uncovered.
Once you slip off the standard glossy game cover, underneath you’ve go a canvas-bound ominous looking book with silver text and graphics. In thickness it’s almost as daunting as Garth Marenghi’s The Oeuvre, but I knew this book was more than meets the eye.
Opening the dummy book revealed a collection of two disc cases and one small book. Once disc case was the game, without any retailer markings. In addition to the instruction booklet there’s a token to download the first Alan Wake DLC, a new chapter called “The Signal”, be released July 27th. The other case had a sleeker presentation and contained two discs, the game’s soundtrack and a bonus disc playable on the 360.
The soundtrack is 10 tracks long featuring five tracks of score by Petri Alanko, and single tracks by The Black Angels, Anomie Belle, in-game band The Old Gods of Asgard, Dead Combo, and prolific musical fusion artist, Barry Adamson. The bonus disc is filled to the brim with special features: three documentaries (“The Story of Remedy”, “The Making of Alan Wake”, and “The Making of a Thriller”), galleries of cinematics, screenshots and concepts, and characters, 10 Alan Wake trailers dating as far back as 2005, a “Marketplace” selection that offers free downloads of Alan Wake gamer pictures, and two 360 themes – Elderwood, and Bright Falls (click the links for photos), and finally – an unprecedented feature – Developer’s Commentary that you can download from the bonus disc and enable as you play through the game – just like a DVD. Downloading the Developer’s Commentary also scores you a limited edition avatar award.
But the true pièce de résistance of this set is the book-within-a-book within-a-game, The Alan Wake Files, by Clay Steward. The book is 129 pages, is full color, has a dust jacket, and is bound in black canvas with a mysterious symbol in silver on the front. It’s author is a man who suffered reoccurring dreams about author, Alan Wake and the town of Bright Falls. He ventured into the town after the events in the game and could only find fragments of the true story of what happened thanks to his research and the tapes of a washed-up FBI Special Agent, Robert Nightingale. Steward’s book is full of notes and photos from Nightingale’s files. Also included are excerpts from some of Wake’s novels as well as the writing of other in-game entities. The dust jacked is even decked out with a book synopsis, author’s bio, and a bunch of promotional quotes from “reputable” journals (see detail to the right). I read a portion of the book and decided it was best to give it a rest before I dove in and experienced the real thing.
There was a bit of a surprise I stumbled across in The Alan Wake Files that I’ll make a point of sharing. It’s no secret that Alan Wake is havily inspired by David Lynch and mark Frost’s landmark TV series Twin Peaks, heck that’s half of why I’m so excited abut this game. But what I didn’t expect was such a direct reference in the cast of characters- Alan Wake has its own Log Lady! The town of Bright Falls is home to more than a few eccentrics but one stands out as being more mysterious than most – they call her “Lady Diogenes” after the Greek philosopher who wandered Athens with a lamp, I call her the Lamp Lady – same character!
Of course, the Lamp Lady is a bit of a cheap shot as references go. (EDIT: In the game they don’t call her “Lady Diogenes” at all, they do in fact call her “the Lamp Lady”.) The real tribute to Twin Peaks is in how Alan Wake plays out its mood and supernatural horror. It’s combat gaming aspects immediately turn it in a different direction from Peaks, but the quirky Pacific Northwest town and the fear of the dark woods seem quite intact with lots of room for originality. Reviews for Wake have been glowing so far, look for my review in a forthcoming episode of Nerdy Show.
If you’re not excited for Alan Wake yet, don’t know much about the game, and are still wondering why you should care then allow me to direct your attention to this – Bright Falls, the six-part live action miniseries prequel to Alan Wake. It’s an intense psycho-thriller that you must watch. No one has made anything like this for a video game before. All other live action forays into video game tie-ins are hereby trumped. Watch it below on YouTube, download them on X-Box Live, or check out the Silverlight-enhanced versions over at the Bright Falls website. Turn the light off, and get ready to be lost in Bright Falls:
I’ve pulled all the shades, really dug myself in, made the house as dark as I can. It’s weird, I can’t really stand to look at the light. It hurts. I’m so excited to play this game. So excited…