E3 2005: Level Up
ATi unveils Alan Wake
Product: Alan Wake
Company: ATi
Date: 05/20/2005
Avaliable On:

The ATi booth was business as usual for the card manufacturer, showing off the various popular games running on its top of the line desktop and laptop video cards. The games playing in the ATi booth ranged from games like D&D Online and Guild Wars to Age of Conan. However, what was really cooking at ATi was not what was on display at the booth outside, but what was on display behind closed doors.

Thursday, the ATi booth featured representatives from Remedy (the makers of Max Payne), for an E3 2005 first look at Alan Wake. Alan Wake is billed as a psychological action thriller, very much akin to games such as Resident Evil or Eternal Darkness.

Alan Wake follows the story of a best-selling horror writer of the same name, who starts to see odd things after he meets his fiance?. He starts having reoccurring dreams, until one day, his fiance? vanishes. He now cannot sleep, and he cannot write, so he is forced to attend a sleep clinic in Brightfalls, Washington - far away from the hustle and bustle of his normal life. At this clinic, he is finally able to sleep and be productive again.

?That is, until a mysterious woman shows up that looks very similar to his fiance?. All at once, his dreams come back, only as nightmares. To make matters worse, the town starts to take on the form of his nightmares. Wake is forced to walk the fine line between subjective and objective. What is his dream, and what is real?

When Remedy set out to create Alan Wake, they wanted a large, open, free-roaming world. The player is the driving force behind Alan Wake, not the primary story line. Since there is a virtual world to explore, this leaves you more freedom to complete the game as you see fit, not as some designer set forth for you.

The one thing that truly impressed me about this game was the complete attention to detail in the graphics engine. The game was running on some pretty advanced new hardware (a next generation ATi graphics chip), so it was putting out quite a few polys. The water was dynamic, and absolutely beautiful and crisp. The shadows were all created dynamically. The demo that was shown at the ATi booth had environment settings where the tester could fast forward and rewind the time of day, change weather conditions and even humidity level. When the sun set further in the distance, the colors all around changed as would happen in a real sunset. Everything about this game was just gorgeous.

As long as Remedy can keep the gameplay interesting, I?m sure this is one game that will be on everyone?s must play list. While Alan Wake has not been given any sort of release date besides ?when it?s done?, the platforms mentioned were of course the PC, and next generation consoles.

Z64freak aka Bret Hall

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2