Alan Wake's game world wasn't populated enough to make an open-world experience interesting for players, the game's developer has revealed.
Remedy Studios worked on the game for years before finally releasing it in 2010 for Xbox 360. The game's art director, Saku Lehtinen, said that the story was written for an open-world experience, but the plot didn't change once the studio took a more linear path.
"We took the effort of writing the story so it was geographically and chronologically 'correct'," said Mr Lehtinen. "Even when we knew we were doing a linear game, we wanted to keep that. I'm in great favour of having the feel of a place, the sense that the world continues."
Instead of starting from scratch and creating a completely new world, Remedy decided to keep the open-world it had created, instead focusing on "interesting places" within the world that inspired the development team.
If there's positive stuff that looks genuine and feels right, then let's leave it there. And we narrowed it down until we felt it was enough," he explained.
Ideally, the team didn't want gamers to be roaming an open world where there was little to see and few characters to meet.
"People need to be rewarded for their exploration, so we had to find the middle ground."
The final product ended up becoming a critically acclaimed third-person thriller, driven by a powerful narrative and an eerie world. It was followed by the download-only Alan Wake's American Nightmare in early-2012, with a direct sequel currently in planning stages.
Source: Edge Magazine
By Gaetano Prestia