The DLC for Alan Wake 2’s Night Springs is somehow even weirder than the base game

“If you thought we were dead before, wait until you see this,” Remedy’s Thomas Puha told me at the start of a recent Alan Wake 2 DLC preview. The first expansion for one of the best games of 2023 is on the way, with the Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC launching to all Expansion Pass owners tomorrow, June 8. It is the first of two expansions and is divided into three hour-long episodes, each designed to look like Night Springs, an anthology television universe inspired by The Twilight Zone. At the demo I attended, it quickly became clear that Puha is right. Somehow, despite Alan Wake 2’s chaotic Ouroboros-like narrative, the DLC seems Even weirder.

The premise of the DLC is that players encounter three failed attempts by Alan to escape the Dark Place before the events of Alan Wake 2, which means exactly when They were relegated during the 13 years he was trapped, which is a bit unclear at this point. As Alan grapples with the imagination to create his own exit strategy, the twist and turn of three scripts from his time as a TV writer becomes his next endeavor, which lends itself very well to the high-brow weirdness that Remedy has turned to more and more since 2019’s Control.

In an episode titled Fan Number One, the waitress—who looks like Rose Marigold but isn’t literally her—steps away from her shift at Nite’s Diner (an echo of Oh, Deer Diner) to rescue her lover, a best-selling author. The episode begins with a hot pink filter and a sarcastic monologue narrated by a waitress, with the heroine offering her loyal customers delicious coffee and “really good advice.”

She doesn’t know every client by name, but oddly enough she has a level of intimacy with each one of them, with the subtitles jokingly referring to speakers’ names like Lady With Seven Corgis and Guy Who Works With Computers. The idyllic opening is quickly stripped away by a 12-minute demo that begins with such sweetness and ends with The Waitress’s gun firing over a dozen or so shots taken on the shore of Lake Cauldron.

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For players who may be playing these episodes while experiencing the base game for the first time and discovering the TVs that lead to them, the change in tone may cause injury, and this is intentional.

“Coming from working on survival horror for five years, yeah, you know [let us] “Have a little fun with this,” said game director Kyle Rowley. “We talked about how the base game is very important from a narrative perspective, everything [must] Communicate together and make sense. So we had a lot of ideas that were like, “This is a great idea, but it doesn’t make sense in the context of what we’re trying to do.” Whereas at this, we’re like, “This looks cool.” Let’s put it down.”

“And I love how this gives us a way to explore different themes that we’ve established before but then rely on heavily,” added level designer Natalie Janke. “I love Rose, so playing a character inspired by her, the waitress — it’s a good power fantasy, because I think waitressing is probably a less glamorous job than an FBI file clerk or a best-selling author, but it’s a power fantasy that a lot of us really relate to.” And we had the best time imagining, what does it mean to have your crush save the love of your life, you know I think it’s something we’ve all probably felt, which is to be meaningful and important to someone.

By bringing familiar faces into the Alan Wake 2 frame, the world of the Remedy Connected Universe continues to unfold in unexpected ways.

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Each of the other two episodes brings its own distinct touches as well. In North Star, players will control The Sibling, who resembles Control’s Jesse Faden, as she searches for her brother in what head writer Clay Murphy described as the “scariest” of the trio. The synopsis reads like Control, which would lend itself to the fan theory that Alan wrote the events of Control into existence, though creative director Sam Lake told me just last year that Remedy had no intention of saying that Control’s story was faithfully born from Alan’s mind . This suggests that this fun mirror version of Control’s leading lady and the events she’ll experience in the DLC aren’t meant to be taken also Literally, not by Jesse Faden, at least.

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Perhaps no episode feels more reliant on fan service than the sci-fi-flavored Time Breaker, which also perfectly illustrates what this DLC will be like. In it, players take on the role of actor Sean Ashmore – yes, he plays himself – who portrays a character called The Actor, an echo of Alan Wake 2’s Tim Breaker, who himself is – fans might argue, anyway – an echo of Quantum Break’s Jack Joyce. In this episode, the Actor must “track down the Master of the Many Worlds” and prevent him from killing the many versions of the Actor that exist across space-time.

To nerds like me, this sure sounds like allusions to Jack Joyce and Martin Hatch (now confirmed as Warlin Door in Alan Wake 2). On one possible reading of the script, this could make Time Breaker a quasi-continuation or even epilogue to Quantum Break, an IP that Remedy can’t actually work with but that still extends into existing Remedy Connected Universe stories. But the team says, while some fans may be looking at such a closing chapter for Jack Joyce, that’s not exactly what’s happening.

“I think technically, they can [theory-craft that]“But they have to really look closely,” Murphy said. “After you play the episodes, you’ll see, but there’s not a lot of straight, sequential connective tissue between these stories and maybe the elements they contain are inspired by me. I’m sure I’ll read this theory on Reddit at some point, but I’ll downvote it.”

Perhaps no episode feels more reliant on fanservice than the sci-fi-flavored Time Breaker, which also perfectly illustrates what this DLC will be like.

And he is right; Fan theories will flow no matter what, as they always have since 2010’s Alan Wake. It comes with the territory and is part of the fun. “I’ve talked about this before, but when we see videos or people’s speculative posts on Reddit or articles, sometimes we look at them and say, ‘They’re so wrong’ or ‘Well, they’re kind of getting somewhere,’” Rowley told me. “But you know, I think we like that. As a studio, a lot of our stories are mystery-driven, and even internally, some people say, ‘What the hell is going on here?’

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I wondered out loud what if Remedy based on a fan theory got everything right and solved the case before Remedy could unveil it through its many interconnected games? Will they find it deflating or inspiring? “I don’t think it’s possible for them to solve this case, so there’s no need to worry about it,” Rulie said confidently.

Alan Wake 2’s DLC launches tomorrow, June 8, for those who own the Deluxe Edition of the game on Xbox Series The second DLC, The Lake House, is currently scheduled to release in October. A physical release, as well as a collector’s edition of Limited Run, is on the way.

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