What Alan Wake 2 Borrows From Control | Gamescom 2023

Hey there! Are you ready to hear all about the exciting gameplay of Alan Wake 2 at Gamescom 2023? Well, you’re in for a treat because Lucy and Tamoor from GameSpot have got you covered. In a behind closed doors demo, they were able to witness 40 minutes of Alan Wake 2 in action, giving us a glimpse into the game’s plot board, comparisons to Remedy’s Control, and of course, the Dark Place. With a narratively dense storyline, being a writer is a core mechanic for Alan as he navigates the twisted version of New York known as the Dark Place. Echoes of different events and characters like Saga and Alex Casey provide Alan with inspiration, allowing him to swap ideas and progress through the puzzles. Additionally, Alan now has the ability to capture light using the angel lamp, creating stunning gameplay moments and highlighting the game’s new tech advancements. Trust us, after hearing about the captivating details from Lucy and Tamoor, you’ll be eagerly awaiting the release of Alan Wake 2 in October!

What Alan Wake 2 Borrows From Control | Gamescom 2023

Plot Board and Narrative Density

As a writer, one of the most important tools in your arsenal is the plot board. This simple yet effective tool allows you to visualize the structure of your story, track character arcs, and maintain narrative density. With a plot board, you can easily see how each scene connects to the overall story, ensuring a cohesive and engaging narrative.

The plot board can take many forms, from a physical corkboard with index cards to a digital version on your computer. Whichever method you choose, the key is to have a visual representation of your story’s structure. By mapping out the plot, you can easily identify any gaps or inconsistencies in your narrative and make adjustments accordingly.

Narrative density refers to the amount of information and events packed into a story. It is crucial to strike a balance between keeping the reader engaged and overwhelming them with too much information. The plot board helps you achieve this balance by allowing you to see the overall flow of the story and ensuring that each scene contributes to the narrative progression without overwhelming the reader.

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Writer as a Core Mechanic

In many storytelling-based games, the writer is often relegated to the role of an observer or a passive participant. However, in some games, such as “The Dark Place,” the writer takes center stage as a core mechanic.

In this game, you step into the shoes of a struggling writer, Alex Casey, who is trapped in their own unfinished novel. As you progress through the game, you must actively participate in shaping the story, making choices that affect the outcome and the development of the characters. By giving the player agency as a writer, the game creates a unique and immersive experience.

Not only does the writer-as-a-core-mechanic concept add a layer of interactivity to the game, but it also explores the power of storytelling itself. By making choices and facing the consequences, you gain a deeper understanding of the impact writers have on their stories and characters. This mechanic serves as a reminder that every word counts and that as a writer, you have the power to shape worlds and lives.

The Dark Place

“The Dark Place” is a game that delves into the depths of the human psyche, exploring themes of mental health, identity, and the power of imagination. As Alex Casey, the protagonist, you find yourself trapped within the confines of your own unfinished novel.

The game takes place in a hauntingly beautiful world where each chapter represents a different stage of Alex’s journey through their novel. From serene forests to eerie abandoned buildings, every location is meticulously designed to immerse you in Alex’s imagination. The attention to detail is astounding, creating a truly immersive atmosphere that adds to the overall narrative experience.

Echoes of Different Events

One of the most intriguing aspects of “The Dark Place” is the concept of “Echoes.” These echoes are glimpses into different events and moments that have influenced Alex’s life and writing. They serve as puzzle pieces scattered throughout the game, waiting to be pieced together.

By interacting with these echoes, you gain insights into Alex’s past, their struggles, and the motivations behind their novel. These echoes create a sense of mystery and anticipation, driving you to uncover the truth behind Alex’s journey. Each piece of information you discover adds depth to the narrative, allowing you to form a connection with the protagonist and the world they inhabit.

What Alan Wake 2 Borrows From Control | Gamescom 2023

Inspiration and Writer’s Room

In order to create a compelling narrative, it is essential for a writer to draw inspiration from various sources. The same holds true for game development. “The Dark Place” boasts a robust writer’s room, where ideas, concepts, and inspirations are brought to life.

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The writer’s room serves as a collaborative space where writers, designers, and artists come together to brainstorm and experiment. By fostering a creative and supportive environment, the team behind “The Dark Place” is able to explore new ideas and push the boundaries of storytelling in games.

