Warning! This article contains discussion of some secrets and story threads in Alan Wake Remastered. If you’d rather find them yourself, stop reading now and return after you’ve completed the game.
With the release of the AWE DLC expansion for Control, Remedy Entertainment definitively placed its 2010 psychological thriller Alan Wake in the same universe as the 2019 paranormal action game. AWE gave us a sense of some of the things that had happened to characters from Alan Wake in the interim, including Alan himself, and suggested that something new was happening in the Alan Wake setting of Bright Falls in 2022. With Alan Wake Remastered, we get new hints that the events hinted back in AWE are on the horizon.
Alan Wake Remastered is mostly a visual upgrade of the original game, but it does include a few new tidbits for die-hard fans to find. New to the game are three QR codes hidden in a few of the game’s chapters. Scan them, and they’ll lead you to YouTube videos that are much like Alan’s Hotline communications with Control protagonist Jesse Faden during AWE.
The videos don’t provide too much information, but they do give some context about Alan and some hints about what Alan Wake 2 could be like. Here’s where you can find all the QR codes, the videos they link to, and what it might all mean.
Episode 1: Nightmare
The first QR code is almost at the very beginning of the game. Alan starts the narrative off by talking about a nightmare he had before arriving in Bright Falls. As you wander the dreamscape, you’ll leave your car on foot and start making your way to a lighthouse. Not far into the level, you’ll pass a billboard with some images on it, including a missing poster showing Alan, a shot of the diver, and the QR code.
The video the code links to is called Vision 01, which you can watch on YouTube here.
Episode 2: Taken
You can find the second QR code during Alan’s flashback to New York three years before the events of the game. Head into Alan’s office to check the new book covers Alice has made for him and you’ll spot the QR code on the wall–but make sure you snap a shot or scan it before interacting with the book, or you’ll end the scene. The good news is that you’ll return to the New York flashback a couple more times during the course of the game, and the code will be waiting in each of them if you miss it here.
Vision 02 is your reward for finding the second code, which discusses Alan’s writing process for trying to use the power of the Dark Place. Watch it here.
Episode 4: The Truth
You won’t find another QR code until the start of Episode 4, when Alan wakes up in Cauldron Lake Lodge. When Hartman gives you the tour, head up to the second floor and check the small sitting area at the back of the lodge. The QR code is hanging on the wall.
The final video, Vision 03, sounds a whole lot like the opening moments of Alan Wake 2–and suggests Alan might finally be able to escape the Dark Place, but not without a serious cost. You can see it here.
Hints For Alan Wake 2?
The three videos provide some very important clues as to what we can expect in a continuation of Alan Wake’s story, especially in light of a few hints we got in Control and AWE. First, the videos are definitely taking place years after the events of Alan Wake–in Vision 01, Alan mentions that it feels like years have passed, but the look of the Vision videos and Alan’s longer hair matches what we saw from his Hotline communications in AWE. So we can say pretty definitively that these new videos are far in the future from the original game, and that Alan’s new communications are talking about his current state, not his past state.
Next, we get some potential story hints. We know from Alan Wake that the power of the Dark Place at the bottom of Cauldron Lake manifests the creations of artists in reality. The Dark Presence, some kind of malignant intelligence, tried to manipulate Alan into using that power to free itself from Cauldron Lake, but Alan defeated it at the end of the game–at the cost of trapping himself there. Vision 01 talks about Alan being stuck in the Dark Place and how it interacts with his work, and also what he’s been trying to do to get himself out.
“This place tapped into my unconscious mind, drew from there, twisting what it stole into a nightmare that took shape around me. A mystery–a detective story. I needed a detective to guide me. Echoes of Casey haunted me.”
This feels like a big, meaningful tidbit: Alan has struggled to puzzle his way out of the Dark Place for years, and its power causes him to lose his memory and for his nightmares to become real around him. In AWE, we get the sense that Alan is writing to guide Jesse in the world of Control, and that he intends to enlist her help through his writing to get himself out of the Dark Place. But AWE also makes mention of an FBI agent who’s making inquiries into Alan’s case, drawing the attention of the Federal Bureau of Control. That person says their name is Alex Casey.
Alan mentions Casey in Vision 01–and he’s a fictional character. Casey was the protagonist of the series of hardboiled crime novels that made Alan a famous writer, but he got tired of writing Casey stories and killed the protagonist off in his last book, The Sudden Stop, before the start of Alan Wake. (There’s also some suggestion that Casey is an Alan Wake universe version of Remedy’s other famous protagonist, Max Payne.)
Jesse could be the detective Alan is talking about, but one wonders if Casey might literally make an appearance in Alan Wake 2 in some form. Alan’s discussion of detective stories also brings up a big question: What mystery is he referring to, and how will it factor into the story he’ll need to tell in Alan Wake 2?
Vision 02 suggests that in his writing, Alan taps into things he couldn’t possibly know and draws them into his stories to make them feel real–making it sound like the writer isn’t just harnessing an active imagination, but literally and unconsciously writing about real things. That sounds a lot like some things we saw in Control, and maybe gives us a better understanding of what the Dark Place is. In Control, the Object of Power known as the Projector allowed the FBC to see into and even visit alternate universes. And while possessed by the Hiss, Dylan Faden, Jesse’s brother, says some things that sound like he’s seeing into other universes, including one that sounds a lot like the world of Alex Casey or Max Payne (or both, if they’re really the same person).
Add to that the fact that Alan’s ties to the Dark Place seem to go back a lot further than the events of Alan Wake. There’s some suggestion that Thomas Zane, the first writer that got pulled into the Dark Place, had a link to Alan and might have even been his absent father, and Zane wrote elements of Alan’s past into reality to prepare him to one day fight the Dark Presence. It’s all kind of convoluted, but the FBC flagged Alan as a possible Director candidate, the same as Jesse and Dylan, because of his paranatural affinity. Vision 02 seems to suggest that it’s not just the Dark Place that gives Alan and his writing power, but something weird about Alan himself.
Finally, Vision 03 just straight-up sounds like the opening moments of Alan Wake 2. In the video, Alan talks about a man emerging from a caldera lake, naked and unable to remember who he is. The man then flees into the forest, feeling the presence of a shadow pressing toward him. That all sounds a lot like Alan Wake as we know it, and could be the first page of the new manuscript Alan is writing to get himself out of the Dark Place. The naked man could be him; we’ve seen that he loses his ability to remember key things in the Dark Place, so the memory loss would track. There’s also some suggestion of a new dark antagonist like the Dark Presence.
In AWE, the last moments of the DLC say that an event detected in Bright Falls is taking place two years in the future. If we take that as a literal hint from Remedy, that slates Alan Wake 2 for sometime in 2022. Vision 03 might narrow it down a little more, with Alan mentioning fall colors in the forest as the naked man escapes the lake. Put it all together, and we can guess that Alan Wake 2 is coming our way in Fall 2022, that Jesse Faden will probably make a return, and that there could be even more of the “Remedy Shared Universe” appearing in the upcoming game than we’d realized.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.