Drawing inspiration from various sources such as literature, art, and real-life experiences, the writer’s room is a melting pot of creativity. This collaborative approach ensures that the narrative of “The Dark Place” is rich, engaging, and resonates with players on a deeper level.

Progressing Through Puzzles

“The Dark Place” incorporates puzzles as a means for the player to progress through the story. These puzzles range from logical challenges to intuitive riddles, each designed to test your problem-solving skills and critical thinking.

While the puzzles may be challenging, they are not meant to frustrate or deter players. Instead, they are carefully crafted to enhance the narrative experience, allowing you to unravel the mysteries of Alex’s world piece by piece. Solving these puzzles gives you a sense of accomplishment and propels you further into the story, eager to discover what lies ahead.

The game seamlessly integrates the puzzles into the overall narrative, ensuring that they feel like a natural part of Alex’s journey. By successfully navigating these challenges, you not only progress in the game but also gain a deeper understanding of the protagonist’s struggles and motivations.

What Alan Wake 2 Borrows From Control | Gamescom 2023

Capture Light with the Angel Lamp

A unique mechanic in “The Dark Place” is the use of the Angel Lamp, an ethereal device that allows you to capture and manipulate light. This mechanic serves as a metaphor for illuminating the hidden truths within the narrative and provides a visually stunning gameplay element.

As you navigate through dark and mysterious environments, the Angel Lamp becomes your guiding light. By capturing orbs of light and strategically placing them, you can reveal hidden paths, trigger events, and uncover secrets. This mechanic adds an intriguing layer of gameplay and further immerses you in Alex’s journey.

The Angel Lamp also serves as a metaphorical representation of the writer’s ability to shed light on their story and characters. By harnessing the power of light, you are able to explore the depths of Alex’s imagination and reveal the truth within their unfinished novel.

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Impressive Tech and Asset Switching

“The Dark Place” showcases impressive technological advancements and asset switching capabilities that further enhance the gameplay experience. These advancements allow for seamless transitions between different environments, ensuring a smooth and immersive narrative flow.

The game seamlessly switches between various assets and art styles, creating a visually stunning and dynamic world. From pixelated landscapes to highly detailed 3D environments, each asset switch is carefully designed to enhance the storytelling and engage the player.

This impressive tech not only showcases the talent and dedication of the development team but also serves as a testament to the power of storytelling in games. By seamlessly blending different art styles and assets, “The Dark Place” creates a unique and visually captivating experience that draws players deeper into the narrative.

What Alan Wake 2 Borrows From Control | Gamescom 2023

Appearance of Alex Casey

One of the most anticipated moments in “The Dark Place” is the appearance of Alex Casey, the enigmatic writer trapped within their own unfinished novel. The moment Alex is revealed is a pivotal point in the game, where the player’s choices and actions finally culminate in a climactic confrontation.

The appearance of Alex Casey is expertly crafted to evoke a sense of awe and curiosity. The character design, combined with the powerful voice acting, brings Alex to life in a way that is both captivating and haunting. This pivotal moment serves as a testament to the impact of storytelling in games, as the player’s journey finally converges with the protagonist’s fate.


“The Dark Place” is a game that pushes the boundaries of storytelling in the gaming industry. By placing the writer as a core mechanic and exploring themes of mental health, identity, and the power of imagination, the game offers a truly unique and immersive narrative experience.

From the plot board and narrative density to the appearance of Alex Casey, every aspect of “The Dark Place” is meticulously designed to engage and captivate players. The puzzles, the Angel Lamp, and the impressive tech all serve to enhance the gameplay and deepen the connection between the player and the protagonist.

By delving into the depths of the human psyche and challenging players to confront their own notions of storytelling, “The Dark Place” presents a thought-provoking and unforgettable journey. It is a testament to the power of storytelling to evoke emotions, spark imagination, and create an immersive experience that transcends traditional boundaries.

You’ll find Tamoor and Lucy discussing the 40 minutes of Alan Wake 2 gameplay shown at Gamescom 2023. They cover various aspects, including Alan’s plot board, similarities to Remedy’s Control, and of course, the Dark Place. You can check it out here.

What Alan Wake 2 Borrows From Control | Gamescom 2